Blackpool were sadly out of their depth in another vintage year

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway
Clive Smith says he would not like to arm wrestle athlete Caster Semenya 		Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

CLIVE SMITH: English pigs? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

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Fifteen minutes after Blackpool’s Premier League life had ebbed away at Old Trafford, I passed manager Ian Holloway on the stairs outside the press room.

I offered lame condolences and told him: ‘We are going to miss you and your team.’

He nodded and said ‘thanks’.

But for once this wonderfully entertaining cavalier character just looked shellshocked and had little to say.

This was the saddest story on the most dramatic final day imaginable because Blackpool were so much fun, and it was typical of their style that they dared to lead 2-1 at Old Trafford before their dodgy defence let them down.

In each of the past seven seasons, Blackpool and Birmingham’s 39 points would have been enough. Not this time.

On the train home from Manchester, news broke of Chelsea’s frankly laughable decision to sack last year’s double-winning manager Carlo Ancelotti.

It really is very difficult to take people like Chelsea’s trigger-happy owner Roman Abramovich seriously.

Manchester United were deserved champions, but only five away wins is the worst of any winners for 34 years – so this was not a vintage edition.

Some other thoughts from my commentary gantry:

PLAYER OF THE SEASON: Nemanja Vidic – magnificent rock in United’s title win.

BEST NEWCOMER: It has to be the man whose 20 goals gave Manchester United the ‘Mex Factor’ – Chicharito Hernandez.

BEST BUYS: Peter Odemwingie hit 15 Premier League goals after costing West Brom only £2.5m.

GOAL: Wayne Rooney’s bicycle-kick volley in the Manchester derby.

TOP MANAGER: Surely Ian Holloway if he had kept a bargain basement Blackpool team up – but Sir Alex Ferguson gets my vote.

He seems to get even better with age.

STRANGEST SEASON: Roy Hodgson turned from Liverpool villain to West Brom hero in a matter of months.

A lesson for all clubs to find the right fit.

WORST DECISION: Blackburn’s naïve new owners Venky’s sacked reliable Sam Allardyce and nearly managed to get the club relegated.

HYPOCRISY AWARD 1: Jointly won by Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez, who swore their undying love for their clubs days after going into a strop and wanting out.

HYPOCRISY AWARD 2: Goes to the West Ham board, who accused some players of a lack of commitment, then failed to turn up to watch their team in a vital game at Manchester City.

A BAD YEAR FOR: Arsene Wenger.

His misplaced trust and failure to fill glaring holes in Arsenal’s make-up led to an alarming slide and a sixth year without a trophy.

WORST BUY: Fernando Torres, whose £50m move to Chelsea has produced one goal in four months.

But will we be saying that a year from now?

OTHER FLOPS: Bebe (Man Utd), Joe Cole and Christian Poulsen (Liverpool), Alex Hleb (Birmingham), Mauro Boselli (Wigan) and, surprisingly, James Milner (Manchester City).

BEST TAKEOVER: The Boston Red Sox owners have revitalised Liverpool and made the season’s best move in appointing Kenny Dalglish.

TOP YOUNGSTERS: Jack Wilshere, Daniel Sturridge, Javier Hernandez, Phil Jones, James McCarthy, Junior Hoilett, Chris Smalling and Seamus Coleman.

BEST FOOTBALL COVERAGE: Monday mornings’ Guardian always has a quirky new take on the weekend’s action.

COMMENTATOR: Mike Ingham (BBC Radio 5Live).

His sidekick Alan Green is higher profile, but Ingham is polished and classy.

TOO MUCH OF: Colin Murray, who clearly has his fans. I am not one of them.

RADIO STATION: Talksport’s bloke-down-the-pub-style blanket football coverage is eating away at the audience of 5Live.