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Holloway takes Blackpool to the promised land

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BBC Sport blog editor | 20:31 UK time, Saturday, 22 May 2010

At Wembley Stadium

Romance, reinvention and riches - Blackpool's promotion to the Premier League is a story that has it all.

Or as Blackpool's matchwinner Brett Ormerod, with a turn of phrase which his manager Ian Holloway would have been proud of, put it: "It feels like we have landed on the moon without a space rocket or a helmet."

Last season Burnley, this year Blackpool - two proud Lancashire clubs who have proved that the mouse can still roar in an age when money is regarded as a pre-requisite for success.

Blackpool celebrate their fairytale successBlackpool enjoy the moment as they return to the top flight. Photo: Getty Images

At 8,611, Blackpool had the Championship's second lowest average attendance last season. Bloomfield Road holds in the region of 12,000 and, essentially, has three developed sides, while the pitch, much to Holloway's annoyance, has been heavily criticised.

Their record signing, Charlie Adam, cost £500,000 when he arrived from Rangers last summer and Blackpool's starting XI at Wembley contained a defender bought from Mansfield for £5,000, several players regarded as surplus to requirements at previous clubs and two loan signings.

No wonder I heard one fan remark that his side had won promotion with a team of "misfits".

Holloway was out of work for a year after his sacking at Leicester in May 2008 before Blackpool took a punt on a man who had become known more for his gags and memorable soundbites than his managerial ability. His contract had a clause that contained a bonus for keeping his team in the Championship. Lifting them out of it was not even mentioned.

Yet there was no question that his team deserved their 3-2 win over Cardiff at a sweltering Wembley on Saturday. It was an engrossing final, with all five goals coming during a mesmerising opening 45 minutes.

Holloway sent his team out with their customary 4-3-3 formation and both of his early second-half substitutions saw him replace a striker with a striker as Blackpool chose to try to extend their lead rather than defend it.

Blackpool boss Ian HollowayHolloway has shown he should be taken seriously as a football manager. Photo: AP

The Seasiders boss must be applauded for the bold and courageous manner in which he has taken a mid-table side with modest aspirations to their first ever season in the Premier League.

"It will change the lives of the people in the area," said Holloway, who hopes that the investment and interest aroused by his team's promotion will resonate for the whole town, not just the football club.

"We have done something that I do not think will be done again given the size of our budget."

The Blackpool manager paid rich tribute to his players after Saturday's victory and explained that persuading them to truly believe that they could achieve great things this season had been the key to success.

Forgive me the cliché, but Blackpool's is a rare footballing fairytale for a club that had not been in the top flight since 1971 and it is a great achievement for Holloway, who will now get the chance to test himself in the top flight for the first time.

"The best players in the world are now going to be coming to Bloomfield Road," added the Tangerines manager as he tried to comprehend the implications of a famous victory.

The match had been estimated as being worth £90m to the winners - and victory will undoubtedly transform Blackpool as a football club.

Chairman Karl Oyston, not always the most popular figure with the club's supporters, told me afterwards that the Seasiders would redevelop their media and medical set-up, rebuild the shambolic East Stand and transform their training facilities.

"It is a new set of problems for me," said Oyston. "It has always been the other way round - we cannot do things at Blackpool that we want to do because we do not have the money. The constraints have been removed and it is new territory."

Oyston would not be drawn on how much money Holloway might have to spend in the transfer market - but the manager himself did acknowledge that the price of promotion was huge.

"I come from a council house and the money is beyond my wildest dreams - and quite obscene," added Holloway.

The 47-year-old knows that he needs to bring in new players, and suggested he might try to sign some younger players on long-term loan deals from other Premier League clubs.

He also admitted that he might have to rethink the 4-3-3 formation that has taken his team to the top flight, while some of the club's Wembley heroes could be surplus to requirements in the top flight.

"I'm proud of the boys but I might have to be ruthless," he said. "And I might have to coach a different system."

Cardiff manager Dave Jones also faces an interesting summer, albeit for different reasons as his club come to terms with a heartbreaking defeat.

The Bluebirds have seen off several High Court winding-up orders during the course of the season and are reported to have debts of £15m.

Cardiff striker Michael Chopra sinks to the turf at the end of the gameDefeat was all too much for some of Cardiff's players. Photo: Getty Images

Saturday's match was the final game with Peter Ridsdale as chairman and Jones plans to sit down with the new people in charge on Monday to plan for the future.

"I am hurting but I will have to reflect and look forward to coming back and starting again," said Jones.

The Cardiff boss made it clear that he had no intention of leaving the club and said he had not received a single enquiry from another manager about the availability of his players.

But he made also admitted that he, like Holloway, needs to strengthen over the summer in a variety of positions.

I thought Jones was dignified and gracious in defeat, speaking warmly about his friend Holloway.

Jones's response of "you never know" when asked whether Blackpool could stay up next season suggested he thought the task would be a huge one for the Tangerines, while bookmakers have already made Blackpool odds-on favourites to make a swift return to the Championship.

Holloway was allegedly kept waiting for 45 minutes when he arrived in Blackpool for an interview last May and had to be persuaded not to walk away in disgust before his and the Seasiders' remarkable journey had even begun.

But having taken Blackpool to the moon, the likeable Bristolian now faces the incredible - some might say impossible - challenge of keeping the Seasiders in outer space.

You can follow me throughout the season at


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  • Comment number 1.

    Congratulations Blackpool! I don't know about anybody else but I can't wait to see Ian Holloway on Match of the Day next season!


  • Comment number 2.

    I guess I am a bit of an idiot for that typo!


