Tag Archives: Blackpool

Premier League Files: DJ Campbell

Premier League Career: Birmingham City (2005-2006), Blackpool (2010-2011), Queens Park Rangers (2011-2012)

Forward DJ Campbell played for three Premier League teams, experienced the heartache of relegation twice and actually experienced his most prolific scoring days in the non-league. Campbell did impress though in Blackpool’s one-season dalliance in the Premier League, scoring 13 goals in the 2010-2011 campaign.

Born in Hammersmith, Campbell started his career as a trainee at Aston Villa but failed to impress enough to get a professional deal. He went down into the non-league and came to prominence with a devastating spell at Yeading. He scored 83 times in 109 appearances in all competitions and managed to showcase his skills in a televised FA Cup tie with Newcastle United in 2005.

Brentford manager Martin Allen took a gamble on him in the summer of 2005, paying Yeading £5,000 and nine goals in 23 appearances was good returns for a player who was making a major jump upto League One level.

After scoring twice for the Bees to dump Premier League strugglers Sunderland out of the FA Cup in January 2006, DJ was sold to Birmingham City just three days after this fantastic moment for him personally. The Blues paid £500,000 for his services but he failed to score in the 11 appearances he made as Birmingham dropped out of the Premier League.

Campbell scored nine times in the 2006-2007 season as he helped Birmingham back to the top-flight at the first attempt but he was moved on by Steve Bruce that summer and spent the next three years with moves to Leicester City and loan periods at Derby County and Blackpool. It seemed like he’d finally found a settled home at the latter and Blackpool paid a club-record £1.25m to sign him permanently on transfer deadline day in August 2010.

In his first game as a permanent Blackpool player, he scored the second goal in a sensational 2-0 away win at St James’ Park against Newcastle United. He then went on to score matchwinning strikes away at Stoke City and Sunderland and a winner to send Liverpool FC crashing to a second league defeat of the season against the Tangerines. At this stage, Blackpool were punching well above their weight in mid-table. Unfortunately, they slid down the table and ended up going down. Campbell didn’t help their cause with a red card for violent conduct in a 4-0 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

He moved to Queens Park Rangers in August 2011, joining the club he’d supported as a boy. Injuries restricted him to just 11 appearances, scoring once in an away win at Wolves. That was his final Premier League season. Campbell was loaned to Ipswich Town for the 2012-2013 campaign and went on to have spells with Blackburn Rovers, Millwall and Maidenhead United in the Conference South.

The latter part of DJ’s career was overshadowed by a spot-fixing scandal which saw him arrested in December 2013 along with five other men by the National Crime Agency. He was released without charge in August 2014 but it seriously damaged his relationship and love with the game of football.

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The Clubs: Blackpool

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
38 10 9 19 55 78 -23 39 1

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Ian Evatt 38
Charlie Adam 35
David Vaughan 35
DJ Campbell 31
Stephen Crainey 31
Neal Eardley 31
Gary Taylor-Fletcher 31
Craig Cathcart 30
Luke Varney 30
Matt Phillips 27

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
DJ Campbell 13
Charlie Adam 12
Marlon Harewood 5
Gary Taylor-Fletcher 5
Luke Varney 5
Jason Puncheon 3
Alex Baptiste 2
Matt Phillips 2
David Vaughan 2
Craig Cathcart 1

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Wigan Athletic 0-4 Blackpool 14th August 2010 2010-2011
Blackpool 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur 22nd February 2011 2010-2011
Newcastle United 0-2 Blackpool 11th September 2010 2010-2011
Sunderland 0-2 Blackpool 28th December 2010 2010-2011
Blackpool 4-3 Bolton Wanderers 14th May 2011 2010-2011

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Arsenal 6-0 Blackpool 21st August 2010 2010-2011
Chelsea 4-0 Blackpool 19th September 2010 2010-2011
Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-0 Blackpool 26th February 2011 2010-2011
Fulham 3-0 Blackpool 3rd April 2011 2010-2011
Everton 5-3 Blackpool 5th February 2011 2010-2011

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Ian Holloway 4 3rd November 2012

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Blackpool 2-3 Manchester City 17th October 2010 16,116 2010-2011
Blackpool 2-2 Everton 6th November 2010 16,094 2010-2011
Blackpool 2-1 Liverpool FC 12th January 2011 16,089 2010-2011
Blackpool 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur 22nd February 2011 16,069 2010-2011
Blackpool 1-2 Sunderland 22nd January 2011 16,037 2010-2011

 

Intro

Blackpool might have only been part of the Premier League party for a single season but they were a neutral’s favourite. Their all-out attack policy won many fans and saw the Tangerines involved in some of the best matches of the 2010-2011 Premier League season. Ian Holloway’s side were box-office material, enjoying a league double over Liverpool FC along the way. Sadly, form and confidence caught up with the Seasiders in the second half of the season and a 4-2 loss on the final day to Manchester United saw them relegated exactly a year to the day when they were promoted.

