Pool fans at centre of ticket probe

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FOOTBALL chiefs are investigating whether Blackpool FC’s own fans were responsible for a Wembley ticket farce.

Hundreds of West Ham fans were able to gain entry to the part of the national stadium designated for Seasiders supporters ahead of Saturday’s Championship Play-Off final – leading to ugly scenes.

And Blackpool FC today confirmed it has identified two individuals – known to the Bloomfield Road club – who are believed to have bulk bought tickets which were then acquired by Hammers supporters.

Seasiders’ Secretary Matt Williams said an investigation into how tickets got into the wrong hands now involved the Football League and the police.

He said: “We have identified two individuals who bought a large number of tickets. Some of the problematic areas (at Wembley) have been areas where these seats were bought.

“It appears these tickets have got into the hands of West Ham supporters.

“We have passed this information on to the police and the Football League and are continuing with our investigation.

“When people buy large numbers of tickets, such as these two individuals have done, they sign a disclaimer saying that if the tickets end up in the hands of opposition supporters they run the risk of being prosecuted.”

Mr Williams said the club was having discussions internally about what action it may take against supporters found to have sold tickets to West Ham fans, but would “fully support” any action taken by other authorities.

He added the club and the Football League had both learned lessons about how tickets should be sold for future finals at Wembley.

It is believed the League has changed its policy for this weekend’s Play-Off finals, with tickets being sold on a block by block basis rather than the full allocation going on sale at the same time.

The Gazette was inundated with complaints from supporters who said young children had been left in tears by their experience at Wembley.

Anne Furness, of Staining Road, Staining, who was at Wembley with her eight-year-old grandson, said they had batteries and fluid thrown down on them, and were spat at by West Ham fans who had seats in the tier above them.

Another Blackpool fan Mark Hodson said he witnessed many young fans “distressed and crying because they felt unsafe.”