Sunday, 18 December 2011

Four Thoughts on... Blackpool 0-0 Watford

In the hours before Saturday's game, I saw a statistic that in all league meetings between Blackpool and Watford, there had never before been a 0-0 result. Therefore it was somewhat inevitable that the Bloomfield Road crowd witnessed a goalless draw. Here are my observations on the match:

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Four Thoughts on... Southampton 2-2 Blackpool

Blackpool drew 2-2 with Southampton on their third televised league outing of the season, making it won one, drawn one and lost one in front of the cameras. Here are my observations from Saturday's match:

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Competition: Win a Savile Rogue scarf

In another first for the blog, I'm delighted to announce that Up The 'Pool has teamed up with Savile Rogue to give you the chance to win one of the world’s finest cashmere football scarves in Blackpool colours.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Four Thoughts on... Blackpool 1-0 Reading

All in all it was a rather forgettable afternoon by the seaside on Saturday, but a 1-0 win over Reading ensured Blackpool ended a run of three games without a victory to keep themselves on the fringes of the play-off places. Here are my thoughts on the weekend's action:

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Four Thoughts on... Leicester City 2-0 Blackpool

Tuesday night saw Ian Holloway return to his former club Leicester and leave empty-handed after a 2-0 defeat, much to the enjoyment of the home supporters. Here are my observations on the match:

Monday, 21 November 2011

Four Thoughts on... Middlesbrough 2-2 Blackpool

In a thrilling encounter at the Riverside on Saturday, Blackpool did well to emerge with a point against a strong Middlesbrough side. Boro twice took the lead but goals from Ludovic Sylvestre and Jonjo Shelvey secured an away draw for the Seasiders. Here are my observations on the game.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Season Visualiser - October Update

It's been a while since we last looked at the Season Visualiser - an initial idea to re-visit it every month was probably a little too ambitious - but an update right now uncovers some interesting results. For the sake of simplicity, this post will look at the visualiser's accuracy to the end of October, and how Blackpool's season may look like panning out.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Loan Report - Matt Phillips and Billy Clarke

In a first for this blog, I'm delighted to feature a guest post discussing the recent loan spell at Sheffield United for Matt Phillips and Billy Clarke. Ian Rands, the editor of A United View on Football, has been kind enough to share his thoughts on how Phillips and Clarke did, how they might carry this form into the Championship with Blackpool, and how the Blades will cope without the pair. I'll now hand over to Ian...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Four Thoughts on... Blackpool 1-0 Millwall

A week after the demoralising 3-1 defeat to Burnley, Blackpool have now racked up back-to-back wins without conceding a goal. Saturday's 1-0 win over Millwall was not a vintage performance, but strong enough over 90 minutes to overcome a resolute, if unexciting, opponent. Here are my thoughts on the match:

Monday, 31 October 2011

Four Thoughts on... Burnley 3-1 Blackpool

A disappointing showing in front of the Sky cameras saw Blackpool go down 3-1 to a superior Burnley side on Saturday evening. It was a poor performance which will only fuel the negative atmosphere currently surrounding the club. Here are my thoughts about the weekend's match.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Four Thoughts on... West Ham United 4-0 Blackpool

The last thing anyone would expect after a 5-0 win is a 4-0 reversal, but a nine goal swing between fixtures (surely one of the biggest in the club's history?) saw Blackpool return from the capital empty-handed. Here are my observations on Saturday's match:

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Four Thoughts on... Blackpool 5-0 Bristol City

Blackpool racked up their most comprehensive win in over 10 years - the last time 'Pool had won by five goals or more was back in February 2001 when the Seasiders beat Scunthorpe 6-0 at Bloomfield Road. It was a scoreline that flattered the home team, and a result that signalled the end of the Bristol City manager's reign - Keith Millen being dismissed within 48 hours of the final whistle. Here are my thoughts on the match:

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Four Thoughts on... Portsmouth 1-0 Blackpool

Blackpool suffered their second defeat of the season, and their first on the road, as they went down 1-0 away at Portsmouth to a heart-breaking 94th minute Erik Huseklepp strike. Here are my thoughts on how the game panned out:

Monday, 5 September 2011

Season Visualiser - August Update

At the start of the season, in association with the good folk over at Experimental 3-6-1, I introduced Blackpool's 2011/12 Season Visualiser. The premise was that each game would be colour coded by difficulty - red for most difficult fixtures, green for theoretically easiest games and varying colours of yellow for those in between - based on an algorithm largely calculated on the back of bookmakers' odds.

