Holloway's dreams come true as the Tangerines strike gold

Blackpool 3 Cardiff City 2: Ormerod's £90m toe-poke wins breathless final for Blackpool
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There was no one called Stan in the team yesterday to celebrate, although Jimmy Armfield, one link to Blackpool's golden age, was at Wembley. Messrs Matthews and Mortensen made the Tangerines a famous name – and nickname – in English football but now nearly 60 years on from the 1953 FA Cup final, it was players by the name of Charlie, Brett and Gary who scored the goals that made 22 May the second most famous day in the club's history.

In so doing they earned the right, if not to a statue outside Bloomfield Road, then to a share of the £90 million, estimated, that the club will earn over the next three years, and Charlie Adam, Brett Ormerod and Gary Taylor-Fletcher might settle for that. It should also end the club's policy of paying their players £62 a week in the off-season.

However, and if it is possible to forget about a sum like £90m for one day at least, the players and manager, Ian Holloway, will try to soak up the glory on the back of this win that was the result that neutrals wanted. It was also a result that gave Blackpool a place in the top flight of English football for the first time since 1971.

Holloway was a little overcome by what he had achieved in one season and the manner of this win. He said: "I was delighted to be in front after going behind twice. I was convinced they were going to score at 3-2. Give Cardiff credit and us, with the help of the woodwork. I was hoping for this promotion and it was way beyond my wildest dreams. This hasn't happened before and I don't think it will happen again, with this budget we have."

A win for Cardiff would have seen David Jones's side in the top flight for the first time since 1962. The Bluebirds will think they should have ended that unwanted record, having taken the lead twice, but handicapped by losing Jay Bothroyd early, they failed to unpick Blackpool's locks after the interval.

Not that they had any such difficulty in the first half as they quickly took the initiative. Michael Chopra struck after nine minutes and nearly scored earlier when, from Peter Whittingham's cross, he hit his shot well but was unlucky to find the angle of post and crossbar. Five minutes later Whittingham got just as much joy when he moved infield and again found Chopra. The forward had three yards of space and by the time Alex Baptiste got close to him, the 26-year-old had found the bottom corner for his 21st goal of the season.

Most of the best of Blackpool's play stems from Adam but he had been as anonymous as any of his team-mates in the opening phase before Stephen McPhail needlessly handled the ball 25 yards out. Adam, cool as you like, curled his free-kick over the wall and beat David Marshall's full-length dive. Didier Drogba scored from a similar range free-kick in the FA Cup final a week ago, and Adam's effort was easily on a par with the Chelsea striker's. They will have a chance to show off their skills to each other next season. Whether the Ivory Coast international and Time magazine cover star has actually heard of Adam – or Blackpool – is uncertain.

Cardiff doubled their efforts and took the lead again, backing up their claim to be the better team over the season, having finished the regular campaign six points ahead of Holloway's men. Eight minutes before the break, Whittingham moved infield and weighted his pass perfectly for Joe Ledley's run between two defenders and the Wales international's shot found the opposite corner.

That was the last time Cardiff held the lead and Jones could not be blamed for wondering how and why. He mentioned the loss of Bothroyd but was generous to his friend and counterpart. Jones said: "Losing Jay was a pivotal moment, but I want to say well done to Ollie [Holloway]. Sometimes it doesn't matter how you do it."

Jones also mentioned a frailty at set-pieces and that lay at the heart of Blackpool's second equaliser. Taylor-Fletcher struck the post after 41 minutes, leading to a corner. From there, Ian Evatt saw his overhead kick cleared off the line but Taylor-Fletcher, who limped off injured just after the interval, put his head among several boots to score from two yards out.

Blackpool, in beating Nottingham Forest 6-4 on aggregate in the play-off semi-final, showed that defence is perhaps not their strongest suit. Their prowess is in going forward and so it proved as one of the most entertaining and chaotic first-halves in Wembley's history entered stoppage time. DJ Campbell's run at the defence led to the ball deflecting to Ormerod and the former Southampton striker toepoked his shot through Marshall's legs for what proved to be the winner.

While both sides had to manage with a pitchside temperature that reached 106.7F, Cardiff had to cope with losing Bothroyd and his goal threat after only 15 minutes.

Chopra took on the responsibilities of two men and hit the frame of the goal again from 20 yards out in the second half but, as the heat took its toll, Jones's men ran out of steam, and Blackpool made Wembley their home all over again.

Attendance: 82,244

Referee: Andre Marriner

Man of the match: Evatt

Match rating: 8/10

Why promotion is worth £90m

Total net worth: at least £90 million.

Television revenue: at least £40m.

Parachute payments: over four years, even after a possible relegation in the first season in the Premier League, would be at least £48m.

Extras: additional sponsorship, advertisement and increased gate receipts would total several million pounds.

