Play-Off final match preview





Football League Play-Offs

• Leicester City in 1996 are the only team to be promoted via the Play-Offs, the season after being relegated from top division. Both Blackpool and West Ham United are aiming to emulate that achievement.

• In 25 Championship Play-off seasons, teams finishing in third have been promoted the most times, nine, including four in the last six seasons.

• The team finishing in fifth has only been promoted once in the previous eight seasons - Burnley in 2008/09.

• This season is the first time that all three teams who were relegated from the Premier League the previous season have reached the Championship Play-Offs.

• This is West Ham United's third appearance in the Play-Offs - the previous two coming in consecutive seasons 2003/04 and 2004/05.

• The Hammers won promotion in their last Play-Off campaign, beating Preston North End 1-0 in the final in Cardiff. They had lost the previous year's final to 1-0 to Crystal Palace.

• West Ham United are unbeaten in their last six Play-Off games and have a kept a clean sheet in their last five.

• The Hammers' overall Play-Off record stands at: P9 W6 D1 L2.

Blackpool are the only club to win all three divisional play-offs. They won the Championship finals in 2010, the League One finals in 2007, and the League Two (then Fourth and Third Divisions) in 1992 and 2001.

West Ham United

• This is West Ham United's first trip to Wembley since the 1981 League Cup final against Liverpool. The Hammers drew the game 1-1, with Ray Stewart scoring a penalty in the 120th minute, but went on to lose the replay at Villa Park 2-1.

• West Ham United have appeared at Wembley nine times previously, winning on five occasions - the 1964, 1975 and 1980 FA Cup finals, 1965 European Cup Winners' Cup final and 1940 Football League War Cup final.

• West Ham United finished the season in third place, two points behind second-place Southampton, three points behind champions Reading and eleven ahead of fifth-place Blackpool.

• The Hammers broke the club record for most away wins in a season. Before the season the record stood at eleven games set in 1922/23 and 1957/58. West Ham United won 13 away games this season, scoring 40 goals.

• Throughout the whole season, the Hammers scored 81 Championship goals, the second highest total behind Southampton (85).

• West Ham United reached the Play-off final after beating Cardiff City 5-0 over two legs. Jack Collison scored twice in the first leg away at Cardiff before Kevin Nolan, Ricardo Vaz Te and Nicky Maynard scored to give the Hammers a 3-0 victory at the Boleyn Ground.

• West Ham United have beaten Blackpool twice this season. This first victory came on 15 October 2011 at the Boleyn Ground. A brace from Sam Baldock and goals from John Carew and Jack Collison gave the Hammers a resounding 4-0 victory. The second victory on 21 February 2012 came in spectacular fashion. The Hammers took Bloomfield Road by storm as they won 4-1 despite having goalkeeper Robert Green sent off; Henri Lansbury took the gloves and kept a clean sheet. James Tomkins, Nicky Maynard, Gary O'Neil and Ricardo Vaz Te were on target.


• Blackpool, under the management of Ian Holloway, finished in fifth place, eleven points behind West Ham United.

• This is Blackpool's first season back in the Championship after being relegated from the Premier League at the end of last year along with the Hammers and Birmingham City.

• The Tangerines have enjoyed a successful season after recovering from the loss of key players such as captain Charlie Adam to Liverpool and David Vaughan to Sunderland.

• Blackpool are the Championship's fighters having gained more points from drawing and losing positions than any other side in the division.

• The Tangerines are unbeaten in nine games and reached the Play-Off final after beating Birmingham City 3-2 over the two legs. Tom Ince gave Blackpool a 1-0 win in the first leg at Bloomfield Road before Holloway's men held off a late surge by the Blues in the second leg to draw 2-2.

• Blackpool have never lost in the Football League Play-Offs, gaining promotion from Division Four in 1992, League One in 2007 and the Championship in 2010. The Tangerines went from the bottom division to the Premier League without gaining automatic promotion.

Team news

West Ham United

• West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has a strong squad to choose from, with Jack Collison back in training after the shoulder injury he suffered in the Play-Off semi-final second leg victory over Cardiff City.

• Right-back Joey O'Brien is facing a battle to be fit for the final as he continues his recovery from a leg problem.


• Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has no major injury concerns ahead of Saturday's big game.