  • Comment number 3.

    And again but I will just give up - I have had far too much to drink in a German pub watching Bayern lose the Champions League final!

  • Comment number 4.


  • Comment number 5.

    All of sudden there are 35,000 Blackpool fans who have come from nowhere.

    Rumours from Blackpool are that they will have to play all the home games at Bolton's home, not sure if true.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nice Job Blackpool. Out of the 4 playing, you deserve it the most. Welcome back to the BIG LEAGUE and no matter what happens, you will enjoy coming to Old Trafford....and us to YOU!!
    Well done, nice to see a DOWN TO EARTH MANAGER back with us and can't wait for your post match comments.
    Cardiff, just not good enough.

  • Comment number 7.

    First of all, congrats to Blackpool for going up. No doubt it'll do wonders for the team and the town.

    I do however see Blackpool following in the footsteps of Burnely and going straight back down. But I'd happily be proved wrong. It just seems Blackpool aren't strong enough for the big league. Saying that they did beat Forrest, so...I don't know.

    But yes it will be good to see Holloway on MOTD. I look forward to that.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hoorah Blackpool are up,it will be great to see holoway in the premier league. blackpool will be a great place to travel to for a match.

    On the other hand feel very sorry for Cardiff played well but got nothing. Also that might be there only chance of going up for a while, if they had went up it would have eased there fianacial worries.

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    Congratulations Blackpool. It'll be interesting to see how you do next season, I don't see it being a good season for your boys but the financial security you'll get is going to do wonders for your club even if you do go down after one season. It's the problem many clubs that come up struggle with, do you spend it all trying to stay up? Or accept your fate and spend a meagre amount more in planning for another assault on the Championship title in the following season? I think in Blackpool's case it's more likely to be the former. The club can really be transformed and the ground and facilities completely modernised which will only improve things in the long run. Spending all the money available to stay up is a very risky game and doesn't always work in the long run, just ask the Pompey fans.

  • Comment number 11.

    Sorry that was all a bit negative, I should say as well the win was thoroughly deserved. Terrific performance and just goes to show that the team is more important than an individual. Record signing of just £500,000 yet collectively they were unstoppable. Commiserations to Cardiff and Jones in particular who was very gracious. It'd be good to see him back in the top flight with another club as he's a quality manager who could do good things in the Premiership. Anyway, welcome to the big time Blackpool, you're gonna love it!

  • Comment number 12.

    It doesn't matter how small a club Blackpool are, or what their average attendance is, they've done the business on the pitch and deserve to go up.

    They'll have a better chance of staying up than Burnley did, assuming Ian Holloway doesn't leave during the season.

  • Comment number 13.

    Its truly remarkable what Ian Holloway has done at Blackpool. A great example to the mega-bucks of the premier league. Good luck and welcome to the premier league boys!

  • Comment number 14.

    Well Done Blackpool. Cardiff not good enough on the day. Nice to see 35,000 Blackpool fans, maybe you'd have a bigger ground if you turned up every week!

    Good luck in the Premiership and most of all good luck to Ian Holloway.

  • Comment number 15.

    Congratulations to Blackpool. I, like many other posters, look forward to the post-match interviews next season. I think it will be very tough for Blackpool to survive, but with the new parachute arrangements, even if they drop back down straight away, they will be in a much stronger position in the Championship than they were at the start of this season.

  • Comment number 16.

    Absolutely amazing first half that brought back some of the great playoff finals in the late nineties. To think Blackpool were in League 2 ten years ago points out that a rags to riches story is still capable in these financially dominated times. I think Blackpool will be competing with Fulham as everyone's second team - English Footballers Abroad

  • Comment number 17.

    Great result. Nice to see a small club getting a chance to mix in the EPL. Yes, they are dead certs to go down, but so what; it makes it a little different to see clubs like this have a crack at the big time.

    Also fantastic to see Cardiff fail. Fingers crossed they'll be bankrupt and start next season with -10 and their best players gone.

  • Comment number 18.

    Good luck to Blackpool, but I don't like the play-off system and I think It's a nonsense that a team that finished 6th and 9 points behind the 3rd placed team, gets promoted to the Premier League. I suspect that like Burnley last season, they will be back down again fairly quickly!

  • Comment number 19.

    footballfutbolfitba wrote:

    They'll have a better chance of staying up than Burnley did, assuming Ian Holloway doesn't leave during the season.


    That's a bizarre thing to say. What have Blackpool shown that Burnley didn't? Burnley had some useful players & beat some top flight teams in the cup before they went up and managed to repeat that feat in a decent first half to the season. Blackpool have done nothing of note until sneaking into the play offs and making the most of that. So well done to them, but if they get more than 30 points next season it will be nothing short of a miracle.

  • Comment number 20.

    Congratulations to Blackpool and in some ways a black eye for the "Greed is good" Premier League who must have been praying for Cardiff and welsh money.

    At its inception it was described as by Sir David Richards as " A League where big clubs with big support can pit its wits against similar teams".

    Shame on you, Wimbledon survived for 8 years and we have been graced with clubs such as Swindon Town, Burnley,Watford,Barnsley and now Blackpool. In 1992 someone wrote about the Premier Leagues greed and foretold that clubs such as Wolves,Burnley, Blackburn,Blackpool (who were in Div 4 and 3) who were great 40 years previously would one day rise again.

    I didnt believe it at the time but now i do. Football still has a place for dreams thank goodness.

    Has a team in Orange ever played in the Premiership?

