Lifelong fan launches dream to own Blackpool FC

We speak exclusively to a man who is set to throw his hat into the ring to buy Blackpool FC
We speak exclusively to a man who is set to throw his hat into the ring to buy Blackpool FC
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An anonymous businessman has demanded the Oyston family release the required financial information in order for him to prepare a bid for Blackpool Football Club.

READ MORE: Here are the stories covering the Oyston vs Belokon case, verdict and what happens next

Bloomfield Road

Bloomfield Road

The man, who has asked The Gazette not to disclose his identity, says the club’s owners need to “conduct themselves in a professional manner” if they have a genuine desire to sell.

It is understood the overseas businessman, who describes himself as a “lifelong Blackpool fan”, is interested in tabling a bid alongside an active investor partner.

He has been dealing with the Oystons but has been left frustrated after recent communications broke down.

He has made it clear that, should he not receive the required financial information to carry out due diligence, he will contact High Court judge Justice Marcus Smith in a bid to retrieve it.

In the latest court hearing, Justice Smith ordered the Oystons to pay £10m to Valeri Belokon by 4pm on Wednesday, January 31. Two further payments of £7.5m are due by the end of March and May respectively.

“You can not do business when you can’t see what you are buying,” he told The Gazette.

“Karl was approached in October of 2017 with an expression of interest into the future of the club.

“Since that time and running contrary to what has been stated in the High Court, our repeated requests for relevant financial information in order to do due diligence have not met with success.

“This basically makes an investment from anyone and anywhere impossible to secure and, with another significant amount of money due from the owners to their former partner in less than a month, hard to fathom.

“My stepping into the public eye is entirely due to the lack of response that has been afforded to us as, modesty aside, the huge amount of work needed to make the impossible possible cannot be done in a matter of days and I honestly believe we are one of two best options for moving the club forward.”

When asked who the other option would be, the man said: “The current owners’ inaction in regards to other suitors coupled with the upcoming court-ordered payment by the owners to Valeri Belokon will soon ensure that new ownership of Blackpool FC has become a one-horse race.

“In my opinion, the ongoing legal proceedings between Mr Belokon and the Oystons changed once matters became public and personal. The matter should never have reached the courtroom.

“Now that it has and rather iron-clad judgements put in place, Mr Belokon has not only recouped his initial investment but also realised a sizeable profit which would offset risk if he decided to take the club forward.

“I have no problem with Belokon taking over with the free money he has in hand.

“I have been very candid with Karl. They want to sell the club but keep the ground, leasing the stadium back to the new owner.

“They have active investors interested in buying bits and pieces, but not the football club. They’re only interested in certain assets.

“But I’m interested in buying the football club.

“This is also an area of caution for fans. The club could be sold for parts or even put into administration, closed down and the land used for other purposes.

“It would be relatively easy for a carpetbagger to ride into town, secure the club and then sell the land for other purposes before riding off into the sunset millions of pounds richer.

“It is something I have to be distinctly wary of when seeking investors for this enterprise. I have no interest in that.

“My purpose is to build a club and revitalise my hometown.”

The father-of-three, who was brought up in Blackpool, comes from a family of lifelong fans who have previous links to Stan Mortensen.

“When my first son was born my first picture with him was in a 1953 cup final shirt,” he added.

“My family have got tangerine in our DNA but financial backers share none of that history.

“For them, as with me, it is a business and we play to win on and off the field.

“The only way the club can progress is with the support of the town and the council.

“I can tell you right now that Blackpool FC is a tough sell. No financial analyst believes the crowds will come back or that Blackpool can compete at the “top table” of English football.

“My job is to overcome any objections and to provide a compelling vision of how with sound management, the football club and the town of Blackpool can both flourish if they work together.

“We are at a watershed moment in Blackpool’s history. The current scenario at the club presents a final opportunity for the fans and the non-supporter stakeholders in Blackpool to make lemonade from lemons.”

The businessman says that, should he take over the club, he intends to make Blackpool the “best small club” in the world and the world’s favourite second club.

“This is possible if we manage our resources well on and off the pitch and brand accordingly,” he said.“I believe that in time we can make Bloomfield Road a 30,000 seat/stand stadium and

that we can maintain a presence in or around the Premier League.

“That is far beyond the imagination of many but to me it’s a reachable target based on meeting scaleable goals.

“We have no magic wand, no inexhaustible money tree. We will build on a foundation of sound fundamentals.”

With the Oystons ignoring repeated requests to be contacted by The Gazette, it remains unclear what asking price has been placed on the club.

When asked what he would be prepared to pay, the businessman said: “We are willing to pay not a penny more than the club is worth. Sentiment plays no part in business.

“The club in League One is worth nothing. Playing at a higher division will be the most significant driver of increased revenues.

“This is why it is imperative that good management is in place behind the scenes at the football club.”

The Gazette understands several parties have signed non-disclosure agreements with the Oystons – who were again unavailable when approached for comment.