Trial date set in £150k Oyston damages claim - but will it go ahead?

Blackpool fans protest against the club owners outside the ground

Blackpool fans protest against the club owners outside the ground

A trial date has been set in a £150,000 legal action brought by the owners of Blackpool Football Club against a fan.

But The Gazette understands the case against Paul Crashley, who runs the Back Henry Street web forum, may not reach court and could be resolved before the January 31 hearing.

Official court documents show both Karl and Owen Oyston, plus Blackpool Football Club, are claiming damages of a maximum £50,000 each.

The case surrounds comments made by website users posting on the popular Back Henry Street forum, which is operated by Mr Crashley.

The court document says: “Damages including damages for Libel contained in the words published by the defendant posted on the backhenrystreet.co.uk website from the 9th April 2014 until the 1st November 2014.”

It adds: “None of the claimants can say how much they expect to receive but each of the claimants limits their respective claim to £50,000.”

A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for next month.

The trial is scheduled to last three days.

The Gazette understands attempts are being made to prevent the case reaching that stage, with Mr Crashley asked to close down the website.

It comes after the Oystons and Blackpool Football Club dropped a libel claim against Pool fan Jeremy Smith at the 11th hour.

Mr Smith had the civil case brought against him after he was pictured holding up a doctored Gazette front page on Owen Oyston, with the headline: ‘We Are Not Thieves’ - with part of the headline scribbled out.

In a statement following the case, the club said: “Following lengthy discussions between majority shareholder Owen Oyston and Chairman Karl Oyston, it has been agreed that to continue a case against supporter Jeremy Smith is not in the best interests of the club or wider support base.”

It added the club had been made “acutely aware” by fans that existing court cases should be settled.

Legal action launched against fans behind pitch invasions which led to the abandonment of matches against Huddersfield and Lancaster City continues.