A new feature where we take a closer look at who Rovers will face in League One next season.
Nickname: The Seasiders, The Pool, The Tangerines
Formed in 1887, Blackpool gained election to the Football League Second Division in 1896 and were champions in 1929-30. The Seasiders regained top-flight status in 1936-37 and were FA Cup finalists in 1948 and 1951, then winners in the 1953 ‘Matthews’ final, in which they overturned a 3-1 deficit to beat Bolton Wanderers 4-3.
First Division runners-up behind Manchester United in 1955-56, they were relegated in 1967, but returned to the top flight for the 1970-71 campaign and played in successive Anglo-Italian Cup finals, including their 1971 success.
They slipped to the Fourth Division by 1981, winning promotion to the third tier in 1984-85, 1991-92 and 2000-01, also lifting the LDV Vans Trophy in 2002 and 2004. Blackpool won promotion to the Championship in 2006-07 and briefly regained top-flight status after an absence of 39 years when they beat Cardiff City 3-2 in the Championship play-off final in 2009-10.
Their Premier League stay was short-lived however and they missed out on the chance of an immediate return when they lost the 2012 Championship play-off final 2-1 to West Ham. Back-to-back relegations followed, before they lifted the League Two play-off trophy at Wembley last weekend.
The Manager: Gary Bowyer
A player with Hereford United, Nottingham Forest and Rotherham United, Gary Bowyer was forced to retire from football at an early age due to injury.
Moving into coaching, he spent six years with Derby County’s Academy, before becoming Rovers’ youth team boss in 2004. Bowyer spent 11-and-a-half years at the club, moving up from the Under-18s to the Reserves in 2008 and then twice taking caretaker charge of the first team, before being offered the manager’s job on a permanent basis in May 2013.
After guiding Rovers to an eighth and ninth-place finish in the Championship, Bowyer parted company with the club in November 2015 and took the reins at nearby Blackpool last summer.
He secured silverware in his first season at Bloomfield Road, winning promotion to League One via the League Two play-offs.
The Ground: Bloomfield Road
A 17,338-capacity all-seater stadium, Bloomfield Road has been the permanent home of Blackpool FC since 1901.
The stadium is named after the road on which the main entrance used to stand and has been in a process of redevelopment since 2000.
A record crowd of 38,098 saw the visit of Wolves in September 1955, whilst the record at the reconstructed stadium is 16,116, which occurred when Manchester City visited in October 2010. Attendances have dwindled in recent years due to ongoing unrest between the club’s fans and owners.
Bloomfield Road also hosted three matches during the 2005 UEFA Women’s Championships.
Last Season: 7th League Two
Following successful relegations, Blackpool fans were given something positive to shout about in 2016-17, as a storming end to the season saw the Seasiders promoted to League One.
Under new boss Gary Bowyer, Blackpool enjoyed a relatively steady start to the campaign, but a run of eight victories in their last 13 league games saw them scrape into the play-offs, in seventh place.
Bowyer guided his side to a dramatic 6-5 aggregate victory over Luton Town in the semis, courtesy of goalkeeper Stuart Moore’s stoppage-time own goal, before Blackpool defeated Exeter City 2-1 at Wembley.
Last Meeting: January 28th, 2017
Rovers triumphed 2-0 over 10-man Blackpool in last season’s FA Cup, as Gary Bowyer’s return to Ewood Park ended in defeat.
An early Sam Gallagher header and a superb long-range Elliott Bennett strike – which went on to win the club’s Goal of the Season competition – saw Rovers cruise into the fifth round at the expense of the Seasiders, who had Kelvin Mellor sent off.