Valeri Belokon has blasted Karl and Owen Oyston over the way they run Blackpool FC – demanding instant investment in the squad.
In a no-holds-barred letter to Pool’s chairman and owner, obtained last night by The Gazette, the Latvian accused the pair of failing the supporters by putting financial gain ahead of footballing matters.
He slammed the Oystons for the millions paid out to their associated companies – without, he says, his “approval” – while at the same time the club’s Premier League team had been “dismantled” with “our beloved club nearly being relegated from the Championship.”
Belokon, who pumped £1.8m into the club back in 2006 – in return for 20 per cent shares – then added: “Now it’s time to pay back what you have taken and finally ‘Put Football First’.”
The cash the Latvian invested into the club back in 2006 helped fund the transfers of Premier League stars Charlie Adam and Neal Eardley.
Belokon, 54, has taken a back seat since the club were relegated from the Premier League in 2011, but sensationally broke his public silence last night, citing ‘growing concerns over the current situation’ as his motivation.
The club currently has just eight registered players with just two weeks until the start of the season, in a summer in which there has been a stand off between new manager Jose Riga and Karl Oyston while fans have stepped up their calls for the Oystons to sell up.
The letter read: “I am alarmed to see that only two weeks before the start of the season we are in the unacceptable position of only having eight registered players and little sign of the Premiership parachute payments being spent where they should be, on the team, the stadium and training ground.”
“At the same time we have seen the squad Ian Holloway put together with my assistance, and which richly entertained all true football fans, dismantled with our beloved club nearly being relegated from The Championship last season.”
Following Belokon’s investment, Pool won promotion to the Premier League earning more than £100m in television money, with the final chunk (of around £12m) to be received in the coming months.
Club accounts, which hit the headlines after they showed that Oyston received an £11m payment following the club’s season in the Premier League, also detail other multi-million pound transactions.
At the time chairman Karl Oyston defended the club’s accounts and, in an interview with The Gazette, said his father had pumped millions into the club since the 1980s and would continue to invest in the future when needed.
Other transactions included a £4.2m loan to Protoplan Ltd, owned and controlled by Oyston Snr, was also repaid in the financial year.
Another £1.5m was paid to Promenade Developers Ltd, £280,924 to Promenade Construction Ltd, and £62,063 to Promenade Interiors Ltd for work developing the stadium.
All three businesses are owned and controlled by Owen Oyston.
It means the amount paid to Oyston senior through “group accruals and deferred income”, loans and freehold purchases totals more than £23.5m.
Something which Belokon was critical of in his letter.
He added: “Since Blackpool Football Club was promoted to the Premier League you have paid yourself more than £11.5m pounds in salaries and, in addition more than £24m interest free loans to your various companies all without my approval.”
With the final ‘parachute payment’ due to be received in the coming months, Belokon has called upon the club to put the whole amount back into the footballing side.
“In the name of the Blackpool Football Club I kindly ask you to deposit all remaining incoming Premier League and Football League funds into a public escrow (holding) account in our joint names and only release these funds for the purpose of creating a competitive football team,” said Belokon.
While Oyston was unwilling to respond to the letter late last night, he promised a reply to the claims in The Gazette in the coming days.
Belokon’s renewed involvement has been prompted by the newly formed Blackpool Supporters Trust who have recently met with Belokon to discuss the club.
And their chairman Tim Fielding said he agrees with the Latvian’s thoughts.
“I have to say we echo everything Mr Belokon has said,” he told The Gazette.
“It’s these concerns about the club which have led us to forming the Trust, no-one knows what’s going on at the moment, nor do we like it.
“It’s nothing personal against Karl or Owen, we just want them to put football first.”