The future’s bright, the future’s orange, or, to be precise about it, Tangerine. Blackpool’s promotion at the weekend was a headline writer’s dream come true, with “Blackpool rocks” and “tangerine dream” two of the more heavily used phrases in the wake of their play-off win.
Blackpool’s Premier League odds make them favourites to go straight back down and, given that many people were tipping them to be relegated from the Championship at the start of this season, this should come as no surprise. In fact, manager Ian Holloway had a clause in his contract giving him a bonus if he kept them up – promotion wasn’t even mentioned.
A lot of comparisons will be made with their Lancashire rivals Burnley, who have just been relegated after one year in the top flight. But despite everyone now saying “I told you so” after they predicted the Clarets’ demise last August, I still believe they would have stayed up had the inspirational Owen Coyle remained as boss. Before he jumped ship to Bolton they were holding their own and a decent home record was keeping them afloat.
So, if Holloway can continue to inspire his players they could spring or surprise or two – however unlikely it may seem.
Encouragingly, all the noises coming out of the club suggests they will not let the TV money go to waste on overpaid journeymen in a desperate attempt to stay up. A look at Hull shows why that would be a bad move.
Instead with sensible investment in the squad, the stadium and the training ground, this promotion could mean long-term success for the club, even if they are relegated next season.
Blackpool’s rise is certainly a wonderful story and adding to it is the presence of Ian Holloway, even though he has toned down his quirky quotes in the past year. He was chastened by his experience at Leicester where he oversaw their relegation to League One and so he wants to be known more for his results on the pitch than his jokes off it.
But I hope that doesn’t mean he will keep quiet altogether. After all this is the man who brought you these classics…
On Ronaldo: “He’s six foot something, fit as a flea, good looking – he’s got to have something wrong with him. Hopefully he’s hung like a hamster – that would make us all feel better. Having said that, me missus has got a pet hamster at home, and he’s got a massive one.”
On the town he manages in: “I love Blackpool. We’re very similar. We both look better in the dark.”
On attacking football: “If you’re a burglar, it’s no good poncing about outside somebody’s house, looking good with your swag bag ready. Just get in there, burgle them and come out. I don’t advocate that obviously, it’s just an analogy.”
On how winning makes him feel: “I couldn’t be more chuffed if I were a badger at the start of the mating season.”
On winning ugly: “To put it in gentleman’s terms, if you’ve been out for a night and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, you’ve done what you set out to do. We didn’t look our best today but we’ve pulled. Some weeks the lady is good looking and some weeks they’re not.
“Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi. She may not have been the best looking lady we ended up taking home but it was still very pleasant and very nice, so thanks very much and let’s have coffee.”
One thing’s for sure, post-game interviews on Match of the Day are going to be a lot more interesting next season.
Meanwhile, England’s World Cup 2010 betting odds make them third favourites for this year’s tournament.
Fabio Capello’s men will meet Mexico in a friendly tonight as they make one last push for a place on the plane to South Africa.