Meet the opposition | Blackpool

11th March 2022
First team
Blackpool players celebrate a goal

As Swansea City prepare for a trip to Bloomfield Road to face Blackpool on Saturday, take a look at the history, form, and key figures for the Tangerines.

What’s their story?

The club was founded in 1887. They competed in the Lancashire League – of which they were one of the founders -  from 1889 until 1896 when they successfully applied for entry to the Football League.

It proved a shortlived initial stint, however, and Blackpool failed to be reelected when they finished last three years later.

Their place in Division Two was reinstated in 1900 and they have competed in the Football League ever since.

Towards the end of the 1930s they began to build towards a golden era which saw them challenging at the top end of the First Division in the 1940s and 1950s.

Stanley Matthews was a key figure during this period with the 1953 FA Cup final famously named after the winger as his inspiring performance helped Blackpool to the trophy. Matthews won the Ballon d’Or in 1956 as he helped the club achieve their best finish of second in the top-flight.

In 2010 the Seasiders beat Cardiff City in the Championship play-off final to become the first club in the country to have been promoted from every division via the play-offs.

They spent just one season in the top-flight and by 2016 were competing in League Two. They have rebuilt since and are now within sight of a return to the elite division.

How’s their form?

Good. They’ve picked up 17 points in their past 10 games winning five and drawing three. Their two defeats came against high-flying AFC Bournemouth and Queens Park Rangers.

They sit 14th in the form table across the last six games.

Who is the boss?

Blackpool manager Neil Critchley watches from the touchline

Neil Critchley. The Crewe-born head coach joined Blackpool from Liverpool, where he was under-23s coach, in March 2020.

Prior to that role with the Merseyside club, he had coached their under-18s for four years after a period of six years as academy director at Crewe Alexandra.

His first taste of senior football management came when he took charge of a young Liverpool side in a Carabao Cup quarter-final tie against Aston Villa while Jurgen Klopp and the bulk of the senior squad competed in the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December 2019.

The 41-year-old is one of a handful of coaches who have gained the highest possible qualification in the game, and he is renowned as a smart technician with a reputation for developing young talents.

Who’s the captain?

Blackpool Chris Maxwell

Chris Maxwell. The 31-year-old goalkeeper was named club captain in 2020 and his inspired form helped the side earn promotion last season, while he claimed the Golden Glove award for keeping 21 clean sheets.

This season hasn’t got to plan for the Welshman and he has spent much of 2022 sidelined with a quad injury. 

Defender Marvin Ekpiteta has been wearing the armband most recently in Maxwell's absence.

The 25-year-old centre back made the move to Blackpool ahead of the 2020-21 season and has made 58 appearances for the Tangerines. He’s found some form in front of goal recently too, with two goals in the past three games.

Who are the key men?

Blackpool forward Shayne Lavery runs away from Derby County players

Blackpool are a side that have shared the goals around and, as a result, they have threats in a number of areas.

Four players have a tally of 10 or more when it comes to combined goals and assists this season.

Top scorer Shayne Lavery took his tally to 11 when he scored in the Tangerines' victory over Reading last month.

Jerry Yates has scored seven and former Everton winger Josh Bowler has bagged eight – both have also contributed three assists.

Keshi Anderson leads the assists chart with four, but the midfielder has also chipped in with six goals. Veteran striker Gary Madine, meanwhile, has scored seven times.