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Pool and Cardiff set sights on £90m prize

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Paul Fletcher | 08:00 UK time, Friday, 21 May 2010

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.

Cardiff City manager Dave Jones (right) celebrates victory over Leicester 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.

Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam celebrates the win over Nottingham Forest. 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.

You can follow me throughout the season at


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  • Comment number 1.

    Really excited about the game, as a neutral i think I would like to see a Welsh team in the PL, what does everyone else think?

  • Comment number 2.


    Is there any question about Cardiff's financial position? Is there a possibility that the Welsh club could follow in the steps of Portsmouth?

    I'm backing Blackpool. It would be wonderful to see them back in the top flight again.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nope, I am definitely on the side of Blackpool. Two particular callers on 606 at the beginning of the season showed incredibly blinkered arrogance to suggest that Cardiff were a Premier League side and show walk the league, particularly stick in my mind. Now I appreciate that they are a small minority, but all the same Blackpool have been run sensibly and a rise to the Premier League would be magical.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm backing Blackpool, look at my username (I also happen to live in Blackpool) ;o)

    However, I have a feeling its Cardiff's year for those reasons mentioned above.

    Good luck whoever wins, and I too hope it will be a good game. I also hope the Swans will be joining the winner next year.

    PS BBC please get your facts sorted for once, its Stephen, not Scott, Dobbie who is on loan.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'd love to see Blackpool in the Premier League if for nothing else than Holloways press conferences

  • Comment number 6.

    No there is NO CHANCE that Cardiff will follow in Pompeys footsteps! Jeez! We have an overall debt of £15 million, which is pretty small in comparison to Pompeys don't you think!

    Name me a club (apart from Chelsea & Man City who had debt wiped by super-rich owners) that AREN'T in some kind of debt.

    I will admit that The Riddler Ridsdale has been silly regarding the wages he has splashed out, basically banking on us to get promoted. Hmmm smells a bit like his time at Leeds.

    Please don't think that us Cardiff fans agree with what he has done. All I can say is that we have Malaysian investors takin over us at the end of the month who have said they will not come on board unless Ridsdale steps down...which he has agreed to do.

    I really hope that Cardiff can make it on Saturday but believe me I know that it won't be easy. Blackpool are a cracking team full of good spirit and ability. They work hard for each other and are on red hot form. Its gonna be tough.

    May the best team win. I think it should be an exciting final for the neutral fans too as both teams love to attack!

  • Comment number 7.

    I would like to see Blackpool win, for a few reasons.

    * Peter Risdale for what happened to Leeds, he seems to have followed the same financial path at Cardiff with their recent court orders, I think that 'living the dream' is the only form of accounting he knows and would not like to see him rewarded for it again.

    * Cardiff being a Welsh team, will this then bring up the same Old Firm debate again?

    * Cardiff fans have been known for there passionate support, but sometimes it seems to cross the line, will this effect the bid for the World Cup.

    * Having said that another reason I would like Blackpool is it would be an easy 6 points for most teams were as I dont think anyone will fancy Cardiff away

  • Comment number 8.

    Premier League status would be a massive boost not just for Blackpool Football Club, but for the town as a whole. I would suggest that they would be able to sell the visiting stand out several times over for each and every match. It would be great to see them in the Premiership - but I certainly wouldn't back anything other than a twelve month stay...

  • Comment number 9.

    Good luck to Blackpool! I really want to see 'Olly on Match of the Day every weekend giving crazy interviews!

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm sick of the £90m figure be bandied about. Yes, the winner will receivable much greater revenue in the Premiership. They will also have far higher costs on wages, signings and infrastructure; little will translate into profits. I'm a Reading fan and I'm still hearing of more cut backs necessary this summer after watching my club be unable to compete financially with others in the Premiership. Stop calling it such a lucrative match.

    It is however, a chance to mix with the best clubs in the country, enough reward in itself. I'll be backing Blackpool, it would be a great achievement.

  • Comment number 11.

    Jack_T_Lad (post 4) - you are, of course, absolutely correct - Stephen Dobbie. I was at the City Ground and witnessed his stunning cameo performance.

    I can only think that I suffered a slight brain meltdown and had an image of former West Brom, Carlisle, Millwall and Fores striker Scott Dobie in mind when I wrote that sentence.

    Charlie Cheesecake (post 2) - I reckon that you should have a look at this article written by a colleague of mine for a better steer on Cardiff's finances:

  • Comment number 12.

    My issue with Blackpool is that there average home crowd is 8,000! I was of the opinon that Portsmouths 20,000 average was a bit of a joke, and Blackpool make Fratton Park look like the Nou Camp. They aren't a Premiership club as far as I am concerned.

  • Comment number 13.

    Just wondering why this is not against the rules:

    Cardiff can afford to buy Chopra for 4million or whatever it is

    but then cant afford to pay their bills.

    it is completely unfair on well run clubs like blackpool, if we spent 4 million at the start of the season which we didnt have we certainly would have achieved even more.

    I know cardiff are not the only ones, look at preston, sign paul hayes from a well run scunthorpe, day after announce they cant afford to play the players wages and face a winding up order.

    how is this fair?

