|Full name||Blackpool Football Club|
|Founded||26 July 1887|
|Ground||Bloomfield Road, Blackpool|
|2017–18||League One, 12th of 24|
Blackpool F.C. is a professional association football club in the seaside town of Blackpool, Lancashire, England, which competes in League One, the third tier of English football. Founded in 1887, Blackpool's home ground since 1901 has been Bloomfield Road.
Blackpool won the 1953 FA Cup Final, the so-called "Matthews Final", in which they beat Bolton Wanderers 4–3, overturning a 1–3 deficit in the closing stages of the game. Blackpool made three FA Cup Final appearances in six years between 1948 and 1953 and in the 1950s had four top-six finishes in the Football League First Division, their best position being runners-up to Manchester United in 1955–56. In 1953, four Blackpool players were in the England team which lost against Hungary at Wembley.
Blackpool won promotion to the Premier League in 2009–10, becoming the first club in English football to have won promotion from every division of the Football League via the play-off system. They have a local rivalry with Preston North End, and matches between the two clubs are known as the West Lancashire derby.
- 1 History
- 2 Rivalry
- 3 Stadium
- 4 Players
- 5 Managers
- 6 League history
- 7 Honours
- 8 Records
- 9 Kits
- 10 Supporters
- 11 Blackpool F.C. Ladies
- 12 Media
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Formation and early years
Football had developed in Blackpool by 1877 when Victoria F.C. were founded as a church club with a ground in Caunce Street. This team disbanded a few years later but some of its members are understood to have merged with old boys from St John's School to form a new club called Blackpool St John's. But the two factions remained disunited and, on 26 July 1887, at a meeting in the Stanley Arms public house, the members resolved to wind up St John's and form a new club to represent the whole town called Blackpool Football Club.
At the conclusion of the following 1888–89 season, Blackpool became founder members of the Lancashire League. In their first season in the competition, the club finished fifth out of the 13 member clubs. They finished as runners-up over the following three seasons (to Bury twice and Liverpool once), before winning the championship themselves on their fourth attempt.
Blackpool's home at that point in time was Raikes Hall (also known as the Royal Palace Gardens), which was part of a large entertainment complex that included a theatre and a boating lake, amongst other attractions. This meant that the club's average attendances were around the 2000 mark, making the club's formative years a financial success.
After struggling to repeat the success of the 1893–94 season, the Blackpool board decided it was time to leave local football behind, so on 13 May 1896 the club became a limited company and applied for entry to the Football League.
Their application was successful, and for the club's debut season, 1896–97, they joined the 16-team Second Division. Blackpool's first-ever Football League game took place on 5 September 1896, at Lincoln City, which they lost 3–1 in front of around 1,500 spectators.
For the 1897–98 campaign, the club played their home games at the Athletic Grounds (at the present-day Stanley Park). They remained there for the first seven home games of 1898–99, before returning to Raikes Hall for the remaining 10.
After finishing third-bottom, the club were not re-elected at the end of the 1898–99 season, and spent the 1899–1900 term back in the Lancashire League. They finished third, and after the Football League's annual meeting, on 25 May 1900, were permitted back into Division Two. It was during this season out of the League that Blackpool amalgamated with local rivals South Shore and moved to Bloomfield Road.
Early 20th century
During the 10 seasons that followed, Blackpool could finish no higher than 12th place. The club's top goalscorers in the league included Bob Birkett (ten goals in 1900–01), Geordie Anderson (12 goals in 1901–02) and Bob Whittingham (13 in 1908–09).
It was a case of as-you-were, however, for the four seasons leading up to the First World War, with finishing positions of 14th, 20th, 16th and 10th. For the last of those seasons, Joe Lane netted 28 goals.
The outbreak of war forced the cancellation of League football for four years, during which time regional competitions were introduced. When normality resumed, in 1919–20, Blackpool had appointed their first full-time manager in the form of Bill Norman. Norman guided the club to fourth-placed finishes in his first two league seasons in charge (he was installed as manager during the final inter-war season), with Lane again netting close to 30 goals in the former.
The club's form nosedived in the 1921–22 season, with a finishing position of 19th, before bouncing back to a fifth-placed finish the following campaign. Harry Bedford, who had joined the club from Nottingham Forest, was the country's top league scorer, with 32 goals to his name.
Bedford repeated the feat the following season, this time under the watchful eye of new manager Frank Buckley, who replaced Bill Norman after his four years of service. Blackpool finished fourth in Buckley's first season in charge.
The 1924–25 season was not as successful; a 17th-placed finish tempered only slightly by the club's reaching the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time. A single-goal defeat at fellow Lancastrians Blackburn Rovers ended the Seasiders' run.
Buckley guided Blackpool to top-10 finishes in his final two seasons as manager – with Billy Tremelling's thirty goals in the latter helping considerably – before he left to take the helm at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Harry Evans was installed as the new Blackpool manager, in an honorary capacity, for the 1928–29 campaign. Due in no small part to Jimmy Hampson's 40 goals, the club finished eighth. In his second season, Evans guided Blackpool to the Division Two championship (their only championship to date), finishing ahead of promotion rivals Chelsea and Oldham Athletic by three and four points respectively. Hampson had bagged 45 of the club's 98 league goals.
Blackpool lasted only three seasons in the First Division. Two third-bottom finishes were followed by a last-placed finish, and the club returned to the Second Division.
The club's relegation prompted the Blackpool board to install a recognised manager, and they opted for Sandy MacFarlane. MacFarlane occupied the Bloomfield Road hot seat for just two seasons, in which the club finished 11th and 4th. MacFarlane's final season, 1934–35, marked Jimmy Hampson's eighth successive (and final) season as Blackpool's top League goalscorer.
Joe Smith was appointed Blackpool's sixth manager in August 1935, a role in which he remained for the next 23 years.
The club finished tenth in Smith's first season, with Bobby Finan taking over from Hampson as top scorer, with 34 goals. It was Smith's second season in charge, however, that marked the starting point of the success to come. Blackpool finished the 1936–37 season as runners-up in the Second Division to Leicester City and were promoted back to the First Division.
Two seasons of Division One football were played before the Second World War intervened. Blackpool sat atop the table at the time the abandonment occurred. Regional competitions were implemented again between 1939 and 1945. For the 1945–46 season, after the war's conclusion, Blackpool spent one season in the Football League North.
