Often Partisan

Blackpool Bound

As the month of April draws to a close so to does the Championship season with all that is left to be decided being the playoffs. It’s the business end of the season as far as Blues concerned with the prize being a trip to Wembley, a day of emotion and hope and for the winners, a hefty wad of money from Premier League participation next year. Will Blues do it?

I’m actually pleased Blues are in the playoffs; for a while I did wonder if they would make it – and whilst in the end 71 points would have seen them in sixth place I would like to point out that all the top six got above the target 75 points I talked about a few months ago. The win over Reading coupled with a late Millwall equaliser saw Blues finish fourth; something that they have only achieved once in their previous four playoff-places finishes.

That finish was the 1998-1999 season, where Blues faced fifth-placed Watford in the two-legged semi final. I’m sure no one will need reminding of what happened; after a 1-0 win defeat away to ten-man Watford Blues went out on penalties after beating Watford 1-0 on the night. Chris Holland, who was eighth to step forwards that night (after goalie Kevin Poole even) was the fateful man to miss a penalty – although Paul Furlong had missed Blues’ first pen. Can you name the two Blues players (David Holdsworth having been sent off) who didn’t take a pen in that game? Answer at the bottom of the post.

I remember the night of that game well as I was working nights at the time, and I had to walk from the match directly to work (late, because the game finished after my 10pm start time), and into the sneers of the several Villa fans I worked with. It was a bit of a common theme taking stick for Blues ineptitude and was something that only really got reversed in the last decade or so.

This time we have Blackpool, and I have to say I fancy it. After some really dodgy results up at Bloomfield Road in recent times  we’ve not lost to them in two years; beating them up there last season 2-1 and at home 2-0; this season drawing 2-2 after Ziggy scored a wonder goal and then tatering them at our place 3-0 with Davies, King and Redmond scoring. The game at our place also saw red cards for Barry Ferguson and Ian Holloway, and I suspect both player and manager will want to make amends for that.

The 2000 tickets that Blues have for that fixture are already selling like hot cakes and I suspect the prospect of a Friday night in Blackpool will mean for a good atmosphere from the lads that travel. We know that Blackpool play an expansive, attacking style of football and I have the feeling Hughton will look to exploit the inevitable gaps that Blackpool leave at the back to hit them with some of our own class.

With players looking to come back from fitness problems into the team and some of the classy perfomances from fringe players like Morgaro Gomis and Adam Rooney on Saturday it may be that Hughton has some happy selection problems – I’m intrigued as to whether he will look to go with a tight-knit 4-4-1-1 that he sometimes uses away from home or if he will go for the jugular and play players like Townsend and Redmond with the idea to kill them off in the first leg. Either way, I have faith in Chris.

The Answers to that question? Michael Johnson and Peter Ndlovu

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10 Responses to “Blackpool Bound”

  • Mark Peacock says:

    I am really looking forward to the two games. Got the home and away tickets yesterday ad there should be a cracking atmosphere at both games.

    Blackpool are on form at the moment a lot like ourselves. If we can keep it tight up there I would expect them to turn them over at our place.

    Fingers crossed we get to the final and go up but even if we don’t we have had a cracking season and the pleyers and staff deserve all the credit and a special mention to CH, he is an unbeliveable manager and I hope he stays even if we don’t make it back up!

  • Hernan Cortés says:

    Wasn’t Watford the 98-99 season? Only know because the big screen at St Andrews was my first Blues-related memory. Introduced to misery whilst I was young!

  • Mark Peacock says:

    We believe you Almajir, thousands wouldn’t!

  • Macc lad says:

    I’m glad it’s Blackpool. I didn’t fancy Cardiff (although I’d have snapped your fingers off for Middlesborough), and West Ham have certainly the best squad in the championship.
    The way Blackpool play means you always have a chance, and I’ve been impressed on how easy it’s been for us at times to pick teams off on the break.
    I wouldn’t be surprised to see West Ham get beat by Cardiff. After being in the top two for pretty much the whole season, it must be galling to fans and players alike to see them miss out.

  • BowThai says:

    I remember the watford game well was in Portsmouth early evening and got back to Stans at speed…all the way up A34,could of easily been locked up..if thed caught me!Great nite but with sad ending.I feel sure we can see off the Tangerines…Could this really be OUR year after all that has been thrown against CH and the players…No rest for the succesfull,All the team at Blues deserve our thanks for a truely first class season…come what may.KRO.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    The play-off fixture dates seem to put us at a disadvantage with our second leg appearance 2 days after the Cardiff/WHM second leg. Assuming we make the final does this put us at a disadvantage for recovery?

  • Bluenosesol says:

    What a total fiasco trying to buy tickets today. My password was not recognised and site stated they had sent me an email with a new password. Password never arrived. Sister told she doesnt exist, even though sh has had a client ref for 10 years! Club’s phone service has been going haywire all morning, sending callers to the Corporate Department instead of Ticket Master and if you are lucky enough to get through to Ticket master, you get a recording saying all agents are busy call back later. Called the club and they said they are aware of the problems BUT IT IS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM!! Finally got our tickets after two of us dialled on two phones each continuously for 3 hours. Not the way to treat loyal home and away supporters or any supporter for that matter!!

    • almajir says:

      Sol – did you try emailing them? Often the best way to get hold of the TO is to email them – as I put in my supporters club forum report in the last week…

  • Aussiebrum says:

    Very excited, I can’t be there this week but it’s live in Australia at 4:45am on Saturday morning so we’ll all be up really early, colors on to watch the game and hopefully cheer a victory for Birmingham City.

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