Kick-off change won’t stop our protests, insist Pool fans

Blackpool's Bloomfield Road stadium
Blackpool's Bloomfield Road stadium
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Blackpool fans insist a change in kick-off time for the game against Wigan later this month will not stop their planned protests.

Thousands are expected to take part in what is being labelled as ‘Judgement Day 2’ ahead of Pool’s final League One home game of the season on April 30.

A number of protests against the club’s owners the Oystons have been planned by fan groups Blackpool Supporters Trust and Tangerine Knights, including a march from the town centre to the stadium, due to start at 1pm on the day of the game.

But the game’s kick-off has now been forward by two-and-a-half hours to 12:30pm after talks between Blackpool FC, Lancashire Police and Blackpool Council.

While it means fans will have to rethink their plans, BST have insisted the protests will still go ahead.

“We have liaised with the police and council since the announcement and the community protest march will now begin at 10.30 instead of 1pm on 30th April, arriving at the stadium by mid-day,” said BST chairman Steve Rowland.

Pool announced the change in kick-off time this morning, and in a statement insisted it was a decision made for safety reasons.

It read: ““The kick-off time has been brought forward in the interests of crowd safety and public order, given the high-profile nature of the fixture, and the potential impact a result could have on both ends of the League One table.

“This decision has been made following discussions between the Clubs, Lancashire Police, The Football League and other relevant authorities.”

As many as 3,000 Wigan supporters are expected to make the short trip to Bloomfield Road that day, with the potential of them clinching the League One title in the process.

For Blackpool the game could have huge implications at the bottom of the table, and for that reason Lancashire Police told The Gazette it was the correct decision to move the game.

Their spokesman said: “The police decision to support an early kick off the for the Blackpool fixture with Wigan on April 30 has been made in the interests of public safety both of people attending the game as supporters and others living and working in Blackpool.

“We are working with the club and other partners to make this an event that can be safely enjoyed and minimises disruption to others in the community not involved or attending the game.”