The most unfashionable team in history? A numpty of a manager? Average gates of only 8,500? All these things and more beside have been said and yet Blackpool Football Club defied all the odds and beat Cardiff City to make it to the top flight of the English Premiership.
I was privileged to witness the 3-2 scoreline at a scorching and packed Wembley Stadium yesterday afternoon. Blackpool sold out their 37,000 ticket allocation way before the match and the fans played a major part on the day. Half the stadium was awash with tangerine. The noise was deafening and it was the most exciting and pulsating atmosphere I have ever witnessed or been part of at a football match. If a match was won by the sheer will of support, then it happened yesterday. I don't think the result was ever in doubt certainly not amongst the supporters. Even when Cardiff went ahead twice, the noise from the seasiders just went higher willing the goals to come. And boy, did they come! Cardiff were undone, outplayed and outclassed. When the final whistle went, myself and most people around me hugged and burst into tears. We'd just witnessed a little history being made for the people, the town and the club. We'd all felt part of it and drank in its success. I will never forget a scorching day in North London and watching a little family club win through and begin rubbing shoulders with the big boys in the Premiership.
Congratulations to Ian Holloway, the Oyston family, the players and most importantly, the fans. I hope the neutrals will enjoy every minute of this season as much as everyone associated with the club.
The future's bright... the future's tangerine