Armfield: Previous play-off successes count for nothing

Blackpool legend Jimmy Armfield
Blackpool legend Jimmy Armfield
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Blackpool’s unrivalled record in the play-offs will count for absolutely nothing this weekend according to club legend Jimmy Armfield.

The Seasiders have clinched promotion in four of their seven previous play-off campaigns, having made it to the final on six occasions.

Pool are also the only team to have won promotion through the lottery of the play-offs from all three divisions in the Football League; although Huddersfield Town could also claim that record with victory in their Championship final against Reading on Monday afternoon.

When asked if Blackpool’s play-off pedigree will have any bearing on Sunday’s result, former England and Blackpool captain Armfield said: “No, not at all.

“Not many of these players will have played a part in previous campaigns so it’s totally different now.

“This is a one-off situation. One error, one mistake, one bit of good fortune or a decision by an official can count against you. But that’s football.

“I think they’ve done very well to reach the final because Luton are one of the better teams in the league. So to get through the semi-final was very good.

“I think they’ve done well in the latter part in the season, but it’s important to remember where it all started about a year ago.

“Now it’s just whether or not they can get it over the line.

“Playing at Wembley is a great achievement for them but what matters now is pushing it through and winning.

“Those results in the past don’t count, it has to be done again.”

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Promotion at the national stadium would cap off a fine season for Gary Bowyer and his players, who are attempting to clinch an instant return to League One at the first time of asking.

Blackpool were relegated to the fourth tier of English football following two successive relegations last season - a level that Armfield believes the club should never be playing at.

“I don’t think Blackpool should be playing in this division, that’s my opinion,” he added.

“I remember a time when we were always a First Division club and we were always in the top division.

“But when we were relegated for the first time we couldn’t believe it, it was genuinely unbelievable.

“We got back very quickly but nevertheless, that’s what we were.

“But now we’re starting out again but there’s a lot of competition at that level now.

“You can see it with clubs like Forest Green coming up. To think they’re in that league now shows teams are prepared to get it going. AFC Fylde are looking to do the same sort of thing.

“From Blackpool’s point of view, if they can get through this match it will be a real boost for the town.

“I would like to be there to support the players, because it’s the players and the manager that matter, but unfortunately I won’t be able to.”