Blackpool's first League match was played at Lincoln City on September the 5th, 1896 the team that day was : Douglas; Bowman; Parr (Captain); Stuart; Stirzaker; Norris; Clarkin; Donnelly; J.Parkinson; R.Parkinson; Mount. The match was played before a crowd of about 2,000 and resulted in a 3-1 defeat. Blackpool's first ever League goal being scored by Charles Mount in the second half.
The first season saw Blackpool finish in eighth position in the Second Division with a total of 31 points from 30 matches played. The home record is worthy of note as only 5 points were dropped - the club's best ever performance, although it must be said that only 15 games were played with 21 in most seasons since then.
For the next thirty years Blackpool remained in the Second Division with varying degrees of success. The seasons after the end of World War One saw the club striving for promotion to the First Division as can be seen from the following finishing positions:-
This period saw the emergence of George Mee who gained his place in the team in 1920 and remained in the side for five seasons, never missing a match and creating a record sequence of 195 consecutive appearances which stands to this day. To say that George was a club stalwart is a gross understatement. He maintained his connections with the club and was still breaking records as a Tote agent right up to his death in the late 1970's
Other notable players of this era were outside right Jack Charles, who later became the club's trainer, as did Bert Tulloch, a great right full back. His partner at full back was Peter Fairhurst, who unfortunately died in hospital after heading a heavy, rain-soaked ball during a league match.
Also with the Club were Billy Benton, "Matty" Barrass, Jackie Meredith and Albert "Taffy" Jones, who later gained international recognition and was transferred to Blackburn Rovers for the then colossal fee of 6,000.
A period of centre forward supremacy followed for Blackpool. Harry Bedford was signed in 1921 and was leading goal-scorer for several seasons. He was also the leading Second Division goal-scorer for two seasons. Bedford was also selected to represent England on two occasions and on three occasions appeared in the Inter-League matches.
In one of these he scored four goals.
In 1927 Jimmy Hampson came to the club from Nelson. He was a brilliant centre forward who gained both International and Inter-League honours. In 1927-28 season he scored 31 goals in 32 games. This was the season he was "chaired" by the crowd at Bloomfield Road.
The following season he scored 40 goals, heading the list of scorers in the Second Division. Season 1929-30 saw him even more successful, with 45 goals - the highest total in the country. In season 1930-31 he scored 32 goals, and this was in the First Division.
Hampson cost the club only 2,000 and what a buy he was. He scored 247 goals in 360 games and, without doubt, was the player mainly responsible for Blackpool's promotion to the First Division.
Jimmy Hampson, out in a small boat on a fishing trip at Fleetwood, was drowned on the 10th January 1938. His body was never recovered. It was tragic end for a great player and an irreplaceable one.