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm sure they'll get stuffed by all and sundry but who cares? Good weekend out for visiting teams, chance to see Premiership "stars" for their fans, a load of extra cash for Blackpool, Ian Holloway on MOTD each weekend and no let off for that idiot Ridsdale, it's all good. Good luck next season you Tangerines, I'm sure you'll need it but I'm also sure you'll love every minute.

  • Comment number 22.

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

  • Comment number 23.

    Ridiculous that a team in sixth place, nine points behind the third place team should gain promotion. The system is unfair. My sympathies with Nottm. Forest,

  • Comment number 24.

    Highly entertaining game of football.
    However, the general quality of football from both teams further highlighted the gulf between an average Championship team (Blackpool finished sixth) and a Premiership team. It is plainly nonsensical to have 3 teams promoted from the Championship. Far better to have the two highest placed teams promoted, so that there is a higher likelihood of one or both staying up.
    Blackpool will surely follow Burnley as being 'one-hit wonders'.

  • Comment number 25.

    Congratulations Ian Holloway and Blackpool - best wishes for next season, lets hope you can stay in the premiership!

  • Comment number 26.

    Now then,

    Thanks for all your thoughts so far. You've got to take your hat off to Blackpool - just look at the comments so far and it is obvious how they have caught the attention of the neutral.

    However, there must be more to it than looking forward to next season's post-match interviews with Ian Holloway. Surely their achievement is much more than that?

  • Comment number 27.

    It's fitting that a nickel and dime operation like Blackpool get to experience the Premier League, if only to illustrate the obscenity that people like Abramovich have visited on football. Blackpool's mere presence should prick the consciences of football followers everywhere regarding what football has become and how far it has departed from sport.

    The whining and pouting of the megastars who earn gazillions every year needs the antidote of a group of average footballers who truly buy into the team philosophy and have a dream which has been fulfilled by hard work and self-belief. Blackpool are a lesson for the whole of Britain, addicted as it is to "gubmint" handouts and the whole "entitlement" mentality.

    Who cares if they drop straight back to the Championship. If a beggar gets invited in to Buckingham Palace for an afternoon and gets to eat well for one day in his life, then good for him. Enjoy it while it lasts and savor the moment.

    Who knows what life will bring tomorrow.

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh - and all these posters saying it is pointless Blackpool going up because they will come back down, how does it feel to completely miss the point?

  • Comment number 29.

    It's refreshing to have a 'nobody' team up there. Yes, they are 99.99% to get relegated unless a rich sugar daddy buys them, but they highlight to all teams that it is possible to get a chance to play the big boys without selling your Gran to the devil.

    I look forward to them ruffling a few feathers next season. They only need to win 2 games to avoid being the worst Premiership team ever.

  • Comment number 30.

    Look guys, we were one of the favourites to go down this season! We like being the underdog and i'm sure that we will spring a few surprises next season - you never know. We will enjoy it and rest assured we will do better than the Dingles!!!!!

    Prtemiership? We're having a laugh!!!!!!

  • Comment number 31.

    Can see this turning into an argument about the play-offs. Let me just put it this way, if Nottingham Forest deserved to go up they would have beaten blackpool "an average championship side", especially over two legs. Even if they do get stuffed everyweek which i doubt will happen, im glad there up because it shows football isn't all about money, like paul said. Also, provided they are clever with the money it'll give them a chance to properly re-do the stadium and training facilities, a real reward for the awesome season.

    With a few clever signings and the organisation of the team i see no reason why they can't stay up.

  • Comment number 32.

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

  • Comment number 33.

    The significance of the win goes far beyond today and Wembley. This is a story that every child and person who plays football has. The dream. The dream of winning big and full credit to Blackpool, their fans,Ian Holloway, the Chair and the Board and the people of Blackpool for supporting and sharing a great story with the rest of sports fans across the world. It gives HOPE to every league club that YES they can. In addition they did it in a style of football that shames the EPL, attack, attack and attack. There are millions of fans who share Ian Holloway's distaste of the ugly defensive game, what a pleasure to see Blackpool show what can be done when the game is played the way it was supposed to be.
    And lastly from a young boy who listened to that memorable day from Wembley in May 1953, the ghosts of the two Stans must be applauding loud and long tonight.

  • Comment number 34.

    Just getting this far is an astonishing achievement. Is Bloomfield Road the lowest-capacity stadium in Premier League history? And when was the last time a Premier League team did not contain a single million-pound player? (Could this even be the last team ever to have that distinction?)

    At the very least I'm convinced you'll beat Derby's ignominious record, you'll play some very good football, you'll provide a fabulous day out for visiting fans (a shame there won't be room for that many), and you won't squander the money as too many others have done once they're in the Premier League. To keep out a side who would have ceased to exist by now if the courts and HMRC had enough courage to make it so is the best part of all.

    I won't lie, I would have preferred Forest to go up because they were third and because they would have made a more obviously compelling addition to the PL (and they too went about things the right way financially). But once the finalists were confirmed I knew that my traditional footballing neutrality was going to go right out of the window this afternoon.

    The month started with the vanquishing of the Champions League challenge from Eastlands, and ended with the thwarting of Cardiff's attempt to cheat their way into the big time. Is May 2010 set to be remembered in the history books as the beginning of the end of 'financial doping'? I sincerely hope so.

  • Comment number 35.

    This magnificent win for Blackpool does not mean that next season they will be automatically relegated, Stoke city have proven they can stay with the best in the world and I sincerely believe that under the optimistic flambouyant management of Ian Holloway anything is now possible ,and any goal can now be achieved.

  • Comment number 36.

    first congrats to blackpool, lots of local lancs derbies. just enjoy yourself, you will never compete with the big london boys and the man duo, but so what , it dont matter...........good luck[u will need it, but dont give up] chas vancouver..........

