BLACKPOOL FC chairman Karl Oyston has hit back at claims the club have abandoned stricken youth team coach Gary Parkinson.
The ex-Seasiders player has been left with locked-in syndrome following a devastating stroke last year and a raft of fundraising events have been organised by Parkinson’s former clubs.
But former Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jim Platt – who’s helping to organise a star-studded charity match at the Riverside Stadium – has accused Mr Oyston of failing to back the campaign.
It is a claim refuted by the Seasiders chairman, who said Mr Platt was “entitled to his opinion”.
Mr Platt said Blackpool did have people on the fundraising committee but claimed unlike Mr Parkinson’s other former clubs, Pool’s chairman “flatly refuses to do anything”.
But Mr Oyston told The Gazette: “Gary Parkinson remains an employee of BFC and Deborah (Gary’s wife) is to inform me of the situation with Gary and when he is fit to or wishes to return to work.
“I’ve said all along to everyone the best people to lead this fundraising are the PFA and I think all these very well-meaning but smaller events mean the main event – the benefit match – will be diluted substantially because people only have so much to give.
“I’ve said all along I’m happy to host a match here but the best place is a ground with a bigger capacity and where Gary had his glory years.
“He played half a season for us, if that, and they’ve got one shot to raise funds which really have to look after Gary’s care and recuperation.
“I think one or two have gone about it the wrong way.”
Mr Oyston said he contacted the family last month to offer Bloomfield Road as the venue for an end-of-season benefit match which would pit Pool against a team of the Parkinson family and the PFA’s choosing.
All money raised – aside from the cost of staging the game – would then go to help Mr Parkinson.
The benefit match at the Riverside is being held on Sunday, May 15 and will see Boro names – including current Pool player Jason Euell and Gary’s eldest son – take to the pitch against an all-star team.
Tickets are priced at £10 for adults and £1 for under-16s and are available by calling 0844 499 1234.