On Friday we took a look at Wigan Athletic, who are of course one of three clubs dropping down from the Championship, into League One for the upcoming 2015-16 season. Having already covered Millwall, today we look at Blackpool, a team who really struggled last season and were suffering the adverse effects from activity off the field.
The last time Blackpool were in League One, was back in 2006-07. That season, they were promoted to the Championship via the play-offs after beating Yeovil Town 2-0 in the final; the same season, Bradford City were relegated to League Two. Lower mid-table was the position that The Tangerines were managing in their first couple of seasons under Simon Grayson, until Ian Holloway took over the managerial reigns.
final.Holloway and his team gained promotion to the top flight via the play-offs, goals from Charlie Adam, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Brett Ormerod edging them past Cardiff City in the Wembley Play-Off final, 3-2 was the final score. It was Blackpool’s first appearance in the top flight of English football since the 1970-71 season. Relegated in their first season, Holloway guided them to the Championship play-offs again, but they were beaten by West Ham United in the
Since his departure, it has been a major fall from grace.
After narrowly avoiding relegation in 2013-14 by two points, with a 20th place finish, they couldn’t repeat the trick in 2015-16 and after winning just 4 of their 46 league games, they finished dead bottom with just 26 points and a massive 20 points from safety.
Ground: Bloomfield Road
Ground Capacity: 17,338
Last Season: 24th in The Championship
Manager – Neil McDonald
After speaking about the minimal experience in management that Millwall and Wigan Athletic bosses Neil Harris and Gary Caldwell have, the same can be said for Neil McDonald. The Wallsend born former player, McDonald has only had brief stints in management with Carlisle United and Swedish club Ostersunds FK prior to his recent move to Blackpool – although he had a spell as caretaker manager at Blackburn Rovers in 2009.
The 49 year old began his playing career in 1983 with Newcastle United, and he went on to make 180 league appearances (24 goals) before signing for Everton in 1988 for a fee of £525,000. Whilst with The Toffees, he made an FA Cup final appearance in 1989 as his side went down 3-2 to Liverpool. Bradford City legend Stuart McCall scored a brace for Everton that day but it wasn’t enough to stop Kenny Dalglish’s men getting their hands on the silverware.
In October 1991, McDonald joined newly promoted Oldham Athletic for a fee of £500,000. He helped the club to battle against relegation in two successive seasons, but in 1994 they were finally relegated from the Premier League and he subsequently moved to neighbours Bolton Wanderers. Most of his spell with Bolton was spent on the sidelines with a broken angle, and an unsuccessful stint was ended when he moved to Preston North End in 1995 – three years later he retired and went into coaching.
Key Player - Andrea Orlandi
There is often an air of uncertainty at clubs that have just been relegated, with regards to the contracts and potential departures of players and that is likely to be the scenario at Bloomfield Road. Last season, the Tangerines had to pull the plug on a scheduled pre-season tour to Spain due to lack of players in the first team – whether that’s the case or not this summer, who knows?
Andrea Orlandi was one of the stand out performers for Blackpool during a dismal season in the Championship, scoring 4 goals from the centre of midfield. The Barcelona born star, began his career with Alaves B - starting with a ‘B’ team is common in Spain as players look to work their way into the first team.
He went on to spend 4 years with Alaves, before a loan spell with Barcelona B, and a subsequent appearance for Barcelona in 2006, as he played at left back in a 3-1 away defeat to Athletic Bilbao; the Catalonians had already been crowned as La Liga Champions and went on to beat Arsenal in the Champions League final also.
He arrived in the English game in 2007, as he confirmed a move to Swansea City. He helped the club secure the League One in his first season, before their continued rise to the Premier League. After making 74 league appearances (4 goals) for the club, he moved to Brighton & Hove Albion in 2012. During two years on the South Coast, Orlandi made 49 league appearances (6 goals) before signing a one year deal with the option of a further year with Blackpool in August 2014.
Head to Head
Bradford wins: 23
Blackpool wins: 25
Bradford City 1-3 Blackpool
Venue: Intersonic Stadium (Valley Parade)
Competition: Football League One
Scorers:Williams (6),Daley (61),Morrell (77),Vernon (90)