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Blackpool gone but not forgotten

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Phil McNulty | 08:30 UK time, Monday, 23 May 2011

The strains of "Glory Glory Man Utd" provided an ironic backing track to Blackpool's broken dreams as manager Ian Holloway claimed: "You're famous for two seconds in football then you're gone."

Blackpool's stay in the sun lasted a year from the moment they won promotion to the Premier League at Wembley to the day their ambitions died bravely at the home of the newly-crowned champions. Gone they may be, but they will not be forgotten.

Holloway sat in Old Trafford's media theatre, with sounds of title celebrations in the distance, and was defiant to the last as he railed against what he perceived as Premier League injustices while bursting with pride at the part Blackpool have played in this remarkable season.

Blackpool died as they lived in the top tier. They attacked until the last moments of their top-flight existence and went out on their shields with an Old Trafford standing ovation to accompany them.

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Holloway prefaced their last act, a 4-2 defeat at United that is not fully explained by simplicity of the scoreline, by insisting they could not come to Manchester to shut up shop because their shop "never closes".

And so it proved as Blackpool fell behind to Ji-Sung Park's goal before Charlie Adam's free-kick and Gary Taylor-Fletcher's flick sent them soaring up the table.

As scorelines filtered through from elsewhere the hopes of the tangerine hordes rose, only to be snuffed out as Blackpool cracked under the strain and goals from Anderson, an unfortunate diversion into his own net from Ian Evatt and Michael Owen's cool finish sent them down.

In the course of 90 minutes they were out, in and out again amid the Premier League's relegation hokey-cokey that eventually saw them join West Ham United and Birmingham City in the Championship.

Holloway was true to his word until the final kick of the season. The shop never shut, but the problem was that the back door was left open too many times and now the best goods on the shelves may be sold off elsewhere.

Blackpool were on the front foot after beating Wigan 4-0 on the opening day of the season but their attempts at survival were holed below the waterline by defensive deficiencies Holloway was unwilling, or more likely unable, to address.

The concession of 78 goals, so many late in games, was what ultimately restricted Blackpool's stay in the Premier League to one season - and Holloway painted a bleak picture for anyone expecting them to make a swift return.

Charlie Adam's goal underlined why bigger clubs are interested in him - photo: Reuters

Charlie Adam, whose career has been reconstructed under Holloway at Bloomfield Road after stalling at Rangers, gave a display of creativity that underlined his maturity, scoring a wonderful free-kick and prompting all their best moves.

He will now leave, in all likelihood for Liverpool, while David Vaughan has attracted Premier League suitors and others like Stephen Crainey and Matt Gilks are highly unlikely to want to return to the reduced financial and footballing circumstances of the Championship.

The team that took Blackpool up will now break up and the club faces a mighty task in assembling another in a shape that can take them back to the promised land of the Premier League.

Holloway himself may become a target for other clubs after his work with Blackpool this season and the increased profile Premier League life has brought him, although he pledged passionately to see out his contract.

Always more than a chirpy, chippy quote machine - even when launching needless attacks on Aston Villa for having the audacity to show an interest in Adam and nonsensically claiming the Premier League would be "relieved" to see the back of Blackpool - Holloway deserves credit for taking on the division head first.

Amid the gloom he offered a sliver of optimism as he said: "Our castle was made out of sand but there is concrete underneath in our chairman Karl Oyston and how he does things."

If Blackpool's Premier League life is restricted to a single season, they have done themselves and the grand old town proud.

Tied in a financial straitjacket, they still fought the odds with more ambition than anyone expected and when Kenny Dalglish's first Premier League game back in charge of Liverpool ended in defeat on 12 January, this was a story that looked destined to have a happy ending as they completed a remarkable double over the Anfield giants.

Sadly, it signalled the start of a collapse that even a late revival could not salvage, gallant players falling short through a forgiveable lack of quality rather than a shortage of effort, application and determination.

It will be scant consolation, but when the Premier League's equations were being studied before the start of the season the idea of Blackpool still having a fighting chance of survival on the final day was, to most minds, fanciful.

Blackpool entertained every step of the way and there was genuine sadness and sympathy throughout the Premier League at their demise.

"She's put the microphone down, she's finished singing and I don't like the tune," said Holloway in reference to the Fat Lady that is seemingly ever-present on these occasions.

And she was singing a sad lament for a club whose short stay in the Premier League will ensure they remain famous for longer than two seconds.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Blackpool were never boring to watch, that is true, but you can have a strong defence and play great football, not mutually exclusive. You only have to look at arsenals invincibles in 2002 and Man U pretty much every year to see real examples. I know blackpool havent got the players like these teams, but they would definitely benefit from being less top heavy, and would have survived this year without a doubt.

    Ian Holloway is nothing short of a miracle worker, but i feel he has been naive in his style of play and if he can get them back up there, i fancy them being a much more solid outfit.

    all being said, im very sorry to see them go.

  • Comment number 2.

    Too cruel that entertaining teams like Blackpool go down whilst other more negative teams retain their top flight status.

    Is it time for a change? I wouldn't be against awarding a single point for a 0-0 draw and two points for a score draw. It would certainly discourage bus parking.

  • Comment number 3.

    Blackpools salutatory blog as expected, but they are always deserving. Will leave a sick feeling in many a fans stomachs, but we can only hope for their swift return.

    Huge thanks for Holloway and Co for saving this season from utter snooze doom (apart from one/two other teams), I hope the revenue serves them well. I really hope they actually keep Adam, they're not going to bounce back without him. In the meantime- Blackpool fans check out Swansea on May 30th, if they win they're officially Blackpool MK2 =]

  • Comment number 4.

    I have to say I absolutely loved it.

    Relegation couldn't happen to better people, 2 managers the press are in love with and have been waxing lyrical all year long, and the 2 teams with probably the most British players. Surely now these managers and players have serious questions to answer to the boards for failing to achieve their goal.

    As for the top teams, to stay anywhere near the level set by other leagues they need to invest heavily this transfer window, as they are the worst in years and it has been so sad for the domestic game and disappointing for their fans to see them beatable by almost everyone even the weakest sides.

