It’s hard to believe that ten years ago, Blackpool were about to start the season in the fourth tier of English football, what we now refer to as League 2. They finished 7th that season but gained promotion through the play-offs, a habit they would repeat time and again over the next few years.
It wasn’t until 2007 that they got out of that division, finishing third and using the play-offs for promotion. Then three years later, finished 6th in the Championship but beat Nottingham Forest and Cardiff to gain entry to England’s top flight for the first time since 1971.
John Campbell from the Blackpool FC Blog has taken a few minutes to talk to me about Blackpool’s promotion, Championship debt and coming to Old Trafford.
Scott the Red: Were you happy with your team’s performance last season?
John Campbell: Beyond any expectations we had, everyone had us to go down, that was never going to happen. Most fans thought another mid season finish with the view to something better next season. To get promoted was an over achievement but something we deserved. We also ended the season playing you score 3, we’ll score 4 football which is always entertaining.
STR: What are your aspirations for this season?
JC: Simple, to stay up, ruffle some of the big boys and play some good football.
STR: Staying up after promotion proves too much to some clubs. Which player do you think is going to be pivotal in saving you from the drop?
JC: Has to to be Charlie Adam, he scored 19 last year from midfield and created countless goals. He’s got a cracking left foot and a great shot from the edge of the area. I’d expect him to finish top scorer again.
STR: How do you rate your manager’s ability to take your club forward?
JC: He’s had a proven record of bringing in for cheap and selling on, he wants to get young players into the club which can only be a good thing. Whatever he does in the next few years it’s not going over shadow getting us into the top flight and banking £90 million. He’s also very honest and entertaining which helps!
STR: What’s your favourite chant you’ve heard sung at your ground?
JC: In the last few years we’ve only had two sides to the stadium so when we are winning “1-0, and we’ve only got 2 stands” etc etc. That and just chanting “Blackpool are Back, Blackpool are Back, Blackpool are Back, whoa whoa!‘
STR: Where do you think United will finish this season?
JC: 2nd or 1st, if 2nd then Chelsea would win the league.
STR: If you could have any two players from United’s current squad playing for you, who would they be?
JC: Rooney and Fletcher, for the goals and the work rate. We like players honest hardworking players. Realistically Tom Cleverley or Danny Welbeck would be great on loan.
STR: What are your thoughts on United’s debt?
JC: We are one of very few clubs that are not in any debt (there is a 5 million loan to the owners for the new stand but that could be paid off now). We’ve played in the lower leagues in the past few years and you see the financial problems everywhere, from teams in administration, half built stadiums, half full stadiums due to dropping down the leagues, teams with point deductions, it’s all something that could happen to United if the debt isn’t managed correctly. It might be ok at this point in time but it could change at any moment.
STR: I suppose it’s hard to compare United with Championship teams though. Although, I wouldn’t say it’s ok at the moment either! Anyway, it’s been some time, but what is your favourite game your club have played against United?
JC: I’m 25 and we’ve not played United since 1975 so I’ve not witnessed a game. We beat you 5-1 in 1966/1967 in the League Cup which seems a good result.
STR: I’ve looked that game up. Best, Foulkes and Styles were all playing that day and all! What about your worst game?
JC: I know my Blackpool history so that has to be the defeat in the 1948 FA Cup final, 4-2, that was after being 2-1 up at half time.
STR: No shame in losing to the Babes though, potentially one of the greatest teams of all time. You’ll be getting used to playing against great teams again this season. You looking forward to all the away days? Which ground do you most want to visit?
JC: More than any other season, Villa, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, City and United. I’ve been to Old Trafford numerous times to see England but can’t wait for a day in the away end.
STR: What will be the best thing about being in top flight football after almost four decades away?
JC: It has to be the away games, travelling to the biggest grounds in the countries where we’ve never played in my lifetime. If we can pick up some results on the way it would be a massive bonus. Also being on Match of the Day!
STR: Well, best of luck for the season. I honestly mean that… apart from when you’re playing us!