Gazette opinion: How far can the feelgood factor take Blackpool this season?

This is Blackpool's opportunity to bring the town together again
This is Blackpool's opportunity to bring the town together again
Share this article

Most Blackpool fans probably hate it when I talk about the club I support, Lincoln City.

READ MORE: Simon Grayson promises Blackpool fans that new boy James Husband will be worth the wait

To be honest, I don't really blame you, but hear me out.

Just three years ago the Imps finished 13th in the National League, miles off the pace of the play-offs.

In fact it was the ninth straight season they had ended a season in the bottom half of the table, one of those resulting in relegation to non-league in 2011, ironically the year Blackpool dropped out of the Premier League by the slimmest of margins.

Average gates had fallen to as low as the mid-2,000s, some games drawing as few 1,800.

But, by a stroke of luck, in came Danny and Nicky Cowley from Braintree Town, brothers that had a history of success - just as Simon Grayson does.

Not only did the management duo revolutionise the team, they brought the town back together as well, at a time when supporters felt no real affiliation to the club. It felt like they had no part to play.

But average crowds soared to 5,100, up again to 8,700 the following season. Season tickets at Sincil Bank have sold out once again this summer, capped at 6,500.

During that title-winning season in the National League, 6,000 fans travelled down to Ipswich for an FA Cup tie, a further 9,000 to Arsenal when they made history by reaching the quarter final of the FA Cup, becoming the first non-league side to reach the last eight in 103 years.

Two promotions and a triumphant Wembley debut later, Lincoln will line up in the third tier for the first time in 20 years on Saturday, on a level footing with your beloved Seasiders.

The significance of all this? It proves just what can be achieved when everyone is pulling in the same direction. Success can’t be achieved without you, the fans, on board.

Yes, money helps. It would be foolish to pretend the cash from South African hedge fund manager Clive Nates hasn't played a part in Lincoln’s success.

But he's not a sugar daddy and hasn't been ploughing in limitless funds, instead it’s been sustainable, building bit by bit.

There’s not been £300,000 bids for star strikers, in fact the money raised from the cup run went towards a brand new £1.3m training facility.

That’s the way I expect Simon Sadler to operate. In fact the early signs are already there.

The Cowley brothers have captured the hearts and the minds of a county, almost, never mind a city.

Youngsters we had become accustomed to seeing wearing Manchester United shirts now adorn the red and white of Lincoln. More women than ever are on board, so much so they’ve created their own fan group. Families are spread throughout the sold-out ground.

So again, I hear you ask, what is the relevance of all this to Blackpool?

Well, what I'm trying to say is YOU, the supporter, has an important role to play.

I know you've not been accustomed to that at Bloomfield Road in recent times but as Bob Dylan sang in his iconic, raspy voice, the times they are a changin’.

Results won't always go Pool's way, there will be bad spells. There will be players the club miss out on.

When work on the new training ground begins, be it in a year’s time, two or three, don’t moan when it’s behind schedule, just be glad it’s finally happening.

Stay with the team, don't boo when they labour to a bore draw on a drab winter's Tuesday night against a team they're expected to beat.

But equally, when Pool win a big match, say away at a Sunderland or a Portsmouth, savour it. For these are the moments you have inevitably missed during the last four years.

It's all part and parcel of the rollercoaster that is football. But, just as the Big One at the Pleasure Beach begins - emerging from a dark tunnel before scaling steeply upwards - this rollercoaster is definitely on the up. Make sure you enjoy the ride, let’s just hope there’s more ups than downs.

You’ve done your bit by purchasing a season ticket, or a match day ticket for Saturday’s curtain raiser. But your job doesn’t end there.

Give your unwavering support to the players and management team because if you do, there is no limit to where this club can go.