09/03/19. A day Blackpool FC fans will remember forever. Aday the footballing nation looked on in awe. A day where the result was aside-shadow to other events that took place.
The recent history of The Seasiders is a story only a fewcan get their head round. From fans having safe protests to Owen Oyston have bailiffs outside the club. Blackpool FC have just about been through it all off thepitch.
Let’s not forget that on the pitch, with all that hashappened, Terry McPhillips has managed to get Blackpool to eighth in League Oneand just three points off a play-off place. The squad have done immensely well to dig out results such as a 1-0 away win to Portsmouth and a 2-0 victory atCoventry City, two teams who sit above them in the table.
When it was announced that Blackpool FC would go into receivership it was a sign to look forward to the future without the Oyston family having any part to play. The new receiver Paul Cooper unveiled a new look board which included Ben Hatton as the Executive Director and also Tim Fielding whois the vice president of the Blackpool Supporters Trust was appointed as a Non-Executive Director.
From this day, a ‘homecoming’ return to Bloomfield Road had been the talk of the town. The Tuesday prior Blackpool travelled to local rivals Accrington Stanley and you could already feel the party atmosphere with just over 1800 Tangerine fans making the trip to see The Pool win 2-1. But it was all about Saturday. That would be the day to remember.
The night before Blackpool’s home game against Southend United, it was announced over 15,000 tickets had been sold for the game. That’s about five times more than the average home attendance this season.
The club itself has had some ‘days to remember’ in it’s past. The Matthews Final – Blackpool’s famous 4-3 win over Bolton Wanderers in the FACup Final 1953. Promotion to the Premier League in 2010, the appointment of areceiver and a new board a couple of weeks ago and most recently of all, thefans ‘homecoming’ parade against Southend United.
It was a day where years of built up anger and distress flipped into a carnival atmosphere to signal the end of the Oyston regime and the start of something new.
It wasn’t about the final score for the near 16,000 in attendance, it was a celebration for them to be able to return to their rightful home – Bloomfield Road. Blackpool was once again a sea of tangerine. Pubs were packed from 11am. Flags, scarves and banners were all proudly on show. A parade took place outside Blackpool Tower before a peaceful and colourful march to the stadium.
There were fears of the big day being dampened but it wasn’t the case as the sun shone down brightly on the seaside.
Blackpool played like they have all season; they fought tothe end, battled hard but just weren’t clinical enough. Although they earned a point against Chris Powell’s side it felt like a win due to the fact it was the last kick of the game that Southend scored an own goal.
Bloomfield Road erupted.
It was pandemonium on the pitch. Fans who had gathered by their turnstile to leave seeing their team slump to a 2-1 defeat on today of all days were soon on the pitch celebrating with the players. It was no more than the emotional release of four years of hurt more than anything else and it was special to have witnessed such an occasion.
Encroachment isn’t always a nice thing to see but I’m sure the fans who did enter the fray can be forgiven as they were evidently overwhelmed by the occasion.
In saying that, everyone was – it will be a day that goes down in the history of Blackpool Football Club – It wasn’t just a day where Blackpool played Southend in a League One clash – It was a day where The Pool came back to Town.
Written by Jordan Parker
Photo credit : Jordan Parker