Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Blackpool's heartbreaking 3-2 defeat to Manchester United in the Premiership last night must have been so hard to take for Ian Holloway and his team.

You can call them brave and applaud their philosophy of continually taking the game to the undefeated League leaders all you want. The only thing that matters to them is that they let a vital point, three in fact, slip away.

Now I know I'm always waxing lyrical about Blackpool and Ollie in the blog this season, but without wanting to bore you all too much, and remembering that this is primarily an East Fife and Scottish football blog and not a Blackpool and Premiership one, we just can't get enough of them here at AFTN Towers.

Blackpool have been a breath of fresh air to this season's Premiership and the best team to watch by far for exciting games.

I love their attitude and attacking play. You're not going to get too many teams playing three up front against Man U, whether you're at home or not.

It's this attacking style that could be the death of them though, which would not only be sad for the club but for football in general.

Going in two up at half time, many teams would have defended for the whole second forty-five, but not the Seasiders. I love this attitude. I commend them, although others would say this was just sheer folly.

At times, they did find themselves defending deeper and deeper, and by looking for the killer third goal, they left themselves short at the back and were punished for it, depriving them of their first win over Man United since 1963.

The defeat still leaves them sitting mid table though. By no means safe, but it's not brown trousers time for them just yet either.

We've gone on ad nauseum already this season about the hope they give to the smaller sides the land over, but they should also inspire all the teams in the Premiership as to how to play the likes of Man U and Chelsea.

Don't sit back. Take the game to them. Play your normal attacking game (if you have one) and you'll ruffle them up, as they don't like it up them and don't know how to respond to it at times. Man U were all over the place defensively in the first half until Sir Alex got hold of them at half time and sorted them out.

The problem in top leagues all over the world, and especially in England and Scotland, is the fear factor. Not so much fear of losing, so many clubs just seem resigned to this fact when they face the top sides, but fear of being gubbed.

What do they really have to lose? Possibly vital goal difference if it all goes horribly wrong but I'd much rather have my team go down fighting, attacking and making me proud, than just sitting back, getting shafted anyway and still facing the drop.

If East Fife were ever to make it to the dizzy heights of the SPL, that's how I'd want them to go about their business, but how many managers are as brave (some would say foolish) as Ian Holloway? Not enough.

Whatever does happen to Blackpool this season, they'll have made their fans proud and given them a season to remember and surely that's what football should be all about.

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