We asked Gazette readers what they think of Pool’s slump down the table - and you responded in your thousands.
Blackpool’s 3-1 defeat to Derby county saw the team slip ever closer to the perilous depths of the relegation zone, but the night will perhaps be remembered as much for events off the pitch as those on it.
The closing stages of the match were marred by ugly scenes when angry Seasiders fans clashed with police and stewards as they congregated in front of the stand where chairman Karl Oyston was sitting.
Outside the ground there were also protests, with one fan parking a van emblazoned with an anti-Oyston banner outside the Bloomfield Road end of the ground.
Today Blackpool Supporters Association sent an open letter to Karl Oyston urging him to take fans’ concerns seriously
Dear Mr Oyston,
To say this season has turned into another disaster is a massive understatement. Despite being in the Premier League three years ago, we are now edging closer to relegation to the third tier surrounded by anger, frustration and general feelings of floundering and regression.
While some of your policies have worked in the past, our last two seasons have very little to show for them and the team have gone backwards on the pitch as a result. It does not feel incorrect to call it a dismal failure. The ever-growing vociferousness of the matchday crowds should show you the depth of feeling within the fan base about the club’s current position.
A number of fans feel that you have treated them with little more than utter contempt. As the chairman of the club it should be within your scope to recognise the part the fans play in keeping the club going. There is emotional and financial investment in a football club, sometimes going back generations, which makes the supporters stakeholders with as much attachment and concern for its prosperity as any shareholder.
Should we be relegated, ultimately the reasons for this have to stop with you. That is your role as leader, and we hope that you will admit that you have made mistakes and have failed to give the club the direction it needed when we were “rudderless” in early 2013.
However, whatever division we find ourselves in next season we believe it is vital that decisions are taken early. These include, but are not necessarily limited to:
1)The appointment of an ambitious manager who has the desire and passion to succeed, and has a medium-to-long term plan in place, developed alongside you, as to what success is and how he wants to achieve it;
2)To have a clear transfer strategy and to back the manager in the transfer market, not only by meeting transfer valuations necessary to bring players of proven quality to this club, but also by offering market price salaries and contracts that will keep players at the club for longer than 12 months in order for him to have the best possible chance of rebuilding the club;
3) To have the vast majority of the squad in place in time for pre-season training June/July to enable the manager to work with them before the start of the season;
4) To press ahead with the development of a fit for purpose training ground;
5) To continue to communicate with supporters and to engage in constructive dialogue with them.
You and your family may be the current owners of the club but you are also the guardians of an institution. In this position it is your responsibility to develop this institution, to let it flourish, grow and move forwards. There are several thousand people who have made both emotional and financial investments to the club, and they are all hurting at the moment. We believe that whatever the league position the club and fans need to pull together and be shown that those at the top believe in taking this club forward and restoring some pride to the famous tangerine shirts.
As the official supporters club BSA are keen to work with you to achieve these goals but our position is compromised and undermined if you are not seen to take the genuine concerns of supporters seriously. We would therefore urge even closer dialogue with us in future and a clear statement and actions of positive intent for the future of our football club at the earliest opportunity.
Seasiders Independent Supporters Association
Seasiders Independent Supporters Association (SISA) has previously held protests about the running of the club and, while the organisation was not responsible for this stunt, its chairman Tim Fielding believes it demonstrates the “serious concern” of the Pool faithful about the club’s current predicament.
He said: “This has been brewing for a while.
“This hasn’t crept up overnight, it’s a long-term problem.
“We feel the priorities at the moment are those of the Oystons’ business interests, which are being put ahead of the football.
“From our organisation’s perspective it’s wholly unacceptable and it really was a bit of a tipping point on Tuesday.
“I’ve been a fan since 1978 and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that level of protest against the owners in the stadium.
“It was spontaneous and it was fans saying ‘we’ve had enough and we’re going to let you know what we think about what’s going on.’”