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Really hope Blackpool do it, the thought of a trip up there for an away match is already getting me excited!

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    was it really just two years ago that when Hull hon this play off it was only £60 million?
    What credit crunch...

  • Comment number 18.

    All of this nonsense regarding our financial control, or lack of, being a reason people don't want Cardiff to win, well can Pompey please hand us the FA Cup from 2008 as they sure as hell didn't deserve to have ANY of the players they had available to them at the time!!

    No Cardiff fans are not scum. We USED to have a bad rep, but that has been eradicated. The fact of the matter is that Man Utd and Chelsea have some of the worse numbers of arrests made in most seasons.

    The fact of the matter is, there are quite a lot of xenophobes that CANNOT stand the fact that a WELSH team might have the audacity to play in the Premiership!!!

    You INVITED us into the League system and we have slowly but surely worked our way up the ranks. We havn't been given any 'gimmes' or free passes. Why the big ho ha over the fact we play in Wales?!?!

  • Comment number 19.

    And to all these on here saying Blackpool are not a premier league club, if they or Cardiff win, they, like all the others are there on merit.
    Stop being so small minded and insular.

  • Comment number 20.

    Come on you Pool!
    I'm a Manchester City fan and WOULD LOVE to see the Pool back in the top flight. Another North West team and WHAT an away fixture!!
    Couple that with the fact I lived in Blackers for 20 or so years and there you go...

  • Comment number 21.

    Two things:

    1 - All those who suggest that Blackpool are not worthy of the Premier League because of their stadium etc - nonsense. You reach the top flight by virtue of the football you play and the winners on Saturday will deserve their place.

    2 - All those saying they don't want a Welsh team in the Premier League. Come on! Didn't hear you compaining that you did not want them in the Championship, or League One or League Two.

  • Comment number 22.

    I would hardly say it is small minded and insular andie99uk. People, myself included, are trying to put accross the point that Blackpool do not have the infrastructure to survive in the PL. I would much prefer Cardiff to come up as they have more of a chance at competing with other PL teams, and therefore may stay up. I do not think Blackpool have a chance at doing this (I may be proved wrong but I doubt it) and I do get bored of seeing teams coming up and immediately going back down.

  • Comment number 23.

    First of all the comments about Cardiff spending £4m on Chopra are slightly wide of the mark,I mean investigate the transfer folks Cardiff sold Chopra to Roy Keane and Niall Quinn's Sunderland for a reported £5m and buy him back 18 months later for £1m less? DON'T THINK SO......... Chopra was sold based on clauses and add-ons with a down payment of around £1.5m. based on the fact that he couldn't force his way into the 1st team and wasn't scoring goals he was sent out on loan to Cardiff with and agreement of the player returning to Cardiff on a permanent basis next season,cancelling any further monies owed and claiming a small recuperation fee of around £1m.
    As a Cardiff supporter i am extremely hopeful for this weekend however as a football supporter i love Olly and his antics so would not be to bitter if the PL has two pools next season Good luck to both sides,supporters and every one associated with the clubs.

  • Comment number 24.

    Bristol City fans are probably the only set of fans who would ideally prefer neither to go up and have a tough choice in knowing which way to lean.

    Cardiff is our big Severnside English/Welsh rivalry and always guaranteed to be a spicy affair, and whilst there is no historical issue with Blackpool, Holloway is Rovers through and through and would bleed blue-and-white blood if cut open. Could we really barely bear a Gashead on our MotD screens every Saturday for next season???

    I think being a City fan living in Wales I'm going to have to lean towards Blackpool - Holloway is at least a Bristolian although from the 'wrong' side of the bridge, and life wouldn't be worth living over here if Cardiff go up.

    Come on Blackpool!

  • Comment number 25.

    The fact is, Cardiff fans love singing about hating the English. Thus i hope they lose. Surely thats fair enough? Its not the fact that they play in Wales, its what their supporters are like. Having traveled to Ninian Park and seen it first hand, i have experience of how bad their fans are.

    Personally, ive never had any bad experiences with Swansea, thus if they went up, it wouldnt bother me one little bit.

    Cardiff are and have been a part of English football for a long time, and long may that continue.

    BUT they are our rivals and we dont like them, same as Millwall, Man Utd, Chelsea etc.

    Thats why i don't like them.

  • Comment number 26.

    The Dangle Formerly Known as Sir

    It'd be great if there was a welsh team in the prem, not least because Cardiff is a big city and it is right that a capital should be represented in top flight sport.

    You might find more people willing to agree with me if people like you grew up and stopped playing the xenophobia card. Convincing yourself you're some kind of victim isn't the way forward.

  • Comment number 27.

    As a Forest fan, I will be rooting for Blackpool. The only team that did the double over us, and beat us 4 times this season, deserves my vote!

    Nothing against Cardiff, but having seen at first hand what a great team spirit they have at present, they deserve to go up, in my book.

  • Comment number 28.

    I have no issue per se with a Welsh team being in the English Premier League (it's only foreigners who call it that anyway). They've been a part of our league for 100 years and it's just a non-issue.

