Joker Holloway focuses on winning not losing
At the City Ground
The breathtaking, stunning and historic 90 minutes on the evening of 11 May will, for most people, be political in nature.
For Blackpool supporters, they will refer simply to their team's 4-3 victory over Nottingham Forest.
The result takes the unfancied and unfashionable Tangerines to the Championship play-off final - and to within 90 minutes of the Premier League.
It is a victory not only for the Lancashire club, who claimed a 6-4 aggregate win, but also for supporters of numerous teams up and down the land who follow a team modest in size and resources but perhaps not in ambition.
To reach the Wembley finale, Blackpool inflicted defeat on a team that had not lost at the City Ground in their last 20 matches, who had won 14 of the last 15, and who had not conceded in more than 12 hours of football at home.
And they did it by playing with courage, ambition and bravery - a point that losing boss Billy Davies was dignified enough to acknowledge afterwards.
The Tangerines had the belief to travel to a Championship fortress and stick with a 4-3-3 formation. Despite conceding an early goal, Ian Holloway's team did not buckle, delivering a series of knockout blows as they scored three goals in nine minutes after the break.
DJ Campbell may not be able to play in the Wembley final
Blackpool were the last team to win at the City Ground before Tuesday night, a 1-0 triumph in September. Holloway said he felt like a burglar after that match, but there was no apology needed after his team registered their fourth win against Forest this season.
DJ Campbell scored a hat-trick but he is on loan from Leicester and will not be able to play in the final if the Foxes overcome Cardiff on Wednesday evening.
Another loan signing, Stephen Dobbie from Swansea, came off the bench to create two of Campbell's goals and score another.
Huge credit must go to Holloway, not only for taking Blackpool to the final but also for transforming the mentality of a group of players that, despite the odd addition, is essentially the same squad that finished 16th last season.
"Life is about what you expect of yourself," said Holloway. "That is what I have talked to the players about."
This could be the defining season in Holloway's career. If he had become known more for his pithy, metaphor-heavy one-liners, then this season he has deliberately toned down the gags and let his side's results do the talking. That Blackpool have won eight of their last 10 games speaks for itself.
Holloway was slightly terse and chippy as he answered questions about the match. I suggested that he must be delighted with the result and was soon put in my place with the reply: "It must have taken a lot of thought to come up with that question."
The Blackpool boss railed against what he sees as a patronising attitude towards his club - the jibes about the three-sided ground and the awful pitch, the constant references to a team punching above its weight. He talked about the "occupational hazard" of being sacked and the changes he went through in the year he spent out of work before taking over at Bloomfield Road in May 2009.
"I watched a lot of games, especially at a higher level when I was out of management," he said. "I realised how much I love this job. And when I returned I got fed up with trying not to lose games or protect a draw. Now I just want to win games."
It was fascinating to listen to Holloway explain how his absence had shaped and altered him, made him more determined and yet less fearful.
Mixed in amongst it all were some excellent turns of phrase as Holloway explained how his team had "achieved something quite mega". He later added: "People think I am crazy but I am not."
Eventually the questions dried up and he left, not exactly looking cock-a-hoop, although he had talked at length about his pride in his team's achievement and allowed himself to wonder aloud about the prospect of his club playing in the Premier League.
No such daydreams for Forest boss Davies, who spent a sizeable chunk of the season telling anyone who would listen that winning promotion would not be a good thing in the long term. I guess you should be careful what you wish for.
Davies is a winner at Championship level, having reached a play-off final with Preston and achieved promotion with Derby. He will be bitterly disappointed that his team will not be at Wembley on 22 May.
His post-match media conference was classic Davies, his words dripping with meaning.
"I have got to say this club is not ready," said the Forest boss of the Premier League. "We would have had the youngest team in the Premier League, and that would have been a great worry."
Billy Davies in animated mood at the City Ground
OK, so the play-off disappointment might actually be a good thing? The subtext to this is that Davies was sacked 14 games into his first season as a Premier League manager after taking Derby up through the play-offs.
"I wish the play-offs had come in December when we were balanced and fluent and had many round pegs in round holes. Tonight we looked disjointed and I have been saying this for a long time," he added.
This is all about the club's transfer acquisitions committee, which is headed by Forest's football consultant David Pleat.
Although it apparently acts on the recommendations of the manager, it is an open secret that Davies is not a fan. The Scot is not a manager who likes to delegate authority on such matters. It is the reason why he has disingenuously described himself as a hired hand, nothing more.
Forest were in devastating form through December and January, a decent bet for automatic promotion, but the loan spell of influential full-back Nicky Shorey ended towards the end of the January transfer window.
Davies was desperate to strengthen but the only player to arrive this year was midfielder George Boyd on loan from Peterborough in March.
It will be interesting to discover over the coming months whether a fissure has opened between manager and board over transfer policy.
Nevertheless, Davies' first season must be judged as a success. Now, having suggested that he is on a long-term project to take Forest to the Premier League, it would be interesting to see whether he can deliver on his pledge.
Forest were relegated from the top flight in 1999 and must wait another year to return. Blackpool have not been there since 1971.
"Our ticket is until the end of the ride," said Holloway.
The final stop is at Wembley. Quite how it finishes, we will soon find out.