Why the Seasiders left Peterborough United in the shade this season

Last season Posh finished second in League One with 87 points to win automatic promotion.

By Alan Swann
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 10:19 am
Jerry Yates of Blackpool (number 9) celebrates scoring the opening goal - Mandatory by-line: Joe Dent/JMP - 21/11/2020 - FOOTBALL - Weston Homes Stadium - Peterborough, England - Peterborough United v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One
Jerry Yates of Blackpool (number 9) celebrates scoring the opening goal - Mandatory by-line: Joe Dent/JMP - 21/11/2020 - FOOTBALL - Weston Homes Stadium - Peterborough, England - Peterborough United v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One

Blackpool finished third with 80 points and eventually came up to the Championship by winning the play-offs.

The teams meet at the Weston Homes Stadium in the final Championship match of the season on Saturday with Posh on 34 points and already relegated while Blackpool are sitting safely in mid-table with 60 points.

How come the Seasiders have adapted to life in the second tier so much more readily than Posh? The PT contacted Matt Scrafton of the Blackpool Gazette to find out.

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Jorge Grant has been a disappointment cince moving to Posh from Lincoln City last summer. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com

Scrafton: ‘Despite coming up via the play-offs, I was never really concerned about relegation. Blackpool aren’t wedded to one strict style of play, they’re always adaptable and often change their personnel or system depending on the opposition.’

Swann: ‘In August I was confident Posh could stay out of trouble, mainly because of points deductions from other clubs rather than belief in our own players. Posh came out of a very weak League One which was a concern, and they’d been outplayed on two occasions by Blackpool. They struggled to settle on the best formation or their best team.’

Scrafton: ‘The Seasiders got off to a slow start and had to wait until their sixth game for their first win, which owed a lot to a disrupted pre-season campaign (both injuries and Covid). But once they got up and running, they always felt comfortable in mid-table, never flirted with the bottom three and were even within touching distance of the play-offs in March. Safety was mathematically secured at the end of March, which is some achievement for a newly-promoted side.’

Swann: ‘Posh won their second game and should have won their third. But they were home games and on their travels they were utterly hopeless from day one, a problem that wasn’t really addressed until they changed manager. Posh never got any higher than the 15th place they occupied after three matches. The other two promoted teams stayed up comfortably.’

Josh Bowler was an outstanding summer signing from Everton for Blackpool. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Scrafton: ‘While Blackpool are now a well-run club under responsible ownership, a lot of their success must be attributed to Neil Critchley who is an excellent up-and-coming manager (or head coach), who is destined to move up the pyramid at some point.’

Swann: ‘Despite errors this season Posh are responsibly run, but they had a manager at the start of the season with a terrible record at Championship level. Grant McCann would have kept Hull up this season if he hadn’t been unfairly sacked so there is hope there.’

Scrafton also pointed out Blackpool signed 13 players after securing promotion with hardly any financial outlay. Josh Bowler (Everton) and Shane Lavery (Linfield) were free transfers and made big impacts. Championship experience arrived in the form of centre-back Richard Keogh. They took players from KIng’s Lynn Town and Manchester City. In January they took forward Jake Beesley from Rochdale and he’s started to perform well. Blackpool also released seven players following promotion rather than handing them all extended contracts as Posh did.

Posh recruitment issues have been well documented. None of their signings since the end of last season could be classed as roaring successes.