So how does the visualiser stack up against real life so far? Let's look at the August results and see how the season looks like panning out for Blackpool.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Four Thoughts on... Crystal Palace 1-1 Blackpool

Blackpool went into the first international break of the season on the back of a good performance at Selhurst Park, but had to settle to take only a point from it. Here are my thoughts on Saturday's game:

Friday, 19 August 2011

Four Thoughts on... Blackpool 0-1 Derby County

Blackpool lost their 100% record in suffering a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Derby County. Here are my thoughts on the game:

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Four Thoughts on... Blackpool 2-1 Peterborough United

For the first time in 20 years Blackpool opened their season with back-to-back wins by taking three points off Peterborough in a 2-1 victory. Here are some observations on the game:

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Four Thoughts on... Hull City 0-1 Blackpool

It was a winning start for Blackpool last night at the KC Stadium and a decent game to boot, if not quite at the same standard we had become accustomed to during our one year stay in the Premier League. The quality of the winning goal cannot be disputed however and Gary Taylor-Fletcher's strike indicated 'Pool do still possess some top class ability.

With the loss of the statistics and chalkboards that go with top flight status, my 'Seaside Strategy' series of posts will be taking a back seat this season. Instead I'll be analysing the Hull game, and many other games this campaign, by picking out four key themes. I'll still be looking at tactics, but they might not always be the primary focus. As ever, your feedback is always appreciated.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

2011/12 Season Visualiser

"If Blackpool's fixture list was a patchwork of colours, what would it look like?"
The above question probably isn't one you've spent the summer pondering, but indulge me here...if the fixtures were colour-coded by difficulty, what would we be presented with? The answer is the season visualiser, devised by the brains over at Experimental 3-6-1. The theory is simple: each game is illustrated by a colour - anywhere between a strong green and a deep red, with every shade of yellow in between. This means a quick scan of the fixture list can identify potential tricky spells, as well as periods where the team can aim to capitalise on supposedly easier matches.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


It's Their Fault: Ian Holloway

In the penultimate post in this series, we looked at Charlie Adam's contribution in Blackpool's relegation. In this final article of post-season analysis, manager Ian Holloway is in the line of fire. Was the man at the helm ultimately responsible for his side going down in their debut Premier League season?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

It's Their Fault: Charlie Adam

The previous post in this series looked at the reasons why Karl Oyston could be responsible for relegation. Charlie Adam won a PFA Player of the Year nomination for his efforts this past season, but could he also have contributed to Blackpool's eventual downfall? Let's weigh up the cases for and against.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

It's Their Fault: Karl Oyston

Last time out we examined the influence Blackpool's defence might have had on relegation. Now it's the turn of Karl Oyston to take some of the flak. How did 'Pool's Chairman / Acting Chairman / Chief Executive (delete as applicable) contribute to a season that promised so much, yet ultimately ended in disappointment?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

It's Their Fault: The Defence

Before we begin, I'd like to explain the slightly mischievous title of this post - the first of series which will be published in the coming days. Think of the heading as merely the hypothesis to be debated, and in this series I'll be looking at a few areas which the most critical fan could point to as being the reason for our eventual relegation. Do not assume that I will proceed to point the finger solely at our defenders for example. I'll be looking for balance, but of course some of the subjects coming under the spotlight will be more deserving of criticism.

To kick things off, let's take a look at the role Blackpool's defence may have played in dropping back into the Championship after only one season at the top table.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Survival for Blackpool?

Going back on my statement in the piece on Blackburn's survival chances, I've decided that this series wouldn't be complete without looking at the Seasiders themselves. So here goes...

