English Premier League – Blackpool 2010 Preview
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Odds to win the 2010-11 Premiership outright: 5000/1
Despite a 16th place finish the season in 2008, new manager Ian Holloway guided his sixth placed Seasiders past Cardiff City in the Championship play-off final to reach the top flight of English football for the first time in 39 years and the club’s first ever Premier League seeding.
Blackpool is the 44th different club to play in the English Premier League and one of the overall favorites by odds makers to be relegated after the conclusion 2010-11 season.
But it wouldn’t be the first time the Seasiders have defied the odds. Blackpool flat out overturned them just make it into League One; then blasted their way though the Championship ranks knocking out Nottingham Forest 6-4 on aggregate and then following up with a thrilling 3-2 victory at Wembley over the Bluebirds for one of the greatest moments in Blackpool’s long history.
Winning promotion to the top-flight was an astounding feat for a club considering Blackpool’s limited resources. But those inequities are now haunting Holloway as he has been struggling to find enough senior players to name to the required 25-man Premier League squad roster.
In the midst of all the preseason turmoil, Holloway was able to address some of his squad’s shortcomings and some endured frustration in the transfer market, with the recent signings of Craig Cathcart, Ludovic Sylvestre, Elliot Grandin and Malaury Martin.
Defender Cathcart, 21, joins from Manchester United and has signed a three-year deal, while 26-year-old former Barcelona midfielder Sylvestre has left Mlada Boleslav. French winger Grandin, 22, leaves CSKA Moscow and France youth international Malaury, 21, was available on a free transfer from Bordeaux
While these additions will help to fulfill the Seasider’s Premier League roster requirements, the side still lacks the depth of Premier caliber players, with the exception of midfielder Charlie Adam and captain Jason Euell.
The Scottish Adam led the club with 18 goals and eight assist in their run through the Championship league while Euell brings plenty of experience as the 33-year old striker has spent most of his career playing in the Premier League, with all but one season between 1995 and 2007 in the top flight — firstly with Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic and Middlesbrough.
He will be counted on for his leadership in what could be a tumultuous season for Blackpool.
Blackpool 2010 Prediction: Holloway’s group of journeyman is heavy favorites to be relegated, but with Blackpool’s heart, they will certainly make things interesting.
The Tangerines are a side that still lack the players needed to compete in the top-flight and will likely find themselves in the drop zone at the end of the season.
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Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian located in Central California. “ Football (soccer) is a game in which a handful of fit men run around for one and a half hours watched by millions of people who could really use the exercise.”