  • Comment number 5.

    I would want to see Ian Holloway manage another EPL team. I will surely miss his great interviews....As a united fan in as much i was delighted last night i wanted to see the Tangerines win..funny but i just want too Ian stay

  • Comment number 6.

    Well done Blackpool , you did football proud . The Premiership is I am afraid a cynical money machine , with no values, just money at its heart.

    Welcome to Division 2 (As I like to call it) , the true home of English Football.

  • Comment number 7.

    as a luton fan. i am really sad to see blackpool go . like the dutch its attack and entertain. good luck next season

  • Comment number 8.

    Blackpool have re-ignited my love for football. That is all I want to say about them!

  • Comment number 9.

    As a Dagenham & Redbridge fan, there are many similarities between our season and Blackpool's.
    Went up against the odds, were expected to get hammered week in week out, managed to take the fight till the last day but ultimately fell at the last hurdle. I'm sure the Blackpool fans enjoyed their season in The Premier League as I did ours in League 1.
    I very rarely watch any Premier League football but what I have seen of Blackpool they have at least had a go and never stuck 11 men behind the ball playing for a draw, and to be frank, their tactic has been a breath of fresh air. For a long time it looked like it would pay off but it wasn't to be. Picking up 39 points in the season is a fantastic achievement.

    Holloway and Blackpool were characters that the Premier League will miss and I hope they have a great season in The Championship next season and have another crack at it.

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm sorry you've gone back to the Championship again Blackpool. As a Liverpool fan I can confirm you gave us one hell of a beating. Ultimately luck and results went against you but it was one hell of a ride.

    Great job and I wish you luck and a swift return to entertain us all again. YNWA

  • Comment number 11.

    Not sure it's naive, Ollie probably realised his players were far inferior defensively and needed to attack at all times. They would have conceded regardless. 39 points with this crop of players is probably the biggest achievement in the last 10 years in the Premier League. Devastated for them that they drop. They won't be back sadly.

    His achievements are incredible, finishing level with Birmingham who have spent a shedload and now suffer second season syndrome. He has also finished within 41 points off the title winners. Liverpool finished 37 points behind when they won the Champions League. Other highly regarded managers like Coyle, Bruce, Hughes etc finished only a few points above him despite spending multiples of Blackpool's player wage budget. Manager of the Year? A shoe in. Man of the Year? That too (honesty, family background, decency etc).

  • Comment number 12.

    Somebody wrote the other day, Holloway preferred to try to win 1 and lose 1 rather than draw 2.

    I seem to remember Liverpool only losing 2 games in a season not so long ago, and they got mugged for the title with all the draws. Maybe the manager at the time may have won it with a bit more of a positive attitude.

    Blackpool showed a side of football that is not the "modern day way". Not paying inflated wages, not playing 4-5-1 (and thats teams playing at home, yeh they dress it up as a flexible 4-3-3 but its not and its like watching paint dry).

    Gordon Taylor always bangs on about the wages are earned because they are entertainers. Well if you go to the equivalent of the Premiership in theatre i.e. the West End, you expect acts 1 and 2 to be of high quality, you go to see top musicians, you expect the whole set to be of a high standard. Go to a Premiership game, and how many times are you comotosed, particularly 12.45 kick offs ?

    Blackpool were a breathe of fresh air to what is in danger of becoming a very stale competiton. For goodness sake, in a season where Man U were for the most part "ordinary", (Vidic was quoted at Christmas he could not believe they were top, whilst Redknapp 2 months ago was quoted as saying the rest were handing the title to Utd) and yet they still embarrassed the rest of their so called top class opponents. Do you see that changing next season ? No.

    Yes, football is also about being able to defend, and yes there is a balance. If you are going to have an attacking outlook make sure you are on the right end of the 3-2's etc United against Blackpool twice ironically but lets be real Blackpool cannot compete with the United's financially and quality on the pitch but they have competed with them, and indeed some would argue that they have been superior to United in the entertainiment stakes this season. As Entertainers, they deserved another crack at the West End, I am sorry that their appearances next season and I fear for some time after that will be limited to the working mens clubs.

    Thanks for showing us football with a soul.

  • Comment number 13.

    If Adam leaves, their only hope is to max out their budget on a suitable enough replacement and invest in defence. Otherwise it's going to be 2 years in a row in the Champshp I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 14.

    Blackpool gave a great account of themselves this season and I'm sure many will miss the away day at Bloomfield Road next season (I won't as my team will be playing in the Championship with them). I don't know the full ins and outs of their finances but looking at their squad there doesn't seem to have been much investment in playing personnel since they won promotion, this isn't a bad thing since now they're not going to face the huge restructuring exercises that Birmingham and West Ham will during the summer, but a squad of Championship players holding their own in the PL is a rarity. Excellent entertainment all season (not least the gaffer) and I'm looking forward to six points from the tangerines next season!

  • Comment number 15.

    @4 Nibs > you said, "disappointing for their fans to see them beatable by almost everyone even the weakest sides".

    So, so you think the Premiership would be better if there was only four teams in it?
    Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal could play each other ten times. That would be a perfect league for you? No TV channel would pay to transmit that!

    The game is about one side trying to beat the other not for the 'weaker' side to turn up and let the 'cash rich' sides win.

    Supporters of the 'big four' seem to forget that they were relegated in the past.
    Chelsea were in division 2 for a time and Man Utd.


  • Comment number 16.

    WThey always said too much of a good thing was bad for you =D

  • Comment number 17.

    Make no mistake, if that was any team yesterday other than the ManU (or probably stubborn Chelski), Blackpool would be up. Why oh why was it not Arsenal =DD

  • Comment number 18.

    The prem will miss rightly miss Blackpool for their fantastic attacking football but while Holloway has been entertaining I dont think some of his needless and disrespectful remarks about other clubs or perceived injsutices helped Blacpools focus in the crucial feb to Easter period .

  • Comment number 19.

    Unfortunately the age old comment of the Alan Hansen is always correct, you win/stay up on your defence, not your offence. So cue 4-2 Blackpool going down, and 1-0, Wigan staying up.

