HEARTBROKEN Blackpool fans left London with their heads held high as they saw the Seasiders come agonisingly close to another Wembley success.
For the second successive season, Blackpool fans’ dreams were crushed as their chances of an instant return to football’s elite league were dashed in the capital.
The magnificent national stadium has been a happy home for the Seasiders in recent years, however, having all ready surpassed expectations by featuring in the play-off final, they could not overcome West Ham United.
Although disappointed with the 2-1 scoreline, Pool fans remained proud of their team’s achievements this season.
Sally Parker, 20, from Poulton, said: “I’m devastated. West Ham didn’t deserve it and in the second half I thought we would go on and win it.”
Blackpool went in to the game missing star player Gary Taylor-Fletcher through injury and some fans claimed this had led to their team’s downfall.
Ian Rigby, 44, from Cleveleys, added: “The first half was terrible and Gary Taylor-Fletcher was a massive miss.
“I suppose we had to lose sometime at Wembley.”
Amelia Gaughan, 19, from Poulton, said: “I thought Blackpool played really well and it’s just a shame we couldn’t take our chances. We will be back next year.”
Blackpool’s chances of returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking had been written off by everyone but the travelling faithful from the Fylde coast.
The Seasiders were cheered on by 30,000 fans in the capital, with many supporters coming from all over the world in the hope of witnessing another famous Tangerine victory.
Don Munton, 66, travelled from Canada to watch his beloved Seasiders.
He said: “I’m very disappointed. I think Blackpool brought life and style to the Premier League and I was hoping they would return – maybe they will do it next year.
“We deserved to take it to extra time at least.”
Blackpool fan David Williams, 60, from Perth, Scotland, added: “It was a rollercoaster of a game and I’m disappointed with how it turned out.
“It was emotional but there’s always next year and I’m proud of what they have done this season.”
Before the final, Blackpool had already conceded eight goals in two games against West Ham.
John Secker, 56, from Blackpool, watched the game with his son Jonjo , 24.
John said: “It was a great game. But I’m disappointed because we had a lot of chances to win it. We could have scored before they did but they took their chances and we didn’t.
Jonjo added: “We came close but not quite close enough.
“Tom Ince was great and it was a shame Gary Taylor-Fletcher didn’t play because I thought he would’ve made the difference.
“It was brilliant just to get through to the final and it feels like last season when we had just failed to stay up.”
Sam Usher, 19, from St Annes, added: “I think it has been a brilliant day out apart from the ending. It was a great game and we should celebrate getting to Wembley, but it could have been so much bigger and better if we had won.
Andrew Willacy, 28, from Bispham, said: “I’m a bit disappointed because we were just as good as them coming in to the last 10 minutes.”
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