A picture of Karl Oyston posing next to the banner was Tweeted by his son Sam, who runs the club’s hotel in the stadium, and went viral before the game.Speaking to The Gazette under the condition of anonymity, the fan responsible for the billboard stunt said: “I don’t think he did himself any favours at all by having his picture taken with it.
“They’re just mocking the fans and I don’t think they really understand the strength of feeling towards what’s going on at the club at the moment.
“I certainly don’t condone any sort of violence or going too far in front of children but this kind of thing is only going to escalate.
“They say it doesn’t bother them but if it didn’t bother them why not just ignore it?
“It’s purposely trying to antagonise the fans.”
Music journalist and Seasiders fan John Robb published an open letter to Karl Oyston on his website.
He said: “Surely it’s time for football to put it’s house in order. Clubs should be run as part of the community. They should inspire the local youth to play sport, to be involved and not be there to squeeze every last penny out of the town and into the back pockets of the people that run them.
“The people are now as asking Oyston - where has all the money gone? What the devil is going on?
“It’s time for football clubs to be run by the fans and for the fans. It’s time for football clubs to represent the communities they are based in.
“It’s time for football clubs not to be feudal states run for the big profits of the bosses. We look with envy to the German model and we want more from our organisations.
“It’s time for the fans to rise up and take their clubs back – whether it’s Blackpool or all the other clubs being run into the ground.
“It’s time for Oyston to leave – not sell the club but give the club back to the people and to the town.”
What you’ve been saying online...
Dozens of Pool fans took to The Gazette website after the match to share their view on the protests.
Norville Rogers said: “There is only one way to protest that will hit them where it hurts and may even get them to stand up and listen.
“That is to not to go to the games and switch your support to other football in the area, like AFC Blackpool or AFC Fylde.”
RM said: “Time for us all to pull together.
“I was upset with the “protest” last night but from where I was sitting it was only a tiny minority who took part.
“Things like this are only going to make this club a laughing stock and I was ashamed of some of the antics of the few last night.
“In defence of Mr Oyston I don’t blame him for posing next to the billboard. People would have only sniped at him if he ignored it.
“Let’s just unite for the rest of this season and have a real go next season.”
TheArchitect said: “The only way Oyston will listen is if you stop paying.
“Go to the ground, stay in the car park, listen to the match on the radio, cheer and chant but do not go through the turnstiles.”
Hobbler2 said: “We had just built up a reasonable gate level for what we can achieve and now to see everything we have been through I can speak personally as I started watching in 1962, it has all been in vain when you look at what we have been left with - a hopeless mess with the wrong people at the helm and wearing Tangerine.”
The wheels have fallen off said: “I have a season ticket but stopped going a few months ago. I shan’t renew my season ticket, nor support a team of loan players. BFC is destroyed.”
Mazola said: “The time to show your protest and deprive Oyston of his money is the Burnley game next Friday.”
Twitter was also abuzz with debate from Tangerines supporters. @seanbfc said: “Enough is enough now, its about time people took a stand!” @J55JHA said: “More protests required, why would players try their best and risk injury when they have no future at the club?” @StuartJeynes said: “The scenes at BFC last night will get worse if individuals do not start taking responsibility.” @mark_meadows said: “If only five (players) are contracted for next season why would the others bother to save us?” @AndyKingHerod said: “We’re going down, simple as that. The last game against Charlton is going to be seriously toxic.” @AntStephen said: “I had decided to renew whichever division we were in next season. After yesterday, I’m giving it more thought now.” @SgtClem: “How about trying to get behind your team instead of blaming the owner.” @Oystonoutnow said: “Protests are the only way. One man to blame and that’s Oyston. Fans and players have given up we will go down.” @benbradley1234 said: “If you want to hurt Oyston don’t go to the games.” @SarahMonty said: “Why should children and elderly people get shouted & sworn at disgusting behaviour!” @CLBrosnan93 said: “I can’t see Blackpool winning another game this season, and I think they’re off down. And unless Oyston leaves, the may not bounce back.” @NatalieCharlesworth said: “You can understand frustrations. But I think we need to support the team .”