    However, when their fans sing songs about loving Harold Shipman because he killed so many English people is it any wonder people don't like Cardiff?

    And as for 'not having that rep any more' - don't make me laugh. It's just over a year since my wife and I were both hit with coins whilst standing and watching a game at Ninian Park - whilst the watching stewards just smiled at us when we complained.

    The move to the new stadium has helped because it keeps the nutters away from the away fans a bit more but don't be fooled into thinking there is no longer a problem

  • Comment number 29.

    Cardiff to win all the way. I agree with most comment about Cardiff's supporters they are muppets and give a bad name to supporters, but i would honestly love to see them win, it would do wonders for the City and Wales. Cumru am byth

  • Comment number 30.

    Can we all give the hate a break for just a bit, not all Cardiff City fans are the demons they are made out to be, every club has them not just Cardiff.

    I can't wait for tomorrow to be over, because i'm dreading the idea of the long drawn out pain if we lose, if Blackpool win, good luck to you, if they lose, you have my deepest sympathies, that trip home from Wembley having just lost is horrible.

    Lets hope for an entertaining game and that the winner offers the Premiership something new and refreshing.

  • Comment number 31.

    I am looking forward to this game. This will be Blackpool's only chance at a shot at the big time and for this reason I hope they win. Cardiff will get more chances, being one of the bigger clubs in the Championship and providing Dave Jones stays then Cardiff will always be a force in the championship.

  • Comment number 32.

    Any of the 4 playoff teams this year will be/would have been a great addition to the premier league next year,

    Blackpool - One of the most historic clubs in the league, an original big club making a return to the top league.

    Cardiff - First Welsh club to grace the "English" Premier League, would be very interesting, not to mention how much Cardiff have riding on promotion financially.

    And the two knocked out clubs
    Leicester - A classic Premier League team that was going for back to back to back promotions, no mean feat, would have been good to see Leicester back, I remember the old Lineker days at Filbert Street

    Notts Forest - 3rd most European wins in the English League, fantastic history, I expect to see these in the Premier in the next few years

  • Comment number 33.

    Paul Fletcher wrote: All those who suggest that Blackpool are not worthy of the Premier League because of their stadium etc - nonsense. You reach the top flight by virtue of the football you play and the winners on Saturday will deserve their place.

    Couldn't agree more Paul. That joke of a sport, rugby league, could learn a lesson or two from you.

  • Comment number 34.


    Just take a look at some of the comments on here and on the 606 regarding a Welsh team being in the Prem and maybe you would understand why I harp on about it.

    I am not sayin that all English people have it in for us, but quite a lot like to use this fact against us.

    P.S. IF we make it to the Prem, I want us to leave the FAW so that we have red card situations looked at on a LEVEL playing field to all others.

  • Comment number 35.

    I hope Blackpool win. This is not because of any xenophobia or particular dislike of Cardiff, but i think it's obvious that Cardiff have gambled heavily finacially to get into the Premier League and given the number of court hearings over unpaid taxes this year they are in fairly serious trouble (for those who say £15m debt is not much compared to manU, that's true but ManU earn enough to pay their interest and their taxes, one had to assume that Cardiff don't!).

    IF they go up, then their gamble pays off and good for them, but my worry is that it will either a) the new owners continue to gamble too keep them there and they end up doing a Hull (Pompeys situation is so ridiculous as to be considiered a one off) and risk the future of the club and/or that b) cardiffs promotion further encourages other teams to come close to the wall to try and get into the prem and it doesn't come off for them, plunging them into a spiral. When the game is (rightly) trying to cut down on clubs spending what they can't afford, it wouldn't make this impossible task any easier should Cardiff succeed.

  • Comment number 36.

    Cardiff being a Welsh team is a non-issue, we have been part of the football league structure for a long long time, don't go complaining about it now just becuase we may get to the the top tier of it.

    Its in no way comparable to the old firm joing the league debate either.

    As for our fans, yes, i agree we do have a real bunch of moronic idiots at our club, however, they are a very small minority. The majority of our fans are fair, sensible and care about the club (and its reoutation). We also have a history of undersirable behaviour but i can asssure you its improved a 100 fold from then. I would not take my 6 yr old son to a stadium (and that incudes Ninian park) where his wellfare may have been jeopordised.

    Never been to Blackpool before and i'm sure its a great place and makes for a great night out, but if we do go up and some of you posters travel to Cardiff for an away game, you may be pleasantly surprised, Cardiff is a thriving, vibrant city with a lot to offer - I hope you get to see it sometime next season. :-)

    Anyway good luck to both teams, it will be one hell of a day. My stomch is flipping over just at the possibilty of it all. Thats why we all love football, every team gets its shot some day.

    Cheers all.

  • Comment number 37.

    I agree thoroughly with every word of 35, except I believe Pompey is not a one-off, unfortunately... forget geography or history or anything else, morally there is only one team for neutrals to support, and that is Blackpool.

    Yes, their stadium is nowhere near big enough for Premier League football, and there's almost certainly no room to expand Bloomfield Park beyond the current extensions because of the coach station on one side and houses on the other, but in this age of soulless corporate-branded bowls, Blackpool would be a fantastic day out and an eye-opener.

