The rise of Blackpool into the Premier League in 2010 was a feel-good story; a brand-new club in among the elite and something different to the usual yo-yo clubs. Fast forward six years, however, and a rude awakening was had by the Tangerines; a second successive relegation plunging them into League Two. Instead of facing the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool, they had us and – oh, er – Crawley Town or someone like that. We can’t be ever sure of what that feels like as we’ve never had such a fall from grace. But it can’t be nice.
Anyway, the Tangerines weren’t around long. They went straight back up to League One through the playoffs and took six points off us in the process. We didn’t even manage to do a goal against them. With this, though, we thought that was the end of things between us and them. No more trips to see the tower. And it was even less likely when they regained Championship status in 2021. Alas, their return to the second tier was a short-lived one and – in 2023 – they were relegated to League One. Just as we were coming up there ourselves…
The year is 1887 and football in Blackpool is yet to quite take off. But this all changes with the birth of the club we’d come to know as the Tangerines. And so begins a story that we have to cram into three or four paragraphs. It’s not that we’re limited by space. No, it’s more that we’re limited by effort. Two years after forming, they helped set up the Lancashire League; winning it once and finishing second four other times. It was enough to warrant an application to join the Football League in 1896 – and it was duly accepted.
Hold on a sec, though.
It was a false start. They failed re-election in 1899 and found themselves back in the Lancashire League; bringing South Shore FC into their fold and moving to Bloomfield Road too. We’re not sure if that made a big impression on the suits at the Football League. But it was enough to end their temporary exile and, in 1900, the Tangerines were a League side once more. That status hasn’t changed through to the current day, which is a decent achievement when you consider some of the sides to drop out of the structure.
To skip through the following decades would do an injustice to their successes during this time. But we’ll skip through nonetheless; suffice to say they won the FA Cup in 1953 and ended second in Division One in 1956. In 1967, the club lost its top flight status and – despite regaining it for the 1970-1 season – would find themselves tumbling down the pyramid. From the 1980s onwards, much of their time would be spent in the bottom two divisions of the Football League. In 2007, however, the club rose again.
After promotion to the Championship, it took them just three years to reach the Premier League; the first time Blackpool had been in the top flight since 1971. Alas, it was a step too far and they were back down after one season. Things went a little awry in the mid-2010s too; two relegations on the spin pulling them down into League Two. Clearly* too good for the level, the Tangerines went straight back up (through the playoffs). A further four seasons later, the club were successful in reaching the Championship again.
How to get to Blackpool – Travel Information – Distance: 218 miles
On a good run, you can hope to complete the trip from Stevenage to Blackpool in under four hours by car. And it’s not a route that’s going to prove too complicated either; a significant proportion will be spent on motorways.
From Stevenage, take your preferred path across to the M1 and head north. Join the M6 and continue on your route northbound. This will be the longest stretch of the trip by far – Junction 32 of the M6 is what you’re aiming for.
At Junction 32, exit onto the M55 towards Blackpool for five miles. The M55 turns into the A5230, with a roundabout soon after. Here, take the second exit onto Yeadon Way for a couple of miles. This road takes you up the left hand side of Blackpool South railway station.
At this point, continue straight over the roundabout onto Seasiders Way. Keep going onto the next intersection at the corner of the stadium. Go straight on and you have arrived.
According to Blackpool Football Club, the car park that runs alongside the West Stand – the one that our car route takes you to – is available to use. It’ll cost you £3.50 for up to three hours or £7.50 for longer. If this is full, however, there are at least four other Pay and Display car parks within short walking distance of the stadium; two to the north and two to the south.
Station: BLACKPOOL SOUTH
Services to: PRESTON, MANCHESTER PICCADILLY (for LEEDS)
The good news is that Blackpool South is a short walk from Bloomfield Road stadium. The bad news is that it will mean an early start for those wishing to travel by train due to the changes involved.
It would seem that the quickest journey time comes in at just under five hours and involves changes at Leeds for Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Piccadilly for Preston.
Blackpool North is another option and saves a little bit of time, but the station is located across the other side of the town.
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