Monday, 23 January 2012

Blackpool - Bloomfield Road

Blackpool FC
Bloomfield Road
Seasiders Way

0871 622 1973
Official Website

Ground Number: 77
Saturday 25th August 2001
Blackpool 2-2 Wycombe Wanderers
Nationwide League Division 2


1:  The club was established in 1887 at the Stanley Arms Hotel in the town. They were a breakaway team from local club St John's FC.

2:  They've played at Bloomfield Road since 1901 having previously called Stanley Park Athletics Ground and Raikes Garden home. 

3:  They started out in the Lancashire Combination, winning it in 1894 and leaving a couple of seasons later for the Football League. They'd return for a single season in 1899-00 after being voted out of the Football League. Ironically, it was after their worst finish of 13th that they gained membership of the Football League the first time.

4:  Blackpool FC were elected to the Football League in 1896 and aside from a single season, have remained there ever since. Their highest finish came in 1956 when they finished as runners-up to Manchester United in the top tier. Their worst finish came in 1983 when they finished 21st in Division 4.

5:  The club won the FA Cup in 1953 beating Bolton Wanderers 4-3 in front of 100,000 at Wembley Stadium. The game is known as the Matthews Final with Stanley Matthews inspiring his Blackpool team to come back from 3-1 down. However, it was a Stan Mortensen hat trick and a last-minute winner from William Perry that won the game for the Tangerines. There have been a number of exits to Non-League sides in the FA Cup, most recently losing 2-1 at Boreham Wood in 2017. 

6:  In the League Cup, Blackpool reached the semi-finals in 1962, eventually losing 4-3 to Norwich City over two legs.

7:  Minor cup wins include the Anglo Italian Cup (1971), the Football League Trophy (2002 & 2004), the Football League War Cup (1943) and the Lancashire Senior Cup (seven times)

8:  Record appearance holder for the club is Jimmy Armfield with 569 appearances between 1954 and 1971. Armfield is also the most capped player for Blackpool, with 43 appearances for England during his time at the club. Jimmy Hampson is the clubs record goalscorer with 252 goals between 1927 and 1938.

9: From 1987 until 2019, Blackpool FC was owned by the Oyston family. Originally, later to be convicted rapist Owen Oyston was in charge, he bought Blackpool FC thanks to the sale of his Estate Agency business. Son  Karl Oyston was the most controversial chairman though, having several rows with supporters (including branding one fan a 'retard') and an 'intellectual cripple' and co-owner Valeri Belokon. The latter sued the Oyston family for illegitimate stripping of the club, a case later proved in court in November 2017. After this, the Oystons put the club up for sale, but it was not until June 2019 that the sale to local businessman Simon Sadler went through, this after the club had been put into receivership. It bought an end to years of fans protests and boycotts and reinvigorated he club. 

10: The town of Blackpool is a popular seaside resort, albeit not as frequently visited as it once was. It has a population of just under 140,000. Famous people from the area include comedian Frank Carson, singers 'The Nolan Sisters', actor Ricky Tomlinson and footballer Stanley Matthews.


My first visit to Blackpool was in August 2001. Wycombe played out a 2-2 draw in sunny Blackpool and really should have won it, despite twice falling behind. We were unlucky again in a 1-0 defeat in March 2003, a solitary John Murphy goal winning it for the Seasiders

Another August visit was again in 2003. It was a great time to be playing Blackpool, still nice and warm at the end of the summer in August. Nowadays it would have been a weekend away for sure, but at the time I wasn't really into driving to games. Though I had arranged a lift to this game, my mate Adam let me down the day before, saying his Mum said he was not allowed, this for a man who was in his twenties at the time. So I had to chance my arm on getting a place on the coach the following morning. I was told that unless someone pulled out there would be no space. The night before, I went round to another mate, Paul's house. I got totally out of my tree on cider to take out my frustration and also had a Phall Curry with extra Chillies - the daft things you do when you have had a few! The next morning I woke up feeling like crap, so certainly didn't fancy driving up to Blackpool. So it was lucky that somehow space was found for me on the coach, despite there being no dropouts.

We made good time getting up the motorway and were in Blackpool by around 12.30. After having a good time down the seafront we made our way to the game. This time it was a defeat for Wycombe. We played fantastically well for the first 44 minutes, going 2-0 up and playing some great stuff. But then 2 quick goals for Blackpool knocked the wind out of Wycombe sails and the second half was an anti-climax. We lost 3-2 in the end. One amusing incident from that, when we got back to the ground on the coach, Adam (yes he of the domineering mother!) was talking to our best player that day, Richard Harris, going on about how good he was, and how bad we turned when he got injured and the substitute Billy Harding (a youth player) came on. You should have seen the look on his face when the aforementioned Harding stepped out from behind Harris, as Adam had not seen him at the time of making the comment!


