Blackpool fans in police probe

Police at the scene outside Oyston's Estate Agents on Clifton Street yesterday
Police at the scene outside Oyston's Estate Agents on Clifton Street yesterday
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Two Blackpool fans have been quizzed on suspicion of harassment after a day of protests against the running of the club – involving a mobile karaoke van.

The men – aged 33 and 47 – were arrested by police outside Oyston’s Estate Agents on Clifton Street, Blackpool at around 1pm yesterday.

It was a huge over reaction, I don’t think there would have been that many police officers for an armed robbery.

Blackpool supporter Andy Grice

A Lancashire Police spokesman initially said their arrests were as a result of an incident outside the Blackpool FC hotel on Bloomfield Road yesterday morning when a group of fans used a mobile karaoke van to protest against the Oyston family.

But the force later clarified it was to do with an “ongoing harassment case.”

The arrests happened after three people, according to police, tried to enter the estate agents with Blackpool FC scarves covering their faces.

The two arrested men – who The Gazette is choosing not to name – were not among the three to enter the property but were at the scene.

Blackpool supporter Andy Grice was on Clifton Street at the time of the arrests, and described scenes as ‘over the top.’

He said: “It was a huge over reaction, I don’t think there would have been that many police officers for an armed robbery.

“The protest appeared to be totally peaceful, there wasn’t even a hint of trouble.

“They even paid for 
parking.”

Yesterday morning, a group of fans were seen outside the Blackpool FC hotel playing a number of money related songs and shouting anti-Oyston jibes over a PA system attached to the karaoke van.

They remained there for around half an hour before being agreeing to a police request to move on to Central Car Park, opposite the main entrance to Blackpool Football Club.

After around an hour the group, which by now had gained numbers to around 20, gathered outside the club’s training ground where they tried to speak to players to ensure they knew the protests were aimed at the Oystons and not the new batch in Neil McDonald’s struggling squad.

Around 1pm, the group headed for the town centre and Oyston’s estate agents where police arrived and arrested the two men.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We received reports at least three people tried to get into the office wearing football scarves over their faces.

“Two men have been arrested in connection with an ongoing harassment case.”

Pool currently lie bottom of the League One table having lost four out of their five competitive games so far this season.

It is the latest episode in the soap opera surrounding the football club and the stewardship of Karl Oyston and his father Owen.

In April last year Pool’s game against Burnley was delayed after 200 tennis balls were thrown onto the pitch, coming at a time of almost constant in-stadium protests.

The following season the action was moved outside of the stadium, with pre-match demonstrations becoming the norm ahead of Pool’s home games.

On the final day of last season a huge march was followed by a pitch invasion which resulted in Pool’s Championship game against Huddersfield Town being abandoned after just 48 minutes.

The pre-season friendly at Lancaster in July ended in similar fashion, when a group of fans invaded the field in Neil McDonald’s first game in charge.

It’s not only matchdays which have been targeted. Protest group ‘Tangerine Knights’ have been involved in a number of stunts, including trips to chairman Karl Oyston’s home in the rural Lancashire village of Waddington, near Clitheroe.

In a tweet, supporters group Tangerine Knights said: “There are many battles we will face before we get our club back, we may lose some, but we will win the war in the end if we stick together.”