 

2010-2011

Blackpool began the 2010-2011 season as bookies favourites to be relegated after their surprising promotion via the play-offs. However, Ian Holloway and his side didn’t read the script on day one. They tore Wigan Athletic apart in a game moved to Wigan’s home ground whilst development work was being completed on Bloomfield Road to meet Premier League standards. Blackpool won 4-0, with debutant Marlon Harewood scoring twice.

There were sensational away victories at Newcastle United, Stoke City and Sunderland as Blackpool fast became away day specialists. In October 2011, they gave Liverpool FC one of their darkest results in their Premier League history, beating the Reds 2-1 at Anfield. DJ Campbell was top scorer with 13 goals, backed up by some heroic performances from Charlie Adam.

Blackpool sat eighth at the turn of the year and completed a league double over Liverpool FC in the early weeks of January 2011. A 3-2 loss to West Bromwich Albion days later though started a dramatic turn in their fortunes. Holloway’s men lost seven of their next nine matches and began to fall down towards the relegation places. When Wigan gained revenge for their opening day defeat in mid-April with a 3-1 away win at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool had dropped into the bottom three for the first time in the season.

A four-game unbeaten run followed and a belting 4-3 victory over Bolton Wanderers in their final home match left Blackpool outside the bottom three going into the final day. A positive result at Old Trafford on the final day and they could still achieve survival. Adam and Gary Taylor-Fletcher scored to have the visitors leading 2-1 early in the second half but defensive frailties caught up with them. They lost 4-2 and that condemned them to relegation regardless of other results. Despite scoring as many goals as fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, Blackpool’s leaky defence would cost them. They shipped 78 goals and that meant they were heading back to the Championship.

It was short-lived but a season their supporters will never forget.

Premier League Files: Marlon Harewood

Premier League Career: Nottingham Forest (1998-1999), West Ham United (2005-2007), Aston Villa (2007-2008), Blackpool (2010-2011)

Marlon Harewood played for no fewer than 14 different clubs before hanging up his boots in 2016 after a spell with non-league side Nuneaton Town. His most prolific run came in the Premier League during two top-flight terms with West Ham United.

Harewood was a product of the youth academy system at Nottingham Forest and made his league debut in 1998. He’d already tasted success in a loan spell with FC Haka in Finland, winning the Finnish Cup and the league championship and had another brief loan period with Ipswich Town. Forest were relegated from the Premier League in 1999 but Harewood started to emerge as one of the best strikers in the First Division. He formed a good partnership with his close friend David Johnson and scored 51 goals in 124 appearances for the former European Cup winners.

His contract at The City Ground was due to expire in 2004. The club offered him a new deal but it was a weaker contract which included a drop in wages. Understandably upset, the offer was rejected by the player and he left to join recently-relegated West Ham United for £500,000 in November 2003. He was West Ham’s top goalscorer in 2004-2005, scoring 23 goals in all competitions as the Hammers returned to the Premier League via the play-offs.

Alan Pardew was the manager and he decided Harewood was the man who should spearhead the club’s attack on their top-flight return. Feeling extremely confident because of this, Marlon scored the first hat-trick of the 2005-2006 season, netting a treble in the 4-0 home win over Aston Villa. Two months later, he scored the club’s quickest goal of the campaign, finding the back of the net inside 52 seconds of the 2-1 defeat against Manchester United. In April 2006, it was Harewood’s goal in the FA Cup semi-finals at Villa Park against Middlesbrough that took West Ham into the final at the Millennium Stadium which ended in an agonising penalty shootout loss to Liverpool FC. In total, he finished with impressive figures of 14 Premier League goals and was the club’s top scorer for a second successive season.

