IAN Holloway insists he won’t feel any sense of failure if his team don’t beat West Ham in the play-off final.
The boss says that whatever happens at Wembley on Saturday, he will feel only an overwhelming sense of pride that his Blackpool side have again given the fans a wonderful season.
More than 30,000 Seasiders supporters will decamp to London in the hope of cheering Holloway’s men to the Premier League.
The manager spent the weekend watching endless DVDs of Sam Allardyce’s Hammers in action, including this season’s two league games, which Pool lost heavily.
He accepts it is a big challenge to get the better of one of the richest clubs in the Championship, but he is quietly confident his team can again confound the doubters.
Whatever the outcome, though, Holloway will be a proud man. He said: “This game is massive in terms of what is at stake – a place in the best league in the world and £40m. But to me there is nothing riding on it because I think we have already proved so much.
“I will be so much more relaxed than last time. Am I worried about losing my job if I don’t win? No, I’m not.
“I won’t feel down if we lose. I won’t feel as if 46 games worth of hard work have gone to waste because we’ve played so well and come on so much as a team.
“So I will have no shame whatsoever if we lose to West Ham, providing we play in a certain way and never give up. Having said all that, of course I want to win. I am desperate to and so are the players, and we will give everything we’ve got.”
Holloway knows, though, that the performances again West Ham this season have not been good enough.
Pool lost 4-0 at Upton Park before Christmas and conceded four again at Bloomfield Road in February, when Hammers midfielder Henri Lansbury kept goal for most of the match after Rob Green was sent off.
Holloway added: “We obviously need to perform a lot better on Saturday. Their style of play and Sam’s organisation were too much for us, with the players I had available. I believe the ones I’ve got now will have a better chance but they have to prove that.
“I haven’t got any injuries or suspensions, so I can actually look at us and be very happy.”