Post-Second World War
Scottish defender Hugh Kelly had arrived at Blackpool in 1943, as had fellow defender Tommy Garrett in 1942. Forward Stan Mortensen joined the club after the war in 1946. Mortensen went on to become Blackpool's top League goalscorer for the next nine seasons, sharing the honour with Allan Brown in 1952–53. Stanley Matthews, who became a regular source of goals for Mortensen, joined Blackpool in 1947, as did centre-forward Jackie Mudie. Goalkeeper George Farm signed in 1948, followed by outside-left Bill Perry in 1949. Kelly, Garrett, Matthews, Mudie, Farm and Perry would play with the club throughout the 1950s, the most successful decade in the club's history.
For the first and only time in the club's history, four Blackpool players (Johnston, Matthews, Mortensen and debutant Ernie Taylor) represented England in the infamous 6–3 defeat by Hungary at Wembley on 25 November 1953. Of the four, only Matthews would ever represent his country again.
In 1955–56, and now captained by Kelly, Blackpool attained their highest-ever League finish: runners-up to Manchester United, despite losing their final four league games. It was a feat that could not be matched or bettered over the following two seasons, with fourth and seventh-placed finishes, and Smith left Blackpool as the club's most successful and longest-serving manager.
Smith was succeeded, in May 1958, by Ron Suart, the first former Seasiders player to return to the club as manager. In his first season, he led the club to eighth in the First Division and the sixth round of the FA Cup. A 23-year-old Ray Charnley topped the club's goalscoring chart with 20, in his first season as a professional, and went on to repeat the feat for seven of the eight seasons that followed.
The League Cup came into existence in 1960–61. Blackpool were knocked out in the second round, the round in which they entered. The club's First Division status came under threat, but they managed to avoid relegation by one point, at the expense of Newcastle United. Local arch-rivals Preston North End were the other club to make the drop.
In October 1961, Matthews, now aged 46, was sold back to Stoke City. Mid-table finishes in 1961–62 and 1962–63 (and an appearance in the League Cup semi-finals during the former) were offset by another lowly finish of 18th in 1963–64, with Alan Ball top-scoring with thirteen goals. Much of the same ensued over the following two seasons, before relegation finally occurred in 1966–67. Blackpool finished bottom of the table, eight points adrift of fellow demotion victims Aston Villa. Suart had resigned four months before the end of the season. His replacement was another former Blackpool player, Stan Mortensen.
Late 20th century
Mortensen picked up the pieces for the club's first season back in the Second Division in 30 years, guiding them to a third-placed finish. They had gone into the final game of the season at Huddersfield Town knowing that a win would likely secure a return to the First Division. They won 3–1, but once the premature celebrations had ended, they discovered that their nearest rivals, Queens Park Rangers, had scored a last-minute winner at Aston Villa. Q.P.R. were promoted by virtue of a better goal-average: 1.86, to Blackpool's 1.65.
At the end of the following 1968–69 campaign, the Blackpool board made the decision to sack Mortensen after just over two years in the job. Their decision was met by fans with shock and anger, as Mortensen was as popular a manager as he was a player.
Les Shannon, who spent the majority of his playing career with Blackpool's Lancashire rivals Burnley, was installed as manager for the 1969–70 season. In his first season, he succeeded where Mortensen had failed, by guiding the club back to the top flight as runners-up behind Huddersfield Town. Their promotion had been sealed after the penultimate game of the season, a 3–0 victory at rivals Preston North End, courtesy of a Fred Pickering hat-trick. The result effectively relegated the hosts to the Third Division.
As quickly as Shannon had taken Blackpool up, he saw them return whence they came. The club finished at the foot of the table and were relegated back to Division Two, along with Burnley. Before the season's conclusion, Shannon was briefly replaced in a caretaker-manager capacity by Jimmy Meadows, who in turn was permanently replaced by Bob Stokoe. On 12 June 1971, well over a month after the conclusion of the League season, Blackpool won the Anglo-Italian Cup with a 2–1 victory over Bologna in the final. This was achieved without the services of Jimmy Armfield, who retired in May after 17 years and 627 appearances for the club.
Blackpool finished amongst the top 10 teams in the Second Division for six consecutive seasons, under three different managers: Stokoe, Harry Potts and Allan Brown. Twice Blackpool narrowly missed promotion to Division One, by two points in 1974 and one point in 1977.
In February 1978, midway through 1977–78, Brown's second season at the helm, Blackpool were seventh in the division. Having just beaten local rivals Blackburn Rovers 5–2, Brown was sacked by chairman Billy Cartmell for personal reasons. The team won only one more game that season, which ended with their relegation to the Division Three for the first time in their history.
On 1 April 1978, with six games to go, Blackpool were in eighth place, nine points off the third relegation slot. On 25 April, with one game to go, Blackpool were 14th, three points above Cardiff City in the third relegation slot. Four days later, Blackpool completed their programme and were 16th with 37 points – two points clear of Leyton Orient in the third relegation slot, with a vastly superior goal difference (−1, which was four better than fifth-placed Blackburn Rovers). At that point, all the teams below Blackpool still had games to play, apart from bottom placed Hull City. The bottom of the Division Two table read:
The only other team in the division with games to play was Notts County, in fourteenth place with 38 points.
After Millwall achieved safety by beating already-relegated Mansfield Town, the three remaining fixtures were Cardiff City v. Notts County, Leyton Orient v. Charlton Athletic, and Cardiff City v. Leyton Orient. Only one combination from the 27 possible outcomes of those three games would have resulted in all three teams getting more than 37 points and Blackpool being relegated. Inevitably, Cardiff City beat Notts County, Leyton Orient drew with Charlton and, in the final match, Leyton Orient, who up to that point had only won one away game all season, and had lost six out of their previous eight away games, with no wins, beat now-safe Cardiff City, who had lost only two home games all season and had won six out of their previous seven homes games, with no defeats. Blackpool were relegated with 37 points (the seven teams above them all having 38 ), and were not to return to the second tier for 29 years:
Bob Stokoe returned for a second stint as manager for the 1978–79 campaign, at the end of which Blackpool finished mid-table. Stokoe resigned during the summer.
