Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Back to Blackpool

I admit, I wrote this when the original game was scheduled. But honestly, no one was reading then. Now there are literally some of you.

Obviously, anyone who feels let down by this regurgitation of old content is free to ask for a refund.

Also, anyone who feels let down by this regurgitation of old content is free to ask for a refund.

Okay, here we go...

Amazingly, I've been to Blackpool before. To Bloomfield Road, I mean.

I was there in January 1991 to see the first game of our really quite astonishing, Gazza-inspired run to FA Cup glory.

We hired a mini bus, about 10 of us. The match was played in what must have been a gale. I've never seen football played in such difficult conditions, before or since. I don't actually know what the proper definition of a gale is, but honestly, that wasn't just wind. And that's not the first time I've said that, I can tell you.

It was like a new game - related to football, but also on nodding terms with It's a Knockout and I'm A First Division Footballer, Get Me Out of Here.

I'm pretty certain Tony Adams had just been banged up over Christmas for drink driving (with 87 other charges of Being A Cunt also taken into consideration), so we kept warm and entertained by singing songs about exactly how rehabilitating or otherwise that experience must have been.

(This was Old Tony, not New Tony who suddenly took piano lessons, brought a copy of The Nation's Favourite Poems, wore shirts under V-neck jumpers, mis-pronounced Kierkegaard and took about 17 seconds before he'd start answering a question as he confused simply not saying anything and grimacing a bit with depth. I preferred the pisshead who broke Steve Morrow's collar bone)

Anyway, this ridiculous game was settled when Gascoigne hoisted a free kick into their box, the wind tossed it about a bit, and then Paul Stewart just sort of poked it home. Ah, Paul Stewart. Paul fucking Stewart. Paul shitting Stewart...

Sorry, drifted a bit there. Anyway, that was the start of a campaign that culminated in the 3-1 win against Arsenal at Wembley in the semi-final. And no, a cup campaign (a successful cup campaign) can't, strictly speaking, culminate in a semi-final. But it sure felt that way. In every way, it was so much more than a semi.

Tuesday night we're at Bloomfield Road for the first time in the Premier League - and another 0-1 would do just fine. That's the sort of in-depth analysis you're simply not going to find elsewhere. Okay, possibly from Mark Lawrenson.

Back to that 1991 trip, and what puzzles me now, more than the weather or even the fact that Paul Stewart scored, is that we didn't actually go out in Blackpool. Seems crazy, right? We drove halfway home and went out in some market town in the midlands then slept in the mini bus. It was fine, but, seriously, why didn't we go out in Blackpool? Ah well, at least we didn't go out to Blackpool. Thanks.

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