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Rival for Survival - Wolverhampton Wanderers

Birmingham City were the last team in focus, now it's time to examine their local rivals Wolves, who must face another team in trouble, Blackburn Rovers, at Molineux on the final day.

Rival for Survival - Birmingham City

In the previous article the focus was on Wigan's final game of the season at Stoke. Now it's the turn of Birmingham to come under the spotlight ahead of their trip to Tottenham.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Rival for Survival - Wigan Athletic

As we enter the final days of the Premier League season, five teams are still fighting relegation to the Championship. Over the course of the next few days I'll be profiling each of Blackpool's rivals and explore what we can expect on Sunday. First up, it's Wigan Athletic.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Seaside Strategy - Bolton Wanderers Home

If you were to try to explain to someone the best and worst of Blackpool's debut Premier League season, the easiest thing would be to point them in the direction of a recording of Saturday's game against Bolton. It was playground football at its finest - end-to-end, mistake-ridden and hugely enjoyable. The momentum rocked back and forth between the two sides and after 90 minutes 'Pool just edged out their opponents to recreate the 4-3 scoreline of that famous 1953 cup final. The weekend's other results were a bit of a mixed bag, but the significance of this victory could come close to the Matthews Final if the Seasiders can achieve the unthinkable at Old Trafford.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Seaside Strategy - Tottenham Hotspur Away

One point gained or two points dropped? This will only become clear at season's end, but undoubtedly it was a point more than many expected away at a team who reached the quarter final stage of the Champions League. Incredibly this means Blackpool are now unbeaten in three games, but the failure to take maximum points from any of these games means 'Pool have once more dropped into the relegation zone. Charlie Adam scored from the spot (at the second time of asking), but another late goal conceded, this time from Jermain Defoe, meant Ian Holloway's side were denied only their third win in 2011.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Seaside Strategy - Newcastle United Home

In the build-up to this key fixture, Ian Holloway sat his players down to watch video of what had made them successful last season and in the first half of their debut Premier League campaign. Although the Seasiders had turned to footage of their Championship performances, it was nevertheless surprising to see the Blackpool starting 11 feature no fewer than 10 of last season's regulars - Matt Phillips, signed from Wycombe Wanderers in August 2010, was the only exception. This back-to-basics approach seemed to pay off however, with a level of performance rarely witnessed since the turn of the year. Despite giving away yet another early goal, 'Pool fought back and arguably deserved to claim all three points, denied by the woodwork and some questionable refereeing decisions.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Season So Far: The Run-In (Part Two)

Six games to go and not surprisingly the relegation picture has changed quite significantly since my first look at the run-in. Four games ago I believed that eight sides were involved in the relegation battle. Of those teams, I was bold enough to condemn both Wigan and West Brom to the drop, being undecided about the third club who may join them in the Championship. While Wigan are very much still involved - indeed they currently sit rock bottom - West Brom, no doubt just to spite me, have confounded all expectations and probably secured safety with half a dozen games still to go.

Another team I'd factored into my original analysis was Fulham but a few decent results, including a win over the Seasiders, has seen them open up a bit of a gap to the bottom three. This leaves six sides who I believe will be battling between themselves to escape relegation. That's not to say a different side will not plunge into the mix, as anyone from Newcastle (currently 9th) down may still require the odd point here and there to survive, but you'd think it would take a really poor run of results for one of them to sink.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Seaside Strategy - Arsenal Home

Another home match against a top team, another plucky effort without any reward. It's hard to argue against Arsenal being worthy winners - the Gunners could have had a five or six goal advantage in the first half alone - but had key moments gone the other way, the end result could have been different. As it was, Arsenal kept 11 men on the pitch, Lee Mason failed to give a stonewall penalty and Keith Southern failed to properly connect with a free header from six yards out. Blackpool can take heart from the way they rattled Arsenal early in the second half, but ultimately 'Pool contributed to their own downfall.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Financially Speaking (Part Two)

In the second of this two-part look at Blackpool FC's finances from the financial year ending May 31 2010 we'll examine more of how the club has conducted its business, and how the influx of Premier League money will impact the club in the future. Last time out we focused on:

