Date: 3rd May 2013 at 3:00pm
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This is it, people. This is what our season has been building up to. The crescendo of a final day chance for the Wanderers of Bolton to book a place in the Championship play-offs. The controversial mini, two-leg, knock-out tournament which climaxes at Wembley and boasts a revenue windfall so big, it’s almost the financial girth of the debt BWFC finds itself in at present.
The sweating and nail-biting going on at the Reebok come Saturday, won’t be from the promise of playing in the Premiership, it will be because the underdogs of Blackpool have a legitimate shot at pooping the party. The game against the Tangerines will be a pulse-racer regardless, but I’ve had enough ‘downs’ this season to feel- if given the impossible opportunity- I would by-pass the game altogether for a top-six finish. I’m sure a lot of you would do the same, but the game is going to be a nerve-shredder, however you look at it and not one you’d want to forfeit. I just don’t know how much more of this season’s antics I can take. If I could pick-and-choose our future, I would have another season in the Championship where we could add some flair to the foundation. That’s just me, so because I’m not Harry Potter, I say this to you, ‘Vegas of the North’…
Blackpool as a kid for me was the 80’s so, ‘Track and Field’, ‘Out Run’ and ‘Double Dragon’ swallowed my money. It baffles why I enjoyed ‘Track and Field’ so much. Hitting two buttons rapidly meant not gazing on the entertaining screen but fixating on the aforementioned buttons. Many a time, one of the kids watching would have to tap me on the shoulder, ‘the race is over mate… You false-started’. What must that have looked like? A 10 year old; eyes down, index-fingers bashing two buttons for no reason, while the arcade screen continuously flashes ‘GAME OVER’? Well, for all that humiliation and all those newly issued £1 coins your arcades gobbled up from my pocket money, you owe me tomorrow, Blackpool. You owe me, big time!

Vital Quotes:

‘I haven’t spent a lot of money and I’m proud of where we are. I’m very proud that the same lads that were here when we walked through the door in October are the same lads that are (closing in on) the play-offs.’Dougie giving himself a back-handed compliment and deservedly so. ‘We’ve prepared in exactly the same way, The lads are very relaxed. We’ve been in this position for the last three months, having to win games of football, so they’re very comfortable about what they’ve got to do on Saturday.’

Bolton Wanderers Team News:

There’s a big hole at the back after Craig Dawson’s loan from West Brom came to an end. David Wheater and his amazing chin is the hot favourite to step up to the plate. As we know, the recalled Stuart Holden is back where he belongs, so he must be riding a uni-cycle while juggling 3 powered-up chainsaws to show Dougie he’s up for this one from the start. Ta Daaa!

Player to watch: Stuart Holden

We need someone or something tomorrow. We need a defining moment for the season to put the decorative piping round our promotion cake. The story of our season has had a hook at the beginning, a obstacle to overcome in the middle and is heading for a dramatic climax… It’s just missing a main protagonist. You could argue the hero is Dougie himself, but I see him more as the author. We need someone on the pitch to bring the fairy-tale ending the fans are all craving. Step forward, Mr Stuart Holden, your time has come…

Blackpool Team News:

I’m sure there’s a defender among their ranks who will face a late fitness test, or a midfielder who will feel ill on the day but will be passed fit. There may even be a kid from their youth ranks who Ince wants to have a look at now their Championship status is secured. It matters not. Tom Ince and Matt Phillips are fit, well and likely to start. I just hope Alonso and Ricketts have had their Shredded Wheat.

Player to watch: Thomas Ince

There’s no nepotism here, this kid is the real deal. Will he still be at Blackpool or plying his trade in the Championship next season? I wonder what daddy thinks? Wherever he is next term, doesn’t help our cause… He will be on the pitch tomorrow, unfortunately. 18 league goals and 14 assists for a winger whose just turned 21? Blimey…

Match Facts & Stats

Blackpool have faced Bolton Wanderers 93 times in competitive matches with The Whites winning 36, drawing 26 and losing 31.