Like many of his Hammers teammates, there was a drop in form in 2006-2007 for Harewood, although he did score a famous late winner at home to Arsenal which sparked a dramatic late altercation on the touchline between his manager Pardew and opposition boss Arsene Wenger. However, the arrival of Carlos Tevez and improvement in Bobby Zamora saw Harewood drop down the pecking order.

After scoring just three times that campaign, he decided to leave the Londoners and joined Aston Villa in July 2007 for £4 million. It looked set Harewood was to join Wigan Athletic until a late intervention from Martin O’Neill swayed Harewood’s decision. It did mean he would be just a peripheral figure though which to start with, seemed to be something Harewood was happy to accept. In November 2007, he scored his 100th league career goal in the 4-0 victory at Blackburn Rovers. He scored another four times in the Premier League including a goal in a 2-2 draw at Anfield and the fans seemed to appreciate his work-rate when arriving from the bench.

O’Neill continued to use him as a regular substitute and he didn’t even start a league match in the first half of the 2008-2009 season. When Emile Heskey arrived from Wigan in January 2009, Harewood’s game time became even more limited. His time in Birmingham was coming to an end. He moved on-loan to first Wolverhampton Wanderers, then Newcastle United.

Aston Villa released him in the summer of 2010 and he was linked with a move away from the English game, with clubs from Turkey and the United States expressing an interest in Harewood. However, he stayed in the Premier League by linking up with Blackpool in August and made a fantastic start too, scoring twice in their sensational 4-0 opening day victory over Wigan Athletic. He then enjoyed his return to Villa Park in November, finding the target in Blackpool’s narrow 3-2 defeat. This was to be his final goal in the top-flight.

He was loaned to Barnsley in February 2011 and was released by Blackpool following their relegation at the end of the campaign. He ended his career with second spells with both Nottingham Forest and Barnsley, along with stints at Guangzhou R&F in China, Bristol City, Hartlepool United and lastly, Nuneaton Town.

Since retirement, Harewood has become a co-owner of AC13 Premier, a car modification business who takes requests from some of sport’s most famous stars. Among his clients include Tottenham forward Harry Kane, ex-boxer Carl Froch and Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker.

Shock Results: Wigan Athletic 0-4 Blackpool (August 2010)

Goalscorers: Gary Taylor-Fletcher 16, Marlon Harewood 38, 43, Alex Baptiste 75

Teams:

Wigan Athletic: Chris Kirkland, Emmerson Boyce (Ronnie Stam 45), Antolin Alcaraz, Maynor Figueroa, Steve Gohouri, Mohamed Diame (Hendry Thomas 45), James McCarthy, Ben Watson, Victor Moses (James McArthur 72), Mauro Boselli, Hugo Rodallega

Blackpool: Matt Gilks, Alex Baptiste, Craig Cathcart, Stephen Crainey, Ian Evatt, Charlie Adam, Elliot Grandin, David Vaughan, Gary Taylor-Fletcher (Jason Euell 76), Marlon Harewood (Chris Basham 60), Brett Ormerod (Ludovic Sylvestre 59)

Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 16,152

The opening day of the 2010-2011 Premier League season is one that supporters of Blackpool will never forget. The Seasiders were playing in their first Premier League match away in Lancashire to Wigan Athletic. Initially having come out as a home match for Blackpool, the clubs had agreed to switch the venue whilst ground redevelopment was being completed at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool had made seven new signings in the off-season and three of them made their debuts in this match including the experienced Marlon Harewood, who had the guile upfront to cause problems for any Premier League defence. He took advantage of a Wigan side that was missing Charles N’Zogbia through injury and had a backline that looked in complete disarray.

This was the first meeting in the top division between the sides and The DW Stadium was made silent inside of 16 minutes. Blackpool broke down the right-hand side. Harewood squared the ball for Gary Taylor-Fletcher to finish commandingly. Brett Ormerod, who had scored the play-off winner against Cardiff City a few months earlier missed a couple of earlier opportunities and Taylor-Fletcher had a second goal for the day chalked off for offside by linesman Paul Thompson.

Wigan looked scared. Blackpool were rampant and fully deserved their two-goal lead, achieved by Harewood on 38 minutes. The former West Ham striker tried his luck from distance. Chris Kirkland was beaten for pace but knew he should have saved it. Five minutes later, Harewood doubled his tally as he enjoyed his return to the big stage. Fellow impressive debutant Elliot Grandin had a shot from distance. Kirkland saved but again couldn’t hold onto the ball and Harewood was fastest to the rebound to score his second of the afternoon. Wigan were jeered off at half-time by their own supporters. This was an opening day to forget so far for manager Roberto Martinez.