Stan Ternent became Blackpool's seventh manager in nine years, only to be replaced in February 1980 by Alan Ball, the popular former Blackpool midfielder who left the club for Everton 14 years earlier. Ball himself only lasted a year in the job, and departed when the club were relegated to the League's basement division.
Allan Brown had taken over from Ball in February 1981, and he remained in charge for the following 1981–82 term. Blackpool finished twelfth in their first season in Division Four; however, unable to handle the pressure of the job, Brown resigned during the close season.
Sam Ellis took over from Brown in June 1982, three years after he finished his playing career with Watford. His first season saw Blackpool finish 21st, with Dave Bamber topping the club's goalscoring chart for the second consecutive season with ten strikes.
The club managed to finish in the top half of the table for their first three seasons in the Third Division, but slipped to 19th in Ellis's seventh and final season in charge.
On 17 April 1986, the board of directors, after an emergency meeting, put the club on the market after councillors rejected plans to sell Bloomfield Road for a supermarket site in a £35 million redevelopment scheme. The club was then sold to the controversial Owen Oyston for £1.
Graham Carr replaced Mullen, but his spell in the manager's seat was even shorter – just four months. He was sacked in November 1990 with Blackpool in 18th place.
Carr's replacement was his assistant, Billy Ayre. Ayre guided the team to a fifth-placed finish and qualification for the play-offs. They lost only five of their 30 league games that remained at the time of Ayre's appointment. The run included 13 consecutive home league wins in an eventual 24–game unbeaten run at Bloomfield Road. The run was extended to 15 consecutive home wins at the start of the 1991–92 campaign, which remains the club record.
After beating Scunthorpe United in the two-legged semi-finals of the play-offs, Blackpool lost to Torquay United in the Wembley final, on penalties after the score was tied 2–2 after regular and extra time (see Blackpool F.C. season 1990-91#Final).
The following 1991–92 season finished with Blackpool in fourth place, missing out on automatic promotion by one point, which meant another play-offs experience. This time they met Barnet in the semi-finals and won 2–1 on aggregate. They returned to Wembley, where they faced Scunthorpe United in the final, the team they knocked out of the play-offs 12 months earlier. Again the score was tied at the end of regular and extra time, but Blackpool were victorious in the penalty shootout and booked their place in the new Division Two (third tier).
Blackpool struggled in their first term back in the third tier of English football but pulled to safety in 18th place by the end. In late 1993 they were as high as fourth but tumbled down the table in the second half of that season to miss the drop by a whisker in 20th, avoiding relegation by virtue of a 4–1 victory over Leyton Orient on the final day of the season. Ayre was sacked in the summer of 1994 and was replaced by Sam Allardyce.
The 1995–96 season saw Blackpool finish third and claim a place in the play-offs for the third time in six seasons. In the semi-finals, Blackpool travelled to Bradford City and won 2–0. Three days later, they hosted the Yorkshiremen at Bloomfield Road and lost 3–0. Blackpool remained in Division Two, and Allardyce was sacked not long afterwards.
In 1996, owner Owen Oyston was convicted of the rape of a 16-year-old girl. Former Norwich City manager Gary Megson replaced Allardyce, and attained a seventh-placed finish in his only season in charge. Nigel Worthington succeeded Megson in the summer of 1997, and in the Northern Irishman's two full campaigns in the hot seat, Blackpool finished 12th and 14th. Worthington resigned towards the end of the 1999–2000 season, and his seat was filled by the former Liverpool and England midfielder Steve McMahon.
McMahon arrived too late to save the club from relegation to the Third Division (fourth tier) after a 22nd-placed finish in the table. In his first full season in charge, Blackpool were promoted to Division Two by winning the play-offs. The following season the club received its then record outgoing transfer fee; £1.75million from Southampton for Brett Ormerod, eclipsing the £600,000 QPR paid for Trevor Sinclair eight years earlier. They also gained the first of two Football League Trophy wins in 2002 as Blackpool beat Cambridge United 4–1 at the Millennium Stadium. Their second win was in 2004, this time beating Southend United 2–0 again in Cardiff. In the summer following the Trophy win, McMahon resigned, believing he could not take the club any further with the budget he was being offered. Colin Hendry became the new manager, but was replaced by Simon Grayson in November 2005 after an unsuccessful stint which left Blackpool languishing just above the relegation zone of League One (third tier).
In the 2006–07 FA Cup Blackpool reached the fourth round for the first time in seventeen years, after beating Aldershot Town 4–2 at Bloomfield Road, but were knocked out by Norwich City, 3–2 after a replay at Carrow Road. They finished in third place, and qualified for the play-offs, and as top scorers in League One with 76 goals. After beating Oldham Athletic 5–2 on aggregate in the semi-final they met Yeovil Town in the final at the new Wembley Stadium, their first appearance at England's national stadium in 15 years. Blackpool won 2–0, a club-record tenth consecutive victory, and were promoted to the Championship in their 100th overall season in the Football League. The promotion marked their return to English football's second tier for the first time in 29 years.
Blackpool knocked Premier League side Derby County out of the League Cup at the second-round stage on 28 August 2007. The match ended 1–1 after 90 minutes and 2–2 after extra time. The Seasiders won the resulting penalty shootout 7–6. On 25 September, Blackpool beat Southend United 2–1 after extra time to reach the fourth round for the first time in 35 years. They were drawn away to Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur in the last sixteen, a match they lost 2–0. Tottenham went on to win the competition.
On 23 December 2008, Simon Grayson left the club to join League One club Leeds United after just over three years in charge at Bloomfield Road. Under the guidance of Grayson's assistant, Tony Parkes, in a caretaker manager capacity, Blackpool finished the 2008–09 campaign in 16th place. Parkes left the club on 18 May 2009 after a meeting with chairman Karl Oyston about finances.
On 21 May 2009, Ian Holloway was appointed as manager, signing a one-year contract with the club with an option of a further year. On 31 July it was announced that club president Valeri Belokon was setting up a new transfer fund, into which he was adding a "considerable amount" to invest in new players identified by Holloway. Four days later Blackpool broke their transfer record by signing Charlie Adam from Scottish champions Rangers for £500,000, eclipsing the £275,000 paid to Millwall for Chris Malkin in 1996.
