Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Classic Blackpool - the Mighty vs Northampton Town:

There are many things that are 'Blackpooly' - just a few of them include: red brick Edwardian houses with mock Tudor gables, Jimmy Armfield playing the organ, 1930s semis with bay windows, Ballon d'Or winners jogging down the beach and playing football with a tennis ball, sunsets to die for and sunrises to live for, a spectacular adjunct of suburban aspirational property types and grinding poverty stats, milk roll, that Nolans song, the all time greatest FA Cup final ever, mad shit you just don't see elsewhere that you could go on forever listing like those lit up first princess horse drawn carriage things as just one example, late 1920s balloon trams with green and cream livery, not going to town in summer if you can avoid it, piers, towers, parks, boating lakes, play off glory and tangerine, tangerine, tangerine. Fucking beautiful tangerine.

There's many more things that are Blackpooly. Some are great. Some less so. It probably true to say that Blackpool is more distinct than anywhere else I know.

Here's the thing... to twat the top of the league away from home (and to look like Brazil, combined with peak era Ajax) and then to fail to turn up at home, (against some random club that are from some random place that have never really done owt and you don't know who any of their players are as we play like we've never met before and are in fact a team of trainee clowns doing a comic impression of a shite football team) is probably the most defining quality of Blackpooly things that there is

Northampton. It's somewhere. In that void where nowhere places are. Shoes. Purple kit. Used to play at a cricket ground. Not actually anywhere near Southampton. Not sure what else there is to say. Had Bez Lubala for a bit probably the only thing I can remember about the last decade of Northampton related things. They're like one of those Scottish teams that just are. Why, no one is sure, but there they are always. You're never quite certain if they're in Div 3 or 4 at the moment. Graham Carr. That's another thing...

I'm frankly terrified. I'll take one going in off Beesley's arse whilst he's looking the other way and then hanging on for dear life...

We're unchanged. That calms me a bit. The moon is high and bright. The air is crisp and anticipation mixes with nerves. Into em' Pool. Maybe my nerves are just a way of trying not to get involved in all the expectation shit. That'll be it. Nothing to fear. Total sexy football all the way. Nothing can possibly go wrong...


It starts out ok enough. Actually, it doesn't. Marvin has been back, back, back with a vengeance of late, but he kicks off the evening by inexplicably miscalculating everything and giving them a shooting chance that Grimmy saves in spectacular fashion, full on superman dive with a trailing arm that is flung up to turn the ball over the top.

That should wake everyone up.

We chuck the ball over the top a lot which seems like it might work when Bees wins a few but doesn't really lead to anything too meaningful. Dembele gets a breakthough and is haring towards goal, Beesley yells for it, Kaddy* gives it and Beesley goes for a spectacular first time effort. Don't get me wrong, it's actually lovely and heartwarming to see that Bees has the confidence to do that, but he could have probably popped down a picnic blanket, trotted over to Ian Brunskill, collected a hamper (I'd assume of all the backroom staff, Ian Brunskill is the most likely to be in possession of a hamper) got out a pork pie, sliced it and had time to take the lid off the piccalilli before he'd have been closed down so it might have been an idea to control it and place it instead.
*I'm not sure why I'm calling him Kaddy. Critch does, but if I took 'Critch does' as a measure for my own behaviour then I'm not sure where I'd end up. Probably earnestly reading a document on the best tyre pressure for fuel efficiency at legal motorway cruising speeds and ordering my clothes from a 'smart sportswear' catalogue in bulk.

There are some shots. They aren't very good. Kaddy and Rhodes get polite applause because they are Dembele and Jordan and we're lucky to have them so we're always nice to them. Other efforts get a more typical groan. We'll be alright though. We're just going through the gears aren't we? These are just sighters. Preliminaries. We're football genius now. We can't score all the time. It would get boring... Only a matter of time. Dembele takes a really good corner. See. It'll be grand...

Then the nightmare manifests itself. I can't really remember what happened. Who remembers the other team's goals anyway? (you can fuck off if you're going to say stuff like 'you should if you're going to write a blog about it' cos I'm not watching the highlights just so you can read me tell you about a thing you could just look at yourself.) Essentially, suddenly everyone seems very wrong side and it looks for all the world like they're going to score and they do, indeed, score. It doesn't seem to my untrained eye like we dealt with it as we should have done. Fuck's sake Pool.

We respond by everyone generally looking like we might have just got off the bus from Pompey about an hour ago. The first touches aren't there, the little stretches and slides aren't in their legs. A move bursts into life, but someone doesn't run or the pass is behind them. It's lethargic.

Beesley runs at the defence. Rhodes, Dembele and Carey offer runs. Beesley elects to shoot. He hits the legs of their defender. Again, it's nice he has the confidence but...

We have a little splutter of attack around half time. Carey whistles one over the top after what is probably the most convincing move for 30 minutes. There's maybe a corner or two. There's a lot of booing at Northampton's sluggish taking of set plays. It's all a bit frustrating.


Critch hasn't rung the changes. Quele surprise. 'Go and give me some fire lads' he might have said. We get sodden wood and a little bit of grey smoke. Did anything happen until we put the subs on? I'm not sure. I've forgotten that bit of the game. I can't even do another passive aggressive comment about not watching the highlights because there wasn't anything that would make the highlights. Even Dembele isn't very good.