    Credit to Blackburn yesterday, though that was a Wolves team that weren't present for the 1st 45, rather than the Champions. Bit of a difference.

  • Comment number 20.

    v sad to see blackpool take the drop-thought the days of applauding your opponents onto the pitch had long gone. hope theyre straight back up.they have almost single handedly resurrected the true spirit of how to play football.

  • Comment number 21.

    15. At 11:05 23rd May 2011, Ron Taylor wrote:

    "So, so you think the Premiership would be better if there was only four teams in it?
    Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal could play each other ten times. That would be a perfect league for you? No TV channel would pay to transmit that!"

    You can find plenty of leagues around the world that are close and unpredictable, but not many are interested if they haven't got the great players.

    What do I care if Blackpool have a good chance against say Chelsea, if the whole of Real -and manager- would walk into Chelsea's team. The fact they are all slipping up so often only testifies their weakness and inconsistency (no teams, anywhere, just 'turn up' and 'roll over' by the way).

    If United or Chelsea of 3 years ago were in the current EPL instead of their present teams what would that make the league, worse?

  • Comment number 22.

    I am getting a little tired of all this outpouring of synpathy for Blackpool and Holloway. The team were not good enough - the table never lies - and Holloway belongs in a music hall, but I suspect he'd 'die' every night. The man is a buffoon. His 'colourful' press conferences all say "Look at me, never mind my team; put me on the back pages tomorrow". Well, you're on them now, Mr Holloway. Football is a game of attack AND defence, and your lot simply cannot defend. No sympathy from me.

  • Comment number 23.

    What are the chances of Ferguson asking Holloway about Adam when they shared a glass of wine at the end of the game? The commentator said during the match that Charlie Adam could be using the game as an audition and personally I would love to see him at Old Trafford. It would keep a British feel to the team and boy can he pick out a good pass.

    Sorry to Blackpool, the only 1 of 3 relegated clubs that deserved to stay up. West Ham and Birmingham quite frankly deserved to go down.

  • Comment number 24.

    everyone will miss blackpool as there attacking and entertaining football was amazing to watch and the premier league will be a poorer place without blackpool and holloway.

    also i hope the blackpool players stick with holloway and the club and may have good european run

  • Comment number 25.

    OK maybe Blackpool didn't defense well but that was to expect from a team that came to the EPL from the championship play-off. But for entertainment value, I'd give them at least ****. They scored 2+1 good goals -i.e. one a freekick which went in via striking Van der Sar's left post and another a sidefoot flick, plus one own goal- at Old Trafford, allowed the home team 3 goals. What else could you ask for?

  • Comment number 26.

    i feel sorry for blackpool. 39 points and still went down, when was the last time this happened in a premier league season??? i seem to remember 36 points being enough in the past few campaigns. in the end they went down because there was only 1 poor team this season (west ham) instead of the 4 we have had in the past.
    they should be saluted for the way they tried to play, 3 goals in a blackpool game was a boring match! also how many of us honestly thought they would come bottom and be relegated well before the end of the season? i admit i had them down on 20 points and being beat nearly every week. they surpassed more than anything i would of ever predicted.
    the good thing though is they and west brom (11th is brilliant for them) came up, expected to come straight back down and both went about it the right way. QPR, Norwich and the other team that comes up will take a great load of encouragement from what they have seen these teams do this season.

  • Comment number 27.

    I don't think many people would have been sat watching the match yesterday hoping Blackpool went down. It was thoroughly entertaining as they have been for most of the season. Hope they stick with the manager as I'm looking forward to a great game at the Riverside next season.

  • Comment number 28.

    Fantastic article Phil as have most of your posts about Blackpool this season, which have dodged the typical and lazy phrases such as "breath of fresh air", "rollercoaster season", etc. Almost brought a tear to my eye.

    For me, it was our failure to strengthen our leaky defence in the January window which has cost us our place in the Premier League. Why Ollie didnt buy a new goalkeeper (if we have had Gilks fit for the entire season we would not have gone down), a new right back and a big hulk of a centre half (a la Blackburn's Samba) still makes me scratch my head. I think Ollie failed to get the balance right between attack and defence, perhaps a shard of PL naevity there.

    Hopefully we can bounce back but either way it's been the best season of my life following the 'Pool. After watching us lose 7-0 at Barnet just over ten years ago in the basement division, never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd see my beleoved Seasiders in Premier League. Best to have loved and lost than never loved at all.

    Up the 'Pool!

    PS - If anyone is interested, I run a Blackpool FC fans podcast called the Seasiders Podcast, have a listen!

  • Comment number 29.

    Whilst I am sorry to see Blackpool go down you have to lay some of the balme at Holloways door.

    It was clear in the second half of the season that most teams had found them out and Hollways refusla to address there defensive issue cost them dearly.

    if I was a Blackpool fan I would be slightly fed up this morning. Given their posititon mid season they should not ahve gone down and the blame has to lie with Holloway.

    I just got the feeling that he enjoyed the plaudits form the press and other managers and this became more importna than being pragmatic and putting the club first.

    Saying all that I would love to see them coming back next season!

  • Comment number 30.

    Dont get me wrong I like Ian Holloway and I like Blackpool, they have been involved in some great matches this season, but, they simply weren't good enough. Its great to see a squad who take home no more than £10,000 a week and cost only 2 million pound but the bottom line is to compete in a league such as the Premiership you need to try a little bit harder. I understand having such a strict budget helps the club avoid any financial difficulties but to me it also suggests that the Blackpool board (and the great Karl Oyston) were resigned to the fact that the tangerines wouldn't avoid the drop. You can have the best manager in the world but I think even Sir Alex would struggle with such a stringent budget!

    Sometimes you have to take a few more risks!!

  • Comment number 31.

    I feel for Ian Holloway.
    He can surely feel proud of what he achieved this season. Blackpool were no hopers at the start of the season and proved to be one of the most entertaining teams in the Premiership.

    I am not surprised Phil McNulty felt he can't mention at all an other angle of reasons why Blackpool went eventually down. Financial issues could provoke reactions. Myself, as a football fan, though, I can give a helping hand.