  • Comment number 37.

    i forgot to say in my earlier comment ,best wishes to mr armfield.he must be a happy man..hope to hear you on the world service dont be biased will you for 2010-2011 you[joke]..chas..

  • Comment number 38.

    This is no place to say how well or badly Blackpool will do next season.

    I am made up for all those fans who have grown up never seeing thier team in the top flight - Blackpool have a rich history and deserve thier place.

    I don't agree that the team finishing 3rd should have any more of a shout than the one finishing 6th. In fact, it is better to finish 6th as the momentum gained from being in this position usually is enough to carry you through to the top flight.

    It has happened to my club often enough - and Blackpool only took 1 point off us this season!! So, I wish them well.

    Enjoy the moment but the real work starts now, to build on this fantastic achievement. I will bet that a few teams wont look forward to a trip to Bloomfield Road - 3 sides and a packed house of fervent Pool fans will put off a lot of these "bigger" teams and who knows what can happen?

    I will have a keen eye on MOTD next season for the tangerine dream. Long may it continue

  • Comment number 39.

    Maybe they'll manage to beat Derby's record for the least points in a season before being relegated. After narrowly missing out out on promotion the last couple of seasons I really felt like Cardiff deserved it. Besides, it's be nice to have a team from Wales in the premiership. There are already enough poor/mediocre mid-northern sides clogging it up already.

  • Comment number 40.

    Actually I guess Burnley and Hull already got relegated, my bad...

  • Comment number 41.

    Congratulations Blackpool. I am well chuffed you won promotion. You thoughroughly deserved it and don't let any of these people put a downer on your promotion with sinful utterings of '6th place doesnt deserve it' or 'you will just get relegated', because as Paul pointed out they have totally missed the point of a club like yours (and mine) getting promoted. The sheer joy of one season in the prem is more than most clubs can hope for and it saddens me that some fans of (boring) established prem clubs find it hard to let fans enjoy their time in the big league without constantly putting downers on it. I hope you dont come down but if you do I hope that you have a decent enough season and take some scalps with you on the way back down.

    I would also add that it is hilarious all you people having sly digs at the clarets for not surviving, this time last year you all loved us. Pray that if Blackpool do go down you wont all jump on their backs for failing to do the near impossible. Honestly, it's like having a go at a scawny 15 year old for failing to knock out Mayweather in the ring. He can try but it's gonna take a miricle.

    And finally I bet there isn't one happy Preston fan in the world right now . . . ha, I'm only winding you up . . .

  • Comment number 42.

    39. At 02:38am on 23 May 2010, patienceisavirtue wrote:

    coming 7th doesn't count as narrowly missing promotion.

  • Comment number 43.

    Good on Blackpool. Just a thought, the league winner gets a trophy and medals, same for the playoff winners...Anything for the runners-up?? They seem left out if they just get a pat on the back.

  • Comment number 44.

    Yes, now I regret saying all that. Holloway's obviously a good manager gaining promotion which such limited funds and maybe he can do a Birmingham or a Stoke and pull of a solid first season at elite level.

    I'm studying in China atm so I only just got the score and it was a bit heat of the moment. Apologies to any hull/burnley fans.

    Just be nice to see a southern team outside London or a Welsh side get promoted. Meh, that's football I guess, plus its not like my team every wins anything anyway so the Championship promotion race provides a bit of excitement now and then.

  • Comment number 45.

    I agree that Holloway is certainly a good manager, he has come back from his year out a bit more serious and it has paid off. I always have respect for clubs that stay up, none more than Birmingham or Stoke, but Blackpool is considerably small than both those two. Is it fair to say they are the smallest club in the Prem ever? I know last year people said it was the clarets but Blackpool is half the size. So I am definately putting a cheeky 10 pound bet on them to stay up, could earn a nice little sum. Infact if I put that in with a bet for us to go back up I could be rich!

  • Comment number 46.

    Congratulations, Seasiders. Nice to be back in what used to be called the 1st Division last time they were in it. The first match I ever went to as a boy was Blackpool beating Manchester United. I think the score was 4-3. I can't be sure now, but I'm certainly looking forward to the next meeting of the two clubs and hope history can be repeated.

  • Comment number 47.

    Congratulations for being a positive football club. I hope this win will consolidate your place in English football for many years to come, despite all the predictions of doom and gloom for your prospects of remaining in the premier league for long. A great day for the memory of this historic old club.

  • Comment number 48.

    I have followed Ian Holloway's career since he made his playing debut for Bristol Rovers back in 1981. He was always a 100% player and even as a youngster demanded the same of players around him. He wore his heart on his sleeve and he hasn't changed one iota in that respect. Ian always will be a proud Bristolian and it is an absolute pleasure to see someone from a humble background stay true to himself and manage to achieve success with such limited resources.

    I think Olly would have learnt a lot from Gerry Francis when he took Ragbag Rovers (as he christened them) to the old Third Division Championship in 1990 with Olly being a pivitol player in that team.

    Olly's post-match dressing room interview was most revealing. Where he related that he tried as hard as he could at everything he did and he expected no less from his players. Rovers ex-fitness Coach Ron Gingell once told mne that he used to train Olly and said that in his (Gingell's) opinion Olly could have been an Olympic standard middle distance rtunner because of his pure determination. Olly you may be bursting with pride at your team but you are up there with Gary Mabbutt as ex-Gas players who have gone on to achieve great things. I'm pround of you Olly!

  • Comment number 49.

    Congratulations Blackpool, a towering performance!

