Date:Wednesday May 30 2007
Abel on promotion...
Prior to Sunday, I'd often been ridiculed for supporting Blackpool by my mates. 'Why,' they said, 'don't you support United, Liverpool or Chelsea like us?'. True enough, I have soft spots for United (I was born in Manchester) and Lincoln (where I've lived most of my life), but I've always stayed loyal to the Pool through thick and thin and I'd like to see Sunday as not just my reward, but everyone connected with the club's reward for supporting the club all the lives, for on Sunday, in case you've been living under a rock, the Pool only went and got promoted!
After nine wins on the spin, confidence was high, yet we all thought that Yeovil would be very tough opponents after their demolition of Forest... how wrong we were! On the day, Yeovil simply didn't turn up, and you'd like to think that that was largely because of a cracking performance from the boys in tangerine who really did rise to the occasion.
Backed by the larger than usual and very vocal Pool support who weren`t going to let the torrential weather ruin their day, Larry's lads started the game in the manner that they intended to play for the rest of the ninety minutes; by attacking.
The first couple of minutes saw referee Andy D'Urso (who had a good game) rightly turn down a penalty appeal from the Seasiders number seven Keigan Parker, whilst the ever impressive Claus Jorgensen had a shot deflected wide by Yeovil's best player on the day, Terrell Forbes (funnily enough, Adrian Forbes was my man of the match as well!).
On the ten minute mark, Pool hearts were in mouths as a Yeovil corner seemed to evade everyone, before Blackpool countered and Andy Morrell fired over. Adrian Forbes then hit the side netting when he perhaps should have done better.
Two minutes later, the Pool were nearly ahead twice; Robbie Williams' rocket of a shot from 25 yards whizzing just past the Yeovil goal with Steve Mildenhall beaten (it wasn't until the half time highlights were shown that I realised just how close the shot had been), whilst Keigan Parker's cross missed Andy Morrell's head by the smallest of fractions.
Magic man Wes Hoolahan then fired a couple of efforts wide and I must admit that the terrible thought that it might just be one of those days where we do everything but score did cross my mind.
Minutes later though that thought was banished as Robbie Williams curled home a free kick to make the score 1-0; no less than the Pool deserved. When I got home and watched the replay of the match, the commentators were blaming everyone from the keeper to the Yeovil wall for the goal. However, as us Pool fans know, that's how Robbie takes his free kicks and knowing this, Andy Morrell and Shaun Barker delibertately disrupted the Yeovil wall. For me, it was just a sign of how hard we work at our tactics under Larry.
Rabs then turned a Yeovil effort over the bar as the Pool headed in at half time 1-0 up, and just 45 minutes from the Championship.
Yeovil had obviously been fired up by Russell Slade at half time, but the only change his team talk had to their game was to get a couple of players into the book for rash challenges on Vital player of the season Shaun Barker.
Indeed, any hope that Yeovil had of a sterling second half comeback was extinguished just minutes into the second half when Parker scored probably the best goal to date at the new Wembley; curling home a sumptuous effort from 25 yards. It was then that I knew that this was our day and that we were going up.
On another day, the score line would have been far greater; Mildenhall saved well from Parker and Morrell before Marcus Stewart somehow managed to head the ball over the bar when it was easier to score, but that didn't matter; the Pool were up.
Twenty nine years of hurt banished in ninety minutes of football. I don`t think that anyone can begrudge us our promotion and as so many have said, this really is a special team and they`re all heroes to old and young fans alike.
For the first time in my lifetime, the Pool are in the Championship and I keep having to pinch myself and convince myself that we really have gone up. For old fans, the time has finally come to settle old scores and see the Pool once again compete in the top two tiers of English football. Hopefully, this is just the start.
Date:Wednesday May 30 2007
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