I do notice the following. Their no19 is giving Marvin a horrible time. We're booing him for reasons I've failed to notice. Marvin looks like he's in the wrong gear. He keeps chugging after the ball quite slowly when surely it makes sense to run quickly. I'm not a UEFA licensed coach, so it's probably not my place to say it but it's weird. This lad was utterly sensational on Saturday.

I also notice their no 7 is quite rotund. That pleases me a bit. It's ages since we've had a convincing 'footballer who looks like a real person' and Northampton's (*checks the internet*) Sam Hoskins (300+ games for them and he also played for Southampton) is the best one for a while.

We make a whole substitute. Kyle Joseph for Jake Beesley. C'mon Pool, drag yourself out of this torpor for fucks sake. CJ has it. He runs a bit. He lays off, Dougall crosses, Rhodes rises and YESSS! We're back in it. It's a lovely header, absolutely in the style of a goalscorer who needs just a sniff. Everything is right with the world again. The floodgates will open, those nowhere, purple shoe fetishists won't know what has hit them.

They swap the 19 for a lad with a headband. I think he must be good because he has a head band and long hair. He looks a bit like a poundshop Tom Eaves who is a poundshop Andy Carroll. I wonder about if you could create a set of russian dolls of similar players with the most famous one as the biggest doll and then tinier and tinier versions of less and less famous players till you get to some bloke who plays for Weeton Seniors but has a pony tale at about doll no 13. I think we're learning that this game wasn't a spectacular feast of footballing moments aren't we?

Jimmy. He's the model of reliability. He's the formally topknotted god. He's been absolutely outstanding this season. He goes around not putting a foot wrong. You know absolutely what you are going to get from Jimmy Husb.... WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?

Hubby has his head in his hands. He's just sold Grimmy short with a no look back pass that was expertly intercepted and neatly tucked away by the surprisingly rapid Hoskins. For fucks sake Pool. Fucking hell. I can't be angry at Jimmy. He's Jimmy. I'm just angry at the world. The fucking state of everything. It's all gone to shit. I stare at the roof of the South Stand. It stares back, slightly faded panelling that impassively watches my agony. I sigh. C'mon Pool.

Albie 'the new Matty Virtue' Morgan comes on for his scheduled runabout. I'm a bit surprised to see Dougall go off as he's looked the one player who has dug in a bit and gone toe to toe a few times. Andy Lyons comes on as well cos possibly Dembele got a knock. I fucking hope not. I don't even want to imagine a world where he's crocked. We play a weird 3 up front type thing with CJ in there.

We scrap but we can't get hold of it properly. For all the boos, I can't help but admire the solid and committed approach of Northampton. They've fought, fallen over and lingered over things like they've been reading 'How to be a Shithouse, by G Madine (aged 33 and a bit)' and that's football isn't it? They've kept us honest by having enough threat to make us think twice and also got solid and dared us to unpick them. We haven't. The ref is a bit crap but we're really not making much of anything. CJ has a run. He appears to kick himself over. I think that's probably the highlight of the game. 

There's a scramble. A shout for a pen. It's not a pen. I can't see it really, but I can tell from the shout. Then we go again into the box. Marv is up. There's a mad big shout. That's something. The ball is flying around in the box like a squash ball being knocked about in furiously masculine business way by some high flying executive type that'll work for the club for 12 months before parting ways as they all seem to do... the keeper is flapping, the ball is in the air, Owen Dale has seen his chance... It's all gone slow motion... the goal is gaping and.......

Owen... Dale... heads... it... over...

For fuck's sake Pool. Fucks sake.


Here's the irony. The tinkerman didn't tinker when perhaps (definitely) he should have done. Had he tinkered, I'd have probably moaned a bit and rolled my eyes performatively at the tinkering. It was a game too far for the same 11 and the energy of a player or two with a point to prove would perhaps have galvanised the tired legs of players who'd already proved some points in the previous performances. I'm not sure I can really rage at Critch for doing more or less what I'd have done though. I just hope this doesn't set him back on his road to attacking enlightenment and mean we have to revert to fearing and setting up to counter the counter of teams like Northampton because I honestly think that had this game come first, the energy and crucially, the movement and pace in moving the ball we showed at Portsmouth would have been too much and once we'd have got in front, we'd have seen them unravel and got at least another.

I think I've already said something like this this season - Critchley mk 2 appears to have modelled us on a Steve Macmahon team. For the kids, that means - When we're good, we're very good and we can look a division or more better than we are. When we're not good (which is at least as often, if not more often than the former), we're inexplicably prone to calamity and lethargy and the previous footballing superpowers we possessed in the moments of glorious fury and fire appear to be entirely alien to us. Who knows why? Not me. I am but a shite blogger and the best I can manage is the frankly lame and superficial 'they looked a bit leggy to me Clive'


You can follow MCLF on facebook or Twitter or use to get posts sent to your email If you appreciate the blog and judge it worth 1p or more, then a donation to one of the causes below which help kids and families in Blackpool would be grand.


Post a Comment

Follow on Twitter!

Get MCLF in your inbox!

Subscribe with a feedreader!

Buy the book (proceeds to Blackpool Foodback)

Yet another bad owner. Where do they breed them?

This is Brooks Mileson. He owned Gretna FC. If you don't know who he is or what the score is with Gretna, it might be worth giving it ...