Sunday, June 12, 2011

12 June 1971 - Blackpool, International Champions

On 12 June 1971, Blackpool won their first (and to date only) international trophy, beating Bologna in the Anglo-Italian Cup.

Organized by agent Luigi Peronace in 1970, the Anglo-Italian Cup matched teams from six teams from each country. For the 1971 edition, those teams were Blackpool, Huddersfield Town, Swindon Town, Crystal Palace, West Brom, and Stoke City, while the Italian teams were Bologna, Cagliari, Inter Milan, Roma, Sampdoria, and Verona. Teams from both countries were mixed into three groups. The clubs from each country with the most points at the end of the group stage then faced each other in the final.

The final was played before a crowd of 26,00o at Bologna's Stadio Renato Dall'Ara. The hosts went ahead in the 32nd minute, beating Blackpool's 19-year old goalkeeper, John Burridge. After the break, Blackpool fought with renewed energy in the Italian heat and were rewarded with a 62nd-minute equalizer from John Craven. Still level at the end of regulation, Blackpool's Micky Burns scored the extra-time winner in the 99th minute.

Blackpool returned to the final in 1972, but lost to Roma. After the 1973 tournament, interest in the competition waned and it was not held again until 1992. The renewed tournament fared no better than the previous one, however, and the last tournament was played in 1996.

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