A History of Blackpool FC
The History of Blackpool Football Club dates back one hundred years to 1877 when Victoria Football Club was founded with Rev. James Wayman as president. The clubs first ground was on Manchester's Field, off Caunce Street, Blackpool.
The first decade saw the disbandment of the Victoria Club and the formation of Blackpool St Johns team which consisted mainly of the old boys of the school. In 1887 a dispute among the players led to a meeting at the Stanley Arms Hotel on the 26th of July under the chairmanship of Mr Samuel Bancroft where it was resolved : "That a club be formed to be known as Blackpool Football Club".
In 1888 the club became founder members of the Lancashire League and enjoyed 8 successful seasons culminating in the winning of the championship in 1893-94 after being pipped on goal average by Liverpool in the previous season.
In May 1896 Blackpool F.C. became a Limited Company with a capital of £2,000 in £1 shares and a few months later made a successful application to join the Football League.
The circular supporting the application read : "If elected to the Second Division, we shall do our best to maintain a team that will hold an advanced position and do credit to the Blackpool Club and the Second Division". How well this promise was kept since well over half of the seasons to date have been spent in Division Two and, until the disastrous 1978/79 season, an "advanced position" was maintained.
The club's Football League status was lost in 1899 and the club spent another season in the Lancashire League. The demise, however, was short-lived and the club was re-elected in 1900 and has maintained its League status up to the present time.
Early Days in the Football League
Blackpool's first League match was played at Lincoln City on September the 5th, 1896 the team that day was : Douglas; Bowman; Parr (Captain); Stuart; Stirzaker; Norris; Clarkin; Donnelly; J.Parkinson; R.Parkinson; Mount. The match was played before a crowd of about 2,000 and resulted in a 3-1 defeat. Blackpool's first ever League goal being scored by Charles Mount in the second half.
The first season saw Blackpool finish in eighth position in the Second Division with a total of 31 points from 30 matches played. The home record is worthy of note as only 5 points were dropped - the club's best ever performance, although it must be said that only 15 games were played with 21 in most seasons since then.
For the next thirty years Blackpool remained in the Second Division with varying degrees of success. The seasons after the end of World War One saw the club striving for promotion to the First Division as can be seen from the following finishing positions:-
This period saw the emergence of George Mee who gained his place in the team in 1920 and remained in the side for five seasons, never missing a match and creating a record sequence of 195 consecutive appearances which stands to this day.
To say that George was a club stalwart is a gross understatement. He maintained his connections with the club and was still breaking records as a Tote agent right up to his death in the late 1970's
Other notable players of this era were outside right Jack Charles, who later became the club's trainer, as did Bert Tulloch, a great right full back. His partner at full back was Peter Fairhurst, who unfortunately died in hospital after heading a heavy, rain-soaked ball during a league match.
Also with the Club were Billy Benton, "Matty" Barrass, Jackie Meredith and Albert "Taffy" Jones, who later gained international recognition and was transferred to Blackburn Rovers for the then colossal fee of £6,000.
A period of centre forward supremacy followed for Blackpool. Harry Bedford was signed in 1921 and was leading goal-scorer for several seasons. He was also the leading Second Division goal-scorer for two seasons. Bedford was also selected to represent England on two occasions and on three occasions appeared in the Inter-League matches.
In one of these he scored four goals.
In 1927 Jimmy Hampson came to the club from Nelson. He was a brilliant centre forward who gained both International and Inter-League honours. In 1927-28 season he scored 31 goals in 32 games. This was the season he was "chaired" by the crowd at Bloomfield Road.
The following season he scored 40 goals, heading the list of scorers in the Second Division. Season 1929-30 saw him even more successful, with 45 goals - the highest total in the country. In season 1930-31 he scored 32 goals, and this was in the First Division.
Hampson cost the club only £2,000 and what a buy he was. He scored 247 goals in 360 games and, without doubt, was the player mainly responsible for Blackpool's promotion to the First Division.
Jimmy Hampson, out in a small boat on a fishing trip at Fleetwood, was drowned on the 10th January 1938. His body was never recovered. It was tragic end for a great player and an irreplaceable one.
