This article is part of Football League World’s ‘FLW Greats’ series, this content strand is where we look back on a player’s individual season and discuss how impressive they were.
Blackpool’s historic rise to the Premier League was finally completed in the 2009/2010 season as they emerged victorious in the Championship play-offs.
Ian Holloway’s side finished sixth in the league table and would go on to defeat Cardiff City by three goals to two in the play-off final. The man who scored the Tangerine’s first goal that afternoon was Charlie Adam; the midfielder would play a huge role during their promotion clinching season with many impressive performances during the course of the campaign.
Adam would go on to leave Blackpool and play for six-time European champions Liverpool before cementing a career as a Premier League regular with Stoke City, but his performances over the course of the 2009/2010 season would see Adam go down in Blackpool folklore as one of the greatest players to grace the Tangerine shirt.
The central midfielder made 49 appearances for the Tangerines in that famous season and would also notch 20 goals with 16 of those coming in the league. For a midfielder to have found the net on so many occasions is incredibly impressive at any level of the professional game but it wasn’t just his goals that would bring Adam attention, he would also go on to register nine assists in the league which suggests how integral he was to Holloway’s side.
QUIZ: These 15 players played for both Fleetwood Town and Blackpool- True or false?
But Adam provided more than just end product during the 2009/2010 season, it was the way that he dictated the game so easily that impressed so many people in the game. His ability to keep Blackpool ticking over in the middle of the park as well his impressive tactical flexibility would help Adam become so influential in the side.
Just one game that will stand out for Blackpool fans during the campaign was the crucial 3-0 away win over Middlesbrough. The Boro were above Blackpool in the standings at the time with Blackpool knowing that a win could help see them climb back into the play-off places come 5pm. Adam turned it on over the next 90 minutes at the Riverside Stadium as he picked up a goal and an assist as they would walk away with all three points and overtake their hosts in the league table.
The Scot would play a huge part in Blackpool’s win in the play-off semi-finals over Nottingham Forest with the Nottingham-based side looking as if they were going to leave Bloomfield Road escaping a defeat, and with the score at 1-1, Forest would certainly of backed themselves to get a result back at the City Ground. However, Adam would put go on to win the game for Blackpool as he converted the penalty that would give the Tangerines an advantage as they looked to secure their spot in the Wembley final.
Adam was mainly utilised during the season on the left-hand side of a midfield three as Holloway favoured formations with wingers and a lone striker, which may help understand how he was able to be so effective during the campaign. Often teams would play with two midfielders in the middle of the park, and that gave Blackpool a huge advantage in that area on the pitch as they always had a man spare. This would give Blackpool control of the game which in turn allowed Adam to have more time and space in dangerous areas as he would often attract the attention of an opposing full-back or centre-back, which created more room for the likes of Brett Ormerod on the wing.
The Scot was hugely influential in Blackpool attaining one of those play-off spots as he would step up at times when the side needed it most. He was able to score that goal or start the play that would lead to the Tangerines putting the ball in the back of the net. His goal in the play-off final victory over Cardiff summed up his influence on his side, with Blackpool finding themselves a goal down after less than ten minutes played, Adam stepped up and curled a magnificent free-kick into the top corner of the Bluebirds’ net; a moment that Blackpool would not look back from.
Adam would go on to have an excellent campaign the season after as Blackpool would begin their descent back into the lower leagues of the English game. He could not help them avoid relegation back to the Championship but had impressed enough people in the top-flight for him to remain there the following season with Liverpool.