Politically Correct by Luke Taylor

Luke Taylor Labour councillor  for Clifton Ward, Blackpool Council
Luke Taylor Labour councillor for Clifton Ward, Blackpool Council
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Have your say

Let fans take over and create community club

It’s great to see Blackpool FC in the play-offs in League Two, or is it?

The club has taken a beating over the past years, we have tumbled down the leagues so fast, blink and you would have missed it.

There has been a huge input of cash into our club during our promotion to the premiership, from the premier league, parachute payments, sponsorship and increased gate receipts. That money should have been used to create a lasting legacy for the football club and the town. Where did it go? The training ground remains a shambles, the steelwork of the ground is rusted, seats are fading and fans are deserting. Not to mention the toxic relationship between a Chairman who has been known to goad the fans and genuine supporters heart broken by the state of their club.

I do not condone any illegal or intimidating actions, however I am fully behind protests by fans, I was on the last one myself. I have two children of three and six and would love to take them to see their local football team, however I refuse to set foot in the ground again until real change is made. How many other families are staying away and missing these opportunities?

A football club is the hub of a community and should bring everybody together, not alienating and causing division.

It would be great if Blackpool Football Club could be owned by the fans as a ‘community club’, whereby each supporter/member has one vote. Profits are reinvested into the football club and the club is committed to running as a sustainable business. Supporters could each buy shares in the football club and the funds used to make an offer to the current ownership. Easier said than done however, if supporters could raise 51 per cent for a controlling stake of a take-over bid then it would be slightly easier to find an ethical/responsible/football investor for the remaining 49 per cent. Pre-negotiated sponsorship deals could possibly be negotiated for new custodians of the football club, to add further required funds.

There were 82000 fans at the championship play-off final including myself, if roughly half were Blackpool fans (very rough calculation) and bought a share at £300 that would be £12,000,000. Couple this with £10,000,000 from else were, loan, ethical investor or long term sponsorship, then surely the club’s hierarchy would have to take notice.

Picking up the pieces

A recent article in the Gazette reported on how volunteers in Blackpool give so much to their local communities and really are shining lights in Blackpool.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Linda McKevilly recently from Care and Share and discussing the issues facing residents in Blackpool.

Linda actually supported me when I was younger and my mother was going through her own battles. It was amazing to hear the number of people whose lives Linda has helped to turn around including mine. Blackpool has been on the receiving end of harsh cuts and the effects of these have been seen for a while now and Blackpool’s volunteers including Linda work tirelessly in picking up the pieces.

Clifton Community Volunteers Club is a volunteering scheme based in Clifton ward which is aiming to get local residents together to make a difference in Blackpool. We will be carrying out volunteering sessions every month. Every time volunteers turn up to a session they will receive a stamp which can be added to their volunteer passport. Stamps can then be exchanged for free passes to all major attractions in Blackpool.

Clifton Community Volunteers Club is nearing 50 sign-ups on-line and we hope to get many of those people out and about with us this year. We have already had three sessions, our launce was the most attended where we had 20 people. Our second session was litter picking on langdale road, which was also greatly attended and