'The atmosphere was electric': Fans go wild as Blackpool FC secure play-off promotion
“Sea, sea, seasiders!” echoed in unison across Blackpool.
Spirits were high as rapturous applause and cheers bounced around living rooms and clubs on Sunday afternoon, as Blackpool FC celebrated a monumental victory against Lincoln City in the EFL League One play-offs to secure their promotion to the championship.
The resort was a sea of tangerine as thousands of fans, decked out in the club’s iconic merch, headed out to watch the long-awaited game, and, looking out, tangerine flags and streamers were seen being waved enthusiastically and blowing in the breeze as the cheers of “Come on you Pool!” could be heard for miles.
After what can only be described as a rough start, following Ollie Turton’s own goal within the first 48 seconds of the game, the morale still remained unstirred at town favourite The Armfield Club, as the chants and claps of sheer support continued to bellow throughout the venue until the very end.
Fans remained fixated and sweaty-palmed into the second half of the play-off action, which was broadcasted on screens across the three floors of The Armfield Club, as the much missed sound of pints being pulled and glasses clinking could be heard along with cheers of solidarity throughout the venue.
Dougall remained a firm favourite with his efforts commended by the fans throughout the game, as stools remained tightly gripped in the lead up to his second goal shortly into the second half and cheers ruptured once more.
Among those was 77-year-old Pat Webster, from Blackpool - and a fan since she was just eight years old.
The seasons where her beloved team were run by the Oystons thankfully seemed a long-distant memory, as she spoke of her excitement for the new future of the club.
Speaking after the win, she said: “I can’t believe it. It is absolutely brilliant to be out with everyone again and supporting our team.
“Me and my friends used to sneak in and watch the games when we were younger when they would open the gates at the grounds and I have been a huge fan ever since.
“The atmosphere here today was absolutely fantastic from the start, it’s bouncing and it feels amazing to be out again after so long.
“It’s because the team has the right people in charge of running them now, so we are just going from strength to strength. This feels like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
“It shows how strong the spirit is in Blackpool - people are saying that no matter what had happened today, the atmosphere would have been exactly the same.”
With the sun beaming down just as it should for a May afternoon, the fans were overjoyed to mingle with one another outdoors for the first time in months, adorned in their tangerine wigs, shirts and scarves.
Fans who didn’t manage to make the 240-mile trip down to London for the game were still able to watch their beloved team rise to their former glory once more from the comfort of their own hometown.
Among those was Paul Smith, who hailed the Armfield as “the best place for fans in Blackpool”
He said: “It’s just great to be out again but of course, it’s disappointing that we couldn’t go down to Wembley and there weren’t enough tickets for all the fans.
“You can really feel the excitement here, it’s superb. This is, hands down, the best place to come to Blackpool and the best place for all Blackpool supporters. It is a club for the community.”
The Covid-guidelines in place inside the club were no burden to the fans and did nothing to dampen spirits of the few hundred members who came out to the venue to celebrate their win - as their voices all cheered in perfect harmony for the duration of the game.
The sheer love for Pool could be felt from the Bloomfield Road club, as passers-by tooted their horns in support, with the seasiders sat among tangerine coloured stools, walls and shirts decorating the venue and an array of Blackpool FC scarves. The ecstatic mood just couldn’t be denied.
Speaking after the win, one true fan, Gedd Ratcliffe, who even had his beloved team name engraved on his back, spoke to the Gazette about his sheer excitement to be out celebrating alongside friends again.
He said: “I got my back tattoo out of absolute pride and support for my team.
“It’s absolutely brilliant to be back out and means the absolute world to us Blackpool fans that we can come out and support the team with one another.
“I thought the ticket situation was a real let down and it was disappointing that we couldn’t go down to Wembley because there were only 4,000 tickets.
“With it being outside, I think they could’ve had a lot more fans there today, but it wouldn’t have had the same atmosphere as being here in our hometown.
“We are all here to support Blackpool, support our team and support our local pub.”
Also sat enjoying the game were three best friends Dianne Bonney, Dianne Morris and Debbie Parry.
Following the win, Debbie said: “This is just amazing! Just to be out and here today with all my good friends means the world.
“We just knew they were going to win today and the atmosphere is just electric. It really shows you how close the people of Blackpool are and how they all come together.
“After the year we’ve had, we all really needed this today and we couldn’t have asked for a better day for it.”
After a nail-bitingly tense game taking on Lincoln City in the playoff final at Wembley stadium, Blackpool fans were left in what could only be described as pure euphoria by 4:, celebrating their team’s position in the championship.
“We are Blackpool, we are the football kings!” crowds chanted.