    If Cardiff were as responsibly run as Blackpool I'd probably be cheering them because it'd be great to see the xenophobes confused by a Welsh team in the league, great to see such a vibrant city get top-flight football, and good to see a somewhat unfairly maligned club (in terms of fans) get their chance.

    But with the way the club has been run, in the current climate, I would find it very difficult to make peace with them being promoted now.

  • Comment number 38.

    It's been quite a while since either of these two teams graced the Top Flight of English Football with their presence.

    The last time Blackpool were in the old First Division was for a very brief one season stay back in 1970-71.

    Cardiff's last period in the Top Flight was even further back - two seasons from 1960 to 1962.

    Blackpool have spent a total of 27 seasons in the Top Flight compared with just 15 for Cardiff City, although the Welsh club did finish as runners-up in season 1923-24 - as indeed did Blackpool in 1955-56.

    Neither club have ever been Football League Champions though.

  • Comment number 39.

    For me its the classic underdog scenario and because of it, I want Blackpool to win. I am a complete neutral as a Sheffield Wednesday supporter and if Cardiff go up, fair play to them.

    I do however agree with the majority of posters about Cardiff's finances and how the club has been run. I am increasingly frustrated with clubs gathering masses of debt and appreciate when a football club is run properly.

    I know Sheffield Wednesday in the past has been run extremely poorly and we have £25 million of debt but at least we are now on the right track to running the club properly and can afford the repayments on our debt. Winding-up orders at Cardiff would suggest they cannot do so.

    The talk about Blackpool not deserving Premier League football based on their infrastructure is also complete rubbish. If that was the case and clubs were promoted based on their infrastructure alone, then 75% of clubs in the football league could just pack up now and forget it. It's about the dream, and what Blackpool have achieved this season will help other clubs run properly.

  • Comment number 40.

    I hope that Blackpool beat Cardiff for a number of reasons, another Lancashire club being in the Premier League being one of them.

    I am in agreement with those that questions some of the Cardiff support who are to be quite frank, racist. Their anti-English chants leave a bad taste in my mouth and is something that the top division of English football doesn't need. My only trip to Ninian Park for a pre-season friendly was 90 minutes of abuse which should it have happened outside of a football ground, they would have been arrested.

    To the Cardiff fan who says that the English 'have it in for them', he should look at his own supporters for the reason why a number of supporters do not want his team in the PL.

    Come on Blackpool, and let's see Ian Holloway in the Premier!

  • Comment number 41.

    Living close to Blackpool I can tell you all the town is awash with tangerine, from the flag at the top of the Tower to the flags fluttering from car windows.

    Two things this season stand out - appointing Ian Holloway (brilliant manager) and signing Charlie Adam (superb buy).

    What a great season it's been.

    Come on the Seasiders!

  • Comment number 42.

    I lived in the Blackpool area for a while so I'm backing the Tangerines - I think they have the momentum and the passion to win it and of course anything can happen in a cup final. I congratulate Holloway on getting 'Pool to the play-off finals - the team that were tipped for relegation at the start of the season. For me, this achievement ranks up with Hodgson guiding Fulham to the final of the Europa League. Let's hope Blackpool go one step further.

  • Comment number 43.

    Based on the quality of both squads alone, I think Cardiff have more chance of competing in the Premier League, and for that reason alone I'd prefer them over Blackpool.

  • Comment number 44.

    Wow, a lot of negativity going on here. Naturally being Welsh I'll support Cardiff but please don't think that everyone in Wales is somehow anti-English. That is frankly insulting and just as xenophobic. yes there are undoubtedly some nutters and idiots in the crowd but considering what Bluebird fans USED to be like I think Cardiff City have made good improvements.

  • Comment number 45.

    I would love to see Cardiff in the top flight. I was warmed to the Cardiff fans when I went to Wales for the Newcastle - Cardiff game. Pretty much everyone in the ground was singing to the late Bobby Robson, I know that happened at many of grounds around that time, but I happened to be there for that one, so it stuck in my memory.

    Also do we really need another north west side at the top level, I have nothing against the north west or Blackpool but I just feel Cardiff would add something different to the prem.

  • Comment number 46.

    Blackpool for their outspoken manager? Or Cardiff for the lulz of having a Welsh team in the English Premier League? Tough to choose...A win win for us neutrals then!

    I think I'll go for Cardiff though as I remember when they beat Leeds in 2001 as a Division 3 (Now League 2) team, and now they have almost reached the top. But I just researched on Wiki and Blackpool have done the same.

    Either way it is 6 points next season methinks ;P

  • Comment number 47.

    The English give as good a banter agaisnt us for being Welsh as we do against them for being English. If this kind of banter offends you then I seriously suggest that you keep away from football grounds.

    We sing about being sheep sh****ers, does that offend you too? If you can't laugh at yourself then you shouldnt laugh at others, luckily for us we have a good sense of humour.

  • Comment number 48.

