Fans’ panel: Let’s save best for last

The squad go on a lap of honour after their victory over Bolton
The squad go on a lap of honour after their victory over Bolton
0
Have your say

After Saturday’s sensational send-off from Bloomfield Road, the thoughts of ever Seasiders supporter are turning to Old Trafford.

Most, but not all, of our panelists are hopeful of the happiest of endings, but they all agree this superb season is set for the grandest of finales...

PHIL GILLATT

I think it’s fair to say the Tangerines have usually saved their greatest performances for games away from the Seaside in recent times. However, on Saturday Holloway’s side delivered the kind of season-defining display at Bloomfield Road which has put Blackpool so firmly back on the footballing map.

The first half was simply one of the finest I’ve ever seen and Bolton, to their credit, ensured this was no pushover.

Although the defence had its work cut out at times, the pass and move approach and work rate of the entire team was truly inspirational.

When you add the sublime skills of GTF to clinical finishing by an outstanding DJ Campbell, backed up by Puncheon who is developing into such a dangerous striker, then you have yourselves a very effective attack.

The endearing passion shown by Southern to scrap for the cause, backed by a thunderous crowd, made the game a breathtaking spectacle which was capped by an unstoppable Charlie Adam winner which has given the team a crucial fighting chance of survival.

As the players walked around the pitch at the end, I was holding back my emotions wondering if I would ever see their like again. At the same time I felt so proud to have witnessed one of the truly great Blackpool teams of modern times. Whatever happens at Old Trafford on Sunday, I hope there’s enough space in the Hall of Legends at Bloomfield Road to fit all these players in. They deserve nothing less.

FIONA MARTIN

TO beat Bolton 4-3 on Cup Final day, with our 53rd goal of the season, just felt like the football gods had written their own little script for us. I can only hope there’s another special chapter to come next Sunday.

We played like we’ve played all season – committed, determined, passionate, attacking football. It’s what has made us so good to watch – and it’s why we deserve to stay up.

Everyone ran his socks off but the front three of Taylor-Fletcher, Campbell and Puncheon really stood out.

There were some really good goals too, particularly our fourth, which wouldn’t have looked out of place if Arsenal had scored it. This Blackpool side is the best I’ve ever had the privilege of watching and it’s made up of fantastic footballers. The one thing we’ve learned this season is that you can’t predict what will happen.

On Sunday, we just have to concentrate on ourselves and do everything we can to win. The team is full of confidence and has nothing to lose.

Whatever happens, it has been an amazing ride. To still be in with a good chance of staying up on the final day is an achievement in itself. I am proud to have been part of this season and proud of every player who contributed. I know that if we do go down it won’t be without a fight, and there’s little more a fan can ask for.

Miracles can happen – we’ve been living one all season – and we need to go to United still believing.

TOM WILSON

BEING a Blackpool fan is never dull, that’s for sure! Our destiny now hinges on the final game after coming out on top in a Premier League classic.

I was out of breath watching from the stands, so God only knows what the players felt!

Falling behind so early was a massive blow but we showed immense resolve to play ourselves back into the game.

You could have given man of the match to a raft of players as there were so many great performances.

It must be said that having Gilks back has been massive for us and his save from Sturridge was the turning point.

If he wasn’t injured for nearly half the season, I reckon we would have been safe by now.

Charlie was also at his imperious best and sealed the points with a truly emphatic finish.

DJ’s goals were terrifically well taken and Puncheon produced another fine performance that left us scratching our heads at why he’s not been included more often.

Realistically, we need to win at Old Trafford to stay up. Alex Ferguson looks set to name a weakened side after United wrapped up the title, so anything is possible.

Whether we stay up or not, we can be hugely proud of what we’ve achieved.

Everyone wrote us off and said we’d be lucky to reach ten points. We now have the chance to produce the greatest survival story since Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Blackpool till I die!

MICHAEL MORRISON

FANS and pundits alike are saying Blackpool don’t deserve to go down because they’ve been too entertaining. And with Holloway bringing on two strikers with 15 minutes to go on Saturday, when we were ahead, I can’t argue with that.

