Valeri Belokon's warning to Blackpool players: Ten years on from Premier League promotion

Blackpool president Valeri BelokonBlackpool president Valeri Belokon
Blackpool president Valeri Belokon
It’s 10 years since the greatest achievement of Blackpool FC’s recent history: promotion to the Premier League for a season feasting on unforgettable football at the English game’s top table.

We’re dipping into the archives each day to bring you STEVE CANAVAN’S Gazette reports from a decade ago on Blackpool’s remarkable journey to the promised land.

Ten years ago, Valeri Belokon pinpointed the way for Blackpool to avoid relegation to the Championship...

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Valeri Belokon reckons Blackpool’s survival next season will come down to how many mistakes they make or, more to the point, don’t make on the pitch.

The Seasiders president is already looking forward to – and planning for life – in the top flight.

But he has this warning: “This is a competition where you cannot afford a single mistake. The one who makes fewest mistakes wins.

“The Premier League is packed with top-class professionals.

“But I am delighted we are there. It is a big event in our town. People are proud of us.

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“We proved we were capable of big things and that you don’t have to be in London, Manchester or Liverpool to be a success.

“Blackpool are a great example to other small towns in the country.

Money is not everything – we have proved it.

“Many were sceptical and smirked when I said I wanted to get to the Premier League because, for many, the only way to get to the top division is through heavy investment.

“But we proved that the main thing is to believe you can do it.”

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Belokon feels the £1.6m transfer kitty he donated last summer to buy younger players played a crucial role in helping the Seasiders win promotion.

But he saved most of his compliments for the manager, who was appointed by chairman Karl Oyston last May and who Belokon was initially unsure about.

“What were the main reasons for our success? I should mention the appointment of Ian Holloway as our head coach. It was the key factor,” said the Latvian.

“He was recommended by our chairman Karl Oyston. I trusted Karl given our previous work together and that’s how Holloway was signed.

“We have a well-structured system at our club.

“Thanks to our system we do not waste time, we solve all our problems very quickly.”