    It isn't a secret that Blackpool have a £40m staying comfortably in the bank, handed to them by the Premier League. The Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston took the cash and he put it all in the bank, perhaps with an angelic smile on his face.

    Yet, it's shame on Karl Oyston that he didn't even bother placing under-soil heating at Bloomfield Road. An already weak side was in danger of being even weaker through injuries in winter.

    Blackpool needed desperately reinforcements in defense. Were they able to sort out their problems, they might retain Premiership status. Yet, Mr Karl Oyston wasn't moved.

    Will Blackpool be receiving some £12m per season, for the following 4 years, to normalise their relegation to Championship football? If yes, can someone explain to me what needs normalising when the club's budget in the Premiership was only £10m?

    The question is: Does the Premier League allocate the TV money properly or does it allow lowly, profiteering chairmen make a killing, on the back of other clubs that managed to bring the English game high on the world football map?

  • Comment number 32.

    I really like Matthew's suggestion re: 1 point for a 0-0 draw...2 points for a score draw. It would certainly encourage teams (particularly the away teams) to be more positive in their outlook.

  • Comment number 33.

    Absolutely gutted to see Blackpool go down, and thats coming from a Liverpool fan and they beat us twice! It pains me to say it, but fair play to all at Old Trafford yesterday for the way they treated the Blackpool players and staff after relegation was confirmed.

  • Comment number 34.

    Yes, maybe when it was 2-1 he should have put an 11 man defence up. I'm not sure though, defence is not defence unless it's quality.

  • Comment number 35.

    Avonns, I think its a bit harsh to compare the plight of Blackpool with that of Wigan. If you read interviews with Ian Holloway he admits that it was watching the football of Swansea under Roberto Martinez that got him to change his philosophy on how to play. Wigan continue to play with the same philosophy, but you could argue that we had a (slightly) better balance when it came to attack/defence. Over the season Blackpool may have won a couple of more matches than us (including that nice double over Liverpool), but Wigan also played entertaining football throughout the season and there were a number of games where 3 points were lost from winnable positions (the draw with Newcastle for a start).

    As a Wigan fan myself I think we should be applauded for our 6 (now seven) years in their premiership. We are seen as the relegation favourites each year - and next year will be no exception with QPR, Norwich and either Swansea or Reading joining the fun. We have a budget and wage structure that just does not comparable with the rest of the league, so its very difficult to attract players who are known to be premiership quality players. Anyone can come in for a single season and go out in a blaze of glory, but its playing that way over a number of seasons that counts.

    However it does make me smile that Ian Holloway is now talking about the break up of his squad due to relegation; lets be honest players like Adam, Vaughn, Gilks would have been snapped up this summer wherever Blackpool had finished. As a Wigan fan I can look forward to seeing my team losing Al Habsi (Bolton's player - but our player of the season), Cleverly (Man Utd), N'zogbia, Rodellega, Figgy and possibly even Mcarthy. Yet in August we'll have start to gel new players into a team to fight to retain our place in the premier league, again. This is the reason why we often have to take a punt on foreign players such as Alcaraz, Stam, Rodellega, Boselli (though that was a bit of a £6m+ own goal). Personally, I would love to see what Martinez could do next season if he just had to strengthen this current team, rather than have to rebuild a new one again.

  • Comment number 36.

    Shame about Blackpool i would have liked them to stay up, but singing "we are staying up" at 1-2 up at 71 mins at Old Trafford was a bit silly!! still you can't come to the premiership with that defense and expect to stay up, 10 times this season they have scored 2 goals and failed to win the match (according to the BBC)

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm afraid I can't help agreeing with post 22, presumably a United fan like me. I like Holloway but (as with Mad Mick McCarthy's toilet anecdotes) I don't understand what he's going on about. If you're sorry that Blackpool went down then who would you trade their place with? Not Wigan or Wolves I hope since equally compelling cases can be made for their EPL survival. Holloway doth protest too much. If you're scornful of the EPL, stay out of it. It's the top of the tree. A high code of ethics is harder to sustain amid such high stakes. As 22 says, the sums carry the day.

    United's gracious ovation was just that. It shouldn't be interpreted as protesting against an injustice. Had Blackpool survived then I'd have probably thought to myself, fine. But I'm pleased for Martinez, Wigan & fans and for Mad Mick. Let's hope his scatalogical problems have eased.

  • Comment number 38.

    Real shame they went down. Most seasons 39 points would have secured safety but it is just one of those things.
    I respect everything Blackpool done with regards to money. If other teams had the same ideas football would be much more fun.
    Ian Holloway has spoken the truth throughout the season and not messed the fans about. That alone should keep him in a job but the effort put in should guarantee him his job for a good while.
    As a Glaswegian I traveled down for a holiday weekend and found the atmosphere really good and in a temporary stand as well.

  • Comment number 39.

    Phil McNulty says:
    "The shop never shut, but the problem was that the back door was left open too many times and now the best goods on the shelves may be sold off elsewhere."


    I think you took that analogy a little too far!

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 39, FortressFratton,

    actually, he's spot on.

  • Comment number 41.

    In what was the worst Premiership season in many a long year Blackpool were the only shining light.

    They played with an attacking flair and defended with little intent. They where brilliant and enjoyable to watch in a season when the champions where frankly average and tedious to watch.

    No the Premiership is poorer for the passing of Holloway and Blackpool into the Championship.

  • Comment number 42.

    Thank you for the kind words. It still feels numb this morning, but immensely proud of the players, the staff and what we've accomplished.

    There's no one reason to blame why we went down, its a combination of several. People keep mentioning certain games to me where points were dropped - if you add all those together you could probably just about get enough to win the league! Over the course of a season, everything does even out.

    I do think our defence hasn't quite had the recognition its deserved. Yes, we've conceded goals, but if you look at how much the likes Stephen Crainey and Ian Evatt have come on and matured over the season, we have improved. We've also got something like the most blocks and most clearances off the line - that's a sign of a committed defence. I'm under no illusion that consistently our defence is not the best, but week in week out we've shown we can do it. You have to remember that the style of play we have always allowed opponents chances. The law of averages dictates that a team who has 20 shots against them will always concede more than a team who has 10.

