Fans’ panel: Wow – what a week

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This time last week our fans’ panel members were down in the dumps after back-to-back defeats.

Since then successive wins have raised their spirits and lifted the team into the play-off zone for the international break.


Wow – what a week!

We had already seen glimpses of what was to come, with recent inspirational individual performances from the likes of Ince and Shelvey; and a 5-0 win at home in early October.

There was never any doubt in my mind that we would be dynamite again. A few mediocre matches was never anything to worry about (least still panic!). It is not as if we are floundering in the lower leagues like our nearest and dearest.

You see, we evolve and we improve. Our players and our manager fight for each other and inspire each other. They care. And just look at the result – trouncing Leeds 5-0 at Elland Road. Amazing stuff and quite possibly the best away trip I have enjoyed in 20 years of watching Blackpool.

We were awesome from the off and never allowed Leeds into the game. We oozed confidence and had our hosts on the canvas before half-time. We still have this remarkable ability to take complete control of a match, leaving our opponents baffled and destroyed. And we will only get stronger. There is so much more to come from these boys.

We followed up on Leeds with a home win against Millwall to go fifth. Whilst this is an exciting league position we absolutely must not expect anything. 18 months ago a miracle occurred. Let’s just enjoy the ride and see where it takes us.

Men of match: Shelvey (Leeds), LuaLua (Millwall).


Well, what a difference a week makes. After slating the manager and team to high heaven last Tuesday, they’ve made me eat my words – but I’d rather that, than prove me right.

I’d like to think my harsh words might have contributed ever so slightly to our performances against Leeds and Millwall, but the truth is, I think Holloway will have been more annoyed than me at our recent performances.

The Leeds result has got to be up there with the victory at Anfield for pride-factor. To go to Elland Road and stick five past them (albeit with help from a dodgy looking Rachubka) is spectacular and is on the level with United sticking eight past Arsenal and City sticking six past United.

Jonjo Shelvey is starting to show his class too. I’ve been an admirer of his for a few years and he’s starting to give glimpses of the class he evidently has in abundance. And there’s an old boy at the club that he could and is learning from, and that’s our goal scorer against Millwall on Saturday, Kevin Phillips.

With a goal every two games on average, he’s still flying – not something many ex-Premier League strikers are doing at 38.

Those two little wins have meant big change in the league and we’re flying high. But we must be extra careful not to get complacent, starting against Middlesbrough, a big club with a glorious history, at the weekend.

Men of match: Shelvey (Leeds), LuaLua (Millwall).


What a difference a week makes. But perhaps over time, what happened at Burnley may well prove to have been a defining moment.

A noticeable attitude shift, coupled with two strong performances and six points, means things look much brighter. What happened at Leeds none of us could have forseen. I’ll admit I wasn’t confident going into the game, and I wasn’t expecting what happened. But from the first whistle the players were supreme. That first half was the best I have seen us play in months.

Led by LuaLua and Shelvey, there was spirit, pace, movement, and everything else that epitomises Blackpool under Ian Holloway. Leeds just could not live with us, even if they’d remained with 11 men, I’m confident we’d still have demolished them.

Saturday always ran the risk of being “after the Lord Mayor’s show”, but whilst we understandably didn’t hit the highs of Wednesday, it was still excellent. A dominant first half, and a controlled second half, we looked comfortable, professional and solid. And you always thought there was another gear there if required.

I said last week about the need to go into the break on a high, and we’ve done that. I genuinely think now that some of the hangovers are gone, and now we can move forwards again as a club and as a team.

Men of match: LuaLua (Leeds), Ferguson (Millwall).


After a dreadful derby defeat at the hands of the Clarets last weekend, Ollie finally rang the much-needed changes to a side desperately low on morale. What then happened at Elland Road in midweek will hopefully prove to be one of those season-defining performances after recent lacklustre displays.

Wednesday was a rare magical night when the Seasiders produced a simply stunning headline-making result. Even hardened Leeds fans were waving their white scarves in surrender long before the final whistle and heading home there was a real buzz of new optimism surrounding the return of Ludo Silvestre and the excellent finishing power of Lua Lua and Shelvey.

On Saturday, despite the absence of Evatt against Millwall, Baptise and Cathcart both rose to the challenge of everything that the Lions threw at them and it was another fine clean sheet for Gilks in goal. In midfield Southern and Silvestre again worked tirelessly alongside Ferguson who orchestrated so much of Pool’s impressive build-up play. As against Leeds the skilful LuaLua led the charge upfront and this time it was the Bloomfield Road faithful that were treated to his talents as he caused Millwall’s defence problems from the start.

Ollie’s timely introduction of Kevin Phillips was rewarded inside three minutes with the veteran producing another classy strike worthy of winning any game. These two back to back wins has lifted the Seasiders right back into the play-off positions and the management and players can now enjoy a relaxing break before a tough trip to the Riverside. After the past week, it’s nothing less than they deserve.”

Men of match: Sylvestre (Leeds), Baptiste (Millwall).


The Burnley debacle has well and truly been laid to rest now with two excellent results and an outstanding performance.

The Leeds match was just sensational and as far as I am concerned, every member of the starting 11 could have had 10 out of 10 for their efforts. My biggest fear afterwards was that people would look at the result and think that the sending off changed the game, when it was in fact nothing of the sort. We took the game to them from the off, with consistent accurate passing around the team, laced with threatening through balls and pacy runs.

I have sympathy for Paul Rachubka. A great servant to Blackpool, he unfortunately had a nightmare 45 minutes, before a fairly unforgiving crowd. At 3-0 at half-time we knew they would come out of the traps quickly for the second-half, but they ran out of steam 15 minutes later and the fourth goal – a sublime strike – finished them off completely. It may seem harsh for a hat-trick scorer not to be voted as man of the match, but I thought LuaLua had a superb game against Leeds.

We then negotiated a tricky encounter against in-form Millwall with another brilliant display. The goals may not have been flying in but we created plenty of chances, limited them to very few attempts – a quick word for Matt Gilks’ world-class save from an offside Millwall effort in the first half – and scored a cracking strike through an inspired substitution. All in all, another good day at the office.

Everyone can now enjoy their international break on a high, before we come back to three tricky games to round off November – I’m looking forward to them already.

Men of match: LuaLua (Leeds), Baptiste (Millwall).


After the Burnley game, there was a real sense of gloom but two wins later, one of which will go down in Blackpool’s history books, the prospects are suddenly so much brighter.

The two games have been very different, but equally as satisfying. The team changes gave us a freshness and a style that was ripping Leeds apart, time and time again anyway.

To then follow that up with a further clean sheet, and a wonder strike from Phillips, added to the new sense of belief coursing through the team and fans.

As I live in Leeds, the victory on Wednesday was all the sweeter. Over the last decade we have gone up from the bottom Division, while they have slumped from Champions League status down to League One, and then back to the Championship. Despite that, there is still a cachet attached to them. For us to go there and utterly destroy them in a footballing masterclass was totally unexpected.

Sylvestre, in particular, was in majestic form, solving the midfield conundrum.

A corner has been turned. Let’s kick on from here.

Men of match: Sylvestre (Leeds), Baptiste (Millwall).