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Can They Kick It (1): Blackpool

Here TheFC100 looks at the chances for survival of the Premiership’s newly promoted teams: First up, Blackpool.

1) Blackpool

There are times in a football fan’s life when he or she looks back on a single moment in their club’s history and thinks “if that hadn’t happened things could be so different today.” Saturday, May 26, 2001 saw Blackpool fans descend on Cardiff for the Nationwide Division 3 Play-off final against Leyton Orient. Within a minute they were one-nil down. After pulling level, they went down 2-1. Nine years later they have been promoted four times since that day and are now sitting pretty in the Premiership with a trip to Wigan to start their campaign in less than two weeks.

What an unbelievable story and what a way to answer people who say Blackpool aren’t good enough, aren’t big enough, aren’t fashionable enough to play at the club. Any true fan of the Premiership will be happy to see the Seasiders take their place in top flight football for the first time in almost 40 years. But can they stay there? The omens aren’t good.

Blackpool's Bloomfield Road: Capacity c16,000

Pre-Season Form?

  • Defeat to Bristol City at the weekend following wins over low-key opposition  Leyton Orient, Accrington Stanley and Tiverton Town plus a draw with Kilmarnock.

The type of players Blackpool have been linked with to-date include Jon Stead from Ipswich and Seamus Coleman from Everton (after a successful loan last term). The club doesn’t have the finances to match those aiming for mid-table this year and it shows in their transfer record to-date – £500,000 for Charlie Adams.

As it stands the squad isn’t good enough but with manager Ian Holloway at the helm there is bound to be the old clichés, passion, team effort and a good atmosphere on the training ground. There are also likely to be better post-match quotes for the season ahead, Holloway has already accumulated some crackers.

The boss: Ian Holloway

The manager said recently that he has made offers for players that would smash the transfer record. But the facts are these:

  1. The transfer record as it stands is paltry. Their first opponents Wigan are not the most flash club in the world but still forked out £6m for Argentinean forward Mauro Boselli from Estudiantes this summer.
  2. Pulling power – manager. Holloway is not a big name on the European stage (yet) and as an Englishman lacks the contacts of a Roberto Martinez or Di Matteo who are in charge of small-ish clubs but may have a better chance of pulling off deals on the European market.
  3. Pulling power – club. Blackpool are first-timers in the Premiership. Fellow new boys West Brom and Newcastle are used to the Premiership and have a bigger name as a result. If Roque Santa Cruz moves on from Man City, would he consider Blackpool? No. Newcastle? Yes. Building the brand of Blackpool comes with time so even if the club had billions to spend, attracting big players would prove difficult.

Blackpool players celebrate play-off success

Players such as Stephen Crainey, Jason Euell and Charlie Adam have had chances at big clubs from Manchester United to Celtic and Rangers, but find themselves playing as members of a smaller squad. They will need to work phenomenally hard to keep Blackpool up. Not only that but the squad itself is thinly stretched.  Keith Southern and Billy Clarke have suffered serious injuries already. With two weeks remaining to kick-off, Ian Holloway needs to act fast, but TheFC100 can’t see the new boys staying up this year.

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