    Ultimately, its been an incredible ride, and I've loved every second. We've lived the dream - and there is no such thing as failure - we'd already succeeded.

    Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

  • Comment number 43.

    I am surprised noone has mentioned what a mediocre season Charlie Adam has had.

    I have watched him a few times and his control and ball retention is quite poor, he gives the ball away way too often.

    Yes the numbers say he has had his fair share of goals and assists, but everyone forgets most of the team's play goes through him. What's more, most of the assists are from set plays, and HALF of his goals are penalties!

    He's also one of the dirtiest players, with a huge number of fouls and yellow cards.

    He lacks pace tracking back and going forward but, most important, his passing accuracy for the season is I believe less than 70%, which is poor at any level. Even average midfielders such as Murphy and Ferguson even Parker have much better records, you can't survive the league like this.

    It serves Holloway right he didn't sell him in the winter. "46 million". Sure, give him away in the cheap now mate. Delighted.

    For me the man to get for the top teams as an inexpensive acquisition' is N'Zogbia, he's been a revelation and maybe the player of the season (not British so not much harping about him of course).

  • Comment number 44.

    Well done Blackpool for making a potentially predictable season thoroughly unpredictable. I hope you bounce back quickly, and further stamp your football philosophy on the EPL. Big clubs might need ground out wins to put them top of the league, with the potential for profit, and other riches, but as a neutral, i spent this last season looking for Blackpool and Spurs results, and catching games whenever i could.

    For the purists, the Championship this season just gone has been the best i can remember for entertainment value, and often eclipsed the EPL. Some really great games that were breathtaking to watch, with much to cheer and enthuse about. It's definitely put the enjoyment back in watching the beautiful game, supplemented with the odd EPL treasure.
    I would encourage even the most diehard of EPL team fans to add a "second" team to their enthusiastic outpourings, as many have done with Blackpool this season, and try the Championship, or league 1 or 2, for their "family club" entertainment. You just might be surprised to find more teams like the Seasiders, willing to go for a win, instead of parking the bus for a draw, which might seem like sound tactics, but is excruciatingly boring to watch.

    Blackpool may have been relegated this time round, but they're definitely my EPL winners for the enjoyment of watching this season (even when they're throwing away leads), and i wish them well for the future.

  • Comment number 45.


    I wonder are you a Celtic supporter?

    If you are you should focus on your house. Afterall how can we take you seriously when you're team came 2nd in a two horse race in a league which is equal to CCC1 at its best.

    As for Adam I have also watched him on several occassions and the player who could not get a game for Rangers has disappeared and with Ferguson at Man Utd, Commons at Celtic (if Commons could be bothered), Morrision, West Brom will and should form Scotlands midfield for the concievable future.

  • Comment number 46.

    I think you are beinga tad pessimistic. If they sell off the players that want to leave at decent prices and re-invest the way Holloway did initially they may come back up next season or the one after. Great adventure but to avod relegation you don't want to be coming to Old Trafford on the last day needing points.

    Will be very sad to see them go,. Their double over Liverpool will live long in the memories of their fans

  • Comment number 47.

    #34 - N'Zogbia player of teh season? are you daft??

    Nani has been far better than him as has Maxi at Liverpool, bale and others.

    People don't discuss him much as he is perceived to have a bit of an attitude and a lot of people don't like Wigan anyway

  • Comment number 48.

    Re: #2 and #32

    "2 points for a score draw"

    So a team could draw all of their Premiership matches 1-1 and score 76 points, enough to secure 2nd place this term and Champions League football.

    Seriously? I mean, seriously?

  • Comment number 49.

    #48 - would certainly be interesting though

  • Comment number 50.

    If Charlie Adam is going to stay in the premier league then someone needs to teach him how to tackle - and when not to !
    Otherwise anyone buying him is likely to find him unavailable for quite a few matches.

  • Comment number 51.

    @ 48,

    Do I understand correctly that you recommend 1 point for no score draw, 2 points for score draw and 3 points for a win?

  • Comment number 52.


    You're forgetting to mention a) it would apply to all teams, b) the "scale" of what constitutes safe and winning would naturally change (i.e. teams might need 100 points to have a chance of winning, and something like 60 points to be safe), and c) it would certainly encourage teams to work a bit harder for a goal.

    I don't think it's a bad idea at all.

  • Comment number 53.

    As bad as it feels my team getting relegated, I feel just as sorry for Blackpool. A thoroughly exciting teams in all areas. Hope that Blackpool hang onto Holloway like we're hanging onto Mcleish.

  • Comment number 54.

    I too didn't give 'em an earthly, Phil. Fantastic effort, Blackpool. I'm left wondering if we should just put down this down to managerial brilliance, or did Ollie strike it lucky with Charlie Adam? Would this have happened without CA? Will Ollie be able to replicate this without CA?

  • Comment number 55.

    @ 53, Kit,

    McLeish will bring Birmingham City back to the Premiership just like Bruce did before.
    He's a quality manager.

  • Comment number 56.

    " Tied in a financial straight jacket "

    They recieved £90 million last summer!!!!!! They are a club with no debt... How is this a financial straight jacket???

  • Comment number 57.

    The only good thing about Blackpool is that they showed me the difference between Man*** and LFC. At 2 - 1 in favor of Blackpool LFC would have caved in and Blackpool would have won. Much as I hate to say it Man*** not only equalized but went on to score 2 more. This is a lesson the pretenders like LFC must take on board if LFC is ever to regain its spot on the perch.

  • Comment number 58.

    The pure football fan in me wants to say I'm sorry to see a side as entertaining as Blackpool go down. The Preston fan in me wants to laugh and say that's Countdown karma and it serves certain elements of the Blackpool support right for counting their chickens before they hatched. Sorry for the majority though.

  • Comment number 59.

    Sad to see Blackpool go adown as they have played good football and the premiership has been better for having them. If you'd offered Holloway 39 points at the start of the season I'm sure he would have taken them as its usually enough to stay up.