He made two substitutions at the break with Ronnie Stam and Hendry Thomas replacing Emmerson Boyce and Mohamed Diame. It looked like they had pulled a goal back when defender Steve Gohouri nodded the ball into the net from Ben Watson’s free-kick. However, for the second time in the day, linesman Thompson had his flag up to disallow the goal.

With 15 minutes remaining, Blackpool added further gloss onto the scoreline with a fourth goal. Defender Alex Baptiste tried his luck and his shot which looked more like a cross managed to creep in past Kirkland’s defences at his near post. It was a horrid afternoon for the Wigan shot-stopper and he would lose his place in the team shortly after this display. Blackpool’s first top-flight win in 31 years had them briefly top of the table for a few hours and Holloway’s side were thrilling to watch all season.

Sadly though, there was no happy ending. Defeat on the final day at Old Trafford saw them relegated. The Latics lost 6-0 in their next match to Chelsea but Martinez’s side rallied in the closing weeks and avoided relegation on the same day Blackpool were relegated.

Premier League Files: Gary Taylor-Fletcher

Premier League Career: Blackpool (2010-2011)

Currently the player-manager of Welsh club Bangor City, Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s career has been so diverse, he has been fortunate enough to score in each of the top five divisions of English football.

He began his senior career in 1999 playing for non-league side Northwich Victoria before signing for Third Division club Leyton Orient in 2001. After spells with Lincoln City and Huddersfield Town, Taylor-Fletcher joined Blackpool in 2007 and this is where he had the most joyous time of his footballing career.

He joined them as Blackpool’s rise up the divisions was being noted. 2007-2008 was to be the Tangerines’ first campaign back in the top two tiers of the football pyramid since the late 1970s. He became a key player for the club as they impressed in the Championship, playing a very exciting brand of football along the way. In the 2010 Championship play-off final, Taylor-Fletcher scored in the 39th minute as Blackpool beat Cardiff City 3-2 to earn them a place in the Premier League. This completed his incredible journey from non-league to Premier League in just over a decade.

He made 31 Premier League appearances, contributing five goals and seven assists. Taylor-Fletcher made the step-up without any issues and scored the club’s first-ever goal in the Premier League when Blackpool stunned Wigan Athletic 4-0 on the opening day of the season. He also scored the equaliser at home to Liverpool FC in January 2011 as Blackpool came back from a goal down to win 2-1 and complete a famous league double over the five-time European champions.

Unfortunately, Blackpool were relegated on the last day of the season. Taylor-Fletcher left Blackpool in 2013 and he would go on to play for Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday, Tranmere Rovers and Accrington Stanley. He became Bangor City player-manager in 2017.

Memorable Matches: Manchester United 4-2 Blackpool (May 2011)

Goalscorers: Ji-Sung Park 21, Charlie Adam 40, Gary Taylor-Fletcher 57, Anderson 62, Ian Evatt 74 OG, Michael Owen 81

Teams:

Manchester United: Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans, Rafael (Chris Smalling 46), Nemanja Vidic (Wayne Rooney 84), Anderson, Darren Fletcher, Paul Scholes, Nani, Ji-Sung Park (Michael Owen 63), Dimitar Berbatov

Blackpool: Matt Gilks, Stephen Crainey, Ian Evatt, Alex Baptiste, Neal Eardley, Keith Southern (Brett Ormerod 86), David Vaughan, Charlie Adam, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Jason Puncheon (Luke Varney 75), DJ Campbell (Matt Phillips 75)

Referee: Mike Dean, Attendance: 75,400

Blackpool had been an exciting side to watch in the 2010-2011 Premier League season. Ian Holloway’s side had beaten Liverpool FC twice and Tottenham Hotspur during their rollercoaster season and began the final day of the campaign outside of the bottom three. Despite their destiny being in their own hands, that meant the Tangerines’ probably needed to get some kind of result at Manchester United. It was a party atmosphere at Old Trafford.  A week earlier, Manchester United had become the most successful club in English football history, wrapping up their 19th league title to overtake Liverpool’s record. Blackpool respectfully gave the newly-crowned champions a guard of honour before the sides did battle in an end-to-end contest.

