Fans hit back over new legal warning

Blackpool fans in full voice

Blackpool fans in full voice

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Blackpool’s Supporters Trust (BST) has described a fresh warning about legal action against fans as a ‘stupendous own-goal’.

This week Blackpool Football Club issued a statement promising further action against supporters – despite claiming recent cases were brought ‘reluctantly’.

Three supporters have agreed out of court settlements with the club’s owners – the Oyston family – with full public apologies issued after alleged defamatory comments were made.

With manager Lee Clark desperately trying to build bridges with fans, BST slammed Oyston’s decision to issue a threat.

“The current owners of the club have managed to score yet another stupendous own-goal and further damaged the reputation of themselves and the football club that has been placed in their trust,” said a statement by BST.

“The club’s statement feels like a further attempt by the current owners to distance the club from its supporters to claim ownership of something that cannot be owned legally – the heart and soul of a football club and the community of people that truly form the institution that is Blackpool FC.”

“Many now consider the Oystons’ behaviour to be grossly damaging to the position of Blackpool FC within the support, within the football hierarchy and within the football community.”

With the club relegated to League One following a dreadful season on and off the field, BST once again called for Karl Oyston to step down as chairman and for the family to leave Blackpool FC.

Full statement

“We are Blackpool FC

After a weekend in which the fans of this football club proved an inspiration on a national level with their willingness to unite to right an injustice, the current owners of the club have managed to score yet another stupendous own-goal and further damaged the reputation of themselves and the football club that has been placed in their trust.

The Oystons would appear to believe that ownership is ten/tenths of the law but in the case of a football club they are sadly mistaken.

We, the supporters are this football club and will always remain such.

The Oystons may own the title deeds and the ‘business’ such as it now is, but they will never own Blackpool Football Club. Wherever we, the supporters are, that is where the club resides.

The Tangerine Knights, BSA, BASIL, Leyland and Chorley Seasiders, Yorkshire Seasiders, BST and every individual fan is Blackpool Football Club.

Those are the groups and people that will carry this club beyond the current owners, the next owners and every owner thereafter.

We are not going away and if we do, we will take the football club with us.

The most recent statement issued by ‘the club’ states that the company has taken legal actions against the supporters.

It does not appear to the Trust that any supporter has ever attacked Blackpool Football Club.

What has been questioned is the way the current owners are managing ‘the company’ and/or the way in which the current owners have acted.

We understand the Oystons have been seeking recompense for damage done to their reputation, and by ‘implication’ that of the football club.

It is our belief any damage that has accrued to the football club’s reputation is only due to the Oystons close association with it.

We would argue that no one has done more to damage the Oystons’ or the club’s reputation than the Oystons themselves and this latest statement is another example of that.

Further, it is we, the fans, who are trying to protect the well-being and reputation of the football club.

We may sometimes be mistaken or misguided in our attempts to do that but we are more than willing to take responsibility for any errors in judgement or mistakes in fact. However, the intention is always for the good of the club.

The latest statement feels like a further attempt by the current owners to distance the club from its supporters to claim ownership of something that cannot be owned legally – the heart and soul of a football club and the community of people that truly form the institution that is Blackpool FC.

It is hard to appreciate from this statement anything other than the Oystons trying to counter the negative publicity that has built up around their attempts to sue the club’s ‘customers’.

Many now consider the Oystons’ behaviour to be grossly damaging to the position of Blackpool FC within the support, within the football hierarchy and within the football community in general.

If the Oystons are truly concerned about avoiding further damage to the company’s reputation we suggest two courses of action that will immediately avoid that outcome:

1) Sell Blackpool FC to new owners

2) Give Blackpool FC in trust to the fans of Blackpool FC

We are Blackpool FC and no matter how long it takes we will restore ‘the company’ to custodians who will put the interests of the club, of the community and of football, first.”