    Will probably be relegated immediately (like Burnley and Barnsley) or after two seasons (like Hull and Bradford), but as long as they don't get grandiose ideas (like Hull and Bradford) and commit beyond their means, then promotion will be the financial making of the club. It will give them the opportunity to establish themselves as a decent Championship club, eventually. Therefore giving themselves another chance at promotion to the P.L., in the future.

    My prediction is that win, lose or draw, the fans of Blackpool will have more fun next season than will the fans of the other 'pool from the Northwest.
    They will have their season in the sun, and on the beach.

  • Comment number 50.

    I think it is going to be a different gravy to have Big Olly in the Premier League and his band of merry tangerines. But what is the stadium like? Can it only hold 8,000 supports? And in your report Paul you said it has 3 sides that are developments does that mean only 1 stand is open at the moment? Anyway Well done lads hope you can stay up for a couple of years and stick to your morals, don't be held to ransom for players from other clubs!!

  • Comment number 51.

    Forget my last just re-read the top lines what a T*T.

  • Comment number 52.

    I am whispering this morning because my vocal chords have completely gone, my bank balance has been battered and my eyes keep watering. This allergic reaction seems to kick in when I think about where we were, where we are and where we are going.

    Seeing 36000 Tangerines walking down Wembley Way - all with a broad smile and feeling glad all over - will stay with me for ever.

    As soon as Charlie's free kick left his boot, I knew it was in...but when Cardiff went 2-1 up, I thought well, we just have to score 2 more now.

    Premier League...we are going to have a laugh...or at least I will when I get back from Afghanistan....if you are doing the fixtures please arrange Anfield, Old Trafford, Upton Park, The Emirates and Goodison AFTER Nov 09!

  • Comment number 53.

    Great to see Blackpool in the prem. I also think there is no reason why they cant do a Hull or Ipswich, and finish high after there first season.

    I really hope they spend wisely though and dont get caught up like to those other two clubs.

    And why is Risdale even allowed to watch a football game anymore? Leeds and now Cardiff, the 'fit and proper person' must mean if you wear the right colour socks or something.

  • Comment number 54.

    @52 Pretty good chance I can make those fixtures after Nov 09 considering Blackpool are the 2010 playoff winners ;)

  • Comment number 55.

    When you talk about matching or exceeding your pre-season expectations, this is almost up there on the level of Fulham this season. I wonder though if Ian Holloway now loses his bonus because he failed to keep Blackpool in the Championship(!).

    Looking ahead, there seem to be two ways the Pool can play this. Either they accept that they are going down again next year and put a huge infrastructure investment in place so they are ready to bounce up again the year after, or they throw money at the first team squad to try and stay there.

    Frankly, despite the romanticist ideas of the ever-hopeful football fan, the first option is far more sensible. Its true that clubs can get promoted and stay in the Premier League (in fact the ratio of promoted clubs staying up in the first year is a lot higher than people realise), but generally the teams that stay up dont tend to be the playoff winners. Look back over the last 8 years and you will see only two playoff winning teams staying up, and one of those did it essentially because Newcastle were so dire that year.

    None of this should take away from the achievement of the players this year though. Nothing that happens next year is going to change the fact that they have a Wembley victory to their names. People will look back later at this victory, compare the Blackpool squad to their competitors in the top half of the Championship and wonder "how did that happen".

  • Comment number 56.

    Brilliant for Blackpool the club and the Town! Cant wait to see how they get on a potential Derby but also a chance of a Stoke? We shall see!

  • Comment number 57.

    Great to see Blackpool back in the Top Flight for the first time since season 1970-71 (when Spurs came third and also won the League Cup).

    Next season will be Blackpool's 28th in the Top Flight of English Football and their first in the Premier League Era.

    I'm looking forward to seeing them at White Hart Lane next season.

    In the meantime, here's Tottenham Hotspur's full match record against Blackpool...

  • Comment number 58.

    As Paul Fletcher states there are a lot of posts on here missing the point.

    As a Blackpool fan I don't want wholesale changes to this team. They have deserved a chance to perform at a higher level and Ollie will give them that. Whether they will be good enough to stay up is doubtful but that is beside the point.

    Oh ... and we beat strong Everton side pre-saeson, smashed Wigan 4-1 in the Carling Cup and lost 4-3 away at Stoke in the same competition to a last minute goal after being 2-0 up.

    Favourites to go down next season. Oh dear ! Oh hang on .... we were favourites to go down this year also !

    We will probably come down but we will shock a few teams next season, have no doubts about that.

  • Comment number 59.

    Congratulations by the Sea Siders on promotion.

    It does not matter that they are unfashionable, it does not matter whether they were 3rd, 6th or 16th (them is the rules - get over it), it does not matter that they are likely to be favourites to go down.
    Promotion will:
    - provide a small club with the opportunity (if the money is used wisely) to improve its ground and facilities.
    - provide some loyal fans the taste of the big time and the chance to see some of the world's top players playing their team.
    - provide some unfashionable players the opportunity to live the dream and test themselves against more fancied opponents.
    - hopefully encourage more local youngsters to support their local team, a support that will live with them for the rest of their lives.
    - provide a boost to the local economy.

    I just hope that the Club do not over-reach themselves and are realistic about the opportunities this provides. Blackpool do not want to go the way of Portsmouth and Hull (or the Country.) Providing the Club live within their means it is a win, win, win situation. Good luck to them.

  • Comment number 60.

    "After narrowly missing out out on promotion the last couple of seasons I really felt like Cardiff deserved it"

    The only thing Cardiff now deserve is a long spell in the lower leagues whilst they pay back all the money they borrowed trying to buy their way into the Prem instead of doing things the right way.