Blackpool finished the 2009–10 regular season in sixth place in the Championship, their highest finish in the Football League since 1970–71, and claimed a spot in the play-offs. On 2 May 2010, the 57th anniversary of Blackpool's FA Cup Final victory, Blackpool hosted Bristol City for the final League game of the season. They needed to match or better Swansea City's result in their match at home to Doncaster Rovers. Both matches ended in draws, with Swansea's Lee Trundle having a late goal disallowed for handball, which meant Blackpool secured the remaining play-off place.
On 8 May, Blackpool beat Nottingham Forest 2–1 at Bloomfield Road in the semi-final first leg. Three days later, they beat them 4–3 (6–4 on aggregate) at the City Ground in the second leg to progress to the final (their third in ten seasons) against Cardiff. The result meant Blackpool had beaten Forest in all four of the clubs' meetings in 2009–10.
Blackpool defeated Cardiff City 3–2 on 22 May in the Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium to earn promotion to the Premier League. It was Blackpool's debut appearance in the Premier League in its 18-year existence and their first appearance in English football's top flight in 39 years. Blackpool had now, uniquely, been promoted through all three tiers of the Football League via the play-off system. Furthermore, they have won all nine play-off games they have been involved in during the 10 seasons between 2001 and 2010. The fixture was dubbed "the richest game in football", because the victorious club would receive a £90 million windfall. It was more than double the £36 million that the winners of the Champions League received.
On 24 May, a promotion parade was held along Blackpool's promenade for the club's personnel, who travelled on an open-top double decker bus from Gynn Square down the Golden Mile to the Waterloo Headland. The police estimated that about 100,000 people lined the route. At the Headland, the manager and squad took to a stage to address the gathered mass crowd. "This is the most unbelievable moment of my life," said Ian Holloway. "I've jumped on the best ride of my life and I don't want to go home."
Premier League campaign: 2010–11
In their first-ever Premier League match on 14 August 2010, Blackpool defeated Wigan Athletic 4–0 at the DW Stadium. The result saw the Seasiders at the top of the entire English football pyramid until Chelsea's 6���0 victory over West Bromwich Albion later in the day. It was the first time they had been in such a position since they won their opening game of the 1957–58 top-flight campaign. The initial fixture list had the game being played at Bloomfield Road, but the Premier League allowed the fixture to be reversed because construction work on Bloomfield Road's East Stand had not been completed in time.
On 27 January 2011, the Premier League fined Blackpool £25,000 for fielding what they believed to be a weakened team against Aston Villa on 10 November. Ian Holloway, who initially threatened to resign if punishment was dealt, had made 10 changes to the team for the fixture. The club had 14 days to appeal against the decision but chose not to, with Karl Oyston saying that if the punishment was upheld there was a threat of a point deduction and an increase in the fine.
On 22 May 2011, exactly 365 days after their promotion, Blackpool were relegated back to the Championship after losing 4–2 at champions Manchester United on the final day of the season, though results elsewhere also impacted the final league standings. Despite predictions that they "wouldn't get 10 points," Blackpool took 39 from their 38 games, including home and away victories over Liverpool, consecutive away wins at Stoke City and Sunderland, and a home victory over Tottenham Hotspur. Seven of their 10 overall wins were obtained before the new year, and at the end of 2010 they sat in eighth place; however, seven defeats in the opening eight fixtures of 2011 saw them drop down the table. The next match, a draw at home Aston Villa, left them in 15th, their lowest placing of the campaign to date. Another run of defeats – this time five in six – put them in the relegation zone for the first time. They climbed out of the bottom three, at the expense of Wigan Athletic, with successive home draws against Newcastle United and Stoke City. Blackpool dropped back into the relegation zone after conceding a late equaliser to draw at Tottenham, switching places with Wolves; they were level on points with Wigan and three ahead of bottom club West Ham United.
A victory, their first in three months, over Bolton Wanderers, in their penultimate league fixture, was not enough to change the position as Wolves won at Sunderland. Blackpool went to Old Trafford for the final match and were leading 2–1 12 minutes into the second half, but Manchester United, who were crowned champions a week earlier, took control and won 4–2 to condemn 19th-placed Blackpool to relegation along with Birmingham City and West Ham United.
July 2011 – May 2017
In July 2011, Blackpool smashed their outgoing transfer record when Charlie Adam signed for Liverpool in a £7-million deal. A portion of these funds was used to bring former Scotland, Rangers, Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham captain Barry Ferguson to Bloomfield Road, where he once again assumed the armband from his fellow Scot, Adam.
On 9 May 2012, Blackpool secured their place in the Championship play-off final in their second consecutive season in the division after beating Birmingham City 3–2 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
They met West Ham United in the final at Wembley on 19 May, losing 2–1, conceding a last gasp goal to West Ham's Ricardo Vaz Te, their first play-off final reversal in 21 years.
On 3 November 2012, Ian Holloway decided to leave Blackpool after accepting an offer from fellow Championship club Crystal Palace to be their manager. He was replaced four days later by Michael Appleton, who left League 1 side Portsmouth to take up the position; however, after being in charge for just two months, Appleton left for Lancashire neighbours Blackburn Rovers, becoming the shortest-serving manager in their history.
On 18 February, after just over a month without an appointment, the club made former England captain Paul Ince their third manager of the campaign. It was under Ince that the club made their best-ever start to a league season. Their victory at Bournemouth on 14 September 2013 gave them 16 points out of a possible 18. The sequence of results was two wins, a draw, and three wins. This was countered by a run of nine defeats in ten games, which resulted in Ince being sacked on 21 January 2014, eleven months into his tenure.
Barry Ferguson was named caretaker manager upon Ince's dismissal. Of Ferguson's twenty league games in charge, Blackpool won just three and finished the 2013–14 season in 20th place. On 11 June 2014, almost five months after Paul Ince's dismissal, the club appointed Belgian José Riga as manager. He was Blackpool's first overseas manager.
Prior to the start of the 2014–15 season Blackpool suffered a major crisis with some 27 players leaving the club; just two weeks before the season started, the club had only eight outfield players and no goalkeeper. Riga was able to assemble a squad in time for Blackpool's first game against Nottingham Forest, but could still only name four substitutes instead of the permitted seven. Blackpool lost the match 2–0.
