Kicking off memories of Blackpool FC’s glory days

Blackpool FC, August 1947
Blackpool FC, August 1947
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To mark Blackpool Football Club turning 130 years old this week, Memory Lane has delved into the archives to find some delightful pictures of the Seasiders’ past.

The club was formed on July 26, 1887, through a breakaway group from St Johns FC.

Volunteers struggle to clear the snow from the pitch at Blackpool Football Club, Bloomfield Road in time for the match against Tranmere on Boxing Day 1981

Volunteers struggle to clear the snow from the pitch at Blackpool Football Club, Bloomfield Road in time for the match against Tranmere on Boxing Day 1981

It was reported the remaining members of St Johns defected to Blackpool shortly afterwards, leaving that team defunct.

The club played its first competitive game, at Dole Lane, against Chorley (who incidentally Blackpool played this Tuesday, winning 3-0), a game which saw Blackpool win 2-1. Hargreaves scored Blackpool’s first ever goal with “a ponderous kick half the length of the field”.

In the club’s first season, 1887–88, they won the Fylde Cup and the Lancashire Junior Cup.

At this point in time, the team played its home fixtures at Raikes Hall, part of the Raikes entertainment complex, which also included stunning gardens.

Bill Perry scores the winning goal in the Blackpool V Bolton 1953 FA Cup final at Wembley

Bill Perry scores the winning goal in the Blackpool V Bolton 1953 FA Cup final at Wembley

The club moved home to Stanley Park for the 1897–98 season, as the Raikes ground needed upgrading.

Blackpool’s debut in the first-round proper of the FA Cup occurred in 1891–92, with a visit from Sheffield United to Raikes Hall.

The club was accepted into the football league for the 1896-97 season, playing its first league match – joining in the second division – on September 5 1896, at Lincoln City.

The club amalgamated with South Shore FC in December 1899, with Blackpool moving to South Shore’s Bloomfield Road ground, then called Gamble’s Field. Blackpool reached the top flight for the first time in its history in the 1929/30 season, being crowned Division Two champions.

The view from the Kop at Blackpool Football Club Ground , Bloomfield Road showing the railings installed to keep rival fans apart and a 
lone groundsman hard at work mowing the pitch, in 1975

The view from the Kop at Blackpool Football Club Ground , Bloomfield Road showing the railings installed to keep rival fans apart and a lone groundsman hard at work mowing the pitch, in 1975

After the Second World War, with peace returning to Europe, Blackpool found themselves in a stronger position than before the conflict, and with the help of Stan Mortensen’s 28 goals, the team finished the 1946–47 season in fifth position – the highest final position achieved up to that point.

After finishing as runners-up in the FA Cup in 1948 and 1951, it was third time lucky for the Seasiders when, in 1953, they beat Bolton Wanderers 4-3 – thanks to a Mortensen hat-trick.

The club achieved its highest ever League finish in the 1955/56 season, as runners-up to Manchester United – finishing 11 points behind the Red Devils.

Blackpool spent the years between 1962 and 1967 in Division One, before being relegated to the second tier of English football for the first time since 1936–37.

Stan Mortensen, Allan Brown & Stanley Matthews, in 1950

Stan Mortensen, Allan Brown & Stanley Matthews, in 1950

After three seasons in Division Two, the club returned to the top flight, but only for one season.

Blackpool were the winners of the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1971.

Between 1972 and 1982, Blackpool dropped down two more divisions, to Division Four, and in 1982–83 hit their lowest finishing point – 89th out of the total 92 League clubs. In the years since, Blackpool managed to climb into the upper reaches of the pyramid again. The club won the old Division Four, in the play-offs in 1991/92 and Division Three in 2001/01 – again in the play-offs. Blackpool won the LDV Trophy in 2002 and 2004.

And the club reached the Premier League, the top tier of English football, in 2010–11, although from 2013–14 onwards another decline began.

A heading duel in April 1948, in front of the Manchester goal, during the cup final at Wembley

A heading duel in April 1948, in front of the Manchester goal, during the cup final at Wembley

Feburary 1944. Jack Duckworth, assistant trainer, checks boots

Feburary 1944. Jack Duckworth, assistant trainer, checks boots

The Blackpool Cup team photographed before they boarded the train, to Wembley, in April 1948. From left: A Munro, W Rickett, E Hayward, E Shirwell, R Suart, S Mortensen, J Smith (manager), S Matthews, J Robinson, G Dick, H Kelly, J Lynns (trainer)

The Blackpool Cup team photographed before they boarded the train, to Wembley, in April 1948. From left: A Munro, W Rickett, E Hayward, E Shirwell, R Suart, S Mortensen, J Smith (manager), S Matthews, J Robinson, G Dick, H Kelly, J Lynns (trainer)

Stanley Matthews and Arthur Kaye training at Blackpool Football Club ground, Bloomfield Road, in 1959

Stanley Matthews and Arthur Kaye training at Blackpool Football Club ground, Bloomfield Road, in 1959