BST column: A campaigning voice for the majority

Blackpool fans
Blackpool fans
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Blackpool fans are a resolute and determined bunch, not easily put off by challenge or difficulty.

If treated with respect and dignity, we are loyal, supportive and accepting.

When patronised, insulted and taken for granted we are more likely to respond with what might best be described as constructive criticism – we are not a group that suffers fools or foolishness gladly; we do not have that luxury.

Blackpool’s greatest successes have come when playing a brand of football that most matches the town’s identity – a brash, imaginative style that makes the most of what might otherwise be regarded as 
largely unpromising circumstances.

The famous Blackpool sides of the 1950s’s were renowned for their pure, free flowing football and attracted huge gates wherever they played because of their fabulous style as well as their commitment to all that was good about the game.

Again, under Simon Grayson and Ian Holloway, the town’s identity as a bastion of fun, joy and pleasure was affirmed by its football club.

During these times the club and its supporters were united in a common purpose and there was a sense of hope and optimism within the club that spread itself throughout the town.

The majority of fans acknowledge that our managers 
generally receive minimal financial support from the club’s owners.

Simon Grayson and Ian Holloway both benefited from money that was made available by Valeri 
Belokon, the club’s President, to secure bigger and better squads.

As soon as Belokon ceased to put his money into the club, and despite the enormous Premier League wealth, investment in the football side of the business shrank to almost nothing.

Karl Oyston, while chairman of Blackpool FC, has spoken a great deal more about financial management than he has about football matters.

He has made it clear that his primary concern is the well-being of his business, that financial profitability is the main focus and that the well-being of the owners is paramount.

This insistence on talking about the club in fiscal terms has encouraged many supporters to pay much closer attention to the finances of the club.

We are probably amongst the most realistic and undemanding supporters in the UK when it comes to club finances, and the chairman can take some credit for that.

However, we also understand other basic notions relating to business – and not just that it should remain in the black at all costs. There is a balance to be maintained – a balance between investment in the squad and ensuring that the owners are properly rewarded for their risks and effort.

At Blackpool there is such a tilt towards profit at the expense of investment that we have long since passed the point of proper balance.

The current imbalance will continue to have a negative effect on the success of the football club.

If we refuse to compete financially with clubs that are challenging at the top of our division (whichever it is), then we only ever have an outside hope of promotion through the play-offs (it is no coincidence that 
Blackpool is the only club to have been promoted from the fourth tier to the Premier Division entirely via the play-offs) and are more likely to suffer relegation instead.

What we have at Blackpool FC are owners who appear 
prepared to sacrifice the hopes and dreams of everyone else in order to satisfy their own vision. Our football club, our town and its supporters deserve far better than this.

Blackpool Supporters’ Trust will do all we can to bring the plight of our football club to greater attention.

We are a pro-Blackpool group with the express aim of maintaining a democratic and independent voice for Blackpool supporters.

We will attempt to hold those who own, manage and 
represent our club to account, be it employees bringing the club 
into disrepute with ill-disciplined or errant behaviour, 
owners for relieving the business of 
inordinate amounts of wealth, or anyone else whose actions hinder the development and success of the football club that we allsupport.

Trust is a word that has real meaning for us – we must be able to represent as broad a body of opinion as is possible and 
intend to remain responsible to our members, the people of the town and all supporters of our great football club.