Even though he won’t be at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool fans won’t have to go very far to spot Paul Ince this weekend as thousands of supporters hope to make his presence felt across the resort.
Since The Gazette joined forces with Radio Wave to produce 10,000 masks of the Blackpool manager, seasiders fans have pulled on the masks to back their man.
The former Manchester United and Liverpool player begins a five match stadium ban during Saturday’s game against Wigan Athletic.
He will be nowhere near the ground when his players kick off at 12.15pm, but a sea of Paul Ince’s will be in the crowd.
The masks have so far won support from the masses around Blackpool’s iconic locations from the Comedy Carpet to North Pier.
Gerard Loftus, 41, from Central Blackpool, donned the mask in the town centre’s HMV store in Bank Hey Street. He said: “The masks are a great idea and it will get the fans behind the team. It’s unheard of for a manager to get a ban like this and I think it will affect the team if he’s not there on the touchline.”
Christy Grady, 18, and Daniel Grady, 14, were on holiday in the town from Whitby, North Yorkshire.
Christy said: “The masks are great and a good idea to get everyone in the town behind the team.”
Skateboarder Callum Kirk-Sweeney, 22, from Lincoln Road, Blackpool, was wearing his mask on the Comedy Carpet.
He said: “They are pretty cool. It shows the support for the team and providing the players work together it will help.”
James Willian, 17, of Bentinck Avenue, South Shore, added: “They are great and a good laugh and I think it will work for Blackpool.”
The masks will be distributed outside Bloomfield Road on Saturday prior to kick-off where we will ask fans for a small donation.
All proceeds will be split between The Gazette’s Hospice Heroes appeal – which is raising funds for Trinity and Brian House – and Radio Wave’s chosen charity Variety: A Children’s Charity.