Welcome, Blackpool

One of my–and Shaun’s–favorite things since starting this publication is meeting a wide variety of fans that comment on the site.

Many time, I learn more from our community than I do if I was listening or reading some of the most venerable columnists online or elsewhere.

Steve & Ade (rt.) Whitaker watching Blackpool earn their promotion in May

Due to some folks across the pond that liked and linked one of our pieces on the lack of merit to a potential Blackpool transfer for Michael “Junior” Bradley, I got to–virtually–meet Ade Whitaker on Monday who took the time to respond to our “Wading Through US Transfer Rumors” piece with an “Ode to Michael Bradley Transfer” comment.

Ade is –well, I’ll let him tell you about his fanaticism for the Tangerine….

I first went to watch matches, with my late father, Brian, in the mid 1960′s, when Blackpool were a top flight, First Division club, with attendances treble what we’re getting now.

Jimmy Armfield

Cap'n Armfield in action...

A certain Alan Ball, later to become a World Cup winner with England had just started his career with us at that time.  We also had England defender and ex captain, Jimmy Armfield, who although in the World Cup winning squad of ’66, was injured and missed out on the finals. (He WAS recently presented with a belated World Cup winning medal) meaning,Blackpool are now credited with having TWO World Cup winning players.  Chelsea FC, can’t match that.

Combining with meeting estimable and opinionated people, another thing I relish about soccer and commentary on it, is the first few weeks of the Premiership season when I am introduced to one of the new squads that has been promoted for the campaign.

In a sport and league where the focus on player aloofness are crescendoing with their rising salaries, I always welcome the newly promoted for what typically is a swashbuckling verve they bring to their matches accompanied with a wet-behind-the-ears conviction that “they belong.”

For this season and from my brief site and email dialogue with Mr. Whitaker, I’m more than excited to watch the Tangerine take the pitch for the first time in the upcoming campaign.

Our next entry in our “The Fan In You” Series: A conversation with a Blackpool faithful on the dizzying array of transfer rumors around Blackpool and what promotion means to the citizens of Blackpool.

Matthew, TSG:  Being a fan for 46 years, what does it mean for Blackpool, in its 100th year in business so to speak to be back at the highest level of football in England for the first time in nearly 40 years and to be in the Premiership for the first time ever?

Whitaker, Blackpool: It means everything to the club AND the town, that we’re now back in the top flight, of English football.

Blackpool

Blackpool, unmistakable...

Blackpool, having been the UK’s premier seaside, holiday resort, (and still is) has suffered greatly in recent years, from the onset of the boom in continental holidays.

This resulted in an annual downturn in returning holidaymakers and it became clear for all to see, that the town suffered massively as a result of this lost revenue.

The club, like the town, has also been struggling to survive over the years and at one point,  came very close to being relegated out of the Football League, altogether.  We escaped by the skin of our teeth – literally!

Promotion to the Premier League this year, has in some ways, put us back on the map  - a map, that we once dominated, back in the late 40′s and early 50′s.  So, in summing up – It’s absolutely fantastic to be back, where spiritually, we belong and although I no longer live there, I hear, the whole town is buzzing with anticipation.

Matthew, TSG: Okay, the Seasiders is an easy enough and understandable moniker, but how the heck did Blackpool select tangerine–not orange kits?

Whitaker, Blackpool: That’s a question that crops up frequently.

Keith Southern harvest a Tangerine goal in 2009...

You may or may not know, that back in the 1920′s, an international referee, named Albert Hargreaves, had been suitably impressed, by the ‘orange’ strip worn by the Netherlands (Holland) in a match that he officiated in, against Belgium.

On returning to England, he suggested to the Blackpool board, that they adopt this bright colour, as their home shirt. How it actually became tangerine and NOT orange, is anyone’s guess – but it’s been that way, for ages – and WILL remain so.

Matthew, TSG: Who are the club’s current best players? Who should we watch out for this season?

Charlie Adam, beloved....

Whitaker, Blackpool: In my opinion, our current ‘best’ regular players, are Charlie Adam (midfield), David Vaughan (midfield) and Alex Baptiste (defence – defense, to you guys). But in saying that, the whole team were absolutely superb last season and every one of them is a hero, in my book. Obviously I’m going to pick out Charlie Adam, as the man to watch out for, this coming season. He’s our midfield dynamo, has the sweetest of left foots and is particularly audacious with it. Don’t be surprised at all, if he attempts to chip Pepe Reina, from the half way line – he is that sort of player – and massively well-loved.

Matthew, TSG: There is a lot of chatter about everyone from Michael Bradley to Alan Shearer (kidding) signing with Blackpool before their Premiership campaign. What players does the club desperately need to compete? Are there any specific players you will feel will transfer in?

