View from the South Stand - Blackpool 20/08/11
Brighton and Hove Albion are looking for their
fourth league victory on the spin but face a tricky fixture against
newly relegated Blackpool.
We asked Peter Gillatt from Balckpool
FC fansite Its
Not Orange, Its Tangerine! to answer some questions
Blackpool in the Premier League. Just how good was last
fans of old, who have been through the highs and but mainly
lows of the past forty years, will state without question
that the achievements of Holloway and his squad on the 22nd
May 2010 will go down in club history, beating Cardiff City
3 2 to gain promotion to the dizzy heights of the
Premier League. It was simply fantastic especially as the
media didn't love us when we came up - they described us
as the worst team ever to grace the Premier League before
a ball was kicked. When Michael Owen finished off our resistance
at Old Trafford on survival Sunday there was a passing sadness
(and it would have been wonderful to stay up) that we may
never get another chance to grace this level again. But
you do have to look at how far we've come. Four sided ground,
financially secure, great manager. A club that has challenged
not only on the pitch, but thanks to Holloway, off it as
well. Whether you like it or not he at least he used his
elevated status to ask important questions about the game,
how it is run and where the power lies. The Good News? No-one
will call us 'a breath of fresh air' anymore.
risen from the bottom tier to the top just as the Albion
are trying to do, but while we've been splashing a fair
bit of cash to do so, you've done it with no big names
and no massive outlay. What's the secret to that sort
set a dangerous precedent, not least for himself. Blackpool's
famously low wage ceiling of £10,000 per player
per week means signing established Premier League players
was an impossibility (Marlon Harewood, the one recruit
who may belong in that category, almost joined League
One Huddersfield instead). Yet by casting his net far
and wide, Holloway has found footballers who seem motivated
by getting a chance that no one else would have granted
them. And, given Blackpool's limited budget, it highlights
a disparity in means. While it is easy to dismiss lower-league
footballers by suggesting they lack the quality the Premier
League requires, Blackpool have played with a verve that
indicates men like Charlie Adam, David Vaughan and DJ
Campbell possess more ability than was acknowledged before
their arrival and the same could be said for Wes Hoolahan
now in the Premier League with Norwich who Simon Grayson
picked up from Livingstone. Holloway's ingenuity in finding
the unwanted and the unknowns does him credit, but lends
itself to a worrying conclusion for some managers: big
money and big salaries aren't required. If he can do it,
the question may be posed to his counterparts, why can't
Despite the predictions of doom, you came very close to
surviving. Did you think that would be the case at the
start of the campaign, and in the end was there dissapointment
that the Premier League dream had come to an end after
promotion was utterly unexpected, both outside Bloomfield
Road and inside it. To some it appeared a poisoned chalice,
albeit one sweetened by the Premier League millions; memories
of Derby's dreadful 11-point season in 2007-08 intimated
an endless possibility of embarrassment for clubs who
were not ready for the top flight. Instead, it has provided
an opportunity to impress. What Blackpool did achieve,
was captivating a nation. Rarely before had an underdog
attacked the worlds best league with such vigour,
and rarely before had a group of players shown such togetherness.
Never before had a group of players, many of whom had
come from the Conference only years before, stood up to
the footballing heavy weights and on occasions won. The
crowning achievement of Blackpools ten months in
the Premier League was undoubted securing the double over
five time European Cup winners Liverpool. Blackpool FC
were a revelation to the Premier League, with a straight
talking manager and no nonsense attitude to the game,
he won plaudits from across the footballing world, both
fans and professionals alike.. The Championship is a division
where as many as two-thirds of teams may kick off with
optimistic thoughts about reaching the play-offs, but
Blackpool have offered a reason to inflate expectations.
It may encourage supporters of smaller clubs but it is
less heartening for managers in a division that normally
has a high casualty rate. If the extraordinary is anticipated,
they have a problem with expectations.
Blackpool run an extremely tight financial ship, with
the dispute in the summer over bonuses being reported
as having upset Ian Holloway a little bit. Do you think
that the board should release some funds given what he
has achieved so far?
parachute payments, we are back in the `Championship,
with a far better ground, and a bigger fan base. This
year has been positive - for us, for the club, for football.
We won friends because we played good football, with skill,
character and heart. The worry for Holloway himself might
be that his terminally tight board expect similar underfunded
overachievement again. While there might be some reflected
credit, the reality is that Holloway is excelling in spite
of his board, not because of them.
You've been pretty shrewd in the transfer market with
both Barry Fergusson and Kevin Phillips coming in, although
one of WeAreBrighton.com's favourite world flair
players in Richard Kingson has scandalously been released.
What have the new guys brought to the party and are they
suitable replacements for DJ Campbell and Charlie Adam?
The midfield is of concern whether we can replace
our two best players Adam and Vaughan is a big ask and
what I've seen so far it's going to be very difficult.