Behind the Scenes
In the 1922-23 season, Blackpool directors made a most astute move. The great Major Frank Buckley was appointed to the managerial chair. Buckley was a most amazing person. He had revolutionary training ideas and his scouting system was first class. He stayed at Blackpool for a period of four years and there is no doubt that his shrewd management greatly assisted the advancement of the club.
Seasons 1923-24 and 1924-25 were a testing time for Blackpool, for they were beset by a series of misfortunes which at first appeared insurmountable, but which subsequently led to a great show of support from the townspeople and the advent of that great band of sportsmen - members of The Supporters' Club. These supporters have worked tirelessly during the past fifty-odd years and through their efforts many thousands of pounds have been raised for the Club.
Mr C. Wells resigned during this period as Director and Sir Lindsay Parkinson withdrew in November 1924. Then followed the service writ for the sum of £3,618. This writ referred to moneys owing for a new concrete wall which had been erected on the Bloomfield Ground, £1,000 of the total cost had been paid, but the claimants were now demanding the residue.
A special meeting was called at the Lecture Hall of the Free Library in Blackpool and a decision was reached to increase the share capital from £5,000 to £10,000. Money was forthcoming from within the town and in a matter of weeks the account was settled.
It was at this same meeting that the Blackpool Supporters' Club came into being. It was one of the first Supporters' Clubs to be formed for a Football League Club and it continued to flourish until it's demise at the end of the 1995-96 season.
At the latter part of the 1924-25 season, the Board of Directors put in hand a scheme for ground improvement. This included the erection of a new stand, on the south side of the ground, to accommodate 2,000 people. Included in the new stand was to be a new Boardroom, offices, dressing-rooms, baths and a gymnasium. The work was completed during the 1925-26 season at a cost of £13,146 11s 0d. - a modest sum for such an imposing structure.
Blackpool remained in the First Division for only three years and each of these proved a hard struggle for survival. Finally in the 1932-33 season, the inevitable happened and the Club was relegated to the Second Division.
Less than 48 hours before relegation, the Directors were served with a requisition, which they presumed was a vote of no confidence. A battle was then waged for seats on the Board and eventually six of the then Directors were unseated and an almost new Board of Directors formed.
The surviving Directors were Mr Sam Butterworth, who subsequently became the Club's Life President and Mr Harry Evans, who later became Chairman.
Major Frank Buckley had by now left Blackpool and Mr Alec MacFarlane was appointed manager. Several new players were obtained, including Bert Thomson from Glasgow Celtic, Tom Jones from Burnley and Bob Dougall from Hamilton. Scouts were also sent to Ireland and Sam Jones, Irish International wing-half and a young man named Peter Doherty, later to develop into an outstanding player, were signed from Irish League Clubs. Also signed were Jock Wallace, a goalkeeper from Raith Rovers, Dick Whitham, full-back from Huddersfield Town and Alan Hall, a centre forward from Tottenham.
Money appeared to be no object to the Club, who were determined to build up a strong team. They were determined that a return to First Division football was vital to the Club if it was to prosper and every possible effort was made to achieve this, but the team was only moderately successful and promotion remained as elusive as it had been in the past.
It was now that the ability of young Peter Doherty came to notice. He was rapidly developing into an outstanding ball-player and making his mark as a forward of outstanding merit.
The year 1935 saw the appointment of Mr Joe Smith as manager. His approach was a "down to earth" one, his interest centred not on the background of his players but on their actual playing ability. It was Mr Smith who realised the ability of Bob Finan, a youngster who had come to Blackpool from a Scottish junior club. Finan scored thirty-four goals in his first season with the club.
Blackpool have never been a wealthy club and, in 1936, when Manchester City made approaches for the transfer of Peter Doherty, the offer had to be considered. The player was not keen to leave and the Club certainly were not enthusiastic, but the sum of £10,000 offered was an inducement which eventually could not be refused.
The Club, however, continued to build up its resources with the object of obtaining promotion again. Frank Hill was signed from Arsenal, Danny Blair from Aston Villa and George Farrow from Bournemouth and these three newcomers played an important part in Blackpool's successful 1936-37 season, when promotion was achieved.
