League One Play-off
Division One (old)
Division Two (old)
Division Two (old)
Runners-up: 1936-37, 1969-70
Division Three (old) Play-off
Division Four (old)
Division Four (old) Play-off
Runners-up: 1948, 1951
Blackpool Football Club was founded on 26 July 1887 following a meeting at the Stanley Arms Hotel to resolve a dispute surrounding Blackpool St. John's.
The club became founder founder members of the Lancashire League and enjoyed eight 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 FC 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. Blackpool's first league match was played at Lincoln City on 5 September 1896 in front of a crowd of around 2,000 spectators but resulted in a 3-1 defeat. Blackpool's first ever league goal was scored by Charles Mount.
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 day.
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. 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 still stands to this day.
A period of centre forward supremacy followed for Blackpool. Harry Bedford was signed in 1921 and was leading the goalscorer for several seasons. He was also the leading Second Division goalscorer for two seasons. Bedford also featured internationally for England on two occasions, and on three occasions appeared in the Inter-League matches.
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 the 1927-28 season he scored 31 goals in 32 games. The following season he scored 40 goals, heading the list of scorers in the Second Division. Season 1929-30 saw him even more successful, finishing 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 just £2,000 and scored a total of 247 goals in 360 games. He was the main player responsible for Blackpool's promotion to the first division and remains the club's all-time top goalscorer.
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. He had revolutionary training ideas and his scouting system was first class. He stayed at Blackpool for a period of four years and 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.
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 its 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.
The club pushed for a return to the First Division, though the team was only moderately successful and promotion remained as elusive as it had been in the past.
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 34 goals in his first season with the club.
Blackpool successful 1936-37 season, when Promotion was finally achieved following a successful 1936-37 season.
The Golden Years
The start of the Second World War brought about the abandonment of league Football. Few would disagree that the takeover of the town by The RAF enhanced the fortunes of the club, though when war was declared on 3 September 1939, The Seasiders were sitting top of Division One, having won all three games played.
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 side featured Stanley Matthews, although he was still on Stoke City's books at the time.
With the end of the war the club had an excellent nucleus of players on its books and the £30,000 overdraft had almost disappeared. It was at this time that Stanley Mortenson came to the fore, developing into an extremely fast and skilful player who 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.
Two players bought in the mid-1940s 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.
The club has never won the First Division championship, but came very close in 1956-57 when finishing fourth, 1950-51 when third, and in 1955-56 when 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 that changed, Blackpool succeeded in reaching the final. Losing out to Manchester United, the club returned to the final in 1951 but lost again, this time to Newcastle United.
Back again came the Blackpool team in 1953, in a final which became 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 the honour. The game proved to be a thriller, with Matthews inspiring the team to 4-3 victory over Bolton Wanderers. Stan Mortensen, to this day, remains the only player to score a hat-trick in an FA Cup final, while the other goal was scored by Bill Perry.
Matthews remained in Blackpool until October 1961 when he moved back to Stoke City. He was awarded an O.B.E. in 1957, and knighted in the New Year's Honours List.
Another key figure from the 1953 FA Cup winning side was Harry Johnston, the club's longest serving player. His playing career covered the 20 years and five months between May 1935 and November 1955. He would later return to the club as assistant manager to Stan Mortenson in 1967.
The team which won the FA Cup in 1953 and 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. The club could finish no higher than 13th position in the next five seasons and was eventually relegated in 1966/67.
It was during this period that Jimmy Armfield completed most of his record 627 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 at the time was 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 goalscorers, Tommy Hutchinson, John McPhee, Tom White, Ray Parry and Alan Suddick. Alan joined Blackpool in 1966 from Newcastle United for a then club record fee of £60,000.
After three years in Division Two, Blackpool regained promotion so the 70s 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.
Disappointing league finishes saw manager Harry Potts recruit a goalscorer in on Middlesbrough forward Malcom Smith on loan from Middlesbrough in 1976, and he scored six goals in eight matches. However, Smith returned to Middlesbrough and and the club was unable to raise the money to secure his permanent transfer. The public outcry resulted in the resignation of Mr Frank Dickinson and his fellow directors, who were replaced by a board chaired by Mr Bill Cartmell. 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. 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. While these events were taking place, Bob Hatton suffered a serious injury in training and was absent for most of the remaining matches.
What followed in the closing few weeks of the 1978/79 season could not have been predicted, tt had been a hard winter with many postponements but Blackpool had, as usual, escaped the worst of the elements and completed 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 Blackpool 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 an 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's highest goalscorer only two seasons earlier. The latter brought a record transfer fee of £350,000. Paul Hart joined Leeds United for another sizeable fee, and Bob Hatton left for Luton Town.
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 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.
In the meantime, current Blackpool FC owner Owen Oyston began funding the club in 1987, which at the time was bankrupt and had negative net assets of £42,000. The business had just £28,000 in share capital and had accumulated losses of £77,000 on the balance sheet. The most likely buyer for the club had been a builder who wanted to develop the football ground for housing and retail, leading to the demolition of the club.
Owen acquired shares in October 1987 to hold 49% of equity and despite not holding control, made immediate loans to the club, unsecured and interest free, to the value of £160,000. He purchased further shares a year later to take control of the club, while also increasing loan funding.
In 1990, after a rights issue, Owen Oyston provided additional permanent capital to the club of £1.3m. This increased his ownership of Segesta, formely Blackpool Football Club (Properties) Limited, to 97%.
