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Anger over 'botched' statue repairs at Blackpool football stadium

Blackpool fans are not happy with progress on repairing flagstones near hero Jimmy Armfield's statue
Blackpool fans are not happy with progress on repairing flagstones near hero Jimmy Armfield's statue

Furious Blackpool fans have accused the club of disrespecting the memory of one of its great ambassadors and one of the resort’s greatest sons.

The supporters are angry over the state of the pavement surrounding the statue honouring Jimmy Armfield outside the stadium in Bloomfield Road.

How the flags were before the repairs

How the flags were before the repairs

They say it is symptomatic of the state the club is in under the current ownership and the breakdown in the relationship between the fans and the Oyston family.

They say that work to fill in holes there is a “botch job” and are calling on the club to let them carry out proper repairs fitting for a footballing hero of Jimmy’s standing as a captain of his club and country as well as a much loved media commentator.

Fans first offered to pay for and carry out the work in June after fans noticed the area around the statue was covered in weeds and that the Stan Mortensen statue was also in need of some care.

While the club had Stan’s statue cleaned up, and fans took it upon themselves to clear the weeds, the paving problems had just got worse with cracks and holes.

The club has since filled in the holes with paving slabs, but the fans say they are a different colour to the originals and look awful.

Tim Fielding Honorary Vice-President of Blackpool Supporters Trust, said he had tried to mediate over the issue.

He said: “This has been going on for too long now.The club had the Stan Mortensen statue polished up but the paving around Jimmy’s statue was in disrepair. It was looking a mess when I delivered the eulogy for Jimmy in January and has just got worse and worse.

“There are landscape gardeners and pavers among the fans and could do a proper job.

“So earlier this year I approached the club. We also said we would contact Jimmy’s family to make sure it was all done correctly.”

He said Owen Oyston approved the idea in June but said the supporters would need the go-ahead of club chairman Natalie Christopher.

However, Mr Fielding said he had not got a reply and added: “The work that has been carried is not good enough. I only hope it is a temporary fix.”

Christine Seddon from the Blackpool Supporters Trust said: “Jimmy died in January and was such an iconic figure at the club and so important to football generally. It is an utter disgrace. The work that has been done is a botch job and shows why Blackpool fans are in absolute despair.”

Rob Underdown for the Tangerine Knights said: “The state of the area was brought to the club’s attention several months ago. Not only by the TK’s but several concerned fans. The ‘work’ carried out so far is nothing short of ‘Bob the Builder’.

"Sadly Blackpool as a town lost one of its greatest legends earlier this year and the contempt the club has shown to ‘Sir’ Jimmy is nothing short of scandalous.”

A club spokesman said: “The club fully understands the concerns relating to the paving slabs surrounding the Jimmy Armfield statue, though would like to stress that these replacement slabs are a temporary measure.

“Some of the paving slabs have been vandalised in recent weeks and with matching stones currently unavailable to order, the club has opted to initially secure the area for safety reasons.

“The statue is hugely popular with supporters and tourists alike and needs to be able to bear the weight of those opting to have photographs taken. Over time, due to the base not being properly compacted, the slabs have started to sink and this is something the club aims to completely rectify for the long-term.”