A Blackpool FC supporter today accused the Oyston family of trying to silence fans after it emerged he was being sued by the club’s owner for £150,000 over comments he allegedly made on a fans’ message board.
Legal action is being taken against David Ragozzino over statements about chairman Karl Oyston, his father Owen and the football club posted on the online message board A View From The Tower last year.
Papers served on Ragozzino and seen by The Gazette list the claimants as Karl Samuel Oyston, John Owen Oyston and Blackpool Football Club Limited. The claims total £150,000.
Lifelong Seasiders fan Mr Ragozzino, 32, who lives in Marton, told The Gazette: “I had a letter a few months ago but I ignored it, but now I have received papers claiming defamation of character.
“Each claim is for £50,000. I am not over the moon about it. I am gutted.
“I am at a loss as to what to do because I don’t have the money for a defence solicitor.”
The dad-of-one said he is due to get married in six months and fears the court case could scupper those plans.
He added: “My biggest worry is that the wedding is going to be off as it stands now.”
Mr Ragozzino, who works as a food hygiene manager, has been a Pool fan since he was six.
He admitted he had responded to posts on that fans’ forum which he claims were made by Pool chairman Karl Oyston but denied any of the statements were defamatory.
Mr Ragozzino said he has printed off those posts as “part of my defence”.
He was last night due to meet with legal advisors and said he has until tomorrow to respond.
The Gazette has seen the official legal documents issued to Mr Ragozzino.
They list a string of sickening comments he is alleged to have made about the Oystons, some of which he denies were sent by him.
Several of the comments refer to Owen Oyston’s conviction for rape in 1996.
The lengthy documents, which Ragozzino says were hand-delivered by men who identified themselves as private investigators, include the statement: “None of the claimants can say how much they each expect to receive but each of the claimants limits their respective claims to £50,000.”
They refer to comments made made on the message board between April 19 and “an unknown date” under the user-name “The_Run_Up-The_Hill”.
Mr Ragozzino added: “A football club is an emotional subject.
“I think the main aim of this is to try to silence the fans.”
The case is expected to be heard at the High Court in Manchester.
Over the past fortnight thousands have signed a petition calling for Karl Oyston to step down as chairman after he was forced to apologise for calling a fan a ‘retard’ in a text conversation.