Blackpool FC Relegated: Where Do the Seasiders Go from Here?
But as we all know, football is a cruel game. A very quick lapse of concentration defensively saw United equalise, before an Ian Evatt own goal saw the Seasiders fall 3-2 down and condemn them to life back in the Championship.
As most have been saying, Blackpool and their manager Ian Holloway have been a "breath of fresh air" in the Premier League this season, with their free-flowing and at times carefree football despite their lowly status as Premiership rookies, as well as Holloway's always colourful press conferences.
But ultimately, they were not good enough to stay in the league and now drop back into England's second tier.
So, where do the Seasiders go from here?
Sell the Stars
As Blackpool drop back into the second tier and lose out on the TV rights, boosted gate receipts and merchandise sales, the Seasiders will need another avenue to keep their cash flow high enough to mount a serious challenge for promotion again.
Therefore, selling their stars—who will most likely want to stay in the Premier League anyway—is the most likely option.
Then then likes of DJ Campbell, Matthew Gilks and Neal Eardley could each potentially attract up to £5 million or more.
If Blackpool can get £20 million or more from selling off their biggest assets, they'll have more than enough money to re-invest on high quality, experienced Championship players.
Invest In Under-soil Heating
Blackpool had too many of their Premier League games in the winter postponed due to a frozen pitch, while others clubs did not have such problems.
This in part caused their down-turn in form and ultimately their relegation from the Premier League, with players having too many enforced breaks, falling out of the regular rhythm of playing games and lacking in form and match fitness when the fixtures start to clog up.
The solution to this problem is simple: invest in under-soil heating, like most clubs in the Premier League and Championship have.
It costs around £1 million to install and maintain, which can easily be paid for by the £1.6 million they received from finishing 19th in the league.
Or it could come out of the basic £26.7 million they received from just playing in the Premier League for one season, through sponsorship deals and domestic and overseas TV rights.
Keep Ian Holloway
If Ian Holloway wants to stay, he should stay.
He garners great respect from his players and staff, knows how to get promoted from the Championship and is experienced at that level.
Plus, from his Premier League experience he would have learnt a good thing or two about how the top teams play and what you need to make it in that division.
Continuity is key, and the more consistency there is at Blackpool with the players and staff, the more likely they will work better together and get things done.
And "Ollie" would've also learnt a good deal about how to get his side defending better, considering they had the leakiest defence with 74 league goals conceded.
Bring in a Defensive Coach
The man pictured is West Ham's (and once Reading's) defensive coach Wally Downes. Had the Hammers not been a team with multiple underlying, intertwined fatal flaws, the impact of this man could well have kept them up.
What Blackpool need is a better defence. Not necessarily better defenders but some defence-minded thinking among the coaching staff, drilling more defensive discipline into the players than they have at the moment.
With the extra money the Seasiders have gained from the Premier League, it will now not be beyond their budget to slightly extend their technical staff and draft in an established, high level defensive coach.
If they can get someone like Wally Downes to come in, work with each of the defenders on how they can improve their game, as well as set up drills for the whole squad in training to work on defending as a team, Blackpool could well be a force to be reckoned with as promotion contenders in the Championship.
Sign Up the Loan Players and Keep the Rest
Blackpool were quite possibly the most close-knit team in the Premier League this season.
If they can continue that togetherness, even without Charlie Adam and perhaps the likes of DJ Campbell or Neal Eardley, they will have a great shot at promotion.
Especially at a lower level like the Championship where teams draft in several new players, especially loan players and trialists, if Blackpool can keep their core nucleus, who know each other well, know each other's games on the pitch and have the desire to help their teammates as much as themselves, it could be key in their success.
If James Beattie and Jason Puncheon, experienced players who know the Blackpool setup well, can be signed on a permanent basis, as well perhaps Sergi Kornilenko, who has big club experience from Zenit St. Petersburg and could find the Championship easier as he looks to establish himself in England, the Seasiders will not have too many problems in the coming season.
Continuity is key, and if Blackpool can get that on and off the pitch, they'll be sorted next season.