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Blackpool win Premiership promotion

Article Published: Saturday 22 May 2010

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Blackpool twice came from a goal behind to beat Cardiff 3-2 in Saturday's playoff final, clinching the last remaining place in the Premier League at the end of a season that many predicted would end with relegation.

Blackpool was in the lowest tier of English football as recently as 2001 but Brett Ormerod scored a 45th-minute winner to end his club's 39-year absence from the topflight and earn an estimated 90 million pounds ($129 million) in broadcast revenue and other income.

The Seasiders were up against the likes of Halifax, Barnet and Carlisle just nine years ago but will now play Manchester United and Chelsea next season.

"Over the season, I think we deserved it," Blackpool scorer Charlie Adam said. "To go to the places were going to go, it's unbelievable. Going to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, you can't ask for anything else."
Cardiff was favored to win by bookmakers after finishing two places and three points above Blackpool in the second-tier League Championship and took the lead in the ninth minute through 4 million-pound ($5.8 million) record signing Michael Chopra.

Adam equalized four minutes later with a curling free kick before Joe Ledley restored Cardiff's advantage in the 37th with a low shot to the far post.

But Gary Taylor-Fletcher headed in a rebound for 2-2 and Ormerod then slammed in a shot from 12 meters (yards).

Chopra smashed a shot from the edge of the area onto the bar 12 minutes into the second half, but that was the closest the Welsh club came to leveling the scores.

"We knew the quality that Cardiff had and they showed it but my lads kept going," Blackpool manager Ian Holloway said. "I'm so proud. I can't believe this." A close contest was always likely after the teams drew both their league meetings this season 1-1.

Cardiff starters Peter Whittingham, Stephen McPhail, Chopra and Jay Bothroyd have all played in the Premier League and the Welsh club's class seemed likely to prevail when Chopra hit the early opener.

Whittingham rolled a pass to Chopra on the edge of the area and the former Sunderland striker hit it across goalkeeper Matthew Gilks with his first touch and in at the far post.

But Adam, who at 500,000 pounds is Blackpool's costliest ever player, made it 1-1 with a curling free kick from 25 meters (yards) that went in at the top corner - far beyond the grasp of diving goalkeeper David Marshall.

Whittingham, who began his career with Aston Villa, passed for Ledley to flick the ball past Gilks for 2-1 but Taylor-Fletcher hit the post and then equalized four minutes later after Ian Evatt's volley was blocked.

Ormerod, who left Blackpool in 2001 before returning on a free transfer in January 2009, then scored the winner to seal his club's fourth promotion in nine years.

"It's not just for my team but it's the whole area we come from," Holloway said. "They're going to get so much money from the Premier League and I can't tell you how proud I am to do that for them.

"I've never worked with a group of people who deserve this more.

I'm bursting with pride." Blackpool effectively replaces Burnley in the Premier League after its local rival was relegated after a single season back in the topflight.


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