    Cardiff have the big money forwards, but Blackpool have the better midfield including a certain Charlie Adam! Blackpool played Orient at Cardiff in 2001 and we had problems with Cardiff fans when they weren't even playing. It will be an open game as Blackpool will play 4-3-3 and may the best team win. I have a feeling the Premiership is about to turn Tangerine!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Good blog, but there have been other factors in both teams success this season... Blackpool havent just bult their success this season on Charlie Adam and Gary-Taylor Fletcher. They have had an excellent platform in defence to build their attacking football. Alex John-Baptiste has continued the development which saw him Mansfield captain as a teenager, having an outstanding season and deserves to play in a Premiership team soon

  • Comment number 50.

    As my comments were removed i will change them to this:

    I'd usually prefer Blackpool to win because of the following:

    1) Some Cardiff fans are unpleasant.
    2) Ridsdale destroyed Leeds and is now been allowed to take the same risks at Cardiff - surely he should be prevented from ever been part of a football club again????
    3) Cardiff have spent way beyond their means and signed players like Chopra. They owe money and rather than paying their debts by selling players, they have continued to avoid their debts - poor form
    4) Blackpool in the Prem would be rather entertaining. I think they would get walloped most weeks - but we said that about Hull and Bradford, and they both lasted a season!

    All that been said, i actually want Cardiff to win. The reason - Leeds are back in the Championship and Cardiff is a long trip, whilst Blackpool is near and a top weekend break.

  • Comment number 51.

    "We sing about being sheep sh****ers, does that offend you too? If you can't laugh at yourself then you shouldnt laugh at others, luckily for us we have a good sense of humour."

    Yeah singing about Harold Shipman murdering people is very humourous. Throwing coins and other objects is also very very funny.

    Rangers and Celtic fans get hammered about their songs, but somehow Cardiff fans don't, and they are just as bad in many instances.

    So if you sing that you are sheep sh++++ers, then that makes you funny? I don't think so.

  • Comment number 52.

    21. At 10:42am on 21 May 2010, Paul Fletcher wrote:
    Two things:

    1 - All those who suggest that Blackpool are not worthy of the Premier League because of their stadium etc - nonsense. You reach the top flight by virtue of the football you play and the winners on Saturday will deserve their place.

    Couldn't agree with you more there Paul. People who claim small clubs, with shed like stadiums, don't deserve top league football are idiots. They can't be genuine football fans if all they want is massive stadiums with their lovely soft seats. Go back to your arm chair. Those small clubs, IMO, deserve that football far more than the clubs who have just bought their way to success by chucking millions of money at it. And it is way more interesting being a fan of said clubs, because you never know what is gonna happen. Good luck to Blackpool, do Lancashire proud.

  • Comment number 53.

    As a neutral I think its good to see teams like Blackpool and Cardiff getting a chance to get a crack at the Premiership. Having a Welsh team in the top flight would be good but I also think that Blackpool have done so well especially beating Forest who at one time looked like they were set for automatic promotion.

    Full time analysis

  • Comment number 54.


    We aint the only ones that sing that song, I can assure you. Though you neglect to mention that quite a lot of fans seem to think it is acceptable to shout horrific abuse at our manager about issues that he was cleared of. Again, I couldnt tar every fan of each club as being part of it, just like you can't stereotype every Cardiff fan.

  • Comment number 55.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 56.


    Leeds are back in the Championship and Cardiff is a long trip, whilst Blackpool is near and a top weekend break.
    Leeds won't be playing either Blackpool or Cardiff away on a Saturday afternoon.

    I hope Blackpool win just cos it will be hilarious that a club their size can pull it off.

    However my head says Cardiff and I see no issue with a Welsh club playing in the PL. They will have done so having come through the pyramid system by fair means. If Celtic and Rangers join the English league will they be willing to start where Cardiff were in 2001-2 season?.

    If Cardiff lose can they continue to avoid a HMRC winding up order?

  • Comment number 57.

    I don't think it's right for Cardiff to blag their way through four winding up orders and at the same time be competing for a place in the Premier League. But that's just an aside, as it's Blackpool all the way for me as a gashead. Ollie is a great manager and a great guy. I would love to see them go up.

  • Comment number 58.

    OK, I'll also comment on the Cardiff fans who were making gestures with a finger across the throat because we had the cheek to sing about our own team. Is that what you would call banter??

    I've travelled to most grounds in the UK, and some in Europe and seen some intense rivalry between fans, but Cardiff City is about the only place I wouldn't consider going back to.

  • Comment number 59.

    Funny you should say that bwfc as I saw a leicester city fan do exactly that at ou most recent play-off at CCS. What a naughty, naughty man he was. I had nightmares for days. Jeez, really!?

  • Comment number 60.

    At 12:06pm on 21 May 2010, Burlow 74 wrote:
    Cardiff being a Welsh team is a non-issue, we have been part of the football league structure for a long long time, don't go complaining about it now just becuase we may get to the the top tier of it.

