The last time The Imps faced tomorrow night’s opponents Blackpool was on Saturday, 17th February 2001 in Division Three, in front of a crowd of 4,596 at Bloomfield Road. The hosts won 2-0 that day, with goals from Danny Shittu (40′) and John Murphy (90′).
That match was one of three meetings during the 2000/01 season, with the first meeting played at Sincil Bank on Saturday, 16th September in front of a crowd of 2,753. That match finished 1-1, with goals from Gavin Gordon (32′) and John Murphy (52′).
The two sides met again at Sincil Bank on Tuesday, 9th January 2001 in the Second Round of the LDV Vans Trophy (Northern Section), in front of a crowd of 962. The Imps won 3-1 that night and went ahead in the 3rd minute, thanks to an own goal by Jon O’Connor. Brett Ormerod made it 1-1 in the 51st minute before Tony Battersby (56′) and Lee Thorpe (72′) scored to secure the victory.
Anyway, time for the Q&A. Thank you to Blackpool supporter Eamonn for answering our questions!
How long have you supported Blackpool?
The first game I can remember going to was in the 95/96 season, but I can remember watching the scores come through on Grandstand the season before and us being humped 7-1 by Birmingham… I should have considered my allegiance then!
Where did you finish last season?
10th in League One.
What do you think of your Manager?
Simon ‘Larry’ Grayson replaced Terry McPhillips late on in pre-season when McPhillips resigned. Larry was great for us first time around, saving us from relegation in League One, getting us promoted and then keeping us up in the Championship before walking out on us for Leeds (his boyhood club).
I wasn’t too enamored to see him back this summer, comparing it to going back to an old girlfriend, but the reality is that he’s experienced at winning promotion at this level, and is a safe pair of hands.
What are your hopes and expectations for the 2019/20 season?
Stability first and foremost now we have a new owner in place. Simon Sadler is a Blackpool fan and has pledged investment in the club, and we’re already seeing improvements being made which is great. It will take time for normality to return to Blackpool though, so people need to be patient.
On the field, a serious push for the playoff places after flirting with gate crashing them the last two seasons.
One(s) to watch?
Liam Feeney is absolutely flying this season after a full pre-season and moving to a wing-back role.
We have a pretty solid squad, so there are a few I could mention, but Feeney has been the star man thus far!
Which teams you think will finish in the top six?
In no particular order; Ipswich Town, Coventry City, Sunderland, Blackpool, Oxford United and Burton Albion.
Which teams do you think will finish in the bottom three?
The current bottom three.
What are your thoughts on Lincoln City?
I felt you would get top ten as a minimum in pre-season then top six after your start under the Cowleys, but now I think the majority of your fans would take mid-table following their departure and your sticky run.
Appleton is an interesting appointment and I think your fans need to recognise there’ll be a transition period and give him time. He certainly won’t get a good reception from our fans on Friday night though; he was really poor in his short spell in charge of us and played rubbish football having inherited a good squad who were really comfortable on the ball.
I live in Lincoln so always like to see the Imps do well (I actually had a Bob’s Bakers Dozen when I was boycotting Blackpool games!), and lots of my mates are Imps fans so I think it’ll be a lively weekend… may the best team win, and if we don’t let’s hope we get a draw!
What do you think the score will be?
I think Appleton will look to tighten your defence after your pummeling at the weekend and look to play on the counter, meaning that I think you’ll be tough to break down.
I’m in favour of us shifting shape from 5-3-2 to 4-3-3 to try and take advantage of your struggles in central midfield and lack of pace in defence, as well as testing Vickers with a few shots from distance. I worry we’re too predictable otherwise.
My head says it’ll be a tense and scrappy 1-1 draw. My heart says we’ll nick it 2-1.
Random fact about your Club?
We were top of the top division at the outbreak of World War Two.
If you could steal one Lincoln City player for your own team, who would it be and why?
I’ve only seen the Imps once this season (v Everton in the cup on tv) but have heard glowing reviews about Joe Morrell.
Our midfield gets bypassed too easily too often in our current system and with our current personnel; I think he’d add a bit of bite and the ability to retain possession after winning it back.
