Who saw this one coming? None of the pundits, certainly, but according to the local paper, 53 Blackpool fans have bet on Blackpool to win the Premier League. We can safely assume Ian Holloway will not be rushing to the bookies to join them. The game's most quotable manager continues to insist that Saturday's comprehensive winners suffer by comparison with the team promoted by play-off last season, and survival is still his target.
He was not about to poop the party by mentioning it, but he is aware of Burnley's experience last season – when they beat Manchester United and Everton in their first two home games, but were still relegated straight back from whence they came. Holloway did, however, describe this start as “surreal”, and said of Saturday's trip to the Emirates: “I just hope we don't get embarrassed.”
The Tangerine legions were having none of that, of course, and headed for home singing “We are top of the league” and “Bring on Arsenal”.
'Olly', as he is universally known, lost four players after seeing off Cardiff at Wembley, notably DJ Campbell, who contributed 11 goals on loan from Leicester. Generally, he endured what he called a “hideous” summer, during which 40 assorted targets, many of them from the Championship, balked at the wage ceiling of £10,000 per week imposed by the chairman Karl Oyston.
Unimpressed, striker Marlon Harewood nearly joined League One Huddersfield instead, but he found Holloway at his most persuasive, and managerial persistence finally paid off last Thursday. The former Aston Villa man celebrated his debut by scoring twice and making another for Gary Taylor-Fletcher. Harewood was signed to replace Ben Burgess, who was Blackpool's target man last season and who left for Notts County which says all we need to know about the constraints under which Holloway is working.
Oyston has his critics, and understandably so, but given a stadium currently unfit for purpose, with a capacity of 12,000, he is sensibly refusing to be held to ransom over transfer fees or wages.
Last night, he said he hoped Harewood's productive debut would persuade the chairman to let him sign more in similar vein.
The day, was Blackpool's, regardless, and the last word belonged to Holloway.
“It was a good day because things went our way,” he said. “We needed to find our feet really quickly and now we have got the monkey of not having won an away game off our back.
“I'm going to take a photo of the league table and retire now because that's the highest we will be all season.”