For the very first time since 1971 Blackpool have reached the dizzying heights of top flight football – this will also be their debut season in Premier League in its modern form. Having finished 6th in the Championship overall the Tangerines went on to beat Nottingham Forest in the play-off semi-final before beating Cardiff in their final which was their 9th win in their last 11 games. Now that they have reached the Premier League, the question is: can they remain there?
With Ian Holloway in charge anything seems to be possible – he is certainly a character which is what the league really needs right now. Last season he proved he is not just a bit of a comedian but also an astute tactician who had the last laugh. Loan signings were what got Blackpool through last season and they will be relied upon again this time. Rumours suggest that Barry Bannan could return on loan again from Aston Villa, while journeyman Francis Jeffers is said to be on trial with the Seasiders.
The star of the show last season would have to be Charlie Adam who cost Holloway just £500,000 from Rangers. He proved to be the bargain of the year and was easily Blackpool’s player of the season scoring 18 goals over the course of the season. If Holloway could pick up another bargain like that and Adam can continue scoring as he did last season then who knows, Blackpool might have a chance of staying up.
Certainly they will want to give a good account of themselves and stand up to the big boys of the league but being realistic for a moment and you can’t seen them doing anything but struggling, while on the other hand, who saw Burnley beating Manchester United coming last season? There is always the ability to cause an upset and no doubt it is something we would all enjoy immensely.
Such is the demand to see Premier League football at Bloomfield Road developments are being made to the stadium to upgrade the capacity meaning that Blackpool’s first game against Wigan is now moved to being an away game in order to complete the work. The first home game for Blackpool will be against Fulham on the 28th of August which almost certainly will be a sell-out considering that all season tickets have been snapped up.
As stated previously, Blackpool will most likely struggle this season, no doubt about that, but they certainly won’t be the whipping boys of the Premier League either. They’ve been unlucky with the fixture list though, meeting Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all before the end of October won’t exactly do their prospects much good but it should spur them on to cause at least one upset in those games.
Blackpool will be the team for all the neutrals out there this season and may even become everybody’s adopted second club because you can’t help but want them to do well and you can’t help but find Ian Holloway hilarious. It is really a question of: who will have the last laugh come the end of the season?