SEASIDERS legend Jimmy Armfield today described his delight at seeing his beloved Blackpool FC back at Wembley – and then urged the underdogs to record another famous victory.
Jimmy will join thousands of Pool fans in the capital on Saturday in the hope of cheering Pool back to the Premier League.
And the former England captain has praised the “terrific achievement” which has seen Ian Holloway’s unfancied side make it to yet another final.
He said: “I think it’s a terrific achievement by the manager and the players, it’s wonderful.
“The Championship is a very competitive division and when you think there are big city clubs like Leeds, Leicester, Nottingham and Birmingham all trying to get into the top league it’s very difficult for town clubs.
“That in itself says quite a lot about what they have done in the last three years.
“I spoke to Ian Holloway right at the start of the season after they lost Charlie Adam, David Vaughan and DJ Campbell, and said the most important thing is for the team to finish in a nice, sensible position.
“I didn’t think for one minute they were going to finish 5th, I really didn’t, and I don’t think many other Blackpool supporters did either.
“That’s what Blackpool have been like since Ian Holloway got here – you never know what you’re going to get and that’s part of the attraction.”
And Jimmy hopes the Seasiders’ unpredictable nature will serve them well against West Ham United in this weekend’s final.
He added: “I remember earlier this season when they beat Leeds United 5-0 away, I couldn’t go to the game and a friend of mine rang with the score.
“He said I didn’t sound surprised and I said I wasn’t. If he had told me it was 5-0 the other way I might not have been surprised, and that’s part of the attraction.
“There have not been many 0-0 draws and it’s because of this very positive approach Ian Holloway has had. He deserves full credit, I think he’s done wonderfully.”
Pool go into the game as underdogs, with the Hammers firm favourites to secure the final place in next season’s Premier League.
But the club were also second favourites when they took on Cardiff in the final back in 2010 and ended up winning the tie 3-2.
Jimmy added: “It will be a hard match at Wembley this time, I made West Ham one of the favourites for promotion at the start of the season and I think most people in football did.
“But if my memory serves me right when we played Cardiff we were second favourites, and then at Wigan in the first match of the Premier League season we were second favourites and we won 4-0.
“Anything can happen.
“I think maybe the expectancy might be a little bit greater from the fans this time, but the fans are not daft, they know we’re playing a good team.
“They have already beaten us twice this year and beaten us well, but we will see.”
Reaching the Premier League for a second time would provide a massive boost for the whole town, and Blackpool Council has joined Jimmy in backing the team to make the town proud and put the resort back on the footballing map.
Deputy leader Coun Fred Jackson said: “Reaching the play-off final again is a fantastic achievement.
“I look forward to the whole town pulling together and showing the team our support.
“Going to Wembley is a wonderful occasion and one that I’m looking forward to enjoying with thousands of Blackpool residents.
“I’ve every confidence that Blackpool will once again have the Premier League football team it deserves.
“On behalf on the council I’d like to congratulate the club, players and manager on a amazing effort, you’ve done us proud.”