Fans heading to watch Blackpool FC at the weekend could be forgiven for thinking a funeral procession had become caught up in the football traffic.
For frustrated supporters angry at the way the club is being run by chairman Karl Oyston held a demonstration outside Bloomfield Road on Saturday, staging a funeral march to symbolise the death of the club’s Premier League legacy.
Despite going on to win 1-0 against Huddersfield Town, the Seasiders are languishing at the wrong end of the table – and some fans feel it is time for drastic action.
But while hundreds of supporters joined the demonstration in the pouring rain, there were mixed views among supporters on their way to the game about the march.
The protest was organised by the Seasiders’ Independent Supporters Association (SISA), which claimed around 700 people took part – although the official figure on the number of people there has not yet been verified.
SISA secretary Kevin Boroduwicz said: “We want to encourage the owners to be more responsible to the supporters, to put football first and invest in the infrastructure of the club.
“We are happy for any owner to make a reasonable profit but we feel that has been put ahead of the good of the club.
“There is a very strong feeling for a lot of people to come out on a day like this, when it’s pouring down.
“There is a sense among supporters that something needs to change.
“The response has been very positive from people that saw the march and said they would have liked to get involved.”
But not everyone is convinced the protest will help. Supporter Stephen Krajnyk said he is not a fan of the way the Oystons are running the club .
But he added: “The march is not going to bother them. The only way it is going to make a difference is if people stop buying tickets.
“But the Oystons need to realise it is a football club, not just a business.”
Another supporter on his way through the turnstiles, who asked not to be named, said the protest could do more harm than good.
He added: “I think it’s the wrong time of the season to do it because we are in a relegation battle. I want the Oystons out but I think we should wait until the end of the season.”
Clive Barnes said he has faith in the club’s owners.
He said: “Over the long term, the chairman has kept the club stable . We are not in debt like other clubs.
“This is the time of the season when we should be getting behind the team.”