On 6 April 2015, with six league fixtures remaining, Blackpool were relegated to League One. On 2 May 2015, the final match of the Championship season against Huddersfield Town was abandoned in the 48th minute following an on-pitch protest by hundreds of Blackpool supporters protesting about the actions and management style of the directors and owners. The Football League subsequently declared the result the 0–0 scoreline it was at the time of abandonment, which meant Blackpool finished the season with 26 points.
In May 2016, a second-successive relegation occurred, which put Blackpool in the bottom tier of English professional football for the first time in 15 years. Less than two weeks later, Neil McDonald was sacked as manager. He was replaced by Gary Bowyer, the club's eighth manager in three-and-a-half years. Bowyer resigned in August 2018 after two years in charge.
In May 2017, Blackpool won promotion to League One after beating Exeter City 2–1 at Wembley in the play-off final. The victory meant that Blackpool became the most successful side in English play-off history, winning their fifth final.
On 13 February 2019, the football club was put into receivership by the High Court, which will force Owen Oyston to pay ex-director Valeri Belokon the £25m he is owed. The receiver will be tasked with discharging some of Oyston's assets, as well as Blackpool Football Club (Properties) Ltd, which owns the football club. The ruling could possibly result in the club being deducted 12 points, which will be discussed by the EFL on 6 March 2019.
Blackpool's primary rivalry is with Preston North End, and the West Lancashire derby between the two clubs has been contested nearly 100 times across all four divisions of the Football League, including the old First Division. They have yet to meet in the top flight under the Premier League format (Blackpool reached it in 2010; Preston have yet to). In 2011, the Blackpool-supporting executive producer of Channel 4 quiz show Countdown, Damian Eadie, arranged the conundrum "PRICINESS" to be scrambled as "PNECRISIS", coming after supporters at both clubs took turns mocking each other at the prospect of Preston's relegation to League One.
Blackpool have played their home games at Bloomfield Road since 1901. The stadium's capacity at the beginning of the 2012–13 season was 17,338, all-seated.
In the summer of 2010, work was done on the stadium to prepare for the club's debut season in the Premier League. A new 5,120-capacity temporary East Stand was built, together with improvements to the floodlighting, media and medical facilities and the dugouts. Painting work was also done on the Stanley Matthews (West) Stand and the Mortensen Kop (North Stand). A new video screen was also installed. A new South Stand named after Jimmy Armfield was opened in 2010 with 3,600 seats. From the first home game in the Premier League, against Fulham on 28 August 2010, the capacity was 16,220, the highest at Bloomfield Road in 30 years.
In the 2011–12 season, the south east corner between the Armfield Stand and the temporary East Stand was filled with an additional 500 seats, the area also incorporating the BFC Hotel, which welcomed its first guests at the end of June 2012. It was officially opened on 26 July 2012, the club's 125th anniversary. The hotel has a four-star rating, although the source of the accreditation is not specified on its website. It also houses a conference centre. Since the 2015–16 season, the East Stand has been closed to fans.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
With the first team promoted to the Premier League, for the 2010–11 season the reserves competed in the Premier Reserve League. They were in North Group B, with Blackburn Rovers, Everton, Liverpool and Sunderland. At the end of the campaign, the club withdrew from reserve league football, preferring to play such games behind closed doors.
Youth team and Centre of Excellence
The youth team competes in the Football League Youth Alliance, North West Conference. They are also eligible to enter the FA Youth Cup and the Lancashire FA Youth Cup, which they won in the 2007–08 season. In the final, on 28 April 2008, they beat Wigan Athletic 2–0 at Bloomfield Road. They also won the Lancashire FA Youth Cup in the 1985–86 season. Youth team players can also play in the club's reserve team.
Players to have come through the Blackpool youth team include Danny Coid, who served the club for 13 years. Other players to have progressed through the ranks include Danny Mitchley, who made his first-team debut in the 2008–09 season, as well as Ashley Eastham Louis Almond and Hyojae Park, both of whom made their first-team debuts in the 2009–10 season (Almond made his debut whilst still being a member of the youth team). Former Premier League players Trevor Sinclair, Paul Stewart and Alan Wright were also products of the Blackpool youth department. Others include Matthew Blinkhorn, John Hills, Clarke Carlisle and Rickie Lambert.
The head of the youth department is John Hills, who replaced fellow ex-Blackpool player Gary Parkinson in August 2011. Parkinson suffered a stroke in September 2010. Another former Tangerine, Phil Clarkson, is the under-15s coach.
The club also has a Centre of Excellence, managed by Garreth Barker, with boys teams in age ranges from under-9s to under-16s. The Centre of Excellence runs development centres in Preston and Lytham St Annes. They also have two partner clubs: Isle of Man Football League side Union Mills and Thornton-Cleveleys of the West Lancashire Football League.
Nine players spent their entire professional playing careers with Blackpool:
|Bob Birkett||1896–1906 (10)||215||44|
|Edward Threlfall||1900–1911 (11)||320||11|
|John Charles||1912–1924 (12)||228||30|
|Bert Tulloch||1914–1924 (10)||178||0|
|Harry Johnston||1934–1955 (21)||398||11|
|Hugh Kelly||1943–1960 (17)||428||8|
|Jimmy Armfield||1954–1971 (17)||569||6|
|Glyn James||1960–1975 (15)||399||22|
|Mike Davies||1984–1995 (11)||310||16|
Blackpool have had 47 full-international representatives. Their first was Fred Griffiths, for Wales, in 1900. Their most recent was Henry Cameron, for New Zealand, in 2015. In 1996, Northern Ireland's James Quinn became the club's first player in sixteen years to be selected for a full international; the last being Derek Spence.
- Many players won additional caps with other clubs, but the totals given below apply solely to appearances made while with Blackpool.
- As of 18 October 2016
- Northern Ireland
Prior to 1924, there was only one Irish national team. In that year, the Republic of Ireland began playing separate matches, and that position is reflected here.
- New Zealand
- Republic of Ireland
- Costa Rica
|José Miguel Cubero||2014–||1||0|
Hall of Fame
The Blackpool F.C. Hall of Fame was established on 22 August 2006, with a plaque unveiled by Jimmy Armfield. Organised by the Blackpool Supporters Association, Blackpool fans around the world voted on their all-time heroes. Five players per decade are inducted.
PFA Team of the Year
Seven players have been included in the PFA Team of the Year whilst playing for Blackpool.
