They were supposed to be the laughing stocks of the league. But Ian Holloway inspired his Blackpool team to great heights for awhile, before they came crashing back to earth at season’s end. A poor-club’s Harry Redknapp, Holloway had his players taking the game to their opponents. It worked for awhile… before teams got wise and fed on the squad’s glaring holes in strategy.
Still, it put several players in the shop window… and while the club talks about bouncing right back to the Prem, it might not happen for Blackpool if the big boys come calling.
Front and centre is Charlie Adam. Clubs have been trying to pluck the Scotsman out of Bloomfield Road since Christmas… and the player has made no secret of his desire to go. But Holloway’s stubborness means that Adam is still a Tangerine… for now. His former Rangers boss, Alex McLeish, would love to make him Aston Villa’s first big signing… and Kenny Dalglish is looking to add to his stable of central midfielders. Blackpool supposedly values him at £12 million, which would be a nice bit of business, since they bought him from Rangers for £500,000. Let’s see if he can replicate his success at a big club… if he can get a game.
You would expect a defender on last season’s worst defence to be looked over. But it could have been much worse for Blackpool if not for Ian Evatt. The 29-year-old led the league in clearances: 430 times. Unfortunately, he was one clearance short in the final game, when an own-goal against Manchester United effectively relegated Evatt et al. He has reportedly signed a new contract with the Seasiders that will keep him at the team with Premier League wages, but Blackpool may sell him if the price is right.
If you believe Ye Olde Interweb, DJ Campbell is headed for every single Premier League club. Apparently, they are all enamored with Dudley Junior. He has never spent more than two seasons at a club, working his way up from the Isthmian League into the top flight over the last 11 seasons. After scoring more than a dozen goals last season, Campbell is harboring dreams of becoming a full English international. If he’s still in tangerine by August, I’ll eat my Blackberry.
Left midfielder David Vaughan has already turned down a new contract and is looking elsewhere. He says he wants to stay in the Premier League so his international career doesn’t stall. Will someone please remind the boy that he’s playing for Wales? Not exactly giants of football right now. But Vaughan was voted the club’s player of the year: he’s fast, he’s left-footed and he can hold his ground. He may still have a few more seasons in him for a lower-table team.
Also rejecting a new contract is Scottish leftback Stephen Crainey. He’s being linked with both Wigan and Swansea… so he’ll have one more year, tops, in the Premier League.
Next: Biirrrrrrmingham City