It was good to see thousands of Blackpool Football Club fans back on our streets going to the home game last Saturday. We could hear the Seasiders’ cheers and chants from Great Marton, carried to us on a briny breeze. The fans also set tills ringing merrily in hostelries, eating places and many stores around town.
It was a great turnout at a Bloomfield Road stadium now free from the Oyston family’s unpopular grip. There was even a last-minute equaliser to add a fairytale finish of sorts.
When I first came here as a reporter for this newspaper, back in the 1970s, I was struck by the local pride of people and their sporting heritage. Their heroes were down-to-earth figures and in Blackpool all seemed possible.
It wasn’t just the soccer legends either, I witnessed the Borough rugby team top its league while, down the coast at Ansdell, Bill Beaumont (now Sir Bill) represented union, rugby’s other code. Blackpool Cricket Club also topped the Northern League.
What town of similar size could compete with our wonderful sporting facilities; let alone the theatres, restaurants and general entertainment? The place was a winner from all angles and, along its diverse coast, offered everything from fishing port to luxurious gentility.
The contrasts could be staggering. Just a mile or two inland from a buzzing Golden Mile with its razzmatazz, was elegant Stanley Park and homes more like mansions stretching down the verdant Fylde between golf courses. Equally, within a few minutes a train took you from South Shore’s cosy cafés to bijou bistros in upmarket Lytham.
We even have our own motorway and international airport, or used to have. If council plans for it ever get off the ground, we’re all queueing up to fly from aptly named Squires Gate.
So, let’s cheer on our team once more – and revive our pride in this wonderful holiday coast.
* For Roy’s books visit royedmonds-blackpool.com.