The Golden Years
The start of the Second World War brought about the abandonment of League Football. Few would disagree that the take-over of the town by The RAF enhanced the fortunes of the Club though it must be said that, when war was declared on 3rd September, 1939, the "Seasiders" were sitting pretty at the top of Division One having won all three games played.
Blackpool's team at the start of the 1939-40 season was: Wallace; Siblet; Butler; Farrow; Hayward; Johnston; Finan; Astley; Dodds; Buchan; O'Donnell (H). It will be noted that the dashing "Jock" Dodds appears in the team. He had been signed from Sheffield United for £10,000 and proved to be an excellent investment.
Blackpool became one of the chief training centres for the Royal Air Force during the war years, and many famous players were drafted to the town. They all played for the Blackpool club when war-time football was gradually introduced. In the 1941-42 season, Blackpool won the Northern League championship and the following year the War Cup, beating Sheffield Wednesday in a replay 2-1.
A match of outstanding merit was played at Stamford Bridge in 1943, between Arsenal and Blackpool, for the championship of England. Blackpool won 4-2, and the team which gained this success was; Savage (Leeds); Pope (Hearts); Hubbick (Bolton); Farrow (Blackpool); Hayward (Blackpool); Matthews (Stoke); Dix (Spurs); Dodds (Blackpool); Finan (Blackpool); Burbanks (Sunderland).
As will be seen, Stanley Matthews appeared in this side, although he was still on Stoke City's books. It was later that he joined Blackpool and displayed at Bloomfield Road all the skills and intricacies which were his and his alone.
With the end of the war and the return to peace-time soccer, Blackpool now found itself in a very fine position. The club had an excellent nucleus of players on its books and the £30,000 overdraft had almost disappeared.
Stanley Mortenson now came to the fore. He had developed into an extremely fast and skilful player and made the centre forward berth his own for many years. In season 1946-47 he scored 28 goals and 31 the following season. He became first choice for England, appearing in numerous International and Inter-League games.
Mention must also be made in the early post-war period of Ronnie Stuart, who was a valuable player for the Club. He was later transferred to Blackburn Rovers, but returned to Blackpool as manager, succeeding Joe Smith. Eric Hayward was another excellent player for Blackpool. He gave many years service as centre half and eventually became Club coach.
Two players bought in the mid-1940's were to prove of inestimable value. The first was Eddie Shimwell, who came from Sheffield United for £7,000 and became a great full-back. The second was Stanley Matthews, who was transferred from Stoke City for £11,000 - surely the best "buy" that Blackpool ever made.
The Club has never won the first division championship, but they came very close in seasons 1956-57, when they finished fourth, 1950-51 when they were third, and in 1955-56 when they were runners-up to Manchester United.
Blackpool's record up to 1947 could only be regarded as mediocre, for since 1925 they never reached the last eight and it appeared that the Tangerines would never have the good fortune to battle through to a Cup Final and play at Wembley Stadium. However, in 1948, the "hoodoo" was broken and Blackpool succeeded in reaching the final.
Their opponents were Manchester United, who have repeatedly been Blackpool's "bogey" team, and on this occasion it also turned out to be the case and Blackpool were beaten. Beaten, but not discouraged. Now that they had felt the Wembley turf they were again determined to get there, and they did so three years later. Again, unfortunately, they were to be losing finalists, this time to Newcastle United.
Back again came the Blackpool team in 1953, in a final which came to be known as the "Matthews" final. The maestro had won every honour in the game except a Cup Winner's medal and this was possibly the last opportunity he would have of winning this coveted honour. The game proved to be a thriller, with their opponents - Bolton Wanderers- in the lead until Blackpool, inspired by Matthews, clinched the match by four goals to three. Matthews thus obtained his Cup Winners medal.
The FA Cup winning team was: Farm; Shimwell; Garrett; Fenton; Johnston; Robinson; Matthews; Taylor; Mortenson; Mudie; Perry.
Matthews remained in Blackpool until October 1961 when he moved back to the Potteries to his old club- Stoke City. He was awarded the O.B.E. in 1957, and knighted in the New Year's Honours List.
