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BST Newsletter #35

BST28/12/2018

Blackpool Supporters’ Trust Newsletter #35 December 2018

A Happy New Year to you all. Let’s hope we see some early progress towards resolution of the dire situation regarding ownership of Blackpool FC. To add to our best wishes and sincere thanks for all of your support, a few encouraging words from Latvia…

A New Year Message From Valeri Belokon:
Dear Blackpool fans,

In this dark but wonderful time of the year I would like to send you good thoughts and wishes.

Yes, our Club is going through perhaps the darkest times in its history. It is very sad and frustrating to see that it takes so long. Another year has passed yet there seems to be no progress.

I have been criticised because of the slow progress that is being made. I share your concerns and take the criticism. I feel the frustration together with you. Unfortunately, the path that we have been forced to take is long, harmful and dividing the fans. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that this is the only path that we can follow given the current circumstances. The progress is slow but it is inevitable. I strongly believe that we will see changes next year.

Today the only person who can make quicker progress is Owen. The fastest way towards a solution is for Owen to settle the Judgement debt and facilitate the changes. Any other proposals, speculations or alternative scenarios would make it lengthier, require extensive due diligence and draw the process out well into 2019. If Owen really wants to help the Club, he needs to pay the debts and allow changes to happen. Unfortunately, the level of trust between us is at its historical lowest point.

I have said before and maintain my position that I would seriously consider my involvement in Blackpool only when the legal dispute with Owen is settled. I would only do it together with a strong local partner. I know that there are serious and honourable businessmen who are thinking about Blackpool FC. At the moment it is too early to discuss my involvement as no agreement has been reached.

Once the legal dispute is settled, I will discuss my future work in Blackpool FC with investors and I will solve the EFL issue.

Every crisis is an opportunity. Every difficult situation needs a different solution to overcome it. This crisis has led to a creation of Blackpool Supporters’ Trust - a strong and reputable organisation with not only local but I would say also a national agenda. Owners can come and go but Blackpool fans will always stay. I would encourage you to stay united, strong and fair. And when the changes come you will come out of this crisis stronger and more confident. Please remain united!

The Club is more than 130 years old now. It has experienced several owners. We have to give credit to Owen Oyston for what he has done for the Club in the past. But sooner or later if you step in the way of progress you need to understand it and allow changes to happen.

Perhaps Owen now needs to realize that the referendum on the subject 'Owen Exit' has already happened. Perhaps it is time for Owen to allow changes to happen.

I wish you all a Happy New Year!
Valeri Belokon

Helpers Requested For Sunderland Game:
Sunderland are expected to bring over 8,000 fans to Bloomfield Road for the game on New Year’s Day. BST will be holding our normal Outdoor Office/moral vigil outside the ground before the game
To leaflet away fans – but given the sheer numbers expected, the committee could do with a helping hand from as many BST members local to Blackpool as possible if you could spare an hour between 2pm and 3pm on Tuesday January 1st.

Arsenal FA Cup Game:
As trailed in last week’s BST column in the Blackpool Gazette, we are once again calling for fans to consider boycotting the FA Cup tie on 5th January, which will be televised on BT Sport. BST is looking to contact, confirm and then publicise a list of pubs from Fleetwood right down to Lytham that will be televising the game on the day so that boycotting fans who want to watch it with other fans for the atmosphere can plan to do so, like a series of mini fanzones. It’s not only a chance to experience the game with other fans without giving anything to the Oystons, it’s also an opportunity to support local businesses instead on match day.

Oyston Out Scarves:
We have a new batch of Oyston Out scarves in stock. At £5 plus p&p they can be ordered from the Shop page on the BST website. They will also be on sale at BST’s ‘outdoor office’ outside the West Stand before all home games until supplies are gone.

Christmas Foodbank Initiative:
Thank you to everyone who donated in aid of our Christmas Foodbank initiative in support of the work that Home-Start and HIS Provision do. Your generosity will make a practical difference to the Christmas enjoyed by some of the most under-privileged families in the local Blackpool community.

Pupils of the newly-formed Armfield Academy also collected for this BST initiative and the Trust plans to work with Armfield Academy in future for the reasons given below.

Armfield Academy: (taken from last Friday’s BST Gazette column)
It was a real privilege for representatives of the BST committee to attend the Armfield Academy last week to receive food donations organised by pupils as part of our ‘Fans supporting foodbanks’ initiative.

The Armfield Academy only opened its doors in September this year and currently has pupils from Reception and year 7. This will expand over the next few years as the new school buildings are completed until eventually the Academy will cater for children from nursery through to age 16. Jimmy Armfield was involved in the early stages of this school project and helped to develop the ethos and direction that the Academy will take.

One of the main ideas which underpins this educational establishment is the intention for the pupils to accept their individual and collective responsibilities as members of a wider community. Head teacher Mark Kilmurray explained to us that he believed very strongly in the need for the school to play an interactive part with the local community and therefore when they heard about the BST foodbank, it was a good opportunity for the pupils to play their part.

BST was delighted to have been invited to accept these items from the pupils and to meet some of the students and staff. It is to be hoped that in the future, this school which bears the name of one of Blackpool FC’s greatest servants, will be able to be involved in the natural partnership between the football club, the Community and Supporters’ Trusts and the local area.


Proposal For Accrington Stanley Away:
It has been suggested that the away game at Accrington on Saturday 2nd February would be a good one to encourage as many Blackpool fans to attend as possible. The reason is two-fold: firstly to show the team and the wider world that there is a significant fan base waiting to put its full support behind the club once the Oystons have gone; secondly because Stanley owner Andy Holt is just the sort of community-focused owner who deserves broad support in the game. Accrington Stanley have confirmed that Blackpool fans will be able to buy tickets from them and it would be an impressive show of fan support if we could sell out our away allocation of approximately 2,000 and make it a Tangerine away day. More details to follow.

Feedback:
Thank you for your continued support. If you think that we can improve what we do or have comments or questions for the Trust – please contact secretary@blackpoolsupporterstrust.com or write to Blackpool Supporters Trust, 16 Falmouth Road, Blackpool FY1 6LH.

The newsletter is a supplement to our website at www.blackpoolsupporterstrust.com where you will find regular news updates and information about the Trust, issues concerning the football club and our involvement in community activities.

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