Video of the Day: Bristol City vs Blackpool, September 1967
Just as we all get older, so do the recollections of the past get dimmer as time progresses. There may be some younger readers who do not quite follow why Blackpool is a name that means something to supporters of a certain age. The team of Stanley Matthews, Stan Mortensen and Bill Perry. Winners of perhaps the most dramatic FA Cup final of all-time. Blackpool were of a generation of Lancashire clubs who would never come to see their status quite so high again. Those tangerine shirts told a story, each and every one.
In 1967, that feeling was considerably more widespread than it is today so, despite several prior seasons when it had looked as likely as not. When Blackpool were relegated from the First Division for the first time in thirty years at the end of the 1966/67, it was the culmination of a period of decline which had really accelerated with the departure of Matthews and the abolition of the maximum wage, but which had really begun even before then. And it must have been a shock, in some small way, to many. A whole generation of adults and children had grown up with Blackpool being a permanent fixture in the First Division.
The team was taken down with Stan Mortensen in the managerial seat. In the summer of 1967, Mortensen ripped up the team and tried to start again from scratch, including the notable arrival of Tony Green, a man who would himself form a very special bond with the club’s supporters. By the middle of September 1967, they were in third place in the table, with four wins and two draws from their opening seven matches of the season, including their last three in a row. A trip to Ashton Gate to play struggling Bristol City in front of the television cameras off the back of a decent little run of wins? What’s not to like about that?
Blackpool didn’t get promoted at the end of that season. They were edged out on goal average on the last day by Queens Park Rangers. Stan Mortensen would last until the beginning of 1969 as the manager of Blackpool before being dismissed by the club and provoking considerable disquiet amongst the club’s support. Bristol City, meanwhile, would go on to end the season finishing two places above the relegation places at the bottom of the table. For all the efforts and issues, for all that might have looked as if it could never happen, Bristol City would play Blackpool again the following season. Commentary for this match comes from Kenneth Wolstenholme.
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