Blackpool Football Club: One of Lancashire’s Oldest Clubs
Blackpool FC History and Highlights.
Football is one of the oldest sports in the world, and Blackpool FC was one of the football clubs that were in the thick of it when it started. The football club was founded in 1887 and played in the Second Division of the Football League in 1896. The club has won Fa Cup trophies and the Second Division Football League titles.
1877 to 1900
Contrary to some opinions, Blackpool FC was not the first football club in Blackpool. The first was Victoria FC, founded in 1877 as a church football group and used a part of Caunce Street as its home ground. This team later disbanded and a section of the team joined some old St. John’s School students to form a football club known as Blackpool St. John’s.
The team later metamorphosed into Blackpool Football Club on the 26th of July, 1887, when a meeting at the Stanley Arms public house resolved that the “St. John’s” part of the name would be removed.
The club started on a good note as it won trophies within its first year, including the Fylde Cup, and the Lancashire Junior Cup in the 1887/1888 football season. The club also joined the Lancashire League as a founding member at the end of the 1888/1889 season. Blackpool FC played its first league season the following season and finished fifth out of the thirteen clubs that competed. The club would later win the league after the fourth season (1893/1894). At the time, the club used Raikes Hall as its home ground.
Entry to the Football League
After a while, Blackpool FC left local football, became a limited company, and applied to join the Football League. The application was honored, and Blackpool played its first season in the 16-team Second Division in the 1896-97 season. The club played its first game against Lincoln City on the 5th of September, 1896.
Blackpool FC had to return to the Lancashire League after the 1898/1899 season when the club finished as the third bottom and was not reelected back into the league. But, the team then finished third in the Lancashire League and was allowed back into Second Division after a meeting on May 25, 1900. However, back at Lancashire League, Blackpool FC merged with South Shore, a local rival team, and moved to Bloomfield Road as the new club’s home ground.
1900 to 1946
Blackpool FC struggled in the league in the seasons leading up to the First World War. The highest season finish managed by the team was seventh in the 1910-11 season.
With the First World War, the Football League was suspended until 1919, when Blackpool FC appointed its first full-time manager. The manager, Bill Norman, had some success as he led the team to a fourth-place finish in his first two seasons after the end of the war. However, the club’s first Football League trophy did not come until the 1929-30 season, when it won the Second Division Football League title under Coach Harry Evans.
Promotion to First Division
This 1929-30 second division victory handed Blackpool FC its first promotion into the First Division, which lasted only three seasons before relegation. The second promotion to the First Division came in the 1936-37 season when the club finished as runners-up to Leicester City in the Second Division. Things were a bit different this time as Blackpool was at the top of the league when the Second World War broke out, and the league had to be suspended again.
1946 to 1967
The club returned rejuvenated with several new players at the end of the Second World War.
The club was in the finals of the FA Cup Finals three times after the war. Blackpool lost to Manchester United and Newcastle United in 1948 and 1951, respectively, before finally winning in 1953. The 1955-56 season was also good, as Blackpool FC finished as runners-up in the league behind Manchester United.
The League Cup
When the league cup started in the 1960-61 season, Blackpool competed but it struggled and was knocked out of the competition in the second round. The club was finally relegated in the 1966-67 season when it finished last on the table.
1967 to 2000
On a good note, Blackpool FC kickstarted its return to the Second Division after 30 years. The club finished third in the first season and missed out on promotion to the First Division on goal difference to Queens Park Rangers. However, the club returned to the First Division in the 1970-71 season, finishing second after Huddersfield Town. But this promotion didn’t last long as the club finished its first season at the foot of the First Division and was relegated back to the Second Division. Despite this poor outing, Blackpool won the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1971, beating Bologna in the final.
Relegation to Fourth Division
Things went from bad to worse for the club in the 1977-78 season when it was relegated to Third Division for the first time in its history. The club would later get relegated to the Fourth Division in 1981.
It wasn’t until 1985 that Blackpool FC found its way back into the Third Division. Even with this promotion, the club still struggled in the Third Division, and on the 17th of April, 1986, the directors of the club placed the club for sale, and it was later sold to Owen Oyston. Unfortunately, the change of ownership didn’t do much for the club’s success as it returned to the Fourth Division in the 1989-90 season.
Moving Back Up the Ranks
The next promotion came in the 1991-92 season when it used the play-off matches to secure promotion into the third tier of English Football. The division was now known as the Second Division due to the formation of the new Premier League in 1992. The opportunity to move up the tiers of English Football came in the 1995-96 season when the club finished third and qualified for a third-place finish. However, the club would lose one of the play-off matches and remain in Division Two until the 1999-00 season, when it was relegated to the Third Division.
2001 to 2010
Blackpool FC only stayed in the Third Division for one season, as it would ride on the play-off systems to get back into Division Two in its first season. During this era, the club achieved its two League Cup Trophy wins. The first was in 2002 when the club beat Cambridge United and the second was in 2004 when the club beat Southend United.
Blackpool made history in the 2006-07 edition of the FA Cup competition when the club reached the fourth round for the first time in 17 years. Norwich City would later knock Blackpool out of the competition that season. The club was promoted to the Championship after finishing third in League One and winning the play-off matches that followed.
The club also made history in 2007, reaching the fourth round of the League Cup for the first time in 35 years. Tottenham Hotspurs knocked Blackpool FC out of the competition and won the trophy that season.
Return to the Top Flight
In the 2009-10 season, Blackpool earned promotion back into the Premier League after finishing sixth, its highest finish in league competition since the 1970-71 season, and winning the play-off matches that followed. The promotion gave Blackpool its first appearance in the Premier League since it started 18 years before.
2011 to 2017
However, the team only spent a season in the Premier League as it was relegated back to the Championship in 2011. The club stayed in the Championship till 2015, when it was relegated to League One. Another relegation followed in 2016, and Blackpool found itself at the bottom tier of English Football.
But the club didn’t stay long in the bottom tier as it gained promotion to League One in the playoffs. This made Blackpool the most successful English football club in the playoff system, winning five editions.
2017 to Present
The club was put up for sale by the Oystons in November 2017 and entered receivership by the High Court in February 2019. By June 2019, Simon Sadler became the new owner of Blackpool Football Club. Blackpool won the 2021 EFL Play-Offs and got promoted to the second level of English Football.
Blackpool Football Club Trivia
The club wears tangerine shirts, white shorts, and navy blue socks
Blackpool’s home ground is known as Bloomfield Road and has a capacity of 17,338.
The fans of Blackpool Football Club are known as the Tangerine Army or the Seaside Barmy Army.