20 May ~ This Saturday will see the majority of football supporters up and down the country switch their allegiances for an afternoon, as they get behind one of the finalists in the Championship play-off final between Blackpool and Cardiff City. Having been hotly tipped to face the drop at the beginning of the season, Ian Holloway's side have pulled off a minor miracle on a much smaller budget than most of their competitors in the league, with chairman Karl Oyston producing a masterstroke in convincing Holloway to join the club.
The club record signing of captain Charlie Adam for £500,000 has proved to be one of the best bits of business this season, and the former QPR boss has also displayed his ability by getting the best out of on-loan forward DJ Campbell, whose career had appeared to come to a standstill after falling out of favour at Leicester City. Having witnessed Blackpool's 1-1 draw with my team, QPR, at Loftus Road at the beginning of the season, I remember coming away thinking we had just dropped two points against what was, bar Adam, a rather underwhelming group of players. How wrong I was. Throwing large sums of money at your squad does not always buy success.
But Blackpool fans beware. Cardiff's £5 million striker Michael Chopra warned this week that he has proved in the past that he can perform on the big stage – albeit a while ago – citing his winner for England Under-16s in the 2-1 win over Argentina Under-16s at Wembley back in 1999. Ryan Forrester