Pool and Cardiff set sights on £90m prize
Whatever happens during Saturday's Championship play-off final, it will finish with a club celebrating elevation to entirely new territory.
Blackpool last played top-flight football in 1971, while Cardiff have not been there since 1961, so an entire generation of Seasiders and Bluebirds has been able to do nothing more than wonder what it feels like to rub shoulders with the elite on a weekly basis.
I fully imagine that the money men at both clubs are salivating at the prospect of promotion after the Sport Business Group at Deloitte estimated Saturday's Wembley contest to be worth £90m to the winning team.
But although Blackpool and Cardiff are united by a common desire, there is plenty of evidence to suggest the final will be a game of contrasting styles and personalities.
Jones (right) is a steady and calm presence at Cardiff
Promotion for Cardiff would be the culmination of five seasons of steady progress and development under manager Dave Jones.
The 53-year-old has often come across as a slightly downbeat character. He is careful with his words and keeps his emotions in check, while the camera often catches him with his hands on his hips as he stands in his technical area, impassively watching events in front of him
But if Jones hardly goes out of his way to outwardly demonstrate his desire to succeed, then the occasional outburst has hinted at the determination that burns within, while those who know him well speak of his dry wit.
Furthermore, there can be no doubt that Jones has remained a steady and dignified presence at a club that has faced a High Court winding-up order this season over an unpaid tax bill and has debts of more than £15m.
In his time in charge, the Welsh club have reached the 2008 FA Cup final and suffered the heartache of missing out on the Championship play-offs on the final day of the 2008-09 season.
Jones has rebuilt his squad several times and profited from a series of talented homegrown players such as Aaron Ramsey, Joe Ledley and Adam Matthews.
His achievements are impressive and victory at Wembley would be rich reward for his hard work.
So to Blackpool.
Promotion for the Tangerines would end a spectacular first season under manager Ian Holloway.
Upbeat, witty and a huge fan of stretching a metaphor to its very furthest point, the 47-year-old seems the sort of bloke who would be brilliant company over a few beers.
The problem for Holloway was that he had started to be regarded more as a joker than a manager - and he found himself out of work for a year after he was sacked by Leicester in May 2008.
When he took over at Blackpool 12 months ago, he was determined to tone down the gags and focus on bold, attacking football.
He has done both with considerable success - to the extent that an unwelcome distraction during the build-up to the final has been the suggestion that West Ham wanted him to become their new manager.
Expect the Seasiders to stick with their tried and trusted 4-3-3 formation on Saturday, with a front line of Brett Ormerod, DJ Campbell and Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
Campbell is on loan from Leicester and would have been ineligible for the final if the Foxes had defeated Cardiff in the semi-finals - a terrible shame given that his hat-trick propelled Blackpool to a sensational 4-3 win in the second leg of their own semi-final against Nottingham Forest.
Blackpool stunned Forest with their counter-attacking football, with substitute Stephen Dobbie scoring one and creating a further two for Campbell.
Dobbie is also on loan, from Swansea, while impressive full-back Seamus Coleman is another loanee, from Everton.
If Cardiff's success is the result of steady planning and improvement, then Holloway has moulded his team with incredible speed.
Adam has been sensational for Blackpool this season
The key player for Blackpool this season has unquestionably been Charlie Adam, who joined from Rangers for a club record £500,000 last summer after an initial spell on loan towards the end of the 2008-09 campaign.
Tangerines chairman Karl Oyston is often criticised by the club's supporters but he showed his ambition by sanctioning the signing - and the rewards have been obvious, with Adam scoring 16 league goals this season and making the PFA Championship team of the year.
Adam has been slightly below his best in recent weeks, but then again he has been one booking from a three-match suspension after reaching 14 yellow cards. Don't expect him to hold anything back at Wembley.
Picking out a key individual for Cardiff is less clear-cut. However, Peter Whittingham was the joint-highest scorer in the Championship with 20 goals, a considerable achievement for a wide player.
Michael Chopra found the net 16 times in the league, while strike partner Jay Bothroyd showed against Leicester an ability to drop deep and link play that could stretch Blackpool's three-man midfield.
Blackpool scored 74 league goals during the regular season, Cardiff 73, while the two meetings between the sides both finished 1-1.
Holloway's team have won eight of their last 10, while Jones's men have tasted defeat just twice in 13 games. It will be a final between two form teams.
But I suspect that many neutrals will favour the unfancied Tangerines, especially fans of other Premier League clubs who fancy the idea of a saucy kiss-me-quick weekend at the seaside.
I just hope that it is an exciting match that does not succumb to the defensive mindset that so often destroys big games, especially when the huge prize of Premier League football is at stake.