What are your proudest and most embarrassing moments as a Blackpool Supporter?
Proudest would be winning promotion to the Premier League and then topping the table after our first game. Surreal times!
Can’t think of a standout embarrassing moment… hope Friday night doesn’t provide me with an answer!
Who would you say is your most underrated player?
Good question. I can think of a few possible answers here, but will go for Armand Gnanduillet.
The big man can frustrate at times, but he’s done a great job in tangerine and deserves more recognition from our fans (which I think he’s gradually getting), especially after bagging 6 goals in 10 games so far this season, including an injury-time winner v Doncaster last week having come off the bench.
Do you have a Supporters Trust and what role do they play at the Club?
Yes, and they did a grand job during the protests and boycotts regarding the Oyston’s ownership of the club.
You can find out more about them here: https://www.blackpoolsupporterstrust.com/Site/Default.aspx.
Which was your favourite match involving Blackpool?
Blackpool 3-2 Cardiff in the Championship Playoff Final. Been some other great highlights, but that was momentous.
Which was your least favourite match involving Blackpool?
Again, there are a few candidates! I’ll go for our 1-0 defeat to Burton at their place in January 2016. They had a man sent off in the first half but still absolutely battered us: 60% possession, 26 shots with 11 on target, 14 corners. I was furious.
Neil McDonald was our manager at the time. I know he’s well-liked at Lincoln, but he was hapless in charge of us; earning the nickname ‘MugDonald’.
Do you have a Former Players Association at Blackpool?
Yes. Run by a cracking bloke called John Cross.
What’s the best thing about Blackpool?
Bloomfield Road. The Tower’s alright too!
Were the Oyston’s just misunderstood?
Haha no; you just need to look at the (unprecedented) High Court decision to take the club out of their control to see that!
Are Fleetwood, Fylde and even Preston now likely to haemorrhage ‘fans’ to the Blackpool revival, or are they lost forever?
There have been a few Pool fans who have gone to Fleetwood and Fylde games during our boycott, but I don’t think either will ‘haemorrhage’ support.
Our crowds have been pretty good home and away since the Oystons went, but like every team that will only continue if we’re doing all right on the pitch.
The key is to get the young kids wearing Pool shirts and going to games again. They’re the future of the club.
Any Blackpool news on why this is a Friday night game? It will massively affect the travelling support especially considering the warning about the congestion expected due to the illuminations and the world Fireworks championships taking place in Blackpool this weekend. It seems a barmy decision.
The official line is that it’s because both us and Preston were scheduled to be at home on Saturday. A cursory glance at a calendar shows that we both played at home on a Saturday just a couple of weeks ago though…
The line that’s come out of our end subsequently though is that the police were concerned about a large Lincoln away following and the capacity for trouble amongst a minority in both fan bases. Before anyone takes offence at that, I stress it’s a minority in both camps.
I still think you’ll bring a fair few and I don’t think moving the game to the Friday particularly affects things; your fans will just stay over on Friday night rather than the Saturday!
I’ve got the day off on Friday and am going to the game and staying the night, meeting up with several mates who support the Imps: it’ll be lively!
What was your opinion and the general fans view of Neil Eardley and GTF during their Blackpool days?
I always liked Eardley; a good player who struggled a bit with an injury. I think he suffered a bit with our fanbase a) because he got injured in the Championship promotion season and was replaced by loan signing Seamus Coleman (who was superb), so isn’t quite held in the same regard as the lads who played in the playoff final and b) because he used to get beat when facing 2 v 1 situation when the opposition full-back overlapped and GTF didn’t trackback! I always liked him though, and he still lives locally.
GTF is adored by our fanbase and is now a club ambassador. He himself says he had the best years of his career in tangerine.
Interestingly I was in hospitality the last game of last season v Gillingham and GTF was the pre-match guest. He said that he only left Lincoln because Keith Alexander refused to offer him a new deal, saying that Keith knew what he was like; he would sign anything put in front of him but that Keith believed he could do better (and earn more) away from Sincil Bank.
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) September 26, 2019