Anti-Oystons protest passes off peacefully

Blackpool fans demonstrate outside the ground before the kick-off
Blackpool fans demonstrate outside the ground before the kick-off
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More than 1,000 protesters continued their campaign to oust the Oyston family from Blackpool Football Club.

The fans gathered outside the West Stand of Bloomfield Road from 2pm on Saturday, ahead of the Championship clash with Nottingham Forest.

Originally Lancashire Police had proposed setting up pens on nearby car parks , but the protests were allowed to go on outside the turnstiles.

It followed unsavoury scenes prior to Blackpool’s previous home game against Brighton on February 2 when protesting fans let off a flare and tried to storm the main entrance. The club claimed stewards had been assaulted in the melee but no arrests were made.

But while frustrated fans voiced their anger on Saturday, the protests passed off peacefully.

Metal barriers were rattled and one was lifted high by fans before police stepped in and pulled them back into place.

One protester said: “The more the Oystons antagonise people, then the more people will push back.”

In the week that saw one fan agree to pay £10,000 to the club after making comments about the Oystons online, no protester would give their name to The Gazette when sharing thoughts on the club’s state of affairs.

“Everything is falling to bits,” one fan of 36 years said. “We have to do something, standing out here is my way of protesting.”

While all had views on the levels of policing around the stadium, including a police riot van, cars and motorcycles and dozens of uniformed officers, opinion was divided on their worth. One fan said: “I hope no-ones being burgled while all the police are here.”

But since metal barriers were uprooted, others conceded their presence was needed.

One man said: “I was very vocal against us being put on the car park but I think the police have done a good job.

“But the pen would have been them fencing us in, they’d be kettling you before you started.”

The man, a teacher, said he hadn’t spent any money with the club as his own protest, including not continuing his season ticket.

He added: “I won’t give a penny until they start to invest appropriately.”