    It would have been a tragedy for the game if their reckless financial gamble had paid off.

  • Comment number 61.

    Well Done-I hope that you will stay up!

    This is for me what Football is all about and proves that money is not everything in football!

  • Comment number 62.

    What i find a little sad and frustrating, is that both winners from yesterdays games (Inter and Blackpool) supposedly only have their managers to thank. What about the 11 players on the pitch?

    There is so little attention on the players and the managers are getting all the praise. Why? Its a team game, and Holloway and Mourinho simply shouldn't be singled out, its grossly unfair on the squad of players who have actually performed on the pitch.

    Good luck to Blackpool, but talk about an uneven playing surface! 12,000 every week vs 75,000 at Man Utd. Ticket prices, and general revenue is just so unproportiante.

    Blackpool are going to struggle the most out of ANY team EVER promoted. They simply can't generate the revenue streams.

    I hope they spend wisely on developing their ground.

    And Holloway is dead right, bring in season loan deals. This way, if you go back down (which is likely), you aren't stuck with a ludicrous wage bill!

    Good luck to EVERYONE at Blackpool, you fully deserve it.

  • Comment number 63.

    There is still humanity in football! Money is not everything, but it helps, and this promotion is nothing short of a minor miracle. Blackpool were expected to be relegated, but under a brilliant manager they have done it against all odds. If Holloway stays for the whole of next season, I believe they can stay up. For now, though, just enjoy it. This is what football is all about!

  • Comment number 64.

    Has to rival Fulham's achievements in Europe this season. I think it surpasses it. A few seaons ago I saw Keith Southern get a late winner for Blackpool at Whaddon Road in Div 1 after we had arguably played our best football of the season and might have stopped their promotion drive. We escaped relegation to the Conference this season by the skin of our buttocks and now they are in the promised land. This is the dream and why English football is so great. Congratulations to Blackpool on a Herculean effort.

  • Comment number 65.

    Oh dear. Another team in the Premiership whose only ambition will be not to get relegated. The greatest league in the world? You are having a laugh.

    Cut the number of teams in the Premiership by half to make it more competitive and place a cap on transfers and wages. Then we will see who the best teams/managers are.

  • Comment number 66.

    Also, why do people keep mentioning Stoke? Wigan have far lower attendances and their achievement is far greater in my opinion - after all they have been in the Prem for 5 or 6 years now.

    Remember, clubs like Stoke also have lovely new stadia, whereas Blackpool dont.

    Blackpool staying up would be a true fairytale.

  • Comment number 67.

    @62 Holloway must get most of the credit because before he came along Blackpool were just an unfashionable, lowly, struggling team. They were tipped for relegation, but their squad has barely changed, only the manager, and they have gone up. And he's such a down-to-earth guy, it's great when they succeed.

    @64 Top three achievements this season 3) Wolves staying up, 2) Fulham's Europa run, 1) Blackpool

  • Comment number 68.

    I hear the Blackpool players were pushing for massive wage increases before they even got promoted. Romance? You bet.

  • Comment number 69.

    Is anyone else worried for Blackpool when it comes to playing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge? Just seeing how the likes of Wigan, Stoke, Sunderland and Villa suffered with 7+ goal defeats, not to mention Blackburn, Wolves, Portsmouth and Bolton who took 4+ each.

    Very pleased that Blackpool have made it but the comments that wish against wholesale changes in the squad are somewhat foolish if Blackpool fans want to dare to dream about staying up.

  • Comment number 70.

    Monday 4.30 - 6.00pm Blackpool promonade, THE PLACE TO BE!

    Living less than a mile from Bloomfield Road means we don't move the car come Saturdays, or we lose our parking spot.. guess that problem has just got a whole lot worse... which is cool.. but PLEEEAAASSSSEEEE can we now have a four sided stadium???

  • Comment number 71.

    #65, Keith, you're an elitist killjoy, the enemy of the romance of football. That formula sounds like the SPL with the same better and better acquainted teams playing each other over and over again. No thank you.

  • Comment number 72.

    Congratulations Blackpool .... Don't really care how you play or where you end up next season, just hope the manager, players and fans enjoy the ride ... You'll get the odd big result too ... Thats football !!

  • Comment number 73.

    Blackpool away followed by trip to Pleasure Beach and night out on the lash surely a must for next season.

  • Comment number 74.

    #67 Blackpool were a mid table Championship team when Simon Grayson left last year in December. This is Holloways first season in charge and he took a mid table team that had eventually finished 16th, who had their manager leave mid-season to Leeds, to promotion by finishing 6th. This is an improvement of 10 places. Funnily enough, with the 70 points they achieved this season, they would have been comfortably outside a play off place last year!

    Yes its incredible. But don't pretend its only Holloway for goodness sake! What about DJ Campbells goals? Or how about Charlie Adam running the show from midfield? And Adam was at Blackpool BEFORE Holloway arrrived (on loan).

    You are seriously naive to think its only the manager who deserves credit.

  • Comment number 75.

    As a Northampton Town fan its fabulous to see that the smaller provincial clubs can make it to the very tip! A team battling relegation to league one is now in the premiershipa year later. Interestinlgy, nearly 50% of clubs in the league ladder have played in the premiership since its conception so the odds 50% that Northampton will one day too!

    Holloway is the special one!

  • Comment number 76.

