What an astonishing couple of weeks it has been for football!
I spoke last week about how crucial this time of the season is and it has certainly produced some fantastic spectacles.
Nobody could have predicted the Champions League second leg results.
Juventus were outstanding as they pulled three goals back at the Bernabeu.
To concede a goal in injury time was heartbreaking for the Italians but it did show the mentality and toughness that Real Madrid possess.
Even more remarkable was Roma’s comeback against Barcelona; 4-1 down from the first leg and to win 3-0 ranks as one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the Champions League.
Closer to home, Blackpool continued their resurgent form with an excellent comeback against near rivals Fleetwood.
Armand Gnanduillet’s towering header in the 94th minute was a fitting way to win any football match.
The game itself saw a bumper crowd of more than 7,000. This was mostly as a result of the complimentary tickets handed out to schools and grassroots teams by the Blackpool FC Community Trust.
The trust is an outstanding organisation. Not only does it perform a variety of high-quality PE lessons in schools for the children of Blackpool, it also runs extra-curricular clubs, and healthy eating and active lifestyle workshops for parents and children.
In the summer, it runs a variety of sporting festivals to get children of all ages involved in sport.
In an age when children opt to sit inside on a sunny day and play on their computers or watch YouTube, and an age in which England has one of the world’s highest obesity levels, it is fantastic that children are being given the education and option to eat healthily and participate in an active lifestyle.
At Saturday’s derby with Fleetwood, the Trust – led by ex-Blackpool player Marc Joseph – put on a Family Fun Day that involved everything from face-painting to inflatable five-a-side.
While the people at the Community Trust are working tirelessly for the youth of Blackpool and coming up with new and innovative ways to engage the public and get them back into the ground, the opposite is happening with the owners.
For the first time in ages I had children running up to me in the playground on Monday morning to tell me what a great time they had at Bloomfield Road and that it was the first game they’d ever been to.
They were genuinely enthused to be telling me about the players in Tangerine.
Maybe those in the Community Trust should be running the club!
The youth team at Blackpool is also doing extraordinarily well despite the boardroom despair.
The players surpassed every expectation to reach the semi-finals of the prestigious FA Youth Cup.
To put that into context, some of the Premier League teams that haven’t even reached that stage will be paying their young players way more than Blackpool pay their first-team squad.
After an excellent 2-2 draw at Bloomfield in the first leg against Arsenal, the return leg at the Emirates proved a step too far and Arsenal ran out comfortable winners in the end.
But what an experience it was for those players and for the coaching staff.
They’ve played at arguably the best ground in the country and against some of the best youngsters in the world.
Unlike those kids at Arsenal, the Blackpool boys have a great chance of making it into the first team as many have before them.