    Its in no way comparable to the old firm joing the league debate either.
    Totally agree with the above post, should Cardiff win saturday they will be in the PL on merit having risen through the domestic leagues. I dont beleive that it's the old firm's given right to join the PL based on the fact they have large following and are succesful in their respective league. If the old firm where to join then I beleive its only fair that they start at the bottom tier as was the case with CCFC back in 1910! In my honest opinion cant see the money men at both Rangers & Celtic being happy with this as it would mean sacrificing a few years without european football, also with their current squads I beleive they would struggle to make an impact in the championship let alone the PL!

    Anyway back to the game, as much as id like to see Ian Holloway on MOTD every saturday night with his hillarious interviews, I really hope City pull it off and reach the PL, should be a great game with both sides attacking mentallity! Whoever wins am going to miss the Blackpool away trip, top weekend!!

  • Comment number 61.

    In regard to not wanting a Welsh team in the Premiership ...

    Firstly, doesn't the Mail have it's own website?

    Secondly, Cardiff and Swansea are pretty much giving up a nailed on European spot every year to compete at the lower levels of English football. They have made that sacrifice and have earned their shot at the big time, surely.

    Thirdly, many in Wales are highly critical of their inclusion in the English league, arguing that it weakens Welsh domestic football. Personally I'd like to see the Welsh teams resign their places and play in the Welsh league but it doesn't mean I want them to fail. I'm a Wrexham fan and I usually do!

    Fourthly, the Big Firm question ... no, not unless they enter from the bottom and work their way up like Cardiff have. Cardiff have done the time, a bit different to parachuting two teams in from another league.

    Fifthly, Blackpool are another Burnley, they won't push on. Sorry guys, it's true. Maybe for nostalgia and romance it'd be nice for them but, let's face it, so would a decent cup run. I love Ollie too but they would be such obvious whipping boys that I don't see the point. Cardiff have another few levels to move up and the youth system and infrastructure is in place ... they just need a lump sum to pay that tax bill!

    Sixthly, is that even a word?

    Seventhly, it's been years since a Welsh team competed at the top level and they will bring something different to the Premier League. The Lord loves wonderous variety and so should you.

    Eighthly, that unpaid tax bill. Don't want to take a risk? Don't want your team to stick their neck out and give it a go? How very dull. Sometimes you've got to gamble to win big.

  • Comment number 62.

    I would love to see Blackpool win for a number of reasons:
    1) Ridsdale ruined my club, has virtually done the same at Cardiff, and does not deserve to be rewarded for his mismanagement.
    2) Holloway has done a fantastic job, and I hope he gets his chance to compete in the top league.
    3) I have ALWAYS disagreed with a Welsh club competing in the English league. Not because we're talking about Cardiff in particular, but because Welsh teams should play in the Welsh league. That's not a xenophobic or racist comment, it's purely my opinion.

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    3) I have ALWAYS disagreed with a Welsh club competing in the English league. Not because we're talking about Cardiff in particular, but because Welsh teams should play in the Welsh league. That's not a xenophobic or racist comment, it's purely my opinion.


    Which in its self is xenophobic. You're English and you don't understand your own language.

    Its like me making a racist slur and then stating 'I'm not racist, it's just my opinion'. What I think you meant is, you are xenophobic but you don't wanna push this idea on anyone else.

    P.S. As stated before we were INVITED into the league and we have worked from the bottom up. Deal with it.

  • Comment number 65.

    BTW - Cardiff is much nicer to visit than Blackpool. Far less chavvy.

  • Comment number 66.

    @ 64. At 2:48pm on 21 May 2010, The Dangle Formerly Known as Sir - (CCFC - Social Events Officer)

    Stating that I don't agree with Welsh clubs competing in an English league should not be misconstrued. I would equally object to an English team playing in the Welsh league.

    Deal with it.

  • Comment number 67.

    Plenty of good banter here (and some not so great either).

    But besides the question of who you want to win, who do you think will win?

    Will Blackpool's late charge take them all the way or will the season end with Cardiff celebrating?

  • Comment number 68.

    Cardiff fans are by far the worst I encountered in the Championship this season, I for one hope they dont go up, no doubt trouble would follow them around the premier league.

  • Comment number 69.

    @ 67. At 2:59pm on 21 May 2010, Paul Fletcher wrote:

    If there's a God, Blackpool.

  • Comment number 70.

    Its not xenophobic to say you dont want a Welsh club in the English league. Its an opinon. (I disagree with this opinion btw) Some may also only want English players to play for the England football/cricket team rather than Canadians, Irish and Saffas. Its their opinion, they are entitled to it and it does hold some sway.

  • Comment number 71.

    @ 70. At 3:03pm on 21 May 2010, Phil wrote:
    Its not xenophobic to say you dont want a Welsh club in the English league. Its an opinon. (I disagree with this opinion btw) Some may also only want English players to play for the England football/cricket team rather than Canadians, Irish and Saffas. Its their opinion, they are entitled to it and it does hold some sway.

    Ah, refreshing to see common sense prevail.

  • Comment number 72.

    Additionally, I dread to think what would happen if the lunatic element from my club (Leeds United) were face to face with the lunatic element from Cardiff.

  • Comment number 73.