    That said, the table doesn't lie and while its sad to see them go, the teams stqaying up have earned it. Also feel sorry for Birmingham who went from winning a trophy (and knocking the wheels off Arsenal's season) to relegation within a couple of months.

    I don't like the 2 points for a score draw system. It would encourage teams to come out and go for it but 3 points for a win should do this anyway. But if it was 1-1 with 10 mins to go, its too easy for both teams to shut up shop, happy with their 2 points.

  • Comment number 60.

    47. At 13:21 23rd May 2011, PetShopBoys_Forever wrote:

    "#34 - N'Zogbia player of teh season? are you daft??

    Nani has been far better than him as has Maxi at Liverpool, bale and others."

    Ok here are the facts for all they're worth:

    Goals N'Zogbia 9 Nani 9 Maxi 10 Bale 7
    Assists N'Zogbia 5 Nani 14 (maybe takes more set plays) Maxi-Bale hardly any
    Key passes (passes that lead to chance) N'Zogbia 63 Nani 63 Bale 47 Maxi hardly any
    Shot accuracy N'Zogbia 55% Nani 38% Maxi 49% Bale 50%

    N'Zogbia also holds the record of highest number of dribbles/runs in the league (nearly 300).

    And factor in that he plays in a much inferior team with much less of the ball who attack create and score much less.

    I didn't say N'Zogbia is the best out of these players or definitely the best player this season.

    But believe your eyes not what others tell you.

  • Comment number 61.

    If 2 points were awarded for a score draw and 1 point for a 0-0, then the table would have looked like this:

    87 Manchester United
    77 Chelsea
    76 Arsenal
    75 Manchester City
    72 Tottenham
    67 Everton
    64 Liverpool
    60 Fulham
    58 Aston Villa
    58 West Brom
    56 Newcastle
    55 Bolton
    54 Sunderland
    54 Wigan
    52 Stoke
    50 Blackburn
    50 Birmingham
    47 Wolverhampton
    46 Blackpool
    43 West Ham

  • Comment number 62.

    Thought Adam started off well and faded in the middle part of the season (when Blackpool also started to struggle). I personally think that statistics can only be applied to a certain degree in football. It's all well and good having a high pass completion rate when doing it over 5 yards but a failed 50 yard pass that nearly disects the defence but for a fantastic piece of defending is counted as no good. You need to watch the games.

    I think Malouda was voted player of the season by finktank (The Times over the weekend), with Downing about 3rd or 4th, based purely on their stats. Both players I like but I don't think many people would have voted for them.

  • Comment number 63.

    Games involving Blackpool were always fantastic to watch, they played attacking football and although it cost them results at times it was wonderful for a neutral.

    It's a shame to see them go. However, hopefully other teams can emulate their attacking style in future seasons. We've seen glimpses of it this year with really entertaining games involving mid-table teams, that have had very little riding on them. It's been good to see the fun back in football.

  • Comment number 64.

    How can any manager that doesn't think defending matters be considered good?

  • Comment number 65.

    I am a Manchester United supporter and I was a little disappointed that we didn't draw yesterday. Ian Holloway's team are much better to watch than any Mick McCarthy outfit (it was the same when he managed Sunderland) and I am really sad Wolves stayed up and Blackpool went down.
    I would happily pay to watch players like Charley Adam (some ridiculous comment on here that he is not very good and gives the ball away too much! Absolute tosh! Unless you count scoring a goal giving the ball away!?) but I wouldn’t even relish watching United against Wolves because of the cynical approach that McCarthy instils. It's 10 minutes of attacking pressure and 80 minutes of defending the 18 yard line.

    Very unlucky Blackpool, come back soon – Your team played the way true fans of football want to see the game played. Everyone else (and there are a few of them) if you like watching players troupe around a field in straight lines playing punt and rush stick to rugby league.

  • Comment number 66.

    #60 - I do believe my eyes and they have Wigan in the bottom 5 and the other players in the Top 6.

    N'zogbia is an average player in a below average team. Adam is an above average player in a defensively naive team. Far more influential than CNZ is

  • Comment number 67.

    The evangelical broadcaster, Harold Camping was almost right, for Blackpool supporters at any rate, just 24 hours out with his prediction of the end of the world.

  • Comment number 68.

    I think N'Zogbia is a very good player actually: speedy, good on the ball, good on shooting, good on fouls, you name it.

  • Comment number 69.

    Shame, so many of you guys read this blog; - And predicted they would stay up. Me included. Though, he did have a point about Evatt (at fault for their loss at OT). I felt on their defense alone they deserved to go down, but a shame to see the back of them...

  • Comment number 70.

    Blackpool did well given their resources. However, their tactics provided huge entertainment for their fans, the opposition fans and neutral observers alike. So well done to the club for their achievement, as entertainment is something that is often sacrificed in the fight for survival. Birmingham City fans got neither!

    I have no doubt the parachute payments and sales of Adam and one or two others will give them the funds to regroup and challenge again next season, maybe with a couple of loaners.

    Scoring 55 goals is a great achievement and maybe we should be offering a point for every ten goals scored as a bonus and inducement for attacking football;)

    For my part I was glad we saw the match out having only dropped two points at home all season. Just a pity we couldn't replicate the form away.

    So well done Holloway and I'm looking forward to him flaming the powers that be that run the premiership!

  • Comment number 71.

    I'm one of the very few commenting here who are completely ambivalent to losing Blackpool from the PL.

    I've no time for Holloway at this level - spent most of the season pontificating about issues outside of his team, feeding press packs reems of juicy comment and appearing - particularly in the second half of this season - to lose the plot when it came to preparing the Seasiders for the run in to stay in the league.

    A team of extremely average players whose key performers have on occasion pulled them up to heights greater than they merited, ultimately the league position tells its own tale. Their cameo in the PL was built on some exciting and enthralling football (or rather, their style made for exciting and enthralling matches) but they were a team trying to punch above their weight, with a manager doing the same, and over 38 games they've been rightly found out.

  • Comment number 72.

