A week of nothing for Blackpool, as punishment for losing to lower league opposition in the first round of the FA Cup.
It’s been nearly ten years since Blackpool were not in the draw for the third round of the cup, although most of that was due to a lofty league status.
As players we used to love this time of the FA Cup when the ‘big boys’ get involved.
We would just be like fans with our fingers crossed we’d get Manchester United or Chelsea or one of the other big clubs.
I never did get to play against those teams but I was in the squad for Notts County when we played Manchester City at home.
It was one of £27m signing Edin Dzeko’s first game for the blues and he managed to sneak a late equalizer.
City went onto wallop us in the replay and eventually win the whole competition for the first time in twenty odd years – ironically with me supporting them at Wembley.
It may have been a different story if Paul Ince had unleashed me from being shackled on the bench at Meadow Lane!
Back to the present day and great news for local football and one of Blackpool’s true legends this week as Stephen Crainey made his return to football, somewhat surprisingly, at AFC Fylde.
While this move will no doubt prove to be a master stroke by Fylde boss Dave Challinor, I still find it extremely strange how one of the most consistent and professional players I have ever played with has not been snapped up by a League club.
Yes, Crainz is 34 but his experience, his knowledge and his sheer will to win the game will not be matched by many younger than him.
I’m still of the opinion that he could easily still do a job at Bloomfield Road, although he may have signed for Fylde because they have more ambition!
Just hours after signing, Crainz helped his team to a win and a clean sheet. AFC Fylde’s assistant commented, “… we wanted to bring in someone of real quality. His experience will be vital and he marshalled the defence brilliantly.
“We have two young centre halves and he really helped them.”
That says it all.
There’s only so many players you play with in your career that you could guarantee would have a good game week in, week out.
Crainz is one of those players, in fact I rarely saw him have a bad training session.
His professionalism will give the young players at Fylde someone to look up to and try and emulate.
Looking ahead to Saturdays game for the Seasiders and it’s another local(ish) derby, this time against Stephen Crainey’s old side, Wigan.
If Blackpool have fallen fast and hard then just imagine how Wigan feel.
They’ve plummeted quicker than a spider down Ferne McCann’s throat.
From FA Cup winners to League One also-rans in the less than three years!
Under their new manager they’ve had a bit of a revival and now find themselves in fifth place, but with the squad they have, the expectation there will be huge.
For the Tangerines it’s a chance to emulate the great victories that have been achieved against the Latics over the years.
None more so than the Premier League opening day when Roberto Martinez’s team were bemused by the brilliant fluid attacking play that marked the Ian Holloway approach to the Premier League.
How Wigan managed to recover and scrap their way to safety just ahead of Blackpool I’ll never know.