During Blackpool's glorious era in the First Division a wealth of football talent appeared in the famous tangerine jerseys. It is impossible to name all the players who have assisted in maintaining the high standard of soccer at Bloomfield Road. However, in addition to those players already mentioned, reference must be made to others.
Players such as, Roy Gatrix, David Durie, Bill Perry, Jackie Mudie, George Farm, Ernie Taylor, Allan Brown and Harry Johnston.
Harry was Blackpool's longest serving player, his playing career covering the 20 years and 5 months between May 1935 and November 1955. He was regarded in football circles as one of the game's gentlemen. He returned to the club as assistant manager to Stan Mortenson in 1967.
The team which won the F.A. Cup in 1953 and which had come so close to carrying off the Division One Championship had now broken up. The early part of the decade was spent rebuilding a team to consolidate the club's position in the top flight but this was not to prove easy. In 1960/61 the team narrowly avoided relegation, finishing in 20th position. We could finish no higher than 13th position in the next 5 seasons and were eventually relegated in 1966/67.
It was during this period that Jimmy Armfield completed most of his record 568 appearances for the club, at the same time appearing for England in 43 Internationals. He captained his country on 15 occasions, the only Blackpool player ever to captain an International team.
Alan Ball joined the club as a 17-year-old in 1962 and became the only Blackpool player to appear in a World Cup Final before being transferred to Everton for £112,000- a figure which was at the time a record fee for two British Clubs.
Much talent was unearthed through the Club's scouting system only to be lost, mostly for financial reasons. Emlyn Hughes and Tony Green were two players in this category who went on to gain international honours with their new clubs. Other players who represented the club during the decade were Ray Charnley, one of the club's most prolific goal scorers, Tommy Hutchinson, John McPhee, Tom White, Ray Parry and Alan Suddick. Alan joined 'Pool in 1966 from Newcastle United for what was then a Club record fee of £60,000.
The Recent Years
After three years in Division Two, Blackpool regained promotion so the 70's decade began on a bright note. Unfortunately the euphoria was short lived and, after a season during which only four victories were recorded, the Club was once again relegated. This was a prelude to the darkest period in the Club's history although performances in the following seasons were hardly a foretaste of the disaster which was to befall.
The positions held in Division two were as follows:
Despite the Club's performance in the latter season it became obvious that a lack of goals, only 58 from 42 matches, was preventing a consistent drive for promotion.
To remedy this, Harry Potts, who was then manager, brought Malcom Smith on loan from Middlesbrough and he seemed to be the answer to the problem. He scored six goals in eight matches, including a double on his final appearance, which helped to secure a valuable away victory over Notts County.
Smith returned to Middlesbrough the following week, Blackpool being unable to raise the modest sum which would have secured his permanent transfer. The public outcry at this failure resulted in the resignation of Mr Frank Dickinson and his fellow directors who were replaced by a board chaired by Mr Bill Cartmell.
As with new brooms, so new boards sometimes sweep clean and this one was no exception. Harry Potts departed to be replaced in the managerial chair by one of the heroes of the golden post-war period, Allan Brown.
A successful start to the 1978/79 campaign was followed by a mid-season slump, but the turn of the year seemed to herald a change in fortune. Bob Hatton, a striker signed in the previous season from Birmingham City, was heading the country's goal scoring charts and a resounding five goals trouncing of Blackburn Rovers.
The following day a mistimed press release in a Sunday newspaper led to the departure of Allan Brown and the appointment of Jimmy Meadows as a caretaker/manager. Whilst these events were taking place, Bob Hatton suffered a serious injury in training as a result of which he was absent for most of the remaining matches. 'Pool at that time held a reasonable position in the top half of the table.
What followed in the closing few weeks of the 1978/79 season could not have been predicted by the most enlightened forecaster.
It had been a hard winter with many postponements but Blackpool had, as usual, escaped the worst of the elements and had completed their fixtures before most other clubs. Towards the end of April there remained a dozen or so matches to be played in Division Two, each one involving clubs in the relegation zone.