- 2003: Martin Bullock (Second Division)
- 2004: Richie Wellens, Scott Taylor (Second Division)
- 2007: Wes Hoolahan (League One)
- 2010: Charlie Adam (The Championship)
- 2012: Matt Phillips (The Championship)
- 2013: Tom Ince (The Championship)
- 2017: Kelvin Mellor (League Two)
Football League 100 Legends
The Football League 100 Legends is a list of "100 legendary football players" produced by The Football League in 1998 to celebrate the 100th season of League football. Five former Blackpool players were included in the list.
Blackpool's training ground is located in the Squires Gate area of Blackpool's South Shore. It has been used, with minimal upkeep, since the 1940s. It was described by Blackpool manager Ian Holloway as a "hell hole" in 2009, shortly after which chairman Karl Oyston pledged to build a new facility. "We are never going back to our training ground again," explained Holloway. "Every player this club has ever had hates it, and every player we have is frightened of it. It is a horrible environment to work in." In 2009, with the training ground frozen, Holloway attempted to train on Blackpool's beach, but that too was iced over. An initial plan was to use the facilities of Fylde Rugby Club, but training is still held at the two-pitch Squires Gate, however, and no development has come to fruition.
In August 2014, former Blackpool defender Alex Baptiste reminisced on his time at Squires Gate: "No balls in training, having to run on the beach because the pitch had been frozen for two weeks, no food after training, leaks in the Portacabins, having to buy our own weights – just random stuff like that! It was definitely an experience!"
There have been 35 full-time managers of Blackpool (including repeat appointments). The longest-serving manager was Joe Smith, who occupied the role for 23 years; Michael Appleton, meanwhile, lasted only 65 days in the role. The club has, on average, appointed a new manager just under every three years.
In 2014, Jose Riga became the club's first foreign manager.
- The statistics in the table below account for Football League and Premier League games only. Play-off games are excluded.
- As of 29 September 2016
|Tom Barcroft1 (secretary-manager)||1903||1909||220||61||55||104||27.73|
|Jack Cox1 (player-manager)||1909||1911||76||30||18||28||39.47|
|Bill Norman2||c. 1 August 1918||c. 31 May 1923||168||74||36||58||44.05|
|No manager||c. 31 May 1923||5 October 1923||8||1||5||2||12.50|
|Major Frank Buckley||6 October 1923||c. 31 May 1927||160||66||36||58||41.25|
|Sydney Beaumont||c. 1 August 1927||c. 31 May 1928||42||13||8||21||30.95|
|Harry Evans (honorary manager)||c. 1 August 1928||c. 31 May 1933||210||83||35||92||39.52||Division Two championship (1929–30)|
|Sandy MacFarlane||1 July 1933||31 July 1935||84||36||24||24||42.86|
|Joe Smith||c. 1 August 1935||30 April 1958||672||288||155||229||42.86||Promotion to Division One (1936–37), FA Cup (1953)|
|Ron Suart1||1 May 1958||1 February 1967||363||116||91||156||31.96|
|Stan Mortensen1||1 February 1967||April 1969||99||40||27||32||40.40|
|Harry Johnston (caretaker manager)||April 1969||April 1969||?||?||?||?||??.??|
|Les Shannon||1 May 1969||26 October 1970||56||22||17||17||39.29||Promotion to Division One (1969–70)|
|Jimmy Meadows (caretaker manager)||26 October 1970||20 December 1970||8||1||1||6||12.50|
|Bob Stokoe||20 December 1970||23 November 1972||80||28||24||28||35.00||1971 Anglo-Italian Cup|
|No manager||23 November 1972||1 January 1973||7||4||0||3||57.14|
|Harry Potts||1 January 1973||5 May 1976||143||52||47||44||36.36|
|Allan Brown1||5 May 1976||6 February 1978||69||28||23||18||40.58|
|Bobby Smith (caretaker manager)||6 February 1978||7 March 1978||2||0||1||1||00.00|
|Jimmy Meadows (caretaker manager) (second time)||7 March 1978||20 May 1978||13||1||6||6||07.69|
|Bob Stokoe (second time)||20 May 1978||17 August 1979||46||18||9||19||39.13|
|Stan Ternent||19 September 1979||1 February 1980||29||9||7||13||31.03|
|Freddie Scott (caretaker manager)||February 1980||February 1980||?||?||?||?||??.??|
|Alan Ball1||February 1980||28 February 1981||51||13||14||24||25.49|
|Allan Brown1 (second time)||1 March 1981||31 May 1982||58||17||17||24||29.31|
|Sam Ellis||1 June 1982||28 March 1989||311||117||89||105||37.62||Promotion to Division Three (1984–85)|
|Jimmy Mullen (caretaker manager)||28 March 1989||20 May 1989||11||5||1||5||45.45|
|Jimmy Mullen||20 May 1989||30 April 1990||45||10||16||19||22.22|
|Tom White1 (caretaker manager)||30 April 1990||11 June 1990||1||0||0||1||00.00|
|Graham Carr||11 June 1990||30 November 1990||16||5||3||8||31.25|
|Billy Ayre||30 November 1990||10 June 1994||164||68||37||59||41.46||Promotion to (new) Division Two (1991–92)|
|Sam Allardyce||19 July 1994||29 May 1996||92||41||23||28||44.57|
|Gary Megson||5 July 1996||1 July 1997||46||18||15||13||39.13|
|Nigel Worthington1||8 July 1997||23 December 1999||113||34||32||47||30.09|
|Mike Hennigan &
Mike Davies1 (temporary managers)
|23 December 1999||7 January 2000||3||0||1||2||00.00|
|Steve McMahon||7 January 2000||6 June 2004||206||72||53||81||34.95||Promotion to Division Two (2000–01), League Trophy (2002 and 2004)|
|Colin Hendry1||7 June 2004||10 November 2005||62||18||19||25||29.03|
|Simon Grayson1 (caretaker manager)||10 November 2005||5 June 2006||30||9||10||11||30.00|
|Simon Grayson1||5 August 2006||23 December 2008||116||43||37||36||37.06||Promotion to The Championship (2006–07)|
|Tony Parkes (caretaker manager)||24 December 2008||18 May 2009||22||6||9||7||27.27|
|Ian Holloway||21 May 2009||3 November 2012||143||54||40||49||37.76||Promotion to the Premier League (2009–10)|
|Steve Thompson (caretaker manager)||3 November 2012||7 November 2012||2||1||0||1||50|
|Michael Appleton||7 November 2012||11 January 2013||11||2||7||2||18.18|
|Steve Thompson (caretaker manager)||11 January 2013||18 February 2013||6||2||0||4||33.33|
|Paul Ince||18 February 2013||21 January 2014||40||12||15||13||30|
|Barry Ferguson1 (caretaker manager)||21 January 2014||3 May 2014||20||3||5||12||15|
|José Riga||11 June 2014||27 October 2014||14||1||3||10||7.14|
|Lee Clark||30 October 2014||9 May 2015||32||3||11||18||9.38|
|Neil McDonald||2 June 2015||18 May 2016||14||4||4||6||28.57|
|Gary Bowyer||1 June 2016||6 August 2018||115||42||40||33||36.52||Promotion to League One (2016–17)|
|Terry McPhillips||since 2018||-||-||-||-||Totals||4,634||1,678||1,193||1,763||36.21|
Blackpool have played 111 seasons in English league football. 29 of these have been spent in the first tier (1) (most recently in 2010–11), 50 in the second (2) (most recently in 2014–15), 24 in the third (3) (most recently in 2015–16) and eight in the fourth (4) (most recently in 2016–17).
