This weekend we take on a team from a place that makes Great Yarmouth look sophisticated: Blackpool
Who the hell are Blackpool FC?
Blackpool were formed in the eponymous seaside town in 1887 and are best known for being the second team in the area, forever in the shadow of the giants at neighbouring Fleetwood Town.
What’s their history?
Another team formed in a pub, the Stanley Arms played host to the meeting that formed the club and they were successful even in their first season winning the Fylde Cup (yes, that was a thing,) and the Lancashire Junior Cup. One of the earliest Football League members, they joined in 1896-97 but failed to be reelected for a season in 1899 before returning for good the following season.
The period after World War 2 is the most famous in Blackpool’s history. Stan Mortensen joined in 1946 and was their top scorer for the next 9 seasons, Stanley Matthews followed in 1947 and they made the FA cup finals, finally winning the 3rd against Bolton in the 1953 “Matthews’ Final”. Which must nark Mortensen a bit as he’s the one that bagged a hat-trick.
The other period they’re famous for is when footballs’ 2nd most popular character Ian Holloway led them into the Premier League in 2010. They were entertaining that season, both scoring and conceding regularly but being seen to have a go, until finally succumbing to relegation. Sadly, it was all down hill from there. The Oysten family who own the club & ground (separating the two never seems to end well does it?) have been accused of pocketing all the money the club generated from its Premier League sojourn and any funds they have supplied have been loans at commercial rate, which should be familiar to Posh fans who read the accounts. They’ve also been accused of all sorts of impropriety and have sued or threatened to sue other board members, fans’ reps and local newspapers. Seem like lovely chaps. We can only hope that they make good on their promise to sell the club.
Apart from the aforementioned FA Cup win they’ve won the 2nd division once, the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1971 and the Chaka-khan Trophy in 2002 and 2004 as well as an impressive 5 playoff finals and a Division 2 title in 1930. They’ve done alright.
What’s the ground like?
Weird. 3/4 of the ground is a modern all seater affair with no pillars and good facilities, one even has a hotel incorporated. The east stand is still seated but is a cheap, nasty temporary affair with lots of pillars in front of it. They only open it for big away followings now. It’s also near the sea (obviously,) so can be quite parky this time of year.
Anywhere decent to drink?
Only if you can dodge the stag/hen do’s, kiss me quick hats and other walking cliches. The Old Bridge House on Lytham Road is alright and the Waterloo is ok for families. It’s Blackpool FFS, if you get out without an STD you’re doing well.
Player to watch?
Kyle Vassell is their top scorer. If that doesn’t tell you they aren’t up to much nothing will.
What’s their nickname?
The Tangerines, the Seasiders, the ‘pool. Originality is not their strong suit.
Do they have a forum?
Yes. Back Henry Street is the nicest to look at, if you want some lively debate go in and tell them how much you admire the cracking job the Oystens have done, and how much they deserve the proceeds they’ll get from selling up. Or don’t. If you have any respect for a footballing institution.
Got a prediction?
They’re crap, with 1 win in 6 and no league wins at home since October. So obviously they’ll beat us. I’m going for 1-0 after we spend 80 minutes trying to hump it forward in windy conditions before conceding our customary late goal. They’re boycotting and we’re having to get to the arse end of Lancashire for a stupid kick-off time on a Sunday so I’ll go for an attendance of 3,972.