Due to the Oystons ownership of Blackpool FC, I'd been boycotting this fixture for some time. Their crimes and misdemeanours are covered elsewhere on the internet and they can explain it far better from a personal perspective than I can. When the takeover was completed in the summer, Bloomfield Road was one of my top venues to visit, seeing as I'd not been since 2003 and wanted to do a proper blog on the ground and get some updated photos. Sadly, the EFL continued their stupid policy of putting fans last and sending them on long midweek trips and so this game was scheduled for a Tuesday night. I'd have loved an overnight stop, but despite requesting holiday four months in advance, it was turned down, probably because of it being half term. The night before, I watched the FA Cup draw, Wycombe were handed a trip to Tranmere. A bad draw for the club but not bad for me as SKY TV televising the league fixture meant that I was unable to attend due to work and it was one I wanted to do. Normally I’d take the independent supporters coach to the game, which picked up from near my house. But that wasn’t running due to lack of demand, so on Saturday, I booked on the official coach which left from the ground. The £34 fare was not bad, including a £5 surcharge for non-members. It was a great day anyway, with us beating Sunderland 1-0 in a decent game.

The day of the game came and I stayed in bed until 8am before having a shower and getting dressed. Normally, I’d be walking down town for the exercise, but I had to wait in for a parcel. My Chromebook duly arrived and I was pretty happy with it, considering what I’d paid on eBay for it. I was considering dusting off my PSP and taking that, but I didn’t have time to mess around putting games on it and charging it. After relaxing watching TV, I left at 12.40, slightly later than intended. As a result, I skipped getting hot food, instead, getting some chicken, crisps, grapes and Irn Bru for lunch as well as some shopping I needed. I was at the ground with 15 minutes to spare, though the coach was a few minutes late, leaving at 1.35. There was further delay when a driver change at Northampton services took 15 minutes, which was annoying as it was wasting pub time. The official supporters club’s love affair with service stations continued with a half-hour stop at Norton Canes where there wasn’t even an M&S so I could get a can of cider to brighten things up. I was back on the coach within five minutes of getting off, such was the paucity of options here. At least I was in good company, with a number of people I knew, what with it being the only option for non-drivers that wanted to do the game and get back after the match. The unwanted delay leads me to consider making the ten-minute walk to the Bloomfield Tavern and have a nice meal and a pint or make do with some cans from Lidl and the chippy. I’d prefer the former, but the latter looks likely given the grim protections on Google Maps. We got to the ground at 7, so it was a quick dash up to Lidl to get the said cans. With these procured I headed back towards the ground, hoping to stop at a chippy along the way. But the one that I’d spotted was closed. I bought a Blackpool fanzine on the way to a Chinese takeaway where I got chips.


Back to the ground, I was met by friendly stewards, paying a reasonable £19 to get in. I was in a good mood by now and met up with more fans that I knew. The game was fairly equal with Wycombe taking the lead on 8 minutes through Scott Kashket. Blackpool equalised in the second half but the draw was a fair result and a good one for Wycombe and we’d been briefly top of the league at half time. It wasn't the best of games either, but it was the social factor that was the winner tonight. I made good time getting back to the coach, though it was parked some distance away, I was there by 9.40. I hadn’t banked on us having to hang around to give the team coach a jump start and then get blocked in the car park by an ambulance treating a patient. As a result, we didn’t get away until 11 pm. I was actually gaining some sleep until a loud announcement woke me up as we arrived at Warwick services just before 2 am. We were back at the ground at 3.10 and with only 50 minutes until my alarm went off for work, I decided to grab an hour in my car in my works car park. This was next to impossible with the noise of the motorway nearby, so at 4.20 I got changed into my work uniform and sat in the canteen for a while. I started at 5 am and actually had a decent day for once. Finishing at 12, I had to wait at a standstill for half an hour whilst a minor looking prang was sorted, but somehow it required a number of police cars. I was back home 24 hours after leaving. Though I'd enjoyed the good company and result, the whole day was a bit of a shambles and I'll seriously think before using the official supporters club again, even if it did allow me to get to a game that I'd have otherwise been unable to attend.


BLOOMFIELD ROAD has been completely rebuilt in the last decade. 3 sides are all joined together, with the latest side being built since my last visit. On the other side, the away fans are now housed in a temporary stand or at least one side of it. The ground is all seated and has a capacity of 16,750. The ground is really near the town centre and the seafront, with all the pubs and takeaways that go with it.


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