Match Prediction:

The finish to the unwritten novel doesn’t have the hero falling at the last hurdle, does it? Unless it’s extremely post-modern like ‘No Country For Old Men’, of course. There’s no Anton Chigurh in this story or on the pitch tomorrow, thank God, so expect a predictable Hollywood ending… 3-0 down, coming back to win Rocky-style 4-3. Yeah right… 2-1 Whites.

Next Fixtures:

Anything from Watford or Hull at home for the first-of-two shots at a chance of playing at Wembley, or Blackrod away in pre-season.


25 Replies to “BWFC: The Big One”

  • Nice to have the preview on a Friday again. I’m with you on the ideal being another year in the championship then building for the following season but I just have a sneaking suspicion we could go all the way. Prompt a season of worrying again!! However we have to get through tomorrow first and I reckon 2-1 sounds about right. We have kept too few clean sheets to be to confident.

  • 2-1 is to tight for me and reminds me of my early courting days, rather 2-0 plus minimum, but a win by any means is a must. Of course it could go belly up but that’s the unpredictable nature of it all. Not sure I understand how missing out this season simply means we will go up in 12 months time, that is premature at best and fanciful at worst. This league is riddled with uncertainty, as witnessed this season, no one expected us to be as bad as we were up to Christmas or as good as we have been since. A bird in the hand and all that – when you get the chance you have to take it, there are no guarantees as to when it might come around again. For myself, missing out this season could leave us entrapped in the championship for longer than we would like, certainly as long as it takes to build a team with the quality to dominate this league and sit at the top of the pile. To achieve that we will need money, something that is in very short supply, as the parachute payments dry up we face the choice of more debt, or selling our best players to balance the books. It comes down to ever diminishing resources, which automatically leads to a decline in the quality of players we can afford to engage. If we achieve the almost impossible and gain promotion this season I think we will have outsmarted Harry Houdini and Steve McQueen combined with a great escape. Next season will certainly carry greater need, almost at financial desperation levels, but that in itself has no bearing on our chances, it will come down to the quality in the team and whether we can afford to provide that.

  • The more I see and hear from Dougie Freedman, the more I feel confident in his abilities to take us forward. I believe he is a real talent as a football manager. The team, each day must see and feel the same. This year or next, he will be successful, I’m certain. Team Bolton, seems to be going from strength to strength, and it’s a great time to be supporter!
    Barney Grumble

  • Echo the sentiment about a preview on the day before the game thanks ecky. Welcome Barney. Now all we need is to change the poll! I will not make a prediction for tomorrow. Que sera and all that. Keep the faith – in Dougie we trust – best of luck to the lads and I hope we get the opportunity to give SKD the sendoff he deserves – the players walk of thanks is officially on so stay in your seats after the game.

  • “lap of thanks” From BWFC this morning “Supporters should also be aware that the players will perform a lap of thanks at the end of the game. As a result the club?s matchday bus service will run at a delayed timetable, allowing for fans to stay inside the ground after the game.”

  • I often look at the opponents vital site prior to games, if you haven’t you should have a look at cesspools it really is almost funny. As testament to their football knowledge 64% of them appear to think they can still get promoted either through the play offs or automatic promotion this season.

  • Mike I am sure we have had this conversation before, both myself and bwfc were saying that in an ideal world we would have another season in the championship next year and storm it whilst further improving our squad. Obviously nobody can say that would be what would happen and I agree that this league is unpredictable and we could very easily struggle next year. I am also very aware of the pot of gold we will miss out on by missing promotion. So I too am looking for 4 more wins or 3 and a draw followed by a season of worrying and watching the likes of trafford boys club come to the Reebok and pick up 3 points.

  • Agree entirely Boltongav, maybe our level currently is the championship, better to develop, become stronger and excel than struggle badly at a higher level. Another way of viewing it is regardless of whether our performances have been superb, average or generally poor our final league position is a reflection on the quality of the other teams in the championship that season. Whether that quality was good or bad does not alter the fact 3 teams will still be promoted regardless of their ability to survive in the premiership. Ultimately, promotion provides the money to add quality into the team, whether we are currently ready or not for that promotion is debateable, our league position says we might be.

