When Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham side arrived at Bloomfield Rd tonight for their English Premier League clash with Blackpool, you would have thought that they would fancy their chances given the confidence of last week’s win over Serie A leaders AC Milan at the San Siro. With Blackpool’s current run of poor form, the result looked to be a foregone conclusion, but as with Liverpool, Man City, and Man Utd, fortunes took a turn for the worse for the away team, to the point where Blackpool beat Tottenham 3-1 to claw their way back to a mid-table position.
Earlier this week, Harry Redknapp had praised Blackpool’s attitude this season and in particular, talked in glowing terms about his counterpart, Ian Holloway. Most managers have been highly impressed with how Holloway has managed his squad this year given the lack of top talent, and the tenacity with which this team goes about it’s business, shows that the club as a whole is unified in it’s quest to stay in the top flight. Blackpool have played many of the top teams at least once already this year, and almost all of them haven’t escaped unscathed. Man Utd almost got their clocks cleaned before a 12 minute collapse by The Seasiders allowed the Old Trafford club to snatch a win, and with two losses already this year, Liverpool fans are sick of the sight of those tangerine shirts.
The presence of a personality such as Ian Holloway as manager also adds to the “fairy tale” type atmosphere that seems to surround the club during these heady days at the top level. The man from Plymouth gave another sterling performance at the pre-match press conference and even outshone Harry himself. Who says that these two men aren’t the future managers of the England national team ?
There is no question that Blackpool are no finished product. They attack almost relentlessly to the point of being excessively naive, and they are definitely suspect at the back, but because of the freshness of their approach, many teams under estimate them and by the time they figure out the plot, it’s too late. Tottenham tonight had a hatful of chances to score but failed at some point or another, but Blackpool managed to get the ball in Tottenham’s net three times which was enough to grasp the precious three points.
Whilst Blackpool are by no means certain yet to escape the drop this year, one thing is for sure and that is that this season will be remembered for not only the closeness of the title race, and the tightness of the relegation battle, but also for the team in tangerine that delighted almost everyone who came to see them play, and probably, at some point, took us back a generation or two, to remember how the game of football should really and truly be played.