    I do not really miss Holloway The Drama Queen, but Blackpool was a breath of fresh air.

  • Comment number 73.

    I've certainly enjoyed watching them as a neutral and they surprised a lot of people so congratulations to them. However this Summer they were going to be losing Adam and possibly Vaughan whatever happened, I wouldn't have been surprised if people had come asking about Campbell as well. If they had lost those 3 and still been in the Premier League I really think they'd have struggle next season. The first half of the season they were terrific but they've been on a downward spiral since Christmas and I think next year it would have been tough to replicate the performances from earlier in this season.

  • Comment number 74.

    Really sad to see blackpool drop out---come back soon boys and bring that mad lunatic of a manager with you---he is just pure entertainment, good luck next season and hope to see you very soon, from a red scouser

  • Comment number 75.

    I think this season has been a good one for the argument that the play offs should be as follows - 5 vs 4 then winner plays 3 and then that winner plays 18th in PL. Or maybe 3 vs 4 and then the play-off with 18th.

    At least then you'd be giving the newly promoted clubs a chance of playing decent football and being rewarded for it.

    I can't say I'm happy with BCFC going down as in effect it's wrecking a place for European football but it might be a catalyst to get themselves better players and come back up at first time of asking.

    Sadly I think BFC will crash thru the leagues as demoralisation takes effect and there's far, and away better clubs to play Championship football at.

  • Comment number 76.

    66. At 14:22 23rd May 2011, PetShopBoys_Forever wrote:

    "#60 - I do believe my eyes and they have Wigan in the bottom 5 and the other players in the Top 6."

    So EVERY player in a low-placed team is worse than ANY player a high-placed team. You covered youself in glory there mate, absolutely superb.

    "N'zogbia is an average player in a below average team. Adam is an above average player in a defensively naive team. Far more influential than CNZ is"

    Apart from the statistics most of which stack up heavily against Adam despite him being in the most "attacking" of the 2 sides, from what I've seen myself there is no comparison between these two players, whether that's passing control pace or finishing.

    Adam has a decent cross and set play, and he'll score 5 or 6 penalties and be on all the back pages. But he is the sort of player who'll try the Hollywood pass, which will work out one out of 10 and be dubbed as 'world class' and 9 times it'll cheaply lose you posession, and also he's the player who'll pull back or clip someone like Park yesterday or lunge in often resulting in a booking because he's lost control or he hasn't got the speed to play the ball, fans here like this and describe it as 'passion'.

    On another note noone has yet mentioned Taylor-Fletcher's spectacular dive for the first goal falling over a second after the challenge, I thought English players are honest and don't do that sort of thing.

  • Comment number 77.

    #75 - I think they may surprise you. They are a well run club with a decent manager and if they can learn to tighten up at the back they have a chance. I think Birmingham will comes straight back up but West Ham & Blackpool may have to sdettle for the play-offs as sadly I think Leeds will come up next season

  • Comment number 78.


    Surely now these managers and players have serious questions to answer to the boards for failing to achieve their goal.


    That Holloway got Blackpool to within the last game of the season of staying up is remarkable in itself given the budgets he had to work with.

    That he did so with a team that attacked with a passion and vigour that put many others to shame makes it simply astonishing.

    Birmingham might be a different kettle of fish entirely, but how anyone can say that they will be glad to see the back of Blackpool is beyond me.

    The best value season ticket in the Premiership must surely have been at Bloomfield Road and I think they should have been applauded for their efforts.

    Birmingham on the other hand......

    Let's not even go there about the Bubble Blowers.

    I would have liked to see Wigan go down, (or even Blackburn), instead of Blackpool, but when all the games have been played, you are where you are and the bottom 3 deserve to go.

    That's just the way it is.

    They might be gone, but it was fun while it lasted and I think they have made many friends along the way.

    Good effort Blackpool.

  • Comment number 79.

    #76 - what dive. It was a foul no United player disputed it and the free kick was excellently taken. Fine he needs a bit of working on his tackling but if he can perfect his passing he will be a fine player. He is very like Paul Scholes in his instincts and once he gets the execution right then he will be very successful

  • Comment number 80.

    Ian Holloway is a loathesome loudmouth who has achieved nothing. Promoted after finishing 6th Blackpool were soon rumbled. The play off system will never go away due to greed. But for the purist fan it is are rubbish. Adam will leave in the summer and we will never hear of them again. Good riddance.

  • Comment number 81.

    Taylor-Fletcher was flagged offside before Vidic challenged him. It should have been a free kick to United but Mike Dean, like his pal Martin Atkinson, couldn't possibly make a decision in favour of United - witness the stonewall penalty he 'missed' for Adam's foul on Park. And will people please stop praising Adam - he is at best a journeyman and has committed many bad fouls this season which have earned him yellow cards. He is no angel - ask Gareth Bale! He can't play, either, so much so that he couldn't even hack it in Scotland. Yes, Scotland! - he's that poor.

  • Comment number 82.

    i liked the end of that interview

  • Comment number 83.

    #81 - At Rangers he was played out on the right wing rather than in central midfield where he plays best. As for can't cut it he won the Scottish Cup and SFL Division One with St Mirren and was in the team that reached the UEFA Cup Final which is a decent achievement and has 18 European appearances and 5 goals over 3 seasons for Rangers (remind me how many does N'Zogbia have).

    He is a late developer the way Ian Wright was and is starting to do well. A bit moire consistency and a better team and he could well go a long way - especially if he moves to Liverpool or Spurs

  • Comment number 84.

    The way Holloway made his team play was pure suicide, it may have worked in the championship but not in the prem. Even good teams play defensive to get a result (Chelsea v Liverpool this season).

    The only thing that you can applaud Holloway for was how he managed to get championship to hold their own and in some cases, excel in the prem league.

  • Comment number 85.

    The only thing that you can applaud Holloway for was how he managed to get championship *players* to hold their own and in some cases, excel in the prem league.

  • Comment number 86.


    Shame they went down-for the first time EVER I wanted my lot to lose if it meant them staying up. Unfortunately, neither Stoke nor Wolves fulfilled their roles yesterday to relegate the 2 sides who deserved it most, but there you go.