Both sides had chances in the first 20 minutes. Keith Southern had the first opportunity of the match but side-footed wide of goal whilst Matt Gilks had to repel efforts from Rafael and Dimitar Berbatov. However, he couldn’t stop Ji-Sung Park giving the home side the lead. A misunderstanding between the goalkeeper and Ian Evatt allowed the South Korean in, who calmly dinked the ball over Gilks to put Blackpool into the relegation zone.

All season, Holloway’s instinct had been to attack opponents and he was not going to change this tactic on the final day. It earned some reward five minutes shy of half-time. Gary Taylor-Fletcher won a free-kick after a clumsy tackle from Nemanja Vidic. Free-kick specialist Charlie Adam placed his effort perfectly beyond Edwin van der Sar, who was making his final Premier League appearance before retirement.

Blackpool did the unthinkable 12 minutes into the second half and took the lead at the Theatre of Dreams. Neat build-up involving Jason Puncheon and David Vaughan saw the Welshman’s cross deftly placed into the back of the net by the excellent Taylor-Fletcher. The away supporters were now beginning to dream. Blackpool were half an hour away from staying up in the top-flight.

Their lead lasted just five minutes though. Park found an unmarked Anderson who curled a strike into the top corner. Blackpool were now only staying up on goal difference. A more catastrophic moment would occur on 74 minutes. Substitute Chris Smalling’s cross was diverted into his own net by the unfortunate Evatt. The expressions on the faces of fans and manager said it all. With eight minutes left, Anderson’s sliding pass found an onside Michael Owen. He made no mistake to send Blackpool towards the Championship exactly a year to the day when they were promoted via the play-offs.

Holloway’s team had made many friends along the way but ultimately, their energetic season ended in disappointment as they went down on the final day along with Birmingham City. For United, they could celebrate another title-winning moment on an afternoon of contrasting emotions.

Premier League Files: Charlie Adam

Premier League Career: Blackpool (2010-2011), Liverpool FC (2011-2012), Stoke City (2012-PRESENT)

Charlie Adam has now been a fixture in the Premier League for over eight years. Currently at Stoke City, the Dundee-born midfielder has experienced the highs of scoring infront of The Kop for Liverpool FC and the pain of relegation with Blackpool despite some inspirational individual performances in 2011.

Scottish international Adam joined the books of Glasgow giants Rangers aged just 17 and made his first-team debut for the club against Livingston in 2004. However, it wouldn’t be until 2006 before he became a regular player in their matchday squads. In amongst this gap, he had loan spells with Ross County and St Mirren. During his time with Rangers, he scored in Europe’s premier club competition against VfB Stuttgart twice and was part of the Gers’ side that made the 2008 UEFA Cup final, although he was an unused substitute in the showpiece event against Zenit St Petersburg.

In February 2009, Charlie moved south of the border and joined Blackpool on a temporary deal. It wasn’t a great start. He was sent off on his debut against Doncaster Rovers. However, he impressed on his return from suspension and eventually, a deal was done for Adam to head to Bloomfield Road on a permanent basis.

He was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year and was instrumental in Blackpool’s play-off matches in 2009-2010. He scored a matchwinning penalty to defeat Nottingham Forest in the semi-finals, before striking in the final over Cardiff City from a trademark free-kick. Despite finishing sixth, Blackpool’s dramatic 3-2 victory with Adam as the creative lynchpin meant they were heading for the realms of the Premier League.

He continued to star, especially in the first five months of Blackpool’s Premier League adventure. He scored a penalty in the club’s famous win at Anfield and produced a series of special free-kicks, including strikes away from home at Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United. His head was turned in January 2011 by interest from several leading Premier League sides. Liverpool FC had a £4.5 million bid turned down and Tottenham Hotspur were also heavily linked with the player. Although he handed in a transfer request, Blackpool turned it down and he got on with the job of trying to keep the Tangerines’ in the Premier League. His performance levels though did inevitably drop following the speculation. Despite his best efforts, which included 12 goals and a nomination for the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Adam couldn’t stop Blackpool avoid an agonising relegation on the final day of the season.