We’ve played exciting, scintillating football that has entertained the world for nine months – and I’m sorry to say that unless we witness a miracle akin to a loaf of bread and two fish feeding the hungry, we’ll have to wait at least another 12 to see it again.

I’ve taken some stick over the season for consistently attacking our defensive frailties, but if you look at the league table now you can see why I was banging on about it.

Those moments when we stopped concentrating, misplaced a place or didn’t change tactics when we should have left us in this precarious position.

We now need to go to the home of the newly crowned champions and Champions’ League finalists and win. Anything less and I don’t think we’ll make it.

There have been suggestions that United might field a weakened team. I don’t need to remind you that United’s reserves annihilated Schalke a couple of weeks ago and are now vying for places in the team to face Barcelona.

Yes, I admit I’m a pessimist, but even the most optimistic of supporters must surely expect the Championship next season.

JANE STUART

IF ever there was an instance of coming into form at the right time, then this was it.

Granted, a few wins in January might have been better, but that would hardly have raised such a level of excitement and anticipation – our finest form of the season (nay in many years) versus the English Champions.

So technically, we can retain our Premier League status, even if we fail to earn a point at Old Trafford. But defeat is not an option. We all know full well that the Seasiders will be gunning for victory. And we might just get it.

We dominated United at Bloomfield Road in what was literally our finest hour this season. A shame, then, that the game lasted for a further 30 minutes!

But who could fail to see the hunger in those players against Bolton at the weekend? In our minds and in our hearts, there was no way we were going to accept anything less than three points. Nerves? What nerves?

To a man, those players were magnificent. Like at Wembley last summer, our opponents might as well not have been there. This was always going to be our day.

At the end of last season, we had a little wobble and then struck back with some devastating form when it really mattered. And, boy does it matter now more than ever!

The difference this year is that we are no longer dreaming the impossible dream. This is not the stuff of fantasy.

We have lived it for months and, hey, it’s pretty cool up here. Let’s have a bit more.

PHIL CORBETT

How fitting that we beat Bolton 4-3 on Cup Final day in a rip-roaring game that summed up our season.

Going forward we are a real credit to the Premier League, with skilful attacking play leading to numerous chances and we took our chances with aplomb.

There is no kick-and-rush with this team, and to play that kind of football when a win was essential shows we have character in spades. The flipside is that we are always prone to make a mistake and have it punished with a goal.

Maybe it’s the new sprinkler system watering the pitch before kick-off and at half-time, but at the start of every half we seem to make a mistake, slipping at the wrong time, and invariably teams punish us.

Fortunately, we have the determination to come back and play so well. I thought DJ Campbell was a real livewire and deserved his brace for the tireless running and pressurising that he did all day long, but it’s probably unfair to pick out individuals from a sterling team effort.

With Wolves also winning, we still have it all to do at Old Trafford, but we at least have a say in our destiny.

The perceived wisdom was that we would be long gone by now. We’re not and it’s a credit to the team and management. BELIEVE.

DAVE WHITE

Thirty seven down, one to go… and still we have no idea what will actually happen!

Saturday saw us get the vital win we needed and we go into what is admittedly a tricky game in good form.

What a thrilling match Blackpool and Bolton provided us with. Casting aside suggestions they’ve had their minds on their holidays ever since the FA Cup defeat, the Trotters were worthy opponents in a compelling encounter.

Each of our players had to be at his best. I would have to pick out DJ Campbell for a superb display of all-round forward play and he fully deserved his two goals.

A characteristic Blackpool FC sides have had in abundance in recent years is determination, and every man in tangerine knew that not getting the three points was not an option. To come back from 1-0 and then to press on from 2-2 and 3-3 takes a certain breed of player and we have those throughout the squad.

It is to Old Trafford that we now look. The finest season that fans of my age have ever seen will draw to a close either in wonderful celebrations or with sympathetic pats on the back. The possible permutations are brain-busting and will be discussed across the land over the next few days.

If you believed the ‘experts’ at the start of the season, then we have already achieved the improbable, and one more monumental effort at the home of the champions could bring us what many thought impossible. Not those in tangerine, though, and I will be there on Sunday, loud, proud and believing.