    Blackpool probably had most stonewall pens denied them after us, so they were unlucky. And perhaps a few wiseacres here will tell us how Ollie was going to get the next Vidic down at Bloomfield Rd on £10k a week, even if Ollie had found said guy and got him to love Blackpool itself!

    I'm off to the bookies shortly-because they WILL be straight back.

  • Comment number 87.

    Charlie Adam - Paul Scholes' abilities cocooned in a Dean Windass case

  • Comment number 88.

    Nzogbia has much more in his locker than Adam does but there isn't the romantic angle of being the star man for the plucky new boys. Im sure he will show this next season among the howls of derision from the Holte End or Kop as Adam fires another hollywood pass into touch.

  • Comment number 89.

    I Think Blackpool made a blunder in the Aston Villa game.. For me it was the defining moment of their season. But thoroughly enjoyed their approach. Unfortunately in life positiveness is not always rewarded. Sad to say that they needed to be mean at times.

  • Comment number 90.

    Having looked at Titanicus I have long thought no points for 0-0 PLUS FULL TICKET REFUND. You have that anyway and have no right to rob us of £40. No chance!!!!!

  • Comment number 91.

    I love how people are having a go at Ian Holloway for being outspoken and making himself the centre of attention each week instead of his players. I mean, its not as if a certain J. Mourinho does exactly the same thing, is it?

    In all honesty Blackpool started this season expecting to be relegated, and planned accordingly. The players did their shirts proud on the pitch, and the manager made the absolute best of what he had available, but in the end it was always going to be a hard slog for such a small club. That shouldnt take away the fact that they lit up the Premier League with their style of play, far more entertaining to watch than several other teams over the years that have tried to grind their way to safety.

  • Comment number 92.

    much as this pains me to admit this (as many of his wind ups/comments have infuriated me in the past) but i have to agree with nibs, N'zogbia is a top player and has been ever since newcastle signed him all those years ago. charlie adams is much more of gamble for a top team than N'zogbia

  • Comment number 93.

    Blackpool's season had it all, the highs, the lows, and endless drama. They really did make their mark in the league and surprised a great many people with some imprressing results. They really didn't get the rub of the green late season with a series of unlukcy last minute goals, and it's a shame that their heart on your sleeve style hasn't kept them up. I would've liked to see that style rewarded. Here's hoping that they can bounce back.

    As for manchester united, well I'll just leave this here: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] :)

  • Comment number 94.

    I've always thought Ollies antics were designed to put the spotlight on him so that it took the pressure off the players. Listening to some people on here though, that appears to have gone over 1 or 2 characters heads. I guess some people dont think too much.

  • Comment number 95.
    "We like the way Blackpool play expansive, free-flowing, pretty-football philosophy that never changes, even against mightier opponents!"

    "Blackpool are a breath of fresh air in the Premier League!"

    "Olie for England!"

    ... While they say so, all they want is to take precious points out Blackpool, condemning Blackpool to relegation!

    The classic Fox and Crow story...

  • Comment number 96.

    couldn't be bothered to read blog but title 'gone but not forgotten' was all i needed. what a load of balderdash, blackwho? they are already forgotten as sky, radio 5 and national press kiss the backsides of next seasons premier league clubs and pay lip service to everyone else.

  • Comment number 97.

    Holloway lost the plot with his gripe against the Prem and his small town boy in the big city statements - negative. I'll believe the sports psychologists if that's acceptable strategy for taking pressure off the players etc. but I feel he was hogging the limelight too much and too eager to perform. Did it work? At least Blackpool can get their stadium & facilities in shape as reward for their venture. Good luck

    BTW well done to DW at Wigan, now that is top drawer club management.

  • Comment number 98.

    I'm not sure if the addition of an extra point (like the bonus point in Rugby) would be a good idea. Yes, it has its merits but there are too many associated problems.

    What I would like to see is teams deducted a point if their players/fans misbehave. This would do much to improve the game, and players and fans would have to keep their cool. Passion is great, and it's at the heart and soul of the game, but when it turns to anger and hatred then that is completely wrong. We have to set a far better example, especially for the fans of the future.

    Ian Holloway for the England job - get rid of the passionless and bland Capello who cares nothing for being England manager and install Ollie, the modern day Cloughie.

  • Comment number 99.

    I'm an American living in the UK, with no real 'football' background, and little enthusiasm for the game, prior to this year... There were any number of other events to kindle my interest, not least the World Cup, but Blackpool Football Club made the English 'Premier' League - which even to my uneducated eye seems largely a rough-and-tumble, long ball game, dominated by defensive tactics - thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining.

    Prior to their huge mid-season slump Blackpool were in the top half of the table, terrifying everyone (including the 'Big-5'), week in and week out. Even though many of those matches were lost after the 75th minute, they were a thrill to watch..!

    D.J. Campbell, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Ian Holloway, and Charlie Adam (though Adam not so much, perhaps) - these guys became my favorites, more so even than all the big names out there.

    Karl Oyston - well, he became an 'enemy' of sorts, too CHEAP to pick-up a player or two along the way who might have made a difference. FORTY million in the bank, FORTY-EIGHT million in annuities from the Premier League... and a TEN million pound budget? [With that said, I still don't understand how ten thousand a WEEK is 'starvation wages'... but as I said, I'm new here...]

    Anyway, I will miss Blackpool - one or two penalties called correctly, a goal here or a save there - over the course of the entire season, and they'd have been back... It could NOT have been much closer.

    A shame, really... All the best, and thanks for the memories!

  • Comment number 100.

    It's easy to be wise after the event, but if all that's needed is a point to avoid relegation, and you're 2 - 1 up early in the second half, I would have thought a change to a fully defensive line up against one of the world's best teams, an absolute imperative. It's real head-in-the-sand stuff for a manager to say, 'we won't change our style of play no matter what.' I mean, look at the matches where Blackpool did lead only to lose out at the final whistle - the reverse fixture against United being an obvious example. It's really sad to see Blackpool go down, I enjoyed watching their matches on telly down here in N.Z.


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