Owen Oyston’s open letter to Blackpool fans

Blackpool fans during one of many protests

Blackpool fans during one of many protests

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Blackpool FC owner Owen Oyston has written an open letter to Blackpool Supporters Trust in response to questions posed by the fans’ group in The Gazette last week. This is the letter in full.

Dear Committee,

Owen Oyston

Owen Oyston

Thank you for your open letter sent to me through the media so I have little alternative but to reply in the same fashion through the media.

My solicitors have advised that I cannot meet with you, nor respond to the details of your open letter at this time, as I am in the middle of a legal action against your chairman, who has made serious, false, misleading and defamatory allegations against me personally, as well as against Karl which have been widely publicised.

These allegations by your Chairman include:

- Asset stripping Blackpool Football Club;

- Misappropriating Blackpool Football Club funds;

- Taking huge personal profits on land owned by Blackpool Football Club.

These allegations are untrue.

If your chairman had examined the accounts of the club, he would have seen that the Oystons had been building up substantial assets, including a modern stadium, to strengthen and secure the club over 27 years, protecting the club from debt and producing revenue income and, more recently, substantial profits for the club.

We are, in fact, one of the few clubs in the Football League or Premier League which has no debt to banks or financial institutions and is in profit.

In 1987 I, with the support of my family, took the club from a bankrupt start and in a great partnership with the Blackpool fans, funded the club all the way to the Premier League in 2010.

In the first 24 years of this long journey to the Premier League I poured multi-millions of pounds into the club as evidenced by the accounts in the form of personal money and interest free loans from Oyston Group Companies – to achieve the ultimate ambition. This ambition was pursued against the advice of my professional team.

I have always shared the dream of this quest with the Blackpool fans and still do today.

he net assets of Blackpool Football Club Limited and its parent company, Segesta Limited, were minus £42,400 on the 31st May 1987, when I rescued the club both from bankruptcy and demolition.

On the 31st May 2013, those net assets had increased to £25m and last year, on the 31st May 2014, they have yet again increased to £31m.

The fans should ask the question: “How could we build such a modern stadium, much of which was constructed before 2005 and before the arrival of Valeri Belokon – as good as he was – and before, of course, we got into the Premier League?”

Segesta and Blackpool Football Club had no money and had a record of losses, without any capacity to borrow money from banks or institutions.

These allegations by your chairman, detailed above, have led to unprecedented abuse of both myself and Karl from some fans and members of the public, who have believed these allegations and repeated them.

I can understand why these false allegations were taken seriously by fans and the general public because of your chairman’s status as chairman of Blackpool Supporters’ Trust and as a solicitor in practice in Blackpool.

Regretfully we have had to take recent legal action against your chairman 
because of the seriousness of these false statements and, in accordance with the legal 
protocol, I personally met with him and his two legal advisors.

Subsequently we have written to your chairman’s solicitors with proposals to bring this matter to a conclusion and these proposals include a public apology.

We are awaiting their reply.

Once this matter is resolved, I will be pleased to respond in detail to your open letter.

I feel heartily sorry for our fans and acknowledge that we have made a woeful start to this football season and, in fact, our football recently has been sadly lacking.

This has thoroughly depressed the fans as well as myself but, because we have achieved great success before, I believe we can do it again and get back to top flight football.

Immediately before this bad spell, we had 12 years of exciting, successful football which included ‘The best trip we have ever been on’.

I am sure that our new manager will strengthen the team substantially over the next few weeks and I have every confidence in him to kick start our recovery.

The good news is that he and Karl are working really well together.

Because of the rampant rumours about lack of investment in players, I include the following information from the accounts:

Since promotion to the Premier League the total cost of players wages, bonuses and transfer fees from 2011 to 2014 (four years) was approximately £48m.

This was an average spend per annum of £12m.

In our promotion year the annual footballers wage bill was £4.6m and those footballers were paid a £5m bonus for getting us to the Premier League and paid the following year.

The financial figures above have been extracted from our audited accounts.

Yours faithfully,

Owen Oyston