Martin Hines

Man for man: Blackpool

Matthew Gilks 7/10

Looked uncertain on crosses and was fortunate when he dropped a high ball under Chopra's challenge. But as the match went on he looked sounder as a shot-stopper.

Seamus Coleman 8/10

Charged with keeping Cardiff's top-scorer, Peter Whittingham, quiet, the young right-back had a fine match and was frequently to be found attacking deep in the Cardiff half. On loan from Everton, Coleman looks ready for the Premier League.

Alex Baptiste 7/10

Relegated out of the League with Mansfield in 2008, the centre-back now finds himself preparing for the top flight. But he will have to sharpen his awareness after letting in Chopra for Cardiff's first.

Ian Evatt 7/10

The former Queens Park Rangers centre-back also had trouble tracking the elusive Chopra, but was fearless in going forward to augment the attack, which was refreshing.

Stephen Crainey 8/10

Had the measure of Chris Burke throughout, the Pool left-back was always available on his flank to receive a pass and, with Coleman, kept his side's forward momentum flowing on both flanks.

David Vaughan 7/10

Found his way from Crewe to Blackpool via Real Sociedad, the Wales international midfielder's brightest moment came after 21 minutes, cutting in from the right to thump a left-foot shot just wide. Busy, and kept the ball well.

Keith Southern 7/10

One of the longer-serving Pool players, the hard-tackling midfielder put in a tireless 94-minute shift, winning the ball and using it quickly. Burst through from midfield after an hour but shot over the bar.

Charlie Adam 8/10

The Seasiders' record signing already justified the £500,000 fee as the club's leading scorer, with most assists, shots, yellow cards and fouls. And the Scot wholly lived up to the billing with a superb left-foot free-kick to make it 1-1 and a full range of long and short passes probing at the Cardiff defence.

DJ Campbell 7/10

Roaming more as the match progressed from the left of the three-man strike force. Always trying to commit defenders, but let down by his finishing.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher 7/10

The big centre-forward gave the Cardiff centre-backs no respite with a typically bustly performance. Hit the post with a sharp snapshot. Minutes later he was bravely diving amid flying boots to head Pool's second equaliser.

Brett Ormerod 7/10

Worked very hard and got his reward when he reacted quickly to score the winner as Cardiff wilted under Pool's insistent pressure.


Ben Burgess On for Taylor-Fletcher after 53 minutes, looked slow. Stephen Dobbie Replaced Ormerod in the 60th minute. Barry Bannan On for Vaughan in the 92nd minute as Holloway ran the clock down.

Man for man: Cardiff City

David Marshall 5/10

Not the most commanding presence, beaten three times and looked partly culpable for two of the goals, but the Cardiff goalkeeper had little chance with Adam's free-kick.

Kevin McNaughton 5/10

Clinging on in an overworked back four, particularly in the first half, as Blackpool passed the ball around and through the Bluebirds at will.

Mark Hudson 5/10

Given a testing examination by the passing, power and determination of a superior team. Never got a grip on Taylor-Fletcher and his distribution from the back was not the best. Hudson's day was summed up when, in the 63rd minute, he gave away a very cheap corner with a misdirected header.

Darcy Blake 5/10

A product of the Bluebirds academy who, like his senior centre-back partner Hudson, was given an uncomfortable 60 minutes until Cardiff at last got a foothold in the match. Much too little, much too late.

Mark Kennedy 5/10

The pressure exerted by Vaughan and Coleman from Blackpool's right restricted the experienced left-back to a hot afternoon of defensive fire-fighting. Like McNaughton, did not support his winger.

Chris Burke 5/10

Never able to give Dave Jones's side the attacking width on the right and service to Chopra was negligible.

Stephen McPhail 5/10

Never won his battles with Southern and Adam in a largely overrun Cardiff midfield. Creatively did too little to catch the eye.

Joe Ledley 6/10

Did his prospects of playing in the Premier League next season no harm with Cardiff's second goal. Made more of an impression as the game wore on, going close with a couple of headers.

Peter Whittingham 6/10

City's leading scorer is also their deadball specialist but, corners aside, Blackpool were careful not to concede free-kicks within shooting distance, though his neat return pass deftly set up Ledley's goal. Flitted in and out of the match throughout.

Michael Chopra 7/10

Back to his best form since returning to South Wales, the striker was a thorn in Pool's side, the only annoyance, really, with his pace, movement and positioning. Hit the bar in the third minute, took his goal well and might have had another.

Jay Bothroyd 5/10

Limped off after only 15 minutes at 1-1 but had given a couple of glimpses of how his partnership with Chopra might have troubled the opposition.


Kelvin Etuhu On for Bothroyd after 15 minutes but, although he had plenty of time to get into the match, was largely ineffective. Ross McCormack For Burke in the 58th minute as Cardiff chased an equaliser. Anthony Gerrard On for McNaughton (74 minutes).

Geoff Brown