  • I trust we are all strapped in ready for a couple of season-defining hours of footy. Let’s hope the Tangerines are in a mood to roll over and have their tummy rubbed…or better still, stomped all over.

  • Spot on Barney…DF does appear to be the real deal and could ulimately take us somewhere. OC talked the talk (with added Barclays) but never quite walked the walk…DF seems to be doing both. I think the club were in shock for the first half of the season, hence the shocking start. But once DF came in and, presumably, kicked a few arses, we have looked like the side we should be. I too hope SKD gets the enormous send-off he so richly deserves this afternoon as befits a club legend.

  • And Mike, I see no reason why the squad we have now will not maraud across this division next year should we fail to go up. Can’t see us having to get rid of any players or anybody coming in for any of them. Maybe spice things up with a loan or two. I think we are in a fascinating position; if we do go up then it will undoubtedly be a rollercoaster and probably a nail-biting struggle; if we stay down then we have the experience of this season plus DF in place to see us through a consolidating season.

  • So the gods truly deserted us once again when we needed them most, another 90th minute injury time goal has robbed us. Rightly or wrongly and I know its purely personal opinion I feel our best chance for victory today was left sat on the bench. What the hell could Hall have over Holden and why was Wheater left out in the cold, young academy lads given the shout over two of our finest in the most important game of the season with £100 million at stake absolutely beggars belief. I am trying hard not to let my tears influence what I say, however, I was afraid this outcome might happen, just never expected our own management to contribute towards it, DF no doubt felt he put out our finest, strongest team today, I am left to question, did you ?, did you really ? as that is not the impression I am left with.. As for marauding this league next year, we demonstrated our marauding capabilities today when we needed them most.

  • Have to agree with Mike! Much as I admire Feedman and what he is achieving, I found it very difficult to fathom leaving out Wheater and picking Hall over numerous other candidates. Unfortunately, the lad fulfilled our worst fears and it was obvious early on that he was out of his depth, and had to go. Why Dougie didn’t pick Sordell from the start, I’ll never know. Having said that, I thought Ream had a good game, and particularly in the second half, he was immense at times. Very sad at the end of the day, and difficult to take, but this team can only improve with the management we’ve got at the moment. But, and it’s a big but, we do need a bloke up front, who puts the ball in the net consistently. It’s okay having lots of huff and puff, but we also want some technical ability to go with it. Let’s hope Tom Eaves makes great strides next year and fits the bill.

  • dougie has got some work to do. that defence is beyond garbage. i would only keep alonso, and he looks like he leaving. you sort the back out, and the front will do it’s business. Leicester won on goal difference, yet they have only scored two more than us. proves why moaning about the attackers for the last 7 months has been a pointless exercise…that being said, as much as i do hugely admire dougie, i was confused about hall.
    any way that’s happened now. looking forward to the much needed changes in this squad an i can’t wait to see the transfers dougie is going to bring into a proper transfer period.

  • Come on mike I think other than one player who tried hard but just isn’t up to it the team looked good today. Two shocking, statue like bits of defending cost us. I do think we will be well equipped for this league next year and other than alonso I think we will keep the group together. Undoubtedly we need a central defender to back up wheater and knight(who thought was awesome today) DF then needs to sort the attacking side out. On paper Ngog, Sordell, Davies and Eaves should be enough but as we know games aren’t won on paper. If in pre season we don’t see an improvement then I would cash in on Ngog and try to get someone like murray from palace. Anyway onwards and upwards my wandering friends.

  • Maybe its me but I thought Ream was by far our worst player today. He was constantly flapping about like a man playing in slippers during the first half. As for Hall I was less than impressed with his inclusion but I thought he looked pretty good!!

  • Congratulations to DF for turning the season round and for providing some hope for the future. I said three weeks ago that I felt it would be by accident rather than design if we reached the payoffs. DF said this week we had become a better team earlier than he had thought possible. He clearly knows who he wants for next season and hard as it is to swallow I think a better season in 2013/4 will make us realise that we would start off 2014/5 (hopefully in the Premier) a much stronger unit which will be easier to attract the quality players needed for life in the Premier.

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