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BST Gazette Column 09/11/2018

BST09/11/2018

As we approach a week-end of reflection and remembrance, the eleven-strong team of BST officers, in temporary exile from the club they love, look back on individual games that have helped define their lasting affection for Blackpool and what makes supporting the Seasiders so special…

13th April 1970: was a legendary day for Pool fans. My memory of the night was of total domination on and off the pitch by the tangerine army. It rained, we were soaked but that was no concern after seeing a Blackpool side easily beat Preston North End courtesy of a Pickering hat trick to send our humiliated rivals down while we were going back division one - a fantastic outcome. At the end, jubilant Pool fans danced on the Deepdale pitch which ended up looking like a farmer’s field. (Tony Wilkinson)

20th September 1975: Southampton sat top of the league, favourites for promotion having just been relegated from division one. In my mind they were a big club so I was disappointed by their away support. Blackpool’s first half performance was exhilarating, capped off by a great goal by Kevin Moore. Mickey Walsh scored a hat-trick in the 4-1 win and the victory was greeted by enthusiastic young Seasiders clambering over the South Paddock hoardings and sprinting into the penalty box. That season Blackpool finished seventh and Southampton thirteenth. (Andy Higgins)

9th April 1985: at home to Crewe turned out to be a thrilling 6-1 win for the Seasiders against their promotion rivals. Blackpool were in mean and hungry mood with John Deary and Dave Windridge scoring two goals each, Steve Hetzke and Wayne Cagielski bagging the other two. Blackpool had injury problems but were helped by Crewe’s keeper going off hurt midway through the first half, not to mention the brilliant goalkeeping of Billy O’Rourke who also made a magnificent penalty save right on half time. It was a fantastic game that has given me lasting memories. (Pauline O’Rourke)

1st May 1985: at Darlington is my standout Blackpool memory as, more than our more recent successes, it epitomises for me what supporting the Seasiders was all about. Over 3,000 Blackpool fans travelled North East to witness the mercurial talents of Eamonn O’Keefe inspire a 4-0 crushing of promotion rivals that all but secured our first promotion since 1970. As a teenager I was captivated not just by the performance of a team I‘d never previously regarded as successful, but also by the passion of the support that refused to leave the ground until manager Sam Ellis brought the players back onto the pitch to take our salute. A magical night. (Tim Fielding)

17th April 1999: I have so many incredible memories from a lifetime of watching Blackpool but this game against Preston away was special. We had a squad held together with sticky-back plastic and string whilst Preston were flying high, yet the Blackpool faithful were in full voice and were truly the twelfth man. Our constant chants and clapping never stopped for over twenty-five minutes as the game was poised at 1-1. In the dying seconds, who else but super Bretty Ormerod popped up to score the winner, sending Blackpool fans wild. He later said that it was the noise from the Pool fans that kept him going, long after his legs had given up! (Christine Seddon)

21st October 2006: a young Pool fan in the 1980’s could only really aspire to seeing the team somehow make it to the Championship. That’s why this game away to Crewe was so special. It changed the season for me. Andy Morrell had put us ahead and then inevitably Crewe equalised in the 67th minute, before Pool had Simon Gillett sent off for a second bookable offence. Hold on for a draw, I thought, but right at the death we got a free kick near the corner and Shaun Barker rose highest to power a 90th minute header into the Crewe net. Queue unbelievable scenes of celebrations from the travelling faithful. A memorable day and the rest, as they say, is history. (Gareth White)

8th December 2009: After a cross-country trek and having sampled the pubs of Middlesbrough, spirits were high on entering the ground. There was a good following from the gold coast, a tremendous atmosphere and the lads didn’t let us down with two first half Gary Taylor-Fletcher goals, the highlight being how he turned Sean St Ledger inside out, putting him on his backside for the second. A stunner from Charlie Adam late on rounded off a great day, the game finishing 3-0 to the Tangerines. From this point on came the push towards the Holy Grail. (Mike Nash)

12th May 2010: a goal advantage was all we had to take to Forest. The play-off semi second leg was going to be the toughest challenge in a cauldron of noise, 2,500 Pool fans outnumbered 10 to 1 and drowned out by expectant Forest fans. Mixed emotions ran high during the game – hope, excitement, anxiety… At 1-0 down I feared the worst until some magical football sent Pool to Wembley and the fans ecstatic. Respect to the Forest fans for applauding the Blackpool supporters and players at the end. We had all just seen something very special, a match in a lifetime. (Francis Charlesworth)

3rd October 2010: prior to the game at Anfield I wasn’t worried about the result. If we’d got beaten I wouldn’t have cared. Here we were playing an iconic team from my youth as equals, not just a one off cup game. I had looked forward to this fixture above all others but just getting hold of tickets was a struggle and I had to get them for the home stand. When the first one went in, I sat on my hands. I do think it bad manners to celebrate if you’re in the wrong end. When we scored the second, I couldn’t control myself. It was the same for pockets of Seasiders all around me. We didn’t just win that day we did it with style. (Tony Hodgson)

12th January 2011: when we played Liverpool at home I had just returned from serving my country in Afghanistan, having missed half the Premier League season. It was a surreal experience standing in the crowd, a lump in my throat, tear in my eye, grateful for a return to the thing I need in my life almost as much as my wife, daughters and son. I soaked up that atmosphere and thought to myself ‘these people don't really understand what they have’ - meaning we can’t truly appreciate the experience and sacrifice of those who have served our country but we owe them gratitude and respect for giving us our freedom. (Ray Gregson)

28th August 2016: as a lifelong Blackpool fan (since the age of two!) a most poignant game for me was the testimonial match played for Brett Ormerod – not in Blackpool but at AFC Fylde’s new ground, on account of the ethical boycott. The occasion was everything, the result irrelevant on a day when recent and former Blackpool heroes turned out in tangerine and the Mill Farm stands were filled with the kind of passionate support and camaraderie long-since missing from Bloomfield Road. That was the spirit we hope to see rekindled again once the current owners have gone. (Steve Rowland)

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