    Id like to mention Jimmy Armfield amongst all this excitement.
    Hes a national treasure and has not for a moment tried to impinge upon the celebrations that are rightly going on.
    Gaining promotion was obviously a special moment for him as a Blackpool fan and player so he had every right to want to celebrate but he did that quietly , unassuming as is the man.
    Hes a gem whose commentaries place him amongst the greats.

  • Comment number 77.

    nobody gave Wigan a prayer when they went up 6 years ago , average crowds of 7000 but they are an established premiership side averaging 17000 every home match.
    Well done Blackpool I hope you stay up from a proud Lancashire lad

  • Comment number 78.

    Paul Fletcher wrote: "His contract had a clause that contained a bonus for keeping his team in the Championship."

    FAIL. ;)

    What a generous manager -- willing to forego a bonus for KEEPING his club in the Championship!

  • Comment number 79.

    Well done Seasiders, great to see another 'old skool' Lancashire team back in the big time (North West Premier League in the offing??) Anyway I'm a Bolton fan and looking forward to 6 points next year! Seriously though I think its fantastic that this can happen still. So what if they finished 6th! The play-offs have been around for 20 yrs + so thems the breaks why ppl still bleat on about it is beyond me. Its not too long ago that we were playing each other back in Divs 3 & 4 & in the Sherpa Van Trophy!!

    Anyway Good Luck and enjoy the ride

  • Comment number 80.

    71. At 09:57am on 23 May 2010, JapRobin wrote:

    #65, Keith, you're an elitist killjoy, the enemy of the romance of football. That formula sounds like the SPL with the same better and better acquainted teams playing each other over and over again. No thank you.


    What utter nonsense. The "romance of football" was killed as soon as the "desire for money" took over.

    I would like to see every team have a chance to win Premiership but I'm a realist and it will never happen. The EPL it is one of the most uncompetitive leagues in the world (the similarity to the SPL is indeed correct and you just need to replace Rangers/Celtic with Chelsea/Manchester United) with only a handful of teams being able to afford to win (buy!) it.

    Let Blackpool fans enjoy their one season of fighting for survival as Burnley fans did before them and lets hope they don't go bankrupt in the process.

  • Comment number 81.

    Will Holloway lose his contractual bonus for keepin them in the Championship?

  • Comment number 82.

    Well done Blackpool, stories that fairy tales are made of. As readers of this column will know I was highly critical of Ian Holloway when he walked out on my team Plymouth Argyle, and who knows Argyle could have been at Wembley yesterday instead of having to look forward to life in Division One! Equally Leicester must be miffed at the way their Chairman Milan Whathisname reacted when they were relegated, sacking Holloway the way he did. Anyway, enough of the past and I'm not one to hold a grudge, I just want to wish Ollie and the whole of Blackpool FC and the town all the best for next season. Ollie is a character and will be a star on MOTD next season with his post-match thoughts and comments! Blackpool deserve it and so does Ollie!

  • Comment number 83.

    garethhubbuck (post 81) - don't know.

    Not sure about all this chat about the pointlessness/unfairness of the play-offs. Its the timing of it all - cannot help but think it looks a bit sour coming as it does after Blackpool's victory.

    I also get the feeling that plenty of PL fans are looking forward to an away trip to seaside, fish and chips on the golden mile etc.

    All I can say is - get your tickets fast because it won't be the biggest away end you've ever seen.

  • Comment number 84.

    Interesting people are talking about Blackpool being undeserving, because they finished 9 points behind forest. But then I had a thought. I looked at the final table, and goal difference aside, say hypothetically you were awarded three points for each win in the playoffs. Based on this year, Forest, Cardiff, Leicester and Blackpool would all be left level on 79 points. But anyway, congrats to Blackpool from a Newcastle fan, they really deserved it, the final was an awesome game of football and Match of The Day's viewing figures will now surely double for Holloway's 30 second interview each week, I see a new book in the works.....

  • Comment number 85.

    It's rather depressing that so many modern "fans" of football can only talk of money and League bureaucracy and court orders and how back room staff appear on telly. How about that glorious 90 minutes in the sun of North London? And that sea of tangerine basking in a game to tell their grandchildren about? How many Man U or Chelsea fans have felt so privileged just to be at a game, let alone win it in such an exciting fashion? Feelings of entitlement drain the spirit of football, and there's too much of it in the upper reaches of the game.

    OK, so some of the defending was pretty shocking at times - but which match would you rather pay to watch, that or the match in Madrid?

    And don't forget how close the Bluebirds came to the pot of gold - 6 inches the other way and Chopra would have had another two goals. In fact it could easily have been 6-3 to Cardiff. I suspect that in the end the infamous £90m depended on a few muscle fibres in Jay Bothroyd's calf. I've not seen enough to judge, but from what I've heard of Cardiff's season, his loss was probably decisive. Aside from the fact that Etuhu was nowhere near in the same class, they just didn't seem to have a plan for operating without Bothroyd.

    Another debating point is how relatively quiet Campbell and Whittingham were, I was so wrapped up in the excitement I didn't see whether they got marked out of the game or just had an off day.

    If you are going to talk about the off-field stuff, how about the fact that every man on the pitch for the Seasiders was born in the British Isles? Only Rachubka on the subs bench wasn't, and he sort of counts, as a dual-national who's played for England youth teams. And I doubt you'll find anyone from the Fylde who thinks playoffs are a bad idea, they've been promoted via the playoffs from all three divisions of the FL! (is this unique?)

    Yah-boo-sucks to all the corporatist naysayers. It was a fabulous game and a fabulous day - just enjoy the moment.

  • Comment number 86.

