With Manchester United facing Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday, I posed several questions to members of the Vital Football Blackpool Forum. Read the Stretford End Arising match preview – Blackpool vs. Manchester United.
Stretford End Arising: What are your thoughts on Tuesday’s game? What team is Ian Holloway likely to select and what formation will he adopt? Where will the game be won or lost?
Jerry: A fixture against Man United is what we’ve waited forever for. In my eyes, at least, it’s a game that says “We’re ACTUALLY in the Premier League”. You’ll be happy to know that I didn’t have that feeling when t’other half of Manchester rolled up earlier this season.
He’ll likely select the same side as he has for most of the season – Villa being the exception! – and I’m hoping DJ Campbell is back after missing Saturday’s game. We will be without Stephen Crainey though who took a nasty landing on his ankle at the weekend. The game will be won or lost in midfield. It’ll be interesting to see if Ollie goes with his usual 4-2-1-3 (or 4-2-3-1!) formation with Elliot Grandin playing just behind our lone striker, or whether he’ll sneak a tactical surprise on everyone to keep the defence better protected against off-the-ball runs from the likes of Rooney and Nani.
AbelBFC: I’ve had a funny feeling for a while that if you came to Bloomfield Road still unbeaten then we’d beat you, but in reality anything we get against you is a real bonus (especially with our current injury problems). I think that DJ Campbell will come back into the side after illness replacing Matt Phillips, but I’m not sure how Ollie will line us up at the back with the likes of Stephen Crainey out injured. It’ll be our usual 4-3-3 formation though. If you play at your best, you’ll beat us, but anything less then we have a chance.
Reedo90: Tuesday will again show how far we have come yet again when the likes of Rooney and Giggs grace the hallow turf. It should be a good game and we will be up for it even with the Adam transfer saga. With the likes of Kingson and Crainey possibly out, Ollie may have to shake up the back 4 with Baptiste moving to LB and maybe Chubs in goal for his former club. I think if we cannot stop the likes of Nani and Giggs in the middle then we will be in a spot of bother and with the strike force of Rooney and Berbatov then we need to bring out A game out.
SEA: What is the latest situation with Charlie Adam? How important has he been for Blackpool? If Adam does leave will Holloway be allowed a transfer kitty to find a replacement? Is a replacement required? If so, who realistically would you like that player to be?
Jerry: It seems everyone knows the situation as well as we do. I guess that’s the downside of being in the Premier League, eh? He’s handed in a transfer request which has been rejected and clearly wants to go to Liverpool. Best of luck to him, but until we get more than the £4m bid so far, then he’s going nowhere. There’s money available, I’d say, should Ollie need it. It’s on a deal-by-deal basis though, not a case of “here’s £5m, once it’s gone, it’s gone”.
I think Ollie wants Adam to stay until the summer so that he has an entire pre-season to search for a capable replacement – other than less than a week should he go before this window closes!
We have Ludovic Sylvestre waiting in the wings to step up should Adam leave in January though. He’s more of a right-footed David Vaughan. Neat little touches & a good range of passing – rather unsurprising considering he has spent time at Barcelona in his career.
If we’re to get the cheque book out, I’d love to see Andy King from Leicester brought in as his replacement. A young, English talent, who could really go places under Holloway’s guidance.
AbelBFC: Handed in a transfer request that has been rejected. I think we’ll try and dig our heels in and keepp him until the summer. He’s been a massive player for us, but the media hype surrounding him is ridiculous in my opinion. If he does go, then I hope Ollie is given the money to find a suitable replacement; if not we’re in a bit of trouble. We already have Ludovic Sylvestre on the books who looks very similar to Adam and a good player, but if/when Adam does go I’d really like us to go for Leicester’s Andy King.
reedo90: As of today Adam has had his transfer request rejected and good on Blackpool for doing so. As Ollie said he is our player and don’t need to accept a small fee for him. He will deffo leave in the summer and I hope he will stay till then, there is no doubt that he is an important part of the team. I reckon if we do sell now we will get a number of replacements, talks of Charlie Austin and such coming.
SEA: Your favourite Ian Holloway quotes?
Jerry: My favourite Ollie “moment” itself had to be his first Plymouth Argyle press conference where he sits down and the first question is “How does it feel for your first game to be playing Real Madrid in a friendly” and he promptly pretends to faint, falling off his chair and bursting into laughter. “Put THAT on your Soccer AM!” he says after!
Other than that, post-match against Forest last season after we secured a place at Wembley – “Don’t disrespect us – we’re a good team!”. Never a truer word spoken.
Seasidebarmy: “If I fell in to a bucket of tits, I would come up sucking my thumb” or “If Charlie were chocolate, he’d lick himself” or “Me and Blackpool are a good fit……..we both look better in the dark”
Bear1951: we are the dogs that live outside!
AbelBFC: Probably his rant about FIFA… ‘YOU’RE WRONG!’.
Thatsmeinthecorner: ‘Villa are a half arsed team who used to be famous!’ strikes me as a good one – his book is full of them (too many to choose from)
Reedo90: His latest one today made me laugh when talking about Liverpool “They can put up or shut up”. But all his quotes have me in stitches and would love his Ollieism book.
SEA: What has been your highlight during Blackpool’s first season in Premier League? Before the season started many experts claimed that, The Seasiders would struggle. Are you surprised how well Blackpool are performing? Are you confident Blackpool will avoid relegation? Your favourite away ground?
Jerry: Highlight – doing the double over Liverpool, without a doubt. The performance against Man City at home as well, to me, proved that we would be good enough to survive in this league.
I said before the season as long as we got more than 11 points, I’d be happy. Now, I want to finish anywhere outside of the bottom 3. I know we have the potential to finish in mid-table though, which, considering where we’ve come from, is quite crazy to think about.
I only hope that people continue to under-estimate us and to write us off as a side, because that ALWAYS works to our advantage. Always.
Reedo: My highlight of this season is being able to smile proudly of what we have achieved. When people ask me who I support and my reply is Blackpool they always look at me like they thinking “Who?”. I not that surprised that we have done so well, i feel that we have a close knit team better then anyone else and proved that you don’t need to spend big to compete in this league. The main man that has made it possible is Ollie himself. WHAT A LEGEND!
Seasidebarmy: At the start of the season I said as long as we dont do a Derby I would be happy, as it stands I know dream of mid-table mediocrity. Highlight has to be at Anfield (sure you boys cracked a smile about that!) but Newcastle, Sunderland and 4-0 at Wigan in our first game are also highlights. Favourite ground so far………..between Anfield and City (I know……sorry, but we havent been to OT yet).
SEA: Which young Blackpool players are worth keeping an eye?
Jerry: Matty Phillips. Without doubt one of the most astute signings ever by a ‘Pool manager. Plucked from League Two at 19 years of age, he’s been nurtured into a player that has the ability to come off the bench and completely change the course of a game.
Our result against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light was thanks, in no small part, to Phillips coming on early for the injured Grandin. He tore them apart down the right on the counter-attack that day and really showed what he’s capable of.
He’s not quite ready for a regular first-team spot, but if he can do what he can now at the age of 19, imagine what he’ll be capable of doing when he’s in his mid-20’s and has realised his potential. It’s scary.
It’s not saying much, I know, but I reckon he’s better than Shaun Wright-Phillips has ever been in an England shirt… so why shouldn’t he get a look-in at the England set-up at some point in the next year or two?
Reedo: I hope that Basham and Clarke come back fighting after their injuries. Last season Clarke scored some brilliant goals for us and hope he won’t lose sight that he can still be in the side. I also think Matty Phillips will be a big player and wouldn’t be surprised is the big teams sniff around him come summer.