    If there's any justice Blackpool will win. They play good football in the right spirit and have done it all responsibly and on a budget. Cardiff, on the other hand, have struck me as petulant and thuggish on the various occasions I've seen them this season, and their off-pitch financial troubles are well documented, and such irresponsibility shouldn't be rewarded with such a lucrative prize. For his actions at Leeds Ridsdale should have been banned from football anyway.

    Being neutral (Donny fan) I'm always inclined to root for the underdogs, so I'm hoping that the 'Pool do it in honour of Matthews and Mortensen. It'd be great to see them in the top flight again, and it'd be a wonderful two-fingered salute to all those who believe that only money can bring you success.

    Nothing against Dave Jones as a manager, I think he's done a sterling job, all told. And the suggestions that Cardiff (and Swansea for that matter) don't deserve to be where they are simply because they're Welsh teams are utterly ridiculous.

    Most of all I'm hoping for a great game. More often than not, this play-off final tends to be the most exciting game of the season (although there've been a couple of dull ones the past few years). Both teams have some cracking players and I'm hoping they all raise their games tomorrow.

    May the best team win and good luck to the losers next season when they visit the Keepmoat again :)

  • Comment number 74.

    Anyway, I think it would be nice to see a team Blackpool or Cardiff grace the Premier League predominantly made up of British & Irish players.

  • Comment number 75.

    I am definatley backing cardiff!!
    they should win this game with ease with the likes of young talent like chopra,bothroyd,whittingham,ledley etc.
    whereas blackpool have more expeirienced players which could give blackpool an advantage but honestly i dont think it will matter, cardiff to win 3~1!!!

    BLUEBIRDS !!!!!

  • Comment number 76.

    I really hoe Cardiff wimn tomorrow. As for the racism. It was Pompie fans that booed the Welsh anthem in the FA cup final!!

  • Comment number 77.

    #63 JoeCCFC wrote:

    "Since promotion to the Championship I have seen Cardiff sell Robert Earnshaw (youth product, sold for £3.5m); Graham Kavanagh (our captain sold for £350k to keep us in business), Danny Gabbidon and James Collins (bought for a combined £300k, sold together for £3m), Cameron Jerome (youth product sold for £3.5m), Chris Gunter (youth product, sold for £2.5m), Glenn Loovens (bought for £250k, sold for £2m), Aaron Ramsey (youth product, sold for £5m), Michael Chopra (who's transfer has been explained above), Roger Johnson (bought for £250k, sold for £3m). "

    Agreed. You've also bought Chopra (£4m), Hudson (£1m), Quinn (£300k), Bothryoyd (£330k) and brought in Enkelman from a prem club (wages). Not to mention the wages you mush have been paying Robbie Fowler, Hasselbaink, and loan players from the premiership such as Etuhu, Routledge, Stuart Taylor, Owusu-Abayie. Instead of forking out on that lot you could have paid the taxman?

  • Comment number 78.

    Good banter on here fair play! Cant wait for tomorrow, time to leave the office now, early start in the morning, up at 5:00am, hitting the road to Wembley at 6:00am, what a day lined up and the weather promisies to be scorching! C'mon City!

  • Comment number 79.


    You do make a good point, the mismanagement of the club has been clear and frustrating to all the fans (hence the demonstrations at games this season). What I will say though is that of the transfers you mention above, Chopra's fee was definitely not £4m, more like £1m and forgoing whatever else Sunderland still owed for him, Quinn and Bothroyd were both out of contract so did not cost not that much and in general the amount that has been spent on ingoings, while looking a lot in isolation, has always been more than covered by whoever we've just sold. Every season our tranfers in have essentially been to replace players sold, so Hudson and Gerrard for a combined £1.3m was to replaced Roger Johnson sold for nearly 3 times that (as well as Loovens sold the season before). Again, while we have spent, I do not think that it constitutes the sort of "throwing money at it" attitude that some people seem to have suggested.

  • Comment number 80.

    Whatever the result tomorrow, many, many thanks to Holloway and the whole team for a great exciting season that this fan has enjoyed following from Canada. An ex-pat fan of Blackpool since "the Two Stans" and has not enjoyed the years in the wilderness of lower league play. Go team and let's look forward to the PL next season.

  • Comment number 81.

    I dont mind an Welsh teamn being in the English leagues but I do have some concerns. Lets face it, the Welsh do not like the English and to an extent are racist for it . . . hence why on the chants of the season page there is a chant from the Welsh to the Scottisd (or t'other way around) saying 'We hate the English more than you'. Oh how very commical, yet if the shoe was on the other foot the English would be dubbed 'racist hooligans'. And even if it is meant in jest, there is no place for it in football.

  • Comment number 82.

    Leeds fan in Peace.

    It would be easy to hate on Cardiff, given the reputation of their supporters and their perilous financial position and also seeing Ridsdale, the captain of the Leeds Titanic, fail (and this might bring many Leeds fans a smile or two given the aftermath of Ridsdale's reign at Elland Road).