|Champions||1||1929–30 (Division 2)|
|Automatic promotion||3||1936–37 (Division 2 to Division 1); 1969–70 (Division 2 to Division 1); 1984–85 (Division 4 to Division 3)|
|Play-off winners||5||1991–92 (Division 4 to new Division 2); 2000–01 (Division 3 to Division 2); 2006–07 (League One to The Championship); 2009–10 (The Championship to the Premier League)†; 2016–17 (League Two to League One)|
|FA Cup winners||1||1953|
|Anglo-Italian Cup winners||1||1971|
|Football League Trophy winners||2||2002, 2004|
|South West Challenge Cup winners||1||2010*|
|Football League War Cup winners||1||1943|
|Lancashire Senior Cup winners||7||1936, 1937, 1942, 1954, 1994, 1995, 1996|
|Lancashire Junior Cup winners||2||1888, 1891|
* denotes most recent honour
† Blackpool are the first team to be promoted through all divisions of the Football League via the play-off system and have the most play-off trophies
Blackpool first began wearing tangerine for the 1923–24 season, after a recommendation from referee Albert Hargreaves, who officiated an international match between the Netherlands and Belgium and was impressed by the Dutchmen's colours.
Before changing to tangerine permanently, the team tried several different colours: blue-and-white striped shirts in the 1890s (becoming known as the Merry Stripes); a mixture of red or white shirts at the turn of the 20th century; and, during the First World War, black, yellow and red. The latter was adopted to include the colours of the flag of Belgium, a show of support for the large number of Belgian refugees that had arrived in the town. After the war, they wore white shirts and navy-blue shorts. The board introduced another change in 1934 when the team appeared in alternating dark- and light-blue stripes (which have been reintroduced several times in the mid-1990s and 2002, as well as Blackpool's return to the top flight in 2010 as the club's third kit), but they bowed to public pressure in 1939 and settled on tangerine. Between 1938 and 1958 Blackpool's kit consisted of tangerine shirts, white shorts and navy blue socks. The club now uses tangerine socks, though navy was used as a secondary colour in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In August 1997, Uri Geller said that Blackpool's new all-blue away strip would prove to be unsuccessful due to the lack of "psychic energy" that the players would get. The kit was subsequently worn for the first time at Bristol City, where the Seasiders suffered their first defeat of the season.
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
|1986–1987||Scoreline||Harry Feeney Autos|
|1991 August–1991 October||Gola||None|
|1994–1997||Rebecca's Jewellers of Southport|
|2001–2003||TFG Sport||Electricity Direct|
|2003–2004||Sporta||Life Repair Group|
|2005–2007||Uhlsport||Pointbetgames.com (home and away);1|
Kimmel Lager (third)
|2015–2016||Village Hotel Club|
1 Derek Woodman BMW sponsored the club's home shorts, while Derek Woodman Mini sponsored their away versions
2 Blackpool Leisure were the shorts sponsors
Between the 2005–06 season and the 2009–10 season, Glyn Jones Estate Agents appeared in the back of their home shirts while JMB Properties, Ltd. appeared in the back of their away shirts.
Blackpool supporters are known by the general terms Tangerine Army or Seaside Barmy Army. Whilst Blackpool had the lowest average home attendance in the Premier League, the atmosphere generated by the home support was regarded as loud and intimidating.
In July 1999, Seasiders fans' group BISA (Blackpool Independent Supporters Association) voted overwhelmingly to scrap its independence and accept the offer to become the club's official supporters' group, thus becoming Blackpool Supporters Association.
After Steve McMahon resigned as Blackpool manager in 2004, he said of the Tangerine support: "During my time here, the supporters have been fantastic and are a credit to the club. Whilst they have that support, I am sure they can go a long way. I think both on and off the pitch the club is going forward in a big way and unfortunately I'm not part of that anymore." The club was promoted three years later to the Championship, and again in 2010 to the Premier League for the 2010–11 season.
Scunthorpe United manager Nigel Adkins, speaking in November 2007, said of Bloomfield Road: "It's an intimidating place to go." In February 2008, Mick McCarthy, manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers praised the Blackpool support, saying: "It's an amazing crowd they have. There are only two sides but you wouldn't believe it, it was fabulous. The drum roll and everyone chanting drove them on." For the writing of 'An Ethnography of English Football Fans', Dr Geoff Peason spent four years (1995–1999) observing fans of Blackpool, and also noted their passion and vociferousness, particularly away from home and on the now demolished 'South Paddock'.
In September 2009, freelance journalist Mike Whalley said after attending a game against Peterborough United: "The home fans certainly make plenty of noise. Bloomfield Road does not lack for atmosphere. Or a drummer. Every home game is played to a thumping drum beat." After Blackpool beat Newcastle United 2–1 on 16 September 2009, Scott Wilson of the Northern Echo wrote: "Almost 10,000 spectators created a hostile and intimidating atmosphere that was a throwback to footballing days gone by" while the Sky Sports match report described the Blackpool support as "boisterous".