Whitaker, Blackpool: It’s difficult to say, who we will manage to buy pre-season, as we need to strengthen in ALL areas. It seems that we are being linked with every other available footballer, including a few, that hail from the States. We, as a relatively ‘small’ Premier League club, have to be very careful how we spend our newly acquired money. Our manager, Ian Holloway and in particular, chairman, Karl Oyston, will not be taken for a ride, when it comes to parting with cash. We have to acquire the right player, with the right temperament AND at the right price. We can’t afford to ruin the camaraderie and work ethic, that our current crop of players have built up.

Matthew, TSG: You and I spoke about some Americans from Jay DeMerit to Bradley to Beasley (maybe even  Jozy Altidore), which American player would you take first on Blackpool?

"I mean...we'll taken 'em"

Whitaker, Blackpool: The USA’s Michael Bradley and DaMarcus Beasley, have been two of the names touted of late but it appears, as in the majority of cases, that it is pure tabloid speculation.

However, having said that, I personally would love for us to acquire the services of Mr Bradley.  And as I have already gone on record as saying – he would then be able to tell his grandchildren, that he played for the same famous old club, as the legendary, Sir Stanley Mathews.  You really can’t put a price on that.

Matthew, TSG: To a fanbase of many Americans here who are now able to watch live EPL matches all the time, what type of style should we expect out of Blackpool and will the club avoid relegation in 2010-11?

Whitaker, Blackpool: Ian (Ollie) Holloway, (The Messiah) has gone on record, as saying, he wants us to play like Spain (NOT England) – so fully expect us, to play a passing/attacking game, at every opportunity. 4-3-3 was the order of the day last season – and I don’t see this changing much. We’re here to have fun and enjoy ourselves but  most of all, we’re not here to sit back and invite a thumping – we are going all out, to have a real good go, at some of these big clubs.  Yes! we expect to get mauled, a fair few times along the way but what you WILL see, week in and week out, is 11 honest-to-goodness footballers,  busting a gut, to give it their all.  As a fan – you can’t ask for much more than that.

Matthew, TSG: ….how can you not at least feel a little tug to root for the Tangerine….?
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25 responses to this post.

  1. As a Houston Dynamo fan I first heard of Blackpool last season when some Dynamo and Blackpool fans had gotten together and unofficially adopted each other as sister clubs, due largely in part to our shared “tangerine” kits.

    I’ll be proudly supporting Blackpool this season as they make a run at the big boys. Good luck!

    Reply

  2. Posted by itally on 2010/07/20 at 10:39 PM

    I watched Blackpool in their run to promotion last season, and they played some exciting football. Good luck to them this season!

    Reply

  3. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/21 at 7:05 AM

    It will be a good time at Bloomfield and I bet their fans can’t wait for the many Lancashire derbies – and the bragging rights when they go to school / work on a Monday morning. This is what it’s all about. This must be PNE fans’ worst nightmare!

    Reply

  4. Posted by T-Muck on 2010/07/21 at 7:09 AM

    Great post Matt. I’m now starting to get out of my post World Cup hangover, and get excited for EPL and starting follow again the MLS.

    Maybe its the good old America cheer for the under dog, but I really want to see Blackpool do well, and hopefully stay up. I really want to see this Spanish brand of soccer (minus the dives, I really hate that) really start to dominate the game. Its fun its exciting, there’s no room for ego, or cheep shots. It’s just pure soccer, and its great to watch.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Chris on 2010/07/21 at 7:44 AM

    Sign Bradley and I won’t miss a single game this season (on TV). Best of luck to Blackpool may they enjoy many more years of Premiership football!

    Reply

    • with the internet, you wont ever miss a single game if you wanted to. apparently its sort of illegal, but hell, it makes it even more fun knowing you breaking the law :)

      Reply

  6. Posted by Colin on 2010/07/21 at 8:37 AM

    In following Newcastle in the Championship, I would have to say that I was pulling for a while to see Blackpool get promoted. They did well at the end of the season and made it when some of the season long favorites couldnt hang on.

    The late season run was started with a 5-1 win against one of the stingiest Championship defenses…Swansea…who allowed 2nd fewest goals on the season…only 37 in 46 matches (5 in this one match). Prior to the match, Swansea was 10 points ahead of Blackpool in a fight for the final playoff spot with only 8 matches left to play. Blackpool went on to to win 5 of their next 7 matches and a draw on the final day of the season put them 1 point ahead of Swansea and into 6th place and into the playoffs. I mean come on, how can you NOT pull for a team like that.

