Blackpool FC’s proposed ‘peace meeting’ with supporters is in serious doubt after all four invited groups said they won’t attend.
After Blackpool Supporters’ Trust voted on Monday not to send a representative to the planned March 10 meeting at Bloomfield Road, three other fans’ organisations have followed suit.
While Yorkshire Seasiders and London-based BASIL had always insisted they would follow BST’s lead, yesterday’s decision by the long-established Blackpool Supporters Association comes as more of a surprise.
That group, chaired by former Gazette contributor Fiona Martin, informed members last night that it too would not take part in the meeting, which has been organised by the club’s Community Trust with chairman Karl Oyston due to attend.
In an email to members, BSA stated: “With regards to the Community Trust meeting, BSA would like to thank all the members who took time to send in their feedback.
“Based on this feedback, BSA can now advise they will be declining the invitation to attend the meeting.”
The news will come as a blow to Blackpool FC, who had expected BSA to accept. It leaves only the Fans Progress Group, a body selected by the club and which already meets the chairman regularly, to attend next month.
Blackpool Supporters’ Trust will instead press ahead with its original plan to organise a meeting of all parties with Councillor Tony Williams, who announced his willingness to help bring the sides together in The Gazette last month.
A BST statement reads: “We intend to open an invitation to an alternative meeting to all the other democratic supporters’ groups (BSA, BASIL and Yorkshire Seasiders) as well as members of the BFC Community Trust, BFC chairman Karl Oyston and current owner Owen Oyston, to be chaired by Councillor Williams.
“The meeting, to be minuted by an independent party, will be held in the week commencing March 7 at a venue to be decided.
“Each group will be invited to send two representatives and to provide agenda items prior to the meeting.
“The intention of the meeting will be to directly address the issues at the club and to find solutions, however radical, to the problems we face.”
BST insists it does want to hold talks with the Oystons and find solutions to the club’s problems, but only in the right circumstances.
Its statement continued: added: “Blackpool Supporters’ Trust will meet the owners only when it is clear that any arrangements are fair to all parties and the purpose of such a meeting must be to help progress the football club and not the Oystons’ businesses.
“There must also be a genuine intent on the part of the owners to make the changes necessary to improve the dreadful situation at our football club – an end to legal action against supporters, the election of genuinely democratic supporters’ representatives and even the Oystons’ departure from Bloomfield Road.”