BFC u-turn in row with trader

Stephen Russell

Stephen Russell

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A FATHER-of-four whose business was raided by Trading Standards over a copyright row with Blackpool Football Club has now secured a victory after scoring a contract with Seasiders bosses.

Stephen Russell was left devastated when his merchandise featuring fans’ chants was seized from his You Think We Print shop on Condor Grove, Blackpool.

Blackpool FC claimed Mr Russell had infringed registered trademarks on his products and his premises was raided on the eve of the club’s trip to Wembley Stadium.

The 40-year-old said the raid cost him more than £1,000 in lost stock – but there is a happy ending to the dispute after the club made a dramatic u-turn and asked Mr Russell to become an official supplier.

Mr Russell, of Wyre Grove, central Blackpool, said: “I’m very pleased it’s all worked out. I’ve got the merchandise from my tiny little shop into a Championship club.

“They thought I was a major counterfeiter, but I’m not.

“It’s great the club is helping small businesses rather than taking them out. I’m hoping this is just the start. I’m hoping it’s going to open new doors.”

The Bloomfield Road club is interested in selling two of Mr Russell’s designs in their shop and in turn he will be offered the chance to sell their merchandise through his business.

Richard Wild, head of retail at the football club, said: “We work closely with Trading Standards to ensure our trademarks aren’t infringed and this will always remain the case.

“However, it soon became apparent Mr Russell had produced several designs and lines of merchandise that, with a few necessary alterations, would genuinely be of interest to our supporters.

“Therefore we made the decision to try to support his business and stock some of the designs in our club shop.

“At present we are going through the finer points of the designs themselves but it is pleasing we can support a local man who is simply trying to start his own business and make a living for his family.”