Each one had to result in a certain way for 'Pool to be relegated, and despite the astronomical odds against such an occurrence, each result went the wrong way. The team and officials were on an end-of -season tour in the United States when the final result of the infamous match at Ninian Park came through.
The visitors, Orient, had to beat Cardiff City to avoid the third relegation spot and did so by the only goal of the match thus ensuring Blackpool's relegation to Division three for the first time in its history.
Then began the break-up of the team which, only weeks before, had looked capable of challenging for promotion. Goalkeeper, George Wood, had already left for Everton and was followed to Goodison by Mickey Walsh, who was the Second Division highest goalscorer only two seasons earlier. The latter brought a record transfer fee of £350,000, an amount which is unlikely to be exceeded if the current downward trend is maintained. Central defender, Paul Hart, joined Leeds United for another sizeable fee and Bob Hatton left for Luton Town.
Despite these huge fees, it was undoubtedly lack of finance which contributed in a large way to the Club's slide down the divisions. Leading players had to be sold to meet ever increasing expenditure and it was frustrating for officials and supporters alike to read of the successes of former players. Indeed, when 'Pool began its first term in Division Three, the following ex-seasiders were making their presence felt in higher divisions:-
Burridge (Aston Villa)
Virtually all these players made their major league debuts with the Seasiders and few would argue against such a side finishing near the top of the First Division.
The return of Bob Stokoe for a second term as manager failed to stem the slide and the team finished the 1979/80 season uncomfortably close to relegation. The appointment of Alan Ball as player/manager, heralded in many circles as the start of the Club's return to greatness, could not prevent the descent to Division Four. The reinstatement of Allan Brown proved no more successful and the team finished in mid-table in its first season in the lower division. Sam Ellis came to Bloomfield Road in 1982 and succeeded in getting Blackpool promoted within three years. But in 1989 he left and was replaced by Jimmy Mullen who lasted just one year.
Manager Jimmy Mullen left in early April with director Tom White taking over as caretaker manager for the final seven games but it was too late. The only ray of success was the F.A. Cup when we reached the Fifth Round only losing to Queen's Park Rangers after three games.
The 1990/91 season was both exciting and disappointing, Graham Carr started the season as manager but left at the end of November leaving his assistant Bill Ayre in charge. One of Carr's last duties was to obtain former star Dave Bamber on loan (he was later signed), From Ayre's appointment only 5 out of 30 league games were lost and 13 consecutive home game wins created- a Club record. We failed to gain automatic promotion but beat Scunthorpe United In the Semi-Final play-off to the final at Wembley. Amid great tension we lost on penalties after extra time to Torquay after great support from approximately 13,000 supporters.
The 1991/92 season ended firstly in disappointment with automatic promotion again being missed at the final hurdle. The sadness turned to joy when after beating Barnet in the Semi-Final we returned to Wembley. This time in another nail biting final we beat Scunthorpe United on penalties. With the reorganisation of the League we competed in Division Two in the 1992/93 campaign. Bill Ayre again performed miracles with the best home record in the Football League and Dave Bamber again top scorer.
The 1993/94 season ended in joy on the final day when a 4-1 home victory over Leyton Orient ensured that 'Pool were saved from relegation after a terrible mid-season slump. Billy Ayre ended his association with the Club in the summer and was eventually replaced by Sam Allardyce in readiness for the 1994/95 campaign.
The 1994/95 season ended in mid-table after being close to the play off zone with three quarters of the season gone but a disastrous spell ended any hope. The season was noted for the signings made, Tony Ellis from Preston North End before the season started, for £165,000, and he finished top scorer. The club broke its record signing when Andy Morrison came from Blackburn Rovers for £245,000 in mid season.
During the 1995/96 season the fans had great hopes of promotion at the start of the season with the £205,000 signing of Andy Preece from Crystal Palace, Marvin Bryan from QPR for £20,000, Andy Barlow from Oldham on a free transfer, Rick Holden also on a free transfer from Oldham, and goalkeeper Steve Banks for £60,000 from Gillingham. David Linighan and Lee Philpott also signed from Ipswich and Leicester for £80,000 and £100,000 later in the season and Colin Pascoe coming in on deadline day. Plus a number of players coming in on loan most notably Eric Nixon who spent most of the end of the season at Bloomfield Road.
