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BST Gazette Column


Blackpool’s promotion to the Premier League changed the paradigm at Bloomfield Road both in terms of club finances and in terms of supporter expectations. That phrase about “the best trip” is no less true for being a cliché. We enjoyed a fantastic couple of years and the town was buzzing. It was not unreasonable to expect that the platform achieved by the team of 2010/11 could and would be built on, to ensure at least a club capable of challenging for honours in the Championship and a team that both long-time fans and young supporters would be proud to call their own for years to come. That it should have all been allowed to fall apart so quickly and so calamitously is deeply damaging not only to the club and its supporters but to the town and its community.

As supporters we are hurting and are hugely concerned about the strange paradox of a “cash rich” club, our club, sliding inexorably down the league. A football club is not just a business; it is a social enterprise and supporters are loyal against all odds for emotional reasons. The business of football is about ensuring that the club is as successful on the pitch as it can be and balancing any profit against that outcome. On that measure, the business has failed abjectly for the last five years. It is all very well for Owen Oyston to state “we are doing our utmost to put things right and learning from our mistakes” but talk is cheap and it is actions alone that will convince supporters that the owners have the footballing side of the ‘business’ at heart.

There has been no real evidence of that for so long now that many fans have become utterly disenchanted and are boycotting Bloomfield Road until there is a change in direction from the boardroom. Even those faithful fans who continue to turn up each week can see that the reason Blackpool is in the predicament it is - flirting with yet another relegation – is because of lack of suitable ambition, investment and commitment to the real business of football from the owners.

Blackpool Supporters’ Trust believes that fans should have an active say and a stake in how Blackpool FC is run and as the largest fans organisation at the club we are looking for a constructive solution to the present malaise, so we are in the process of replying to Owen Oyston privately regarding our bid for the club. We would like to think that he might take note of a quote from the late, great Bill Shankly who said: “Above all, I would like to be remembered as a man who was selfless, who strove and worried so that others could share the glory, and who built up a family of people who could hold their heads up high and say ‘We’re Liverpool.’” That is a proper expression of the community spirit that we believe football can give rise to and that is the Trust’s aspiration for this club. We are Blackpool FC.

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