Blackpool Profile

Major Honours FA Cup (1)
Year Founded 1887

Post-war Blackpool were a force in English football, but apart from a brief flirtation with the Premier League the club have bounced up and down the Football League for many years.

Blackpool are an English football club which plays in the Championship, the second tier of the English pyramid.

The 1953 FA Cup winners' most famous player is the legendary Sir Stanley Matthews. The "Wizard of the Dribble" made 440 appearances for the club between 1947 and 1961.

Blackpool spent one season in the Premier League, in 2010/11 under the guidance of enigmatic manager Ian "Olly" Holloway.

Although they were relegated upon the conclusion of the campaign, Blackpool were true crowd pleasers throughout the course of the campaign, playing an attractive brand of football and putting players such as Charlie Adam on the big stage.

Since then, Blackpool have dropped as low as League Two before fighting their way back into the Championship.

Blackpool won promotion to the Championship out of League One at the end of the 2020/21 season via a successful run in the play-offs.

Blackpool early history

Blackpool FC were founded in 1887 and played their home games at Raikes Hall and the Athletic Grounds before moving to Bloomfield Road in 1901.

Having been founder members of the Lancashire League in 1889, Blackpool were invited into the Football League Second Division in 1896.

In 1929/30, Blackpool won the Second Division title and were promoted into the First Division, but they lasted only three seasons there before dropping back down.

In 1936/37, Blackpool were promoted to the top flight once again.

Blackpool and the Joe Smith era

Joe Smith was the manager who led Blackpool back into the top flight after taking charge of the club in 1935 and this was just the beginning of his 23-year spell in charge.

To date, he remains the most revered and successful manager in the history of Blackpool FC.

Blackpool's league position steadily climbed under Smith and he consistently had them finishing in or close to the top five positions in the top flight during the late 1940s and the early 1950s.

In 1948, Blackpool made the FA Cup final, where they faced Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.

Edmund Shimwell put Blackpool in front before John Rowley equalised for United. Blackpool, however, regained the lead in the 35th minute through Stanley Mortensen.

However, Manchester United scored three late goals to overturn a 2-1 half-time deficit and win the final 4-2.

In 1951, Blackpool returned to Wembley Stadium for another FA Cup final, this time against Newcastle United.

The teams went into the break level at 0-0 before a brace from Jackie Milburn (goals in the 50th and 55th minutes ensured that Newcastle United got their hands on the trophy and Blackpool were yet again denied.

However, in 1953, the course of history was changed in one of the most famous FA Cup finals of all time.

In what is widely known as the "Matthews Final" due to the heroics of Sir Stanley Matthews for Blackpool, they came back from 3-1 down at Wembley Stadium on May 2 1953 to beat Bolton Wanderers 4-3.

Mortensen was on the scoresheet once again, this time bagging a hat-trick. William Perry then scored the winner for Blackpool in stoppage time at the end of the match.

In 1955/56, Smith led Blackpool to a club record finish of second place, although they finished 11 points behind champions Manchester United.

Smith resigned in 1958, at the age of 68, due to poor health after 714 Football League matches in charge of Blackpool.

Blackpool's years in the wilderness and the Oyston takeover

Jimmy Armfield statue

Despite the best efforts of one-club legend Jimmy Armfield, who made a record-breaking 569 appearances for the Tangerines between 1954 and 1971, Blackpool's fortunes began to plummet following the departure of Smith.

They bounced between the top two divisions of English soccer in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By 1981, they were relegated to the fourth tier, although they gained promotion in 1984/85.

The Oyston family's ownership of Blackpool began in 1987. They would remain in charge of the club until 2019.

Nine years after purchasing the club, Owen Oyston was jailed for the rape and indecent assault of a 16-year-old girl.

Mr Justice McCullough told him, as quoted by The Independent: "You were 58, she was 16. You were rich and powerful with a strong personality. She was young and vulnerable."

During his three-year prison term, his wife, Vicki, took over as chair of the club. In 1999, their son, Karl, took charge. He remained in the position for 19 years thereafter.

Blackpool's fortunes were mixed on the football field. They dropped back to the fourth tier in 1990 and were subsequently promoted via the play-offs in 1992.

They were relegated again in 2000. However, in 2001, Blackpool won the Third Division play-offs. In 2007, they won the League One play-offs.

Blackpool in the Premier League

Charlie Adam Blackpool play-off final May10

In 2010, Blackpool won the Championship play-off final 3-2 against Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium.

Michael Chopra put Cardiff ahead in the ninth minute only for Charlie Adam to equalise four minutes later. Joe Ledley restored Cardiff's lead in the 37th minute, but once again, it only lasted for four minutes. Gary Taylor-Fletcher equalised for Blackpool in the 41st minute.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half, Brett Ormerod scored what proved to be the winning goal for The Tangerines.

Under the guidance of Ian Holloway, Blackpool got their Premier League campaign in 2010/11 off to the perfect start, beating Wigan Athletic 4-0 at the DW Stadium.

Blackpool gradually slid down the league table and were eventually relegated at the end of the campaign despite playing some attractive football.

They lasted until the final day of the season, when they lost 4-2 to newly crowned champions Manchester United on 22 May 2011.

Charlie Adam left for Liverpool following the season's completion and Holloway for Crystal Palace in November 2012. Dark days beckoned for Blackpool.

Blackpool's slide and sale

By 2016, Blackpool were down in League Two, and although they won promotion to League One in 2017, they were put up for sale on 10 November 2017 by the Oyston family.

In 2018, after the high court found that the Oyston family had conducted an "illegitimate stripping" of Blackpool, paying out a reported £26.77million to companies they owned, Owen Oyston removed Karl of the chairmanship and bestowed it to his daughter Natalie.

In June 2019, Blackpool-born businessman Simon Sadler bought a 96.2% share in the club and ended the Oyston era.

On 30 May 2021, Blackpool beat Lincoln City 2-1 in the League One play-off final at Wembley to return to the Championship under manager Neil Critchley, his first full season in charge.

After finishing 16th in their first season back in the Championship, Critchley left Blackpool in June 2022 to become assistant manager of Aston Villa.

Former manager Michael Appleton took the reins for his second stint with the Seasiders having previously managed them between November 2012 and January 2013.

However, he was sacked in January 2023 after the club dropped to second bottom in the Championship, having gone without a win in their last 10 Sky Bet Championship matches.

Blackpool turned to former Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy as Appleton's replacement.

Blackpool rivalries

Blackpool's main rivalry is with Preston North End, with whom they contest the West Lancashire derby.

They have also formed a new rivalry with neighbours Fleetwood Town, who were promoted to the Football League at the end of the 2011/12 season.

Blackpool fanbase

There was a mass boycott of Bloomfield Road prior to the 2019 purchase of the club by Sadler.

There was a sense among Blackpool supporters that they had been let down by the EFL, who they felt failed to regulate the Oyston family's ownership of the club.

Blackpool finances

The Oyston family is no longer involved with Blackpool following the June 2019 purchase by Sadler.

The financial impact of Covid saw Blackpool's losses rise to £4.8m in 2022 from £2.2m the previous year.