Barry Ferguson comes with some quality and we know that
Keith Southern won't let anyone down if he's allowed to
play to his strengths but the big question is where does
the spark come from? Up front, the only player I'm happy
about is Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Blackpool's signing of
veteran striker Kevin Phillips may have grabbed the headlines,
but it could certainly prove to be one of the shrewdest
moves of the summer. "You cannot put a price on people
like Kevin Phillips," Holloway admitted this weekend.
"He's scored goals throughout his career and if he
does it throughout this season for us, we'll make a real
statement in this league." Phillips has been signed
to be a leading striker but it's a gamble although young
Matt Phillips could be a real star player for us . I have
no idea of how I think we'll play and it will be interesting
to see whether we have any potential to challenge. But
at the moment, potential is all it is.
Do you think that Blackpool will ever sustain Premier
League football for more than the odd season?
It is now a pivotal period in Blackpools history,
and how they cope with the upset of relegation and the
loss of players with such pedigree only time will tell.
Teams in the past have crumbled facing this task, you
only have to look at the examples of Leeds United, Nottingham
Forest and Bradford City to realise how easy it is to
slowly slip down the football leagues, with the Premier
League becoming a distant memory. What is important for
Holloway and his players is to learn from the experiences
of the Premier League. Although Holloways attacking
football was admired and respected, there were distinct
flaws in this mentality, and had more tactical sense been
used at times, Blackpool may have not dropped points which
looked destined to be taken back to Bloomfield Road. You
would imagine though that under the leadership of Holloway
and with the core of Blackpools determined squad
still together, they are likely to be challenging to taste
the delights of the Premier League again once more, and
with the right investments we could once again be able
to jump back on Blackpools roller-coaster in the
Premier League in the coming years.
What are the expectations around
Bloomfield Road for this season?
The Championship is a division where as many as two-thirds
of teams may kick off with optimistic thoughts about reaching
the play-offs, but Blackpool have offered a reason to
inflate expectations. It may encourage supporters of smaller
clubs but it is less heartening for managers in a division
that normally has a high casualty rate. If the extraordinary
is anticipated, they have a problem with expectations.
The media focussed on Charlie Adam, but in fact real fans
will also speak of David Vaughan, Ian Evatt, Alex Baptiste,
Matthew Gilks, DJ Campbell, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and a
host of others who have thrilled us. Can we play football?
Ask Liverpool, or Newcastle, or Spurs. Of course this
team has now changed. Some have gone, and they have been
wonderful. Others will step up to the plate. The conversations
about Holloways transfer budget will doubtless take an
interesting twist - throwing money around has never been
our style, but the truth is that we are far better placed
now than we were two years ago. That two years has given
us memories beyond compare, and for that I am enormously
grateful but I'm looking forward to the new season loads
of new players ; the luxury of not being the novelty item
wherever we go. It's going to be very enjoyable and I'm
genuinely excited to be playing in a league in which I
feel we can challenge
How much do you know about Gus Poyet's Brighton and Hove
Despite the focus being on the Hammers and
the Foxes I always thought both Southampton and Brighton
would be capable of achieving something and you have led
the field early on. A narrow win against Doncaster and
at Portsmouth may have gone largely unnoticed but that
3-1 win at Cardiff City last Wednesday was a result we
took notice of and shows you are not here just to make
up the numbers. With the charismatic Gus Poyet and your
new stadium you already have that momentum that may well
take you straight up to the top flight. A great signing
for you as has already got off the mark was Mackail-Smith
and whilst I noticed that Ashley Barnes secured a brace
in midweek. One thing about playing teams with 100% records
is that they have to be broken at some point as we found
out against Derby County on Wednesday when we lost ours.
After a such a frustrating result Im wondering if
we still have that resilience which has got us through
the last couple of years and whether our form on the road
suggests we can put a dent in Brighton's unbeaten run.
Blackpool fans made quite a name for themselves last season.
How many do you expect to bring down and are you looking
forrward to your first Amex visit?
I think we'll take around 1500 and that will be a good
following in view of the distance ,but its also
a new ground etc and the interest should be there. The
novelty and limited supply of tickets in the Premier League
meant most games were sold out for Pool fans lasts season.
However, we're not premier league anymore and we're back
to being little Blackpool but away following can be decent
for a club of our size.
Who do you tip for promotion and relegation from the Championship
Promotion favourites should be one of the clubs that came
down, you can probably add Southampton and Leicester in
there as well, but it's really too early to tell. As for
those that will struggle, Coventry look poor, maybe Doncaster
Finally, what do you think the result between the two
on Saturday will be?
thanks to Peter for his insight into the forthcoming fixture!
I think the defeat on Wednesday will give Ollie the opportunity
to shake things up. He usually will not change a winning
side but against Derby despite having the majority of
play and chances we lacked any spark upfront so I would
expect to see some fresh faces in the side and he will
give starts to possibly 1-2 players with perhaps some
new faces on the bench as well. Pool rode their luck at
Hull on the opening day of the season and will need to
be at their best on Saturday, a draw would be a decent
result for us and I would take that now if it was offered.