lunedì 24 maggio 2010

Tangerine Dream

While The Special One, Jose Mourinho, was conducting the European media in Madrid before the Champions League final, the English season’s best story was unfolding in Wembley, London. The Tangerines, aka Blackpool FC, a team which is based in a town of the same name on the Lancashire coast in England’s north west, was involved in the Championship play-off final. It is a club best known for Sir Stanley Matthews - arguably the most complete player the country has ever produced - who ran out in the club’s orange and white in 1947; it is a town made infamous for its heroin problems, its social depravity and its former position as the holiday destination for working class northern Englishmen and women to ride donkeys on the beach and scoff fish and chips on the pier. The play-off match is said to be worth £90million to the winners. The cash comes with promotion to the Premier League and a season hosting Sky TV cameras plus all the tawdry glitz of the glamour clubs. But a ‘season’ is what most can expect. Of the last 19 clubs promoted to the Premier League from the Championship, 12 have been relegated back to where they came on the first attempt. The Tangerines (so called because their home shirts have a striking resemblance to the citrus fruit) play in a small ground called Bloomfield Road, which holds only 12,555 people. Sadly, as with so many grounds in England, its character has been ripped out. Once a fiery, unwelcoming cauldron, tucked away among traditional Lancashire two-up-two-down terraced houses and where trouble outside the ground was a familiar welcome, the ground is now all-seated on three sides, and epitomises all the sanitised homogeneous aesthetic of modern football. Luckily, the club’s manager is a vision to the past. He is one of two reasons the club’s promotion is fascinating. A man from the West Country city of Bristol, where the locals have a reputation for drinking too much cider and rolling about in the hills, Ian Holloway is from the Brian Clough mould: his press conferences are often riotous affairs, full of original ideas, brilliant lines and humour; he is a journalist’s wet dream. His Blackpool team try to play the beautiful game, too. Its ethos takes the best British ideals - hard-work, team spirit, a positive and attacking approach, with the midfield players always looking to get into the other team’s 18-yard box - and combines it with continental Europe’s desire for passing, quick movement and ground-floor football. That approach, risky but often beautiful, plus a little luck, sealed the team’s promotion. Saturday’s game was the epitome of everything Holloway preaches. The opposition, Welsh club Cardiff City, a team looking to be the first non-English team in the Premier League, has a reputation for its ultras. A BBC report in 2004 stated the club had more fans banned than any other club, and, in 2002, against another club famed for its hooligans, Leeds United, a riot took place on the pitch after Cardiff’s then chairman, Sam Hamman, called the English media racist (at Welsh expense). Blackpool beat Cardiff by three goals to two after going behind twice - testament to The Tangerines' team spirit. It was a victory for Holloway’s vision for attractive football over Cardiff’s traditional - if you can’t beat ‘em, kick ‘em - style. But what next for Blackpool, the team which in 2007 was in League One, in 1983 was bottom of the entire four divisions and was last in the top division in 1966? Take a risk, invest money in new players in the hope of staying up, but with the risk of being relegated with a debt that could bankrupt the entire club and send it spiralling - as happened with Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Bradford City, Nottingham Forest, Leicester City and looks likely to happen with Hull City - back down to the depths of League One? Or play safe, take the money, enjoy a year in the spotlight, then resign itself to an inevitable relegation in the hope of coming back stronger in two or three years, as Burnley has done the season just passed? Whichever, Blackpool is the Premier League club to watch next season - if not for its ambition and footballing approach, then for Ian Holloway’s press conferences and quirky interview pranks. --

8 commenti:

  1. Dear Everett, your description of Blackpool amenities makes me eager to go there for an early Premier week-end, because I'd love to "ride donkeys on the beach and scoff fish and chips on the pier". And I bet you can arrange us a special interview with Ian Holloway..
    We'll look after the Tangerines all next year, to see which one of your prophecies will become truth. I really hope that they won't change too much their nature, as they did with the stadium..

    Anyway, from now on consider yourself our delighted correspondent from every British coastal town. We'll pay all your expenses, just say "I write for Borghetti's tears", they'll understand.

    ps Thanks for the Cardiff ultras detail..Actually I've been to Cardiff once and I've seen the most horribile and kitsch castle of the world, now I see why the ultras are so violent..

    RispondiElimina
  2. 39 years.. 40000 supporters..

    Too much for Cardiff!

    Tks for this Everett. I really appreciate your intervention. And, most of all, I really love Championship (although my Sheffiels Utd stagnates in its nothing -and, maybe, I like Blades exactly for this).

    RispondiElimina
  3. Dionigi - did you get the Tangerine Dream reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangerine_Dream?
    I'm glad Cardiff didn't go up. If you've been to Wales you'll understand what I mean. It's no wonder they're so angry...

    sigosiendobostero - I'm delighted to be on board, even if you are Sheffield United, not Sheffield Wednesday...

    vVdo imparare l'italiano, la mia soltanto parola in questo momento sono catenaccio!

    RispondiElimina
  4. Actually I didn't get that reference, I've never heard of such german krautrock group - notwithstanding my long career of german electronic music listener. But I promise you I will.

    Wales must be the most anonymous place ever I imagine. The typical country that if you meet someone from there you don't know what to reply to him, a part from "Ryan Giggs" and "Mark Hughes".

    Catenaccio is a good word to start with. Many important coaches have had brilliant careers knowing only that word too.

    RispondiElimina
  5. scorrete lacrime di borghetti...disse il poliziotto

    borghetti...carica!

    RispondiElimina
  6. Ehi Everett, a dream in a life: as already agreed with Dionigi, one day we will be together at a Steel City derby (http://lacrimediborghetti.blogspot.com/2009/10/flowers-football.html).

    Me on one side, you and Dionigi on the other. Bramall Lane or Hillsborough it's the same..

    RispondiElimina
  7. Sheffield it's a place where everyone should live at least six months of its life.

    RispondiElimina
  8. Great piece Everett.. We’re all looking forward to see the Seasiders in the BSkyB League next year.. for their marvelous shirts.. for their iconoclast manager (with whom I share that beautiful name.. even though mine is only for toponomastical reasons.. you can say Ian is mine eponymous.. or vice versa..) and for Bouazza.. from whom I expect the trashing of the Three Lions in Cape Town on June 18th..

    Your distressing depiction of Bloomfield Road is the greatest example of what the British rallying cry Against Mod£rn Football means.. Let’s hope at Blackpool they won’t follow the steps of neither Sheffield nor Burnley.. an idea would be to do the Stoke.. that is to say.. to maintain an autarchic structure and to play safe with the money avoiding the bright lights of the modern football spectacle.. (although.. let’s hope on the pitch they may offer better performances than the Potters.. and in this respect Ollie is a guarantee..)

    As I wrote once my beloved Forest were crashed out and ot of the running.. All We Have Is a Tangerine Dream.. speaking of which.. for all those who loves to be disarranged.. I suggest to carefully listen to Nebolous Dawn.. from the Tangerine Dream masterful album Zeit.. 18 minutes of proto Einsturzende Neubauten noises, silences and dissonances.. an experience where psychotropic substances are needed..

    RispondiElimina