By Mark Duckwroth of The National Game
Dreams can come true and for the thousands of Blackpool fans on Saturday that’s what happened at Wembley, as Ian Holloway guided Blackpool into the Premier League. When Ian Holloway arrived by the seaside he saw a club that was in tatters and staring relegation in the face, now the ground may not be much better, but the seaside will be hosting top flight football, for the first time since 1971.
But as the temperatures soared at Wembley, Blackpool’s dream looked to be cutting up like the Wembley pitch, as Michael Chopra nipped in to give the bluebirds the lead. Cardiff then looked to take control of the game and started to build on their lead, but Blackpool have their modern day Sir Stan and up stepped Charlie Adam to smash in a 25 yard-free kick which seemed to lift Blackpool on to another level.
And as the Wembley pitch cut up even more Joe Ledley put Cardiff back in front, but Blackpool don’t know how to lie down, and Gareth-Taylor Fletcher pulled the seasiders level, before Blackpool born Brett Ormerod sent the Blackpool fans wild and more importantly into the Premier League. Ormerod scored the winner in a league two playoff before he departed for Southampton and then via Preston, before he returned home to Blackpool. And what a home-coming it has been for Ormerod. This had been one of his best seasons in front of goal for sometime, and in the first minute of injury time on Saturday it undoubtedly became his best.
Ormerod pounced on a loose ball, and as the Cardiff defence parted like the seas, Ormerod poked home the goal that could be worth an estimated £90 million, and for a club that has an average attendance of just over 8,000 that money could be worth an embarrassing season in the Premier League.
The second-half at Wembley was like the FA Cup only a week ago a real non-event, but because there were five goals in the first half, the neutrals weren’t complaining too much, and as Michael Chopra fired his shot against the crossbar in the second half, the real celebrations could begin for those Blackpool fans.
After decades out of the limelight, Blackpool football club had wanted to make some new history, and with Charlie Adam, and Brett Ormerod that history has been made. The reality is that some of the winning squad will be sold and new faces will be brought in, but nothing will be able to take away the memory of this perfect season for the seaside.
There is only two months until the start of the new Premier League season, and Blackpool have a lot of work to do on and off the pitch. Their first concern has to be Bloomfield Road; the stadium only has three official sides and one temporary stand, and with strict ground conditions from the Premier League, Bloomfield Road will need more than just a lick of paint to get it ready.
Blackpool also have to be wary of the dangers of being a Premier League squad it is very easy to be persuaded by an agent who has a player to shift and with Blackpool’s now fuller bank balance negotiating contracts could prove as tricky as picking up three points.
Blackpool already has one well know landmark in its famous Tower, but now they have a famous face and keeping hold of Ian Holloway must be their number one concern, football can be a cruel business and over the next few months Blackpool might just be in for a rougher ride than you would find on the Pleasure Beach.
Mark Duckworth is a contributing writer for The National Game. His column appears on The Soccer Guys courtesy of The National Game.