Just over a month ago, I wrote a post posing the question of whether Blackpool fans were getting carried away with the start to the season. At that point in time ‘Pool were occupying 4th place in the league, with two wins and a draw to their name following the opening four fixtures. The only defeat, while a heavy one, came away at Arsenal – hardly a disgrace. I suggested that the next four games would perhaps be more challenging, and that we could draw more accurate conclusions following these games.
Featuring three of the big name clubs (whether Liverpool deserve that accolade is an argument for another time) I thought that if the Seasiders could rack up more than four points from these fixtures, the euphoria could be justified. As it happens, ‘Pool only picked up three points. It’s still a respectable haul and save for the late, late goal conceded against Blackburn, and some dubious refereeing decisions on Sunday, that tally could have been a few points higher.
Eight games in then, and 10 points on the board. Even the most optimistic of Blackpool fans would surely have settled for that at the start of the season, especially when you consider there have only been three home games, and the away games have included trips to Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. In fact, some of the so-called experts in the national media were of the opinion that ‘Pool would struggle to reach double figures all season. Derby County’s record looks set to remain for at least another year.
Looking forward, what do the next batch of games hold in store for the Seasiders? We are now going into a period of seven games that could be key to ‘Pool’s season. Away trips to Birmingham, Aston Villa, West Ham and Bolton aren’t the most daunting the Premier League has to offer, while Ian Holloway will be eager to start picking up points at Bloomfield Road with the visits of West Brom, Everton and Wolves next in line. Doubling the current points total after these games appears to be a realistic target, whereby 20 points from the opening 15 games would see Blackpool well on the way to survival.
After 15 games the home / away imbalance will remain in place, with the Seasiders still only having played 6 matches on the Fylde Coast. The number of points picked up at home so far has been the major disappointment, even if performances have warranted more. If ‘Pool can get to 20 points, or dare I say more, after playing 9 of the first 15 away from home, you’d have to start to believe that another miracle season is upon us.