In July 2011, Liverpool FC finally got their man after seeing two earlier bids by Blackpool rejected. Charlie started strongly on Merseyside, swinging in a free-kick on the opening day against Sunderland that was guided in by Luis Suarez. Two weeks later, he scored his first goal for the Reds’ infront of The Kop in the 3-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for the central midfielder. A silly red card at Tottenham, injuries and a loss of confidence from the penalty spot meant he didn’t have the impact he’d hoped for at Anfield. Kenny Dalglish was sacked and Brendan Rodgers decided Adam wouldn’t fit into his plans. He moved to Stoke City in August 2012.

Things started shaky at Stoke, despite winning goals against Queens Park Rangers and Fulham. He was given compassionate leave after the tragic death of his father but didn’t fit into Tony Pulis’ tactical plans. A crucial winning goal against Norwich City in April 2013 was enough to ensure Stoke weren’t dragged into a relegation scrap. It was an emotional moment for Charlie, who dedicated the goal to his late father. However, his mediocre season ended with yet another red card against Tottenham Hotspur.

2013-2014 was a much better season with Mark Hughes having replaced Pulis in the Stoke hotseat. Adam scored seven goals, including two goals against Manchester United which set Stoke up for their first win over the Red Devils in 20 years. He matched this goalscoring tally the following season which included a special strike from over the halfway line in a 2-1 loss to champions Chelsea. He later described his goal at Stamford Bridge as a “once in a lifetime goal.”

His last two seasons haven’t produced the same total in terms of goal return but Adam is still very much a part of the first-team squad at Stoke. Whilst he isn’t a guaranteed starter every single week, he still will always pose a threat from long-range and will remain as committed as ever in the tackle.

Shock Results: Liverpool FC 1-2 Blackpool (October 2010)

Goalscorers: Charlie Adam 29 PEN, Luke Varney 45, Sotirios Kyrgiakos 53

Teams:

Liverpool FC: Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson, Christian Poulsen (Milan Jovanovic 60), Raul Meireles, Joe Cole (Maxi Rodriguez 88), Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Fernando Torres (David Ngog 10)

Blackpool: Matt Gilks, Craig Cathcart (Dekal Keinan 20), Neal Eardley (Matt Phillips 46), Stephen Crainey, Ian Evatt, Charlie Adam, Elliot Grandin (Keith Southern 63), David Vaughan, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, DJ Campbell, Luke Varney

Referee: Mike Jones, Attendance: 43,156

In October 2010, storm clouds were gathering around Anfield. Liverpool FC started this match against Blackpool in the bottom three of the Premier League, having mustered just one win from their opening six matches. The Reds’ had also been embarrassingly dumped out of the League Cup on penalties by Northampton Town.

It wasn’t the start that reigning LMA Manager of the Year Roy Hodgson was expecting. With the club’s sale being challenged in the courts by unpopular American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, there was gloom all around the red half of Merseyside.

Blackpool arrived with two away wins already under their belt and Ian Holloway’s side were looking forward to their first league trip to Anfield since 1971. Despite back-to-back defeats, a win would take the Tangerines’ into ninth place in the table. The mood around the home supporters was not helped by the loss of star forward Fernando Torres to injury inside 10 minutes. As he trooped down the tunnel, Blackpool’s confidence grew and they nearly took the lead shortly afterwards when DJ Campbell guided a half-volley only fractionally wide of the far post.

In the 29th minute, the visitors’ got a golden opportunity to silence The Kop. Glen Johnson’s clumsy challenge on Luke Varney earned Blackpool a penalty. Johnson protested his innocence but Mike Jones rightfully gave the spot-kick. Under a chorus of pressure, Charlie Adam kept his composure and drilled his penalty underneath Pepe Reina’s body to give Holloway’s side a shock but deserved lead.

Liverpool were dismal in the first 45 minutes and the scoreline was about to get worse. Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s superb angled pass played in the dangerous Varney, who made no mistake from 12-yards out and put Blackpool supporters into dreamland. The home fans booed their own players off at the half-time whistle. This was turning into another painful afternoon for the Anfield faithful.

Hodgson had to revive his underperforming stars at the interval and they reduced the deficit in the opening eight minutes of the second half. Steven Gerrard’s free-kick was powered home by Sotirios Kyrgiakos. The Greek came close again later on from a similar routine but was denied by a fine stop from Matt Gilks.

Blackpool held on for a famous win – their first at Anfield since 1969 and they went on to complete a league double over LFC. It was Liverpool’s worst start to a season in 57 years and Hodgson eventually left in January. Kenny Dalglish returned to the dugout and they would rally to finish sixth. Despite thrilling neutrals all season, Blackpool were relegated on the final day of the season. This though is a day their fans will never forget.