    And garethhubbuck- what a genius point haha! Only if the board were completely stingy, which I don't think they will be with the money they just made, expect Holloway to be managing from the sidelines with a constant supply of cigars hanging from his mouth, some gold sunglasses, a cane and an unfeasibly big sovereign ring stamped IH...

  • Comment number 87.

    First off congratulations to Blackpool - winning the playoffs for promotion to the Premier League is awesome, and as a Hull City fan, watching yesterday brought back memories of our victory in the same match 2 year ago.

    I sincerely hope you enjoy your stay in the Premier League - and ignore those who suggest that you'll "do a Derby" or "definitely go down" because it ain't over 'till it's over, and just look at Hull, or even better Stoke, Bolton, Wigan etc to show that "unfashionable" clubs can build an established Premier League side. Just go out and enjoy it!

    On another note it's fantastic that clubs like Blackpool (and Hull/Burnley too for that matter) can get promoted in to the Premier League, that is what football should be about...not about greed and money which in the end corrupts and ruins some clubs and the game.

  • Comment number 88.

    Well done blackpool and of the most exciting play-offs I have watched in the last few years...and so much better than the sterile champion league final ...enjoy the PL,and I will enjoy the fish and chips on the golden mile...have not been to blackpool for years...So it`s now a day out not just a game

  • Comment number 89.

    Two other things - on the stadium, work is meant to be starting on Monday on the fourth side...

    If you're looking for performances of the season, Reading must be in with a shout. Never mind being bookies' favourites to go down, Reading _would_ have gone down based on the table at Valentine's Day, yet they so nearly scraped a playoff place and beat Liverpool and Burnley in the Cup. Brian McDermott's achievements in the last three months are up there with Ollie's.

    Aside from the irony of someone with MCFC in their name commenting about money-grabbing players - of course salary negotiations start before contracts expire at the end of the season. Just like they do for air hostesses or coal miners, that's just the nature of employment. To mention it now as Stuart_MCFC did in #68 is either spin worthy of Alastair Campbell, or profound cluelessness about football.

  • Comment number 90.

    As a GOONER I would like to wish Blackpool the very best of luck in premiership next season, welcolme back to the big time after so many years away,

  • Comment number 91.

    As a Forest fan, I'm obviously disappointed at finishing third and having to suffer the lottery of the play offs, but Blackpool were the only team to beat us home (fortunately) and away in the league and they (deservedly)won both legs of the play off semi final, so I wish them luck in the premiership and hope our next league match in two seasons time will be us joining them, not the other way around.

    Whatever happens, they'll get a decent ground out of it!

  • Comment number 92.

    The Play-offs are NOT unfair. If Forest really did deserve to go up instead of Blackpool maybe they shouldn't have lost FOUR times to them this season.

  • Comment number 93.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on players that might make good signings for Blackpool without wrecking the club?

  • Comment number 94.

    Keith - post 80 is a classic 'grass is always greener' football fan.

    Does he not think other countries also have teams who might be out of their league? In nearly every league worldwide the richer teams will be challanging and the poorer ones struggling, its not just England you know!

    Even if Blackpool do go straight back down, they'll be financially secure (assuming they don't go on some reckless spending spree) and will have improved their ground and facilities which will benefit the club for generations to come.

  • Comment number 95.

    For signings, rather than spend loads on those who are unproven, Blackpool should try and move for loan deals for younger players at the bigger clubs, and a perhaps a few experienced heads who could so with something fresh to move onto but know what it takes. Perhaps the likes of James Beattie, Jimmy Bullard (if he lowers his wages, but we want him for newcastle!) People in that mould anyhow....

  • Comment number 96.

    Well done Blackpool and Ian Holloway, I look forward to seeing his post-match interviews on Match Of The Day!

  • Comment number 97.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on players that might make good signings for Blackpool without wrecking the club?

    How about making DJ Campbells's loan permanent?
    Also I saw Holloway saying he wanted young players and I think he should approach Fergie and try and get some of our youngsters.I think Fergie would appreciate the attitude of Ian Holloway to youngsters and I think there are a couple of players at United that could seriously benefit Blackpool like Welbeck and De Laet

  • Comment number 98.

    Congratulations Blackpool fans.I hope you enjoy your season in the Premiership, but a team that could only manage to reach 6th position in the Championship will struggle in the Premiership.

  • Comment number 99.

    People like Cleverly and Lansbury could be good, although they are unproven at this level (but so are all Blackpools players more or less!)

    But they also could do with a couple of experienced heads.

    The issue is wages, not even transfer fees.

    Maybe Bullard (on lower wages), Nugent, players from the relegated teams in general - especially Pompey and Hull as they cant demand high fees.

  • Comment number 100.

    A distraught Cardiff fan; I still haven't 'got over' yesterday. What a horrible place to be was Wembley at full time yesterday - much worse than 2008.

    But history remembers the victors and as that Blackpool deserve their day in the sunshine. Well done and congratulations. Good luck next season, I think you will need an awful lot of it to stand any chance. But you've earned the right under the system we operate (i.e. playoffs, and to all the whingers get over it, it's not going to change and all teams know the rules before the season starts).

    I am concerned about this summer and next season. Its not clear yet what kind of investment the Malaysians bring, but I think we can expect cuts and once again a much changed squad.

    Finally, how petty all those posters taking pleasure in Cardiff's spectacular failure. I would expect more humility from Leeds fans who more than anyone should be sympathetic with fans who suffer at the hands of financial mismanagement by executives and Jacks I probably shouldn't expect anything else from. I suspect it stems from a concern of the threat Cardiff may offer next season to their own team's prospects.

    Once well done to Blackpool, you deserved it on the day.


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