Blackpool play-offs: This is the seaside story. Much like their famous Pleasure Beach theme park, Blackpool have been on a typical roller-coaster ride this season in getting to the play-offs.
Blackpool Play-Offs: A Common Occasion for the Seasiders
Rocky Start to This Season
The Seasiders had a shaky start, winning just one of their opening six League One contests against Swindon Town. The club’s poor start resulted in a 23rd position in the early exchanges, but patience reigned over Blackpool after the tumultuous years with the previous regime. An up and down period, akin to the town’s famous Big One thrill ride, followed until a 2-1 away win at Burton Albion, which gave the team much needed balance and consistency.
A Resurgent Blackpool
A run of one defeat in 13 matches would follow to kick start their campaign. A solid showing in the FA Cup led Blackpool to the FA Cup Fourth Round, where they were narrowly beaten by Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion. However, the run which saw Blackpool arrive at their fabled play-offs started on a dreary Lancastrian Tuesday night. The date was Tuesday, February 16 and the opposition were Rochdale. A narrow 1-0 win for the Seasiders gave the team the platform to showcase their true potential.
An Inconsistent Team Upsetting the Top Table
Off and on, the team had shown its quality in isolated results. Namely, a 1-1 away draw at Hull City, a 3-2 win against the same opposition and a 2-1 away win at Peterborough. Meanwhile, both clubs ended up being promoted to the Championship. Therefore, the frustration was there for Blackpool fans at seeing their team shine only at sporadic times.
The Record Surge of Blackpool to the Play-Offs
After that Rochdale victory, however, the Seasiders marched up the table. Impressive back-to-back away wins against play-off chasing Portsmouth (1-0) and Charlton Athletic (3-0) gave Blackpool supporters further belief in manager Neil Critchley. The former Liverpool U23 Boss was getting the measure of his side thanks to a solid and spirited unit. The goals started to flow from forward Jerry Yates (22 for the season), on-loan Everton striker Ellis Simms (eight) and former Crystal Palace winger Sullay Kaikai (seven).
The victories kept on coming with the likes of Peterborough United, Oxford United and Sunderland all falling to the Seasiders sword. A remarkable run of 15 games unbeaten lifted the club firmly into the playoffs. Although there were back-to-back defeats against Rochdale and Shrewsbury Town, the team got back to winning ways with a win at Sunderland. This ensured The Tangerines completed the double over the biggest club in the division.
The Tangerines Finish with a Flourish
Blackpool went on to win their final three games, which meant a four-game winning streak with four consecutive clean sheets. A record of seven goals and none conceded meant Blackpool enter their play-off playground in high spirits. Their 80-point haul is the highest total for 14 years when the club also finished third.
That summer of 2007, the club achieved a perfect ten of ten consecutive wins. Their remarkable run included beating Swansea City 6-3 to reach the final. In that final, Blackpool beat Yeovil Town 2-0 at Wembley to earn promotion to the Championship for the first time in 29 years.
Blackpool in the Play-Offs: Play-Off Opposition Record
In addition, the team will be buoyed by their record against their fellow play-off competitors. In the six games against Sunderland, Lincoln City and their semi-final opponents, Oxford United, Blackpool only lost once at home to Lincoln City with three wins, two draws and that solitary defeat. The play-offs await them once more.
Blackpool Play-Off Pedigree
Blackpool have play-off pedigree in abundance. The club, along with Huddersfield Town, are the only two teams to have achieved promotion through the play-offs from each of the three main divisions of English football. The Seasiders have a formidable record in their favourite format, stretching back to 1992.
Blackpool 1-1 Scunthorpe United (4-3 on pens) May 23, 1992
Vintage Wembley Stadium was the venue with 22,741 in attendance. It was a tense match that was nervously finished with the penalty shoot-out. Blackpool gained promotion to the third tier.
Blackpool 4-2 Leyton Orient May 26, 2001
The turn of the millennium saw the Seasiders secure their next play-off triumph – fittingly in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. 23,600 were present to see a topsy-turvy game. A lightning start was made by Orient who scored after just 27 seconds. The goals kept on flying in with Blackpool battling back to equalise twice before taking control of the match. Then it was the hour of club hero Brett Ormerod, who gave Blackpool a lead they were never to lose, to seal promotion to League One.
Blackpool 2-0 Yeovil Town May 27, 2007
A third consecutive play-off win was earned at the new Wembley Stadium. 59,313 saw the Seasiders return to the Championship for the first time in nearly 30 years. It was a win that would give them the springboard for their most famous play-off success.
Blackpool 3-2 Cardiff City May 22, 2010
A third trip to the play-off finals in the new millennium was Blackpool’s finest moment since the club’s famous 1953 FA Cup triumph. It was a scorching hot day of 28 degrees and the football was just as sizzling. A dramatic back-and-forth first half saw five goals with Brett Ormerod once again adding to his legendary status. The striker would score the all-important fifth goal. A massive 82,244 were there to see history made for The Seasiders with Wembley draped in a sea of tangerine and a historic Premier League promotion. The 44th newest club in the league basked in their golden moment with a Premier League promotion parade along their famous golden mile – travelling in style along their vintage tramway.
Blackpool 2-1 Exeter City May 28, 2017
Another day out at Wembley and another ‘W’ for Blackpool in front of 23,380 spectators. After two consecutive relegations hitting the club hard, Blackpool were back and made their return to League One yet again.
A Play-Off Chink the Armour of Blackpool
For all Blackpool’s highlights in the playoff format, Blackpool tasted a rare final defeat in 2012 when West Ham United got the better on the day with a 2-1 win. It was made more bitter due to Blackpool’s former manager Sam Allardyce masterminding Blackpool’s play-off downfall.
Blackpool enter their play-off playground once again and the club may once again taste play-off success in their favourite month of May.