The Managers: Ian Holloway

Nicknamed “Ollie,” Ian Holloway is a character who will take no prisoners and has enjoyed successful times as a player and manager. In November 2016, he left his position as chief Football League pundit with Sky Sports to have another go at managing Queens Park Rangers, the club he represented with great dignity in the Premier League.

Holloway began his playing career with Bristol Rovers, his hometown club in 1981 and finished his playing career in 1999 with the same team. During his playing days, he won promotion with both Rovers and also Wimbledon.

In August 1991, Gerry Francis paid Bristol Rovers £230,000 to take Holloway to Queens Park Rangers. He played more than 150 games for the club over five seasons and was one of the leaders in the dressing room. He left after the club’s relegation to the First Division in 1996.

Moving straight into management, his first spells were with the two clubs he spent the longest time with and he achieved five years with both Bristol Rovers and Queens Park Rangers in the dugout. Ian was producing good work with both teams. Having arrived too late to stop QPR slide into the third tier in 2001, Holloway rebuilt the side, got them promoted in 2004 and kept them as a stable mid-table club until his departure in 2006, just before Flavio Briatore came in and turned sacking managers at Loftus Road into a hobby.

Spells with Plymouth Argyle and Leicester City followed but it would be his role with Blackpool that attracted the most headlines and turned him into a national treasure.

Blackpool revival

When Holloway was appointed by Blackpool in 2009, he had been out of the game for almost a year. Relegation with Leicester City had damaged his reputation and this was a chance to restore his credentials.

He sensationally took the club into the top-six in the Championship, earning a playoff position. The Tangerines’ then saw off Nottingham Forest in the semi-finals and beat Cardiff City 3-2 in a topsy-turvy final to achieve promotion to the Premier League and all this in his first nine months in the job. Holloway would later say that this achievement was his greatest in football.

Blackpool arrived in the Premier League for 2010-2011 and were expected to be the whipping boys of the top-flight. Holloway galvanised an amazing team spirit though and the best out of players like Luke Varney, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and of course, skipper Charlie Adam. They sent ripples through the league with a stunning 4-0 opening day victory away at Wigan Athletic. Blackpool followed this up with a series of impressive victories away from home. They beat Newcastle United, Sunderland, Stoke City and recorded a memorable 2-1 success away at Liverpool FC.

There were heavy defeats to Arsenal (6-0) and Chelsea (4-0) but Blackpool were committed to playing football the right way. They scored lots of goals but also conceded far too many. Holloway loved Premier League life, despite threatening to resign after the club was fined £25,000 for fielding a weakened team in a November fixture away to Aston Villa.

Blackpool sat eighth in the table at the turn of the year and they would go onto defeat Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur in the early weeks of 2011. However, a transfer saga developed over Adam and although the club held onto his services, his performances dipped and with that, so did the team’s. They slipped into trouble and eventually into the bottom three by mid-April. Despite a gallant display on the final day of the season at Old Trafford, a 4-2 defeat to the new champions would see immediate relegation, exactly a year to the day of promotion to the elite. Nevertheless, they had won plenty of fans for their gung-ho approach to the season.

Palace come calling

Despite interest from other Premier League clubs, including Aston Villa, Holloway stayed at Blackpool for 2011-2012 and guided them back to the Championship playoff final. This time though, it would end in defeat to West Ham United.

In November 2012, he resigned from his post at Bloomfield Road to take over at Crystal Palace. His first match in charge with the Eagles’ was a 5-0 thumping of Ipswich Town and the playoffs were becoming a specialist subject for Ian. He was back at Wembley again and this time, it was promotion glory over Watford. Veteran Kevin Phillips scoring the only goal, courtesy of the penalty spot.

He led Crystal Palace into the Premier League but his enthusiasm wasn’t quite the same as it had been at Blackpool. The club lost seven of their first eight matches back in the top-flight and after a 4-1 home defeat to London rivals Fulham, he left by mutual consent after a rollercoaster year in south London.

He stayed in the capital with Millwall before returning to the management game with Queens Park Rangers for the second time in 2016-2017. Safety in the Championship was just about secured and he will be aiming to bring the good times back to Loftus Road next season.

The Premier League has not seen the last of Ian Holloway. He is a character and the game is a poorer place when he isn’t in the dugout.