    However, although there are a few wums and few wannabe hoolies, I have time for their true, passionate supporters who have followed them through thick and thin in the basement division and almost extinction several years ago to now. I feel a bit of comradeship with their fans, as Cardiff, Leeds and Millwall (and to some extent West Ham, Chelsea, Birmingham etc.) always get tarred with the same brush because of a small minority of idiots who associate themselves with the club but are only in it for the aggro. I also have a lot of time and respect for Dave Jones, who is a great manager. Promotion would be nice and deserved if they achieve it (they did finish higher than Blackpool in the League).

    Blackpool - it would also be great to see them in the PL. This should give them some much needed funds to complete their stadium build and it would be great to see them back in the big time, just as it was great to see Burnley, except Blackpool only have half the number of fans Burnley did (but also remember, their stadium at present with 3 sides only, holds a max of 12,200). Holloway is a smart and funny guy and even though it's a bit low brow for the bistro kids and prawn sandwich brigade, Blackpool is still a fun place to go for your average punter. Blackpool play a nice passing game too (not to say Cardiff don't).

    Best of luck to both sides, may the best team win.

  • Comment number 83.

    Cardiff City all t he way. As a PNE man I really couldn't stomach them lot with a tower with that much money to spend. What a really bad week to be a North End fan.


  • Comment number 84.

    Fair Play Toronto White, top man, nicely put.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    Blackpool fans, if you go up will Simon Grayson deserve any credit?

  • Comment number 87.

    @ #12 Who do you support? I'm going to stick my neck out here and say one of the 'big 4'.

    As for not being a Premiership club, we aren't, we are currently a Championship club, but due to our performances this season we're one game away from becoming one.

    That's the beauty of football. Going off what your saying though, should we scrap relegation & promotion altogether?

    We can't have the little clubs with the small grounds mixing it with the big boys now can we?

  • Comment number 88.

    I'm backing Blackpool.


    Because if the play-offs had been run like any other 2-leg knock-out competition Leicester would have won on away goals!

    By the way Dangle, I CAN name you a club that is not in debt.


    And that happened during the season and didn't need the parachute payment.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    People talk about Cardiff's debt being a problem and don't factor their brand new (EXPENSIVE) stadium into the equation.
    I feel the Bluebirds will have the stout to go the distance in the prem, and be more interesting than generic northern team (nothing personnel) Blackpool.

  • Comment number 91.

    Spurs fan here. All the very best to Blackpool.

    I've nothing against Welsh teams whatsoever. they are all welcome in the Premiership, except Cardiff and their moronic fans.

    I remember our visit to Cardiff in 2007 for our FA Cup tie, the most unpleasant and hostile football night of my life and I've been watching live games home and away since 1970.

  • Comment number 92.

    A question: If Cardiff lose and the much-touted investors walk away leaving the club to go belly-up, will Swansea - who finished 7th - be compensated, possibly arguing that Cardiff's finances should have resulted in the club being dealt with by the football authorities, rather than having constant, and suspicious, court adjournments?

    Whatever, Cardiff have got much more riding on the game than Blackpool, maybe their very survival.

    But don't worry, everybody in Swansea and down west will be watching the game and cheering . . .

  • Comment number 93.

    Cardiff will win, no doubt about it. Blackpool haven't got good enough players and will struggle againist the Welsh Side

  • Comment number 94.

    As a Forest fan who witnessed Blackpool's remarkable win at the City Ground that Tuesday night (even if Lady Luck was on your side they throughly deserved to progress) I'd like them to win more so because it's hard not to be impressed by them and especially their manager. Who knows, as they would in all likelyhood get relegated again, they could use some of the money to a) build a stand and b) put some grass on their pitch as it's more suitable for beech volleyball than footy at the moment! I also want to them to win as they are obviously English and it annoys me why we allow Welsh teams into English leagues when we don't allow the Old Firm in.

  • Comment number 95.

    My train and the RAF Club is booked. The lucky shirt is ironed and my sons have been briefed on their contribution to the singing.

    I feel like I am 5 yrs old and it is Christmas Eve.

    How did we get here? This IS the best trip that I've EVER been on...

    And needless to say, I hope it's the Subbuteo Premier League Edition I get tomorrow, and not Mr Potato Head.

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    i think this game does good for the championship as a neutral fan of leyton orient i would want to see blackpool rise to the premiership because its a new face thier and look what it would bring to blackpool and the fans but i wouldn't mind Cardiff got their in the end so its good whtever happens its just goin to be an amazing 90 if not 120 mins of footy to sit back and enjoy good luck to blackpool tho :) make it 3 play off promotions

  • Comment number 98.

    Who ever said Blackpool aint a premier league club because of their attendences is the stupidist person on 606..

    If Blackpool win on saturday they are in the league and they deserved it.

    Love Holloway be a laugh in the prem.

  • Comment number 99.

    Must agree with a post earlier on, would love to see Holloway's post match press conference were they to take a big scalp. It would be awesome to see him try to control himself after beating one of the big boys. I so hope they win tomorrow, Blackpool in winter is not pretty but Cardiff at anytime of year is horrible, their fans suck as well..

  • Comment number 100.

    Good luck Blackpool - I remember you in League One playing the Orient a few seasons back - I remember seeing your fans on the tube for the play offs that year - never thought you'd be on the verge of going up again so soon - good luck - hope you get through


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