In May 2010, the club held a promotion parade along the promenade after they gained promotion to the Premier League. On the stage at the Waterloo Headlands manager Ian Holloway jokingly said to the gathered 60,000 crowd: "Where have you been all season?" This was in reference to the average League-game attendance of only 8,611 at Bloomfield Road during the 2009–10 campaign, though this was largely down to the fact that the capacity of the ground was just over 9,000 until the opening of the Armfield Stand in March 2010.
Upon Blackpool's rise to the Premier League, chairman Karl Oyston vowed to increase the stadium capacity to over 16,000 with a temporary stand, which would later be made permanent. This stand was expected to be ready for the opening game against Wigan Athletic, but was not. The fixture was switched to the DW Stadium, with Blackpool running out the victors. Seven-year-old Blackpool fan Kian Kelly made the national media after being caught by the Sky Sports cameras celebrating the victory. He was also featured in a half-page photograph, illustrating his tri-colour dyed hair, on the front page of the sports section of The Guardian. Two days after the game, he appeared on Sky Sports News and was invited to Blackpool's Squires Gate training ground, where Charlie Adam presented him with two tickets to the club's next Premier League match, at Arsenal on 21 August.
On 28 August 2010 Blackpool played Fulham in their first-ever home Premier League game, in front of a crowd of 15,529, the largest attendance for over 30 years at Bloomfield Road. On Sky Sports' Football First programme, co-commentator Barry Horne said: "They are a fantastic crowd. I've watched a lot of Championship games here and the crowd have always been brilliant; they get behind their team." Commentator Will Cope later said: "It's deafening; deafening by the seaside. You wouldn't have thought 15,000 fans could make so much noise." After the game Fulham manager Mark Hughes also praised the home support saying that the atmosphere in the stadium would really help the team in their debut season in the Premier League.
During the 2010–11 Premier League campaign, a decibel-metre was set up three times at each stadium, and an average then taken to indicate the loudest supporters. Despite having a capacity of 16,220, the Blackpool support was ranked the fifth-loudest, at 85 decibels.
In January 2013, another supporters' group, named SISA (Seasiders Independent Supporters Association), was formed.
Blackpool were one of the first football clubs to have a supporters' group. The Atomic Boys followed the Seasiders from the late 1940s to the 1960s. They would dress up in exotic tangerine clothing, even borrowing outfits from Louis Tussaud's waxworks. They adopted a live duck as a mascot, with one being donated to the group by American actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. At home games the Atomic Boys would walk around the town before big games drumming up support and rousing the crowd on match days. The tradition of dressing up for important matches has been continued to the present day. Syd Bevers, founder of the group, made his final appearance with the duck prior to the visit of First Division Newcastle United in the first leg of the League Cup second round. Bevers also managed to smuggle the duck through Wembley security for the 1953 FA Cup Final. During the same trip to London, Bevers got into 10 Downing Street – wearing a flowing tangerine cloak and a silver headdress – to hand-deliver a seven-pound stick of Blackpool rock to Sir Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister, without getting arrested. Bevers died in February 2007, aged 91.
Songs and chants
When Blackpool score at Bloomfield Road, "Glad All Over" by the Dave Clark Five has been played since the turn of the millennium. A home win is greeted by "Rockin' All Over the World" by Status Quo. Before kick-off, songs such as "Right Here, Right Now" by Fatboy Slim can be heard, as well as "We Follow Blackpool" by the Blackpool-based group The Nolans.
Supporters' chants include "Bazza's Tangerine Army". The "Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag" tune is often adopted. Each Blackpool player adopts a different tune sung by supporters on different occasions, and many are heard when the line-up is announced or if the given player is down injured gaining treatment, which also leads to "Ooh Phil Horner" as the Blackpool physio and former player enters the field.
During the 2009–10 Championship promotion campaign the chant "Don't Wanna Go Home/This Is the Best Trip I've Ever Been On", sung to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B", became a theme, and was prominent at the promotion parade honouring the club's promotion to the Premier League in May 2010. It was carried over into their debut season in the division and was sung regularly at each game.
Blackpool F.C. Ladies
The earliest-known Blackpool matchday programme is dated 26 March 1910, when Stockport County visited Bloomfield Road. The publications have been given several titles over the years. Below is a list of these titles, if any, and their prices.
|1950s||Blackpool Football Club||two pence|
|Early 1970s||Blackpool Football Club||one shilling|
|Circa 1972||The Seasiders||7 pence (75th anniversary season of their debut in the Football League)|
|Mid-1970s||Tangerine News||8 pence|
|Circa 1976||The Seasider||15 pence|
|1980s||Seasiders Scene||20 pence|
|1990s||The Seasiders||80 pence|
|2008–2009||Up the Pool||£3.50|
|2009–present||Up the Pool||£3.00|
A number of books have been written about Blackpool F.C. and club players. One of these is Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992 (ISBN 187362607X), which was written by journalist and Blackpool fan Roy Calley. Published in hardback-only by Breedon Books Sport on 20 October 1992, the book plots the history of the club over 105 years, from its foundation in 1887 through to the end of the 1991–92 season. The first statistical history of Blackpool F.C., it documents the club's results, line-ups and scorers in each competitive game between 1896 (the club's debut year in the Football League) and 1992. Also included is a biography of each of the club's 19 managers up until that point. The book's foreword is provided by Owen Oyston, who was the club's chairman when the book was published.
Around 1,500 statistical errors have come to light since the book's publication. Gerry Wolstenholme, the official historian of Blackpool F.C., has compiled some of them here. The statistical errors mentioned have been questioned by publishers of the updated book, which was released in August 2011. According to them, there are no discrepancies in the original book of 1992 and they all tally with other club books.
Several DVDs on the history of Blackpool F.C. have been released. One of these is the two-disc The Seasiders, which documents historical matches of the club. The most notable inclusions are highlights from the 1953 FA Cup Final, their Anglo-Italian Cup Final victory in 1971, and their two successive visits to Wembley, in 1991 and 1992. The compilation, released in 2005, was put together privately by a group of Blackpool F.C. supporters.
Each disc begins with archival footage of Bloomfield Road in the first few years of the 21st century, before its redevelopment.
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