The best performance ever by one of my teams: Ian Holloway's verdict on Blackpool display at Nottingham Forest 10 years ago
Ian Holloway says Blackpool’s famous night at the City Ground exactly a decade ago was the best performance he has overseen during his 24-year managerial career.
With a spot in the Wembley showcase at stake, the Seasiders took a slender 2-1 lead into the away leg of their Championship play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest on May 11, 2010.
But no-one could have foreseen the drama that ensued in that second leg, with DJ Campbell netting a remarkable hat-trick in a drama-laden 4-3 win, which saw Pool progress to the final 6-4 on aggregate.
Speaking to The Gazette on the 10th anniversary of that remarkable night by the River Trent, Holloway said: “I’d say the away performance was the best I’ve ever seen during my time as a manager. The players were absolutely magnificent.
“I remember it being like slow motion at that time. It was weird how things were happening.
“The football we played in those play-off games was just phenomenal.
“I’m not sure what goal it was, but DJ played the ball out to Stephen Dobbie. He played a little one-two and bent it in.
“I’ve got to be honest, I went crazy right then.
“I looked to Thommo (assistant manager Steve Thompson) and I asked him what the score was and he didn’t know. It was just unbelievable.
“Dobbie came off the bench and absolutely turned the game, yet I still left him on the bench for the final because I had it in my mind where we were going and what we were doing.
While there were jubilant scenes of celebration at the final whistle with the Pool fans housed in the away end, Holloway was keen to stress to his players that they hadn’t achieved anything yet.
“It was step one, but we talked about little steps,” he added.
“The easiest motivation for the lads was fairness. With the money they were on, the lads needed to win the final for a share of the bonuses that Karl Oyston very cleverly had dangling there.
“Most of my team talks were about the amount of money they could win, I just put it on the board - bang, there you go.
“I thought they were a really good team. Whether the rest of the league thought that or not, it’s irrelevant.
“We didn’t have any pressure, we were earmarked to go down that year, so that made it very easy.
“But it was a wonderful time and a fantastic achievement for everybody at the club, whether you were a supporter, a member of staff or a player. It was a united front.”