    They really do go out every game, and try and take the game to the opposition, no matter who it is. Thats the kind of mentality that I like to see…sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesnt, but at least they give it a go.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Soccernst on 2010/07/21 at 9:16 AM

    Have to say I’ve pulling for Forest to return to former glory since League 1 days. Glad to hear from Blackpool fans who’ve been doing the same, but from further depths. This is the absolute beauty of the relegation promotion system. Emotional roller coaster of heartbreak and jubilation for the long-suffering fan. THIS, will be our year :-)

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/21 at 9:38 AM

      Forest and Boro have to fancy their chances for the automatic spots up for grabs. I thought Forest were going to get promoted last season after the start they had… Just hope you don’t need points on the final day of the season, as you’re away at Selhurst Park!

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/21 at 9:44 AM

        Going to pretty embarrassing for Middlesborough if they don’t get their act in gear this year.

        I mean what do you tell your fans.

        Yes we sold Stuart Downing and Adam Johnson and we have really nothing to show for it.
        That team is too talented not to get promoted.Rhys Williams and David Wheater would have started for the U.S. National team over DeMerit and Bocanegra, Aliadiere, Hoyte, O’Neill, they still have Didier Digard.

        I mean, “C’mon Middlesborough” :>

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/21 at 10:04 AM

          And don’t forget Schwarzer! Is Aliadiere still playing for Boro – he was really promising but had bad luck with injuries? I didn’t like the fact that Boro got rid of Southgate last year when Boro were only one point of the play-off places – and now Strachan is doing his bit for Scottish football by buying loads of Scots (interesting article in today’s Guardian as it happens). Hoyte is good, but his younger brother is supposed to be even better!

          I cannot see Palace getting promoted, but we need a season of stability. But I can see EPL teams picking up our best players for next to nothing…

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/21 at 10:27 AM

            How does that team not stay in the Premiership a few years back?

            Don’t worry, I have the answer for you. Afonso Alves missing something like 10 sitters on the year! Worst purchase….

            Reply

  8. I’m def rooting for blackpool that is when they dont play Spurs. I like the talk of them going for it and not sitting back and parking the bus, even more reason to root for them.

    Reply

  9. Posted by terminallytangerine on 2010/07/21 at 10:51 AM

    Glad to see our American cousins have been made aware of the fairytale that is Blackpool’s rise to the Premiership. Your support is most welcome.

    Reply

  10. Posted by SingingRiver on 2010/07/21 at 11:48 AM

    I’ll be sure to play tangerine by zeppelin before I watch a blackpool game.

    Reply

  11. Posted by Kevin O'Coffey on 2010/07/21 at 2:31 PM

    Fantastic article for a newly promoted side that I admit to knowing next to nothing about. This reads like a “Rick Steves” guide for soccer fans – which is a good thing. Time to try how the pints at Blackpool taste…

    Reply

  12. Posted by dave kitchener on 2010/07/23 at 5:37 AM

    Excellent to see Blackpool receiving attention from the U.S.

    Reply

  13. Posted by Antony Seasider Molloy on 2010/07/23 at 9:03 AM

    Bradley would be an excellent signing and I dont think any fan would not welcome his arrival, speculation about his signing seems to have died down recently but we certainly need somw new faces.

    I’m sure Ollie knows what hes doing heres to a memorable season

    Up the pool

    Reply

  14. Posted by Ade Whitaker on 2010/07/23 at 12:02 PM

    Re: above Q&A, meant to have said – that Blackpool had more ENGLISH World Cup winners, than Chelsea – sorry about that.

    Reply

  15. [...] of the top talent in the world and its teams boast some of the best history. Just last week, TSG had a feature on Blackpool who are newly promoted the [...]

    Reply

  16. [...] for TSG not to root for Blackpool, especially because if any of the Premy newcomers (West Brom, Newcastle, ‘Pool) have a shot [...]

    Reply

  17. Posted by Ade Whitaker on 2010/08/14 at 5:16 PM

    Wigan 0 – 4 Blackpool

    There you go, TSG – early days yet but attacking, passing play, as promised. :)

    Big test, at Arsenal next Saturday.

    Reply

  18. [...] few weeks ago we did a profile on Blackpool. If you don’t know much about the west England club check it [...]

    Reply

  19. Posted by terminallytangerine on 2010/08/15 at 3:47 PM

    The last time Blackpool were this good Hitler invaded Poland and ruined our season!

    A great start for the seasiders and a glorious day out. Blackpool has without doubt the most colourful, loud and enthusiastic fans in the UK and one of the best managers in the Premier League!

    It’s going to be one hell of a ride this season!

    Come on the mighty!

    Terminallytangerine

    If you want to follow Blackpool on the internet the best site is one called avftt
    Another View From The Tower

    Reply

    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/08/15 at 5:45 PM

      Colourful is damn right…..and you wouldnt by any chance happen to know what atdhe stands for would you?

      Reply

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