  • Ownership
  • Losses and Negative Net Worth
  • Increasing Turnover
  • Stadium Development
Before continuing with this article, I would advise that you first read part one, which can be found here. This time round I'd like to examine the following:
  • Player Wages
  • Debt
  • Influx of Premier League Money
  • The Future

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Seaside Strategy - Fulham Away

A flat game at Craven Cottage saw Fulham rather easily claim all three points against a sloppy Blackpool. An inability to hold onto the ball in the first half meant 'Pool contributed to their own demise and once they went behind, Ian Holloway's men never looked like getting back in it. Holloway himself is sure to be at the forefront of the post-match discussion as his team selection backfired. James Beattie and Brett Ormerod returned in place of Luke Varney and Jason Puncheon, two of the star performers a fortnight ago at Ewood Park. The theory behind this decision was sound - Beattie was there to give Blackpool more height at set-pieces while Ormerod would offer more defensive cover. 

Ultimately though, the lack of pace and movement up front left the Seasiders horribly exposed, particularly once they fell behind. 'Pool had commendably been trying to pass the ball around, but some poor first touches and misplaced passes contrived to give Bobby Zamora a simple one-on-one chance, James Beattie playing the decisive through ball to the opposing striker as he attempted to find Cathcart. Blackpool also showed their vulnerability from set-pieces as Fulham added two more goals from free-kick situations to put the game beyond the Seasiders.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Financially Speaking (Part One)

On 22nd February Blackpool FC submitted their accounts to Companies House for the financial year ending 31st May 2010. While these accounts don't factor in the riches bestowed upon the club upon promotion to the Premier League, I'd like to examine the financial standing of the club in recent seasons, and how its new found wealth will affect its future. With this being such a meaty topic, I have decided to tackle this in two separate posts, the second of which will follow at some point later this week.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Season So Far: The Run-In (Part One)

As we approach the so-called business end of the season, it's time to reflect on the past month and look forward to what the end of the season has in store. In the last periodic review, I questioned whether, as the media were indicating, 'Pool were on a slippery slope towards danger. Going into February Blackpool were in 12th position on 28 points with a six point gap on the relegation zone. I posited that defeats in both of the 'six pointers' against West Ham and Wolves would be the worst case scenario, but whilst this obviously has not helped the Seasiders' league standing, a win and a draw from the month did at least halt the slide and has ensured 'Pool still have a cushion of four points on the bottom three.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Cornering the Goals Market

Traditionally set-pieces have never been all that productive for Blackpool. Down the years, Blackpool's free-kicks and corners have normally been wasted, yet other teams always seemed to score against 'Pool from dead ball situations. You would have to go back to the early '90s when David Eyres took the corners to remember a time when you thought 'Pool had a genuine chance of grabbing a goal. Not any longer.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Seaside Strategy - Aston Villa Home

Aston Villa threatened to blow Blackpool away early on in this encounter, but in a game that ebbed and flowed a share of the spoils was probably what both sides deserved. Villa threatened often with their lightning pace on the break, but 'Pool may be a little disappointed that they were unable to break Villa's resolve, especially after they were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Jean Makoun. The Seasiders grew stronger as the game went on, but ultimately never looked like finding the elusive winning goal.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Seaside Strategy - Everton Away

An all-action eight goal thriller. Blackpool continue to provide more bang than their buck in the entertainment stakes, but it's hard not to yearn for a scrappy 1-0 win. 'Pool slid to their fifth consecutive defeat at Goodison Park and while Ian Holloway's men continue to rack up the goals, a defence leakier than the Welsh national emblem means survival is starting to look trickier by the week. The Seasiders bounced back from poor first half performance to take a stunning 3-2 lead, only to collapse under the weight of endless Everton pressure.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Seaside Strategy - West Ham United Home

It had been billed in some quarters as a 'must-win' game, and while not quite that crucial, the home defeat to West Ham last night is a major set-back. With four straight defeats, three of those at Bloomfield Road, 'Pool now find themselves unerringly close to the bottom three. A win would have seen the Seasiders go 10 points clear of West Ham, instead of the four point gap that now exists. It's nothing to be ashamed of necessarily - after all some pundits would have had you believe 'Pool would have been all but relegated by this point - but from what appeared to be building up to a comfortable mid-table finish, Ian Holloway's men are now in a relegation fight.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Season So Far - Slippery Slope?

