Sam Oyston pays Pool fan £20,000 in damages

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The son of Blackpool FC chairman Karl Oyston has issued a grovelling apology after paying a fan £20,000 in damages over comments he made on social media.

Samuel Oyston has apologised “unreservedly” for claims made on Twitter to Pool fan Andy Grice.

It is the first time a supporter has been awarded damages from a member of the Oyston family following a series of disputes with supporters.

In February last year, Oyston junior published a tweet on his Twitter account referencing Mr Grice’s time working at the Paris Casino in Bloomfield Road.

Oyston said: “@andy grice...How come you left the casino? Or is it a touchy subject? #stickyfingers”

His allegation came after an incident in June 2013, when Paris Casino boss Pierre Coulon was convicted of rigging a roulette game to allow a friend to win £500.

Coulon used a computer to manipulate the electronic roulette wheel at Paris Casino, where he was operations manager, in order to help a female friend win on the numbers she bet.

Coulon, of Fox Lane, Leyland, who had no previous convictions, was sentenced to carry out 60 hours’ unpaid work for the community and pay £500 compensation to the casino as well as a £60 victims’ surcharge at Blackpool magistrates’ court.

Following the first message, Mr Grice asked Mr Oyston to retract the allegation, but he refused and invited him to “leave it to the legals”.

In a later tweet Samuel Oyston referenced Mr Grice’s username on a fans forum confirming he would not apologise.

But in a statement issued on Tuesday evening, he said he was sorry for the distress his actions had caused.

He added: “Mr Grice has been employed for many years in casinos in both in Blackpool and other locations and his honesty and integrity are of the utmost importance. I accept that my tweet would have been understood as alleging that Mr Grice was guilty of theft. That allegation is completely false and unfounded and I retract it.

“I also apologise unreservedly to Mr Grice for the damage and distress my actions have caused. I have agreed to pay Mr Grice damages and his legal costs in the total sum of £20,000.”

The statement is the latest twist in a series of legal wrangles between the Oystons and Pool fans.

Last month supporters raised more than £20,000 for fan Frank Knight after he was sued for comments made on Facebook to Karl and Owen Oyston.

The latest development in the club’s off-the-field drama follows the ongoing legal disputes with another fan, David Ragozzino, and online forum Back Henry Street, as well as two other cases that ended with a public apology.

Mr Grice was unavailable for comment.

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