Will Watt: A truce? I’d much rather see change

Blackpool owner Owen Oyston at Walsall last weekend
Blackpool owner Owen Oyston at Walsall last weekend
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The word ‘truce’ isn’t really one I’d have used when talking about what’s needed at Bloomfield Road.

It’s been interesting to see councillors and MPs finally wade into the Blackpool FC debate in the past week – the more cynical observers may suggest a fair bit of point-scoring is involved.

The leader of Blackpool Council, Simon Blackburn, was heavily criticised by Pool supporters for his ‘not my problem’ approach to the situation, but I can understand his position.

After all, can a council leader really go to war with one of the town’s most wealthy business families? Rightly or wrongly, his approach is understandable.

The idea there could be a ‘truce’ isn’t.

I’ve written many columns about the mess which Blackpool Football Club finds itself in on the field.

I’d like to think all of those have been reasonable, fair and pretty balanced, especially when you consider I’ve witnessed close hand the tumble through the divisions, along with the supporters.

Who knows if pressure from The Gazette has really had an influence on Karl Oyston and Blackpool FC’s policies?

Everyone inside the club talks of a huge improvement in the way the club operates – paying agents, transfer fees and the pushing forward of the training ground – I’d like to think the pressure of the fans and The Gazette have played their part.

But this isn’t something which can now be shelved.

Instead of calling for a truce, I’d much rather use another politically popular phrase: ‘change’.

It’s change which all the powers that be should be calling for at Bloomfield Road, on and off the pitch.

I’ve said it before, and I’m happy to say again – the name of the owners isn’t a major deal to me. Be it Oyston, Smith, Jones or Watt, I’d be judging the situation at present exactly the same.

Blackpool FC needs to change, as do the owners.

The battles with supporters need to end, as does the blocking of local media from doing their job. You simply can’t have a thriving business when so many of its stakeholders are unhappy and aggrieved.

It was interesting to hear Karl Oyston talk last year about a ‘truce’ in legal action against supporters.

Well, that should be the first thing he implements.

Once all that nonsense has ended, Blackpool’s owners need to make genuine attempts to build bridges with the supporters and the media.

It’s the ONLY way the club will ever move forward under the Oyston family.

In Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, there is a very decent group of people who I actually think Karl Oyston would like – they aren’t thugs or trouble-makers.

While Steve Rowland and Christine Seddon may have rattled the cages of the Oyston family in the last 12 months, knowing both sides I actually think they could work well together.

They are just people who care about the football club and want to try to improve it. The fact they have the respect of many of the supporters could be a real asset to the football club down the line.

At some point the chairman will have to draw a line in the sand regarding his battle with supporters, make a genuine change and build bridges, once he’s done that they a truce could maybe be at least considered.

The only other options are to sell the club or produce a football team which is so good that supporters will return – one lying 18th in League One is never going to do that, and as we speak some claim they will never return.

So when we are talking about solutions, the word truce is way, way down the line.

First we must see real change.