This is the sight most Blackpool fans have been treasuring for the last week. There we are in a Champions League spot after four games. Sitting pretty. Riding high. But are we as fans making too much of this? Are expectations being raised a little too high? Have we become too big for our boots?
Well, on the one hand ‘Pool’s start is a massive stick with which to beat the pundits. The very same pundits who wrote the Seasiders off at the start of the season, many of whom believed Blackpool could enter the record books as the worst Premier League team of all time. On a meagre budget, the team are performing beyond all belief and is allowing us to stick two fingers up at the establishment who seem loathed to even see Blackpool in this league.
Most of those pundits remain unconvinced in Blackpool’s survival chance, in spite of the start that has been made. It is easy to scoff at this, labelling them ignorant and stubborn. After all, they had us relegated before the season had even started, yet there we are after four games in a top four spot. Maybe though, we should place a little more value in their opinions. The comparisons to Burnley and Hull might be lazy, but they could well be justified. Blackpool are something of an unknown quantity to most sides in the top flight, but this will surely not endure all season.
Another point worth considering is the teams encountered thus far. Arsenal aside, the other fixtures have been relatively kind by Premier League standards. The next four games seem much trickier, as ‘Pool face the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City, with a home match against Blackburn the only realistic opportunity to put points on the board. Where Blackpool stand after these games may be a more accurate indication of how the season will pan out. Any more than four points from these matches may give some substance to the current euphoria surrounding Bloomfield Road.
So, am I being too downbeat? I should be enjoying the moment, right? Well, I would say that I am revelling in our momentary elevated status, but would also like to temper that with a sense of realism. Football can be a fickle game, and the danger of getting carried away now may result in a feeling of disappointment should a particularly tough run of results be right around the corner.
I’m all for rubbing our success in the doubters’ noses, but only when Blackpool have achieved their goals for the season. We are only 1/10th of the way in, and to celebrate now would be premature. I’m delighted to see how the team have acquitted themselves so far, but it’s important the fans stick with the club when things get tougher.
And it doesn’t get any tougher than Sunday’s trip to Stamford Bridge – see you there.