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 five out of 30 league games were lost and 13 consecutive home game wins created - a club record. The side failed to gain automatic promotion but beat Scunthorpe United in the play-off semi-finals. Unfortunately the team lost out in the final against Torquay on penalties.
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 the club returned to Wembley. This time in another nail biting final Blackpool beat Scunthorpe United on penalties. With the reorganisation of the league, the club competed in Division Two in the 1992/93 campaign. Billy 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 Blackpool were saved from relegation after a terrible mid-season slump. Billy Ayre ended his association with the Ccub 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 for £165,000 and then the club record arrival of Andy Morrison 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 and Andy Barlow from Oldham on a free transfer. Goalkeeper Steve Banks was also signed from Gillingham for £60,000 from Gillingham.
Blackpool went on a number of unbeaten runs throughout that season, taking them to the top of the division, but a disastrous run towards the end of the campaign left Blackpool needing six points from their last two 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 managers, including Gary Megson, who left the club to take up the manager's position at Stockport County, and Nigel Worthington. Worthington resigned in January 2000 following a long spell of poor performance and was replaced by Ex-England international Steve McMahon.
Between 1990 and May 2000 owner Owen Oyston provided £5.5m in new share capital. Some of Owen's cash was injected into the club in shares and interest-free loans, some of which he later converted into shares. Owen's £5.5m remains in share capital today.
McMahon's arrival could not halt the Seasiders slide into the Third Division at the end of the 1999/2000 season so that's where the club began the 2000/2001 campaign. 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 United aside, winning 5-1 on aggregate over the two legs of the semi-final. Striker Brett Ormerod scored four of the goals before Blackpool went on to meet Leyton Orient in the final at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium.
Blackpool duly secured promotion to the Second Division following a 4-2 victory, thanks to goals from Ian Hughes, Brian Reid, Paul Simpson and that man Brett Ormerod.
During the 2000-01 season owner Owen Oyston, in consultation with his son Karl and their professional advisers, sold his magazine company which owned Lancashire Life, Cheshire Life, Yorkshire Life and various other life magazines. The company, which was making millions, was sold to fund the football club. From the proceeds of this sale, Owen provided an interest-free equity investment of £6.8m to attract a further £2.5m grant from The Football Foundation. This money was used to build the North, North West and West Stands at Bloomfield Road. The revenue from this now flows directly into the club.
Season 2001/02 had been one of consolidation for Pool in Division Two, with another trip to Cardiff as The Seasiders were crowned LDV Trophy Winners. It was two trips to the Millennium Stadium in eight months, with Blackpool beating Cambridge United 4-1.
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 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 in the 2002-2003 season.
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 2006, after two years of negotiations with Owen, Valeri Belokon joined the Board of Blackpool Football Club and bought 20% of the share capital for £1.8m, all of which went into the club even though Owen's shareholding in Blackpool Football Club diluted from 95% to 75% as a result.
Owen Oyston and Valeri Belokon, through their respective companies and in a joint venture, funded a large part of the development of the South Stand and the South West Corner Stand at a cost of millions of pounds in cash and equity, but with the need for further borrowings to complete these stands. This money, 23.7m, was used to build the hotel, restaurant, gym, spa and complete the South, South East and South West Stands. The South Stand, named The Armfield Stand in honour of Jimmy Armfield, officially opened in March 2010.
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 Blackpool 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 came courtesy of 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 and the team came out at the Walker's 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 club's first home win in the division came on 3 September in a 2-1 win over Hull City in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
The season continued with a number of stand-out highlights, including a victory over Preston North End and a 3-0 New Year's Day victory over Burnley. 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.
Change was afoot and the likes of Matt Gilks, Alex Baptiste and Rob Edwards joined the club. 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 for a club record transfer fee 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.
Charlie Adam moved to Liverpool for a club record fee that summer and Ian Holloway started a rebuild, signing the likes of Tom Ince, Barry Ferguson and Kevin Phillips.
The new arrivals helped the club reach the play-offs at the end of the season, as the club sought an immediate return to the Premier League. The Seasiders beat Birmingham City in the semi-finals of the play-offs but lost out at Wembley 2-1 in the final to West Ham United.
The team remained in The Championship for the 2012/13 season and started in fine fashion, with victories against Millwall, Leeds United and Ipswich Town seeing Blackpool sit top of the table. However, manager Ian Holloway departed the club for Crystal Palace in November 2012 to eventually be replaced by Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton.
Appleton stayed at Blackpool for just 65 days after Blackburn Rovers made a move for his services. In February 2013 the club turned to former England international Paul Ince as manager, in an effort to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle. Ince kept the club in the division and started to plan for the following season.
The summer of 2013 saw the likes of Stephen Crainey, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Ludovic Sylvestre all depart Bloomfield Road, with Ricardo Fuller joining the club on a free transfer from Charlton. Blackpool made their best ever start to a season, however a 10-game run without a victory from December onwards led to Paul Ince’s departure.
Midfielder Barry Ferguson stepped up to take interim charge of the club until the end of the season and picked up three vital victories to just about secure The Seasiders’ place in The Championship.
José Riga was then appointed Blackpool’s first ever foreign boss in June 2014, though his tenure did not last long. Late recruitment of players saw the club open the season with just 14 registered professionals at Nottingham Forest and by the end of October Riga had overseen just the one victory, coming against Cardiff City.
He was replaced by Lee Clark in November 2014 and the ex-Newcastle United midfielder was tasked with trying to lift the club out of a difficult position at the bottom of the table. Despite victories over Birmingham, Millwall and Brighton, The Seasiders remained in 24th place and were relegated to League One.