Looking around the Premier League grounds around 6.00pm yesterday afternoon, you would have been hard pushed to find a man more devastated and disconsolate than Ian Holloway.
Having witnessed his side establish and throw away a 2-1 lead at Old Trafford, Holloway left the Theatre of Dreams a beaten man, and while it is his job to lift his players for a season in the Championship, somebody will need to lift him.
Blackpool are 11/2 to win promotion back to the Premier League but the Tangerines are set for a summer of disruption with many of Blackpool’s stars this season almost certain to be offered a move back to the Premier League.
Players like Charlie Adam, David Vaughan and Matthew Gilks are all attracting Premier League interest and Holloway admits it will be a tough task keeping those players at Bloomfield Road.
“I have got a very hard job on my hands now to keep this team together,” said Holloway. “None of them want to fall into the Championship and some of them will get snapped up by the vultures.”
“I know what they are earning – and what they will go back to – and they won’t want to do it.”
Adam could command a fee of somewhere in the region of £8m-£12m, while Blackpool will be looking at the likes of £2m-£4m for the likes of Vaughan and Gilks.
The loss of those three players would be a huge blow but with £15m coming in, Holloway could enhance his Championship squad with plenty of quality.
There’s no doubt bouncing straight back will be tough ask, especially with the likes of West Ham United, Birmingham City, Cardiff City, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Reading, Burnley and even Southampton challenging.
But should Holloway put in the graft this summer, Blackpool should be in the position to challenge.
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