Blackpool went on a number of unbeaten runs through out the season taking them to the top of the division and they looked a certainty for promotion. But a disastrous run towards the end of the season took Blackpool to need 6 points from their last 2 games against Walsall and York City. A 2-0 defeat at home condemned the seasiders to the play-offs. A superb performance away at Bradford City gave pool a 2-0 advantage to take to Bloomfield Road but Chris Kamara's side pulled off a 3-0 win against a disappointing Blackpool side. Manager Sam Allardyce paid the ultimate price and was replaced.
Since that time Blackpool have had a number of Manager's including Gary Megson who deserted the club to take up the manager's position at Stockport County and Nigel Worthington presently at Norwich City, Worthington resigned in January 2000 following a long spell of poor performance and was replaced by Ex-England International Steve McMahon.
McMahon's arrival could not halt the Seasiders slide into the 3rd division at the end of the 1999/2000 season and they began the 2000/2001 season in the 3rd. The players struggled to find their feet in the early part of the season and were soon languishing near the foot of the table, however a much improved performance in the second part of the season saw the side make it into the final play-off place on the last day of the season.
Once they had made it into the play-offs, McMahon's men looked a completely different side to that which had struggled earlier in the season.
They brushed Hartlepool Utd aside, winning 5-1 on aggregate over the two legs of the Semi-final with striker Brett Ormerod scoring 4 before going on to meet Leyton Orient in the final at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium.
Saturday May 26 2001 was to be the Seasiders biggest day in recent history as the Tangerine Army converged on the city of Cardiff for the Nationwide Div 3 Play-off final against Leyton Orient.
The Seasiders got off to the worst possible start going behind in under a minute as keeper Barnes lost his footing on the treacherous turf, almost half an hour had passed before club captain Ian Hughes got Pool back into the game as he headed home from a corner but as the Blackpool fans celebrated their equaliser, Orient scored again, the Seasiders however were not to be denied and just before half time captain Brian Reid bundled the ball home to send McMahon's men in level at half time.
The 2nd half was a different story as the Seasiders came out strong but it was with less than 15 minutes remaining that Pool's player of the Year Paul Simpson put Blackpool in front for the first time in the match, and with just two minutes of the game remaining Brett Ormerod made sure it was the Seasiders who would be heading home knowing that they would be playing in the 2nd division in the 2001/2002 season.
Season 2001/02 has been one of consolidation for Pool in Division Two with another trip to Cardiff as the seasiders were crowned LDV Trophy Winners. Two trips to the Millennium Stadium in eight months a real bonus and a day against Cambridge United which saw Blackpool cruise to a 4-1 win.
McMahon was to lead the Seasiders to another LDV Trophy win in 2004, this time against Southend. Pool won the game 2-0 thanks to goals from Big John Murphy and Danny Coid, meaning that Blackpool had won the trophy twice in three seasons.
Despite leading the team to victory, McMahon later left the club before the final game of the 2004 campaign and was to be replaced by former Blackburn Rovers defender Colin Hendry, who finished his career at Bloomfield Road by making 14 appearances between 2002-2003.
His tenure in charge was only to last 17 months with Hendry sacked in November 2005 following a run of bad results. It meant that Simon Grayson, who had already taken a player-coaching role with the team was to become caretaker manager with the task of keeping the side out of relegation trouble. A successful spell meant that 'Larry' was awarded the job on a full-time basis and he hung up his playing boots at the end of the campaign to concentrate on his managerial duties.
In May it was also announced that Latvian Tycoon Valery Belokon would become the club's first ever overseas President. A month later, Valery took a stake in the club.
In Simon Grayson's first full summer of recruiting for the 06-07 campaign he signed the likes of Andy Morrell, Claus Jorgensen, Shaun Barker, Michael Jackson and a certain Wes Hoolahan on loan from Livingston, as the club embarked on a new era.
It didn't start all too well, however, as the side took time to gel. The team only won one of their first 11 league games in League One, but the season got off and running following a victory over Leyton Orient on the 30 September.
It was the start of what was to prove a successful season for the Seasiders as the season culminated in Pool going on a ten game unbeaten run that lead all the way to Wembley and promotion to the Championship. The team had finished third in the division. A 2-0 win over Yeovil in the play-off final thanks to goals from Robbie Williams and Keigan Parker.
Promotion meant that Blackpool returned to what is now known as the Championship for the first time in 29 years.
The manager decided to put his faith in the side that got the Seasiders into the division for the new season but did add Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Stephen Crainey and two familiar faces in Michael Flynn and John Hills. Keeper Paul Rachubka signed permanently following his release from Huddersfield Town.
The campaign opened up with an opening day visit to face Leicester City (one of Simon's old clubs) and the team came out at the Walkers Stadium to chants of 'Blackpool are back!' At the full time whistle this was more than true as a goal from Keith Southern had given the Seasiders a 1-0 opening day win.
The first home game saw fellow promoted side Bristol City travel to Bloomfield Road in a game that ended 1-1. The clubs first home win in the division came on September 3 in a 2-1 win over Hull City in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
The fixture every supporter was waiting for, however, was the return of the Lancashire derby, the first to be held at Deepdale on December 8. It was to prove worth the wait, as a Wes Hoolahan penalty was cheekily converted to give Pool all three points.
Two weeks later manager Simon Grayson agreed a new contract with the club and the team celebrated in style by beating 10-man Coventry 4-1.
The season continued with a number of stand-out highlights, such as the 3-0 New Years Day victory over Burnley and the 5-3 defeat of Charlton in March. The arrival of Paul Dickov and Stephen McPhee in the January transfer window proved instrumental in the Seasiders' season, as Dickov especially popped up to score a number of vital goals.
Despite a number of highlights, the Seasiders went into the final game of the season with relegation still a slim mathmatical possibility, but a 1-1 draw with Watford put paid to that.
The summer of '08 saw a number of key players over the last few seasons depart and a number of new arrivals to join. Captain Michael Jackson, Michael Flynn, John Hills, Keigan Parker and Andy Welsh left the club, while two of Pool's impressive performers, Wes Hoolahan and Kaspars Gorkss, joined Norwich and QPR respectively. Andy Morrell was later to leave for Bury after turning down a new deal at the club.
Change was afoot and Joe Martin, a player who was on-loan towards the end of last season from Tottenham, Jermaine Wright, Matt Gilks, Daniel Nardiello, Marlon Broomes, Alex John-Baptiste and Rob Edwards joined the club. Adam Hammill, Steve Kabba and Zesh Rehman also agreed six-month-loan deals.
The departure of Simon Grayson to Leeds United in December meant further change with half of the season gone - assistant Tony Parkes stepped in as caretaker manager. Aided by Steve Thompson, Parkes, with the likes of DJ Campbell and Charlie Adam arriving on loan, guided the club to 16th in the league, finishing 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
The end of the campaign brought further change as Ian Holloway was named as the permanent successor to Grayson to lead the Seasiders into their third season in the Championship.
The mentality at the club suddenly changed as the manager made the players believe that they could achieve far more. He persuaded Charlie Adam to arrive permanently and brought DJ Campbell back on loan for the second-half of the season.
A new 4-3-3 formation was working in the Seasiders' favour and the team achieved a sixth-placed finish in the Championship on the final day of the season against Bristol City, qualifying them for the play-offs.
Two historic legs against Nottingham Forest and a 3-2 triumph over Cardiff City at Wembley ensured that Blackpool were promoted to the top-flight for the first time in 39 years.
Blackpool became the 44th team to play in the Premier League and made a dream start with a 4-0 victory at the DW Stadium over Wigan Athletic.
Striker DJ Campbell returned to the club permanently a few weeks later, on the back of Pool's first home game in the division finishing 2-2 with Fulham.
Away victories at Newcastle United and Liverpool followed prior to the end of the year and the Seasiders finished the season with 10 league wins.
Unfortunately the players needed to win at Old Trafford against champions Manchester United to stay up and lost 4-2. The club was relegated with 39 points.