As we enter February on the back of the worst run of the season, the games become ever more crucial for Blackpool. In the last mini-review on 3rd January I'd surmised that we were ahead of the game in terms of the number of points on the board and felt that even as few as five points would be a good return from the rest of the January fixtures against Birmingham, Liverpool, West Brom, Sunderland and Man Utd. After all, with four of those matches at home, five points would be the minimum the Seasiders would chalk up, right? Wrong.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Incoming (Part II)

It's that time once again to reflect on Blackpool's transfer window activity and take a look at the individuals brought in by Ian Holloway in the increasingly nervous survival battle. 12 players were signed during the last transfer window, with a fairly even split between success stories and disappointments. With Dekel Keinan having already departed for Cardiff and long-term injuries to Chris Basham and the mysterious Malaury Martin, Holloway has reacted by signing a further five players during January, four of them on deadline day itself. Let's run through them one by one.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Diagonally Speaking

Blackpool's use of the long diagonal has been a key tactic during the tenure of Ian Holloway, but until recently has garnered little attention. Pundits and fans alike have firmly pigeon-holed the Seasiders as a passing side, with neat, short passing a main ingredient in the success of Holloway's team. What has been overlooked is the often direct nature of Blackpool when attacking, but this is anything but traditional long ball football.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Seaside Strategy - West Bromwich Albion Away

Blackpool went into this game hot on the heels of Wednesday night's memorable victory over Liverpool, but could not overcome a West Brom side in a rut of five consecutive defeats. The two promoted sides produced a thoroughly entertaining game of football, which could easily have seen the number of goals run into double figures. It was by no means a masterclass in defending, but the neutrals will certainly have gone away happy. As for the Seasiders, this was a case of costly errors at both ends which ultimately resulted in leaving the Hawthorns empty-handed.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Seaside Strategy - Liverpool Home

A fine performance and a victory that very much takes the pressure off after consecutive league defeats. Rearranged from Boxing Day, it was the first of three home games in hand against top teams, although Liverpool's current state falls somewhat short of the other two, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Nevertheless, any side featuring so many internationals, including one of the world's top strikers in Fernando Torres, are no mugs. Throw in the added Dalglish factor and it looked a tough game, one that looked tougher still after Torres struck early with a sublime finish. Blackpool came from behind however, for the first time this season, to claim a memorable double.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Seaside Strategy - Birmingham City Home

If there was any ever doubt about how much tactics, and not just players, truly influence the outcome of a game, last night was a prime example. For the second time this season Birmingham manager Alex McLeish outwitted his opposite number and prevented Blackpool from playing their natural game. What is incredible is that it was all too predictable. So predictable in fact, that it is amazing that Ian Holloway didn't do things differently.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Ahead of the Game

Back on the 1st December, I questioned whether the upcoming six games would prove to be the defining part of the season. 'Pool faced a particularly tough run of fixtures:
  • Manchester United (h)
  • Stoke City (a)
  • Tottenham Hotspur (h)
  • Liverpool (h)
  • Sunderland (a)
  • Manchester City (a)

The best I was possibly expecting was six points, and even that looked difficult. More importantly I was hoping 'Pool would avoid a confidence-bashing run of defeats. In the end, with all three home games postponed because of the weather it was an incredible effort to win two of the three surviving matches, with 'Pool nearly taking a share of the spoils at Eastlands.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Seaside Strategy - Manchester City Away

So the five game unbeaten streak was brought to an end at Eastlands, but it was a spirited display from Blackpool with yet more of the attacking flair making for an exciting spectacle. On the balance of play over the 90 minutes, City probably just deserved the three points, but their relief at the final whistle was telling - 'Pool had given them a test. A single deflected goal from Adam Johnson was the difference and while City had chances to extend their lead, most notably from the spot kick which Carlos Tevez hit wide, two fine saves from Joe Hart ensured Blackpool went home pointless.