Last Time Out

Monday 7 May 2012
npower Championship Play-Off semi-final second leg
West Ham United 3-0 Cardiff City
West Ham United: Green, Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Taylor, O'Neil, Noble, Nolan (McCartney 69), Collison (Lansbury 48), Cole (Maynard 86), Vaz Te
Goals: Nolan (15), Vaz Te (40), Maynard (90)
Subs not used: Henderson, Faubert

Wednesday 9 May 2012
npower Championship Play-Off semi-final second leg
Birmingham City 2-2 Blackpool
Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey, M.Phillips (K.Phillips 86), Ferguson, Angel, Ince (Southern 69), Dobbie (Dicko 76), Taylor-Fletcher
Goals: Dobbie (45), M.Phillips (48)
Subs not used: Cathcart, Halstead

Last six meetings

21 February 2012 Blackpool 1-4 West Ham United (Championship)
15 October 2011 West Ham United 4-0 Blackpool (Championship)
2 February 2011 Blackpool 1-3 West Ham United (Premier League)
13 November 2010 West Ham United 0-0 Blackpool (Premier League
27 February 1971 Blackpool 1-1 West Ham United (Division One)
2 January 1971 Blackpool 4-0 West Ham United (FA Cup third round)

Overall record v Blackpool (all competitions) W 21 D 13 L 20

Ten-year records

West Ham United

2010/11 Premier League 20th (relegated to Championship)
2009/10 Premier League 17th
2008/09 Premier League 9th
2007/08 Premier League 10th
2006/07 Premier League 15th
2005/06 Premier League 9th
2004/05 Championship 6th (promoted to Premier League via play-offs)
2003/04 Championship 4th
2002/03 Premier League 18th (relegated to Championship)
2001/02 Premier League 7th


2010/11 Premier League 19th (relegated to the Championship)
2009/10 Championship 6th (promoted to Premier League via play-offs)
2008/09 Championship 16th
2007/08 Championship 19th
2006/07 League One 3rd (promoted to Championship via play-offs)
2005/06 League One 19th
2004/05 League One 16th
2003/04 League One 14th
2002/03 League One 13th
2001/02 League One 16th


• Saturday's referee will be Howard Webb, who last took charge of a Hammers game with the 3-1 defeat by Birmingham City in the Carling Cup semi-final second leg on 26 January 2011.

• Webb took charge of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final between Spain and Netherlands in South Africa.

• Webb began officiating in Yorkshire in 1989. He took charge of his first Barclays Premier League match as a referee in October 2003 and has since been the man-in-the-middle for a host of high-profile fixtures.

• Webb also refereed the 2005 FA Community Shield, 2006 FA Trophy final and 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, as well as taking charge of his first UEFA Champions League match in 2006. The former police officer was referee for the 2007 Carling Cup final and was selected as England's representative at Euro 2008, taking charge of the first match of the tournament between Austria and Poland and the Group D fixture between Greece and eventual champions Spain.

Us and Them

• Sam Allardyce took up his first full-time managerial post when he was appointed as Blackpool boss in July 1994. Big Sam spent two seasons in charge at Bloomfield Road, leading the Tangerines to their highest league finish in 18 years in 1995/96. Blackpool finished third in Division Two (now League One) before being defeated in the Play-Offs. Of the 102 matches he took charge of at Blackpool, Big Sam won 44, lost 23 and drew 35.

• Blackpool winger Tom Ince is the son of former West Ham United and England midfielder Paul Ince.

• Six players have made their West Ham United debuts against Blackpool - Tommy Hodgson, William Williams (both May 1922), Jim Holmes (September 1936), Colin Mackleworth (December 1966), John McDowell (October 1970) and Robbie Keane (February 2011).

• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are L.Armeson (guest player), Louis Cardwell (guest player), George Dick, Marlon Harewood, Walter Miller, Adam Nowland, Les Sealey, Don Travis and Bob Wyllie.

General information

West Ham United have completely SOLD OUT their allocation of tickets for Wembley. There will be no tickets available on the day.

The forecast for Saturday at Wembley is for a cloudy but warm day with temperatures set to hit a maximum of 17C.

• On public transport, the London Underground Central line will be closed between Liverpool Street and Marble Arch. c2c services will run as normal. Greater Anglia services between Bishop's Stortford and Stratford will terminate at Seven Sisters. For full details of Greater Anglia service disruption, click here.

• The nearest London Underground station to Wembley is Wembley Park, which is served by the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines. To plan your journey, click here.