The sun shone down on the righteous as die hard Blackpool fans turned out in force to clean up their stadium after four years in exile.
Blackpool Supporters Trust put out a call for volunteers to help get Bloomfield Road spick and span after years of neglect, ready for their “homecoming” game against Southend United, after boycotting the ground under the, now removed, Oyston regime.
More than 200 answered the call and the first batch of 50 began cleaning the filth and pigeon muck from the stands yesterday with more clean-ups planned through the week before Saturday’s big day.
Christine Seddon, chairman of the Blackpool Supporters Trust who was there with her rubber gloves, bucket and cloth, said: “We have been overwhelmed with the response to our call to help the beleaguered staff get the stadium ready.
“There has been a great community spirit here today and manager Terry McPhillips has been down to talk to the fans cleaning up.
"The stadium is open to the elements and huge parts have not been in regular use for four years so it is understandably in need of care.”
Steve Rowlands, BST secretary, said: “We are all trying to get the stadium spruced up for our homecoming game. It is going to take a lot of tender loving care.
“We want everyone to come along on Saturday for the parade form the Tower to Bloomfield Road from 1pm. At the moment there are more than 10,000 tickets sold so far and we want that to be 15,000.
"It is just a shame for the fans who have died in the past four years of exile who did not have the chance to see their team. We will be having a minutes’ silence for them and the table that we got for sponsoring the match ball on Saturday will be left empty as a mark or respect to them.”
Dave Wiggins of St Annes said: “I have come to support the BST board who have done so much these years. It is a big job, the ground has been badly neglected. The rust on some of the stands reminds me of the hulk of the Titanic.
"We can bring it back but it will take time.”
Phile Whiteley of Bispham said: “We have a strong community here thanks to the supporters trust.
"This is a job we should not have had to do but I am happy to make a contribution.”
Blackpool Football CLub’s press officer Stewart Hudson welcomed the fans’ help.
He said: “It is fantastic in terms of community spirit, everyone coming together for the benefit of the football club. That is what football should be about.”