The English Championship can boast one of the wealthiest games in all of football, the Playoff Final played at Wembley could be worth 50 to 60 million pounds to the winner, and heartbreak and a tough season ahead for the losers.

4 teams tonight and tomorrow fight for their place in the Playoff Final; both games still in the balance, the winners will then be 1 win away from a place at England’s top table the Barclay’s Premier League.

The teams in question are Blackpool, Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City and Leicester City. Nottingham Forest were once the top team in Europe winning 2 European Cups, and then in the 90’s the fell all the way down to the 3rd tier of English football, Promoted from League One last season they have had a remarkable season under Billy Davies it is no easy feat to have the chance of 2 promotions in a row.

Leicester City of course had some wonderful seasons in the Premier League under Martin O’Neill making stars out of Neil Lennon, Emile Heskey, Steve Guppy, Muzzy Izzet etc once O’Neill left Peter Taylor continued the good job but was sacked in his second season, Micky Adams took over and things got from bad to worse for Leicester, relegation then administration followed and Leicester like Nottingham Forest found themselves in the 3rd Tier of English football, a rebuilding process began, Once in League One talented manager Nigel Pearson took over and in his first season they were promoted as Champions, and now with a chance for consecutive promotions and a chance to have a crack at the big time again.

If any team could do with the riches of the Premier League Cardiff City would be pretty high up that list, there’s has been doubt cast over Cardiff’s financial state in recent times, Peter Risdale trying to find a rich buyer for the club and coming up short, then promising all season ticket sales would be spent on players, and once again not delivering, Cardiff have been in the Championship since 2003 and would see this as their greatest chance to make it to the top flight, talented players like Peter Whittingham, Michael Chopra and Joe Ledley will be hoping they can fire their team to Wembley, and the Cardiff fans will be hoping the same, if they don’t win promotion the chances of these players remaining at Cardiff next season are very slim, even their status as a club could be under threat.

Now most people reading this blog I would hope have at some point taken a holiday in Blackpool, cold sea winds, Blackpool Tower, the Piers, the Pleasure Beach and Premier League Football, sounds good doesn’t it, well maybe not good but would be wonderful for the people of Blackpool, with the backing of Latavian Businessman Valeri Belokon they have made their way out of League One and up the Championship table and secured their Playoff spot on the last day of the season, having eccentric manager Ian Holloway in charge has spurred The ‘Pool on to new heights, and who would bet against them reaching the dizzy heights of the Premier League.


Blackpool welcomed Nottingham Forest to Bloomfield Road last Saturday and the game did not disappoint, Forest started the better side and made it pay when Chris Cohen curled a beautiful shot with the outside of his left foot past Blackpool’s keeper, this only woke Blackpool up and they went on the hunt for a equaliser, a great move sweeping from right to left then back in the middle to find Keith Southern unmarked in the box his left foot shot trundled into the net, the first half ended with Dexter Blackstock’s header coming off the crossbar and Stephen Crainey clearing efforts off Blackpool’s goal line.

The Second half was all Blackpool and when James Perch brought down DJ Campbell in the box, Charlie Adam who has been Blackpool’s talisman all season calmly tucked it away for the 2-1 lead and that’s how the game finished Blackpool might rue the chance to score a third with the amount of possession they had in the Second Half.


This game was a much tighter affair, both teams still attacking but not as open as at Blackpool, Cardiff at times looking like the home side as they peppered the Leicester goal, the first half was all Cardiff, nervous Leicester fans could only watch on.

The second half started the same, Jay Bothroyd had a great header tipped over the bar in an early attack, it was Richie Wellens that got Leicester going firing a drive just past the post, then they had a penalty claim when Martyn Waghorn was bundled over when trying to get on the end of a cross, the pleas were waved away by referee Wiley.

On 78 minutes Peter Whittingham made the break through, a free kick on the right hand side, looked like he was going to play it into the box, He had different ideas, smashing the ball with his left foot past Chris Weale, there was nothing the keeper could do, a fantastic goal. For the remaining 10 minutes Leicester bombarded the Cardiff goal but David Marshall was not to be beaten and Cardiff will take a 1-0 lead into the 2nd leg.

2nd LEGS 

Tonight Blackpool travel to the City Ground with a slender lead, and Billy Davies will be hoping his team can use the home advantage and peg back the result and go on to Wembley. Blackpool will be confident they can score a goal away from home, it should be a great game, I cannot see anyone running away with it, and should go till the end, I would not be surprised if it ended on penalties, an exciting but cruel end for either team, my heart says Blackpool, think it would be great to see them in the Premier League, however my heart says Nottingham Forest I think they will have too much at home for Blackpool.

Prediction Blackpool 1 Notts Forest 3 (3-4 on agg)

Tomorrow Leicester go to Cardiff knowing they have to score 2 goals, and I think it will be too much for them, Cardiff looked great on Sunday and I think they will score more at home and I can’t see Leicester having an answer for them.

Cardiff will win by two and book their place at Wembley.

Prediction Cardiff 2 Leicester 0 (3-0 on agg)


That would make it a Nottingham Forest v Cardiff City Final – who will go on to emulate Burnley from last year when they beat Sheffield United in the final, and although they have come back down, I doubt they regret their year in the Premier League.


1 comment


May 12th, 2010

Got that one very wrong tonight, but fantastic for Blackpool played a great 2nd half and deserved the victory, still think Cardiff will win tomorrow

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