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Burnley FC blog: How did Blackpool succeed where Clarets failed?
PLAY-OFF finalists Blackpool are Wembley bound this weekend, for the second time in two years.
Burnley fans can only look on and wonder, why them and not us?
Why have the Seasiders, with their equally modest budget, been able to mount another challenge in their first season back in the Championship when the Clarets’ own efforts faded before the final week of theirs?
What is different?
Both, like most relegated teams, were fancied for another Premier League push the season after. And both had reasons for optimism. They’d done it once, they could do it again, perhaps via the automatic route.
Burnley had games in hand when they went down. A 4-0 home defeat to Liverpool had sealed their fate with two to play.
There wasn’t really a party atmosphere when the Clarets hosted Spurs on the final day. But thanks to a 4-2 win, there was hope.
Blackpool’s exit was much more dramatic, after the two Lancashire clubs traded places in 2010, as their survival bid went down to the wire last year.
Their hangover was expected to be more severe given their final day disappointment at Old Trafford, and the ensuing exodus of key players. But, crucially, they kept Ian Holloway, and in their maverick manager they found a tonic.
Continuity, or lack of it, was the crux for the Clarets.
Losing Owen Coyle halfway through their first top flight season in over 30 years was one they never fully recovered from.
The largely unpopular appointment of Brian Laws was never going to last, so it was no surprise that, less than 12 months on, another manager search was under way.
In the meantime, a big chunk of the parachute pot had been squandered. Holloway, on the other hand, was shrewd.
Star man Charlie Adam left for Liverpool, DJ Campbell quit for QPR, but Blackpool reinvested a portion of their profits wisely by bringing in exciting youngster Tom Ince from Liverpool, and Barry Ferguson and Kevin Phillips – players with proven quality. They cost money, but Blackpool have speculated to accumulate, and it is paying off.
Laws looked to Chris Iwelumo to fire the Clarets back up, but the Scot was never going to match the goals of exiting striker Steven Fletcher.
While Blackpool kept a steady back five, Laws let leader Steven Caldwell go, and Burnley lost their way.
He wasn’t the only one to make mistakes in the market. Coyle was far from astute. Richard Eckersley, for example, never played a league game.
Eddie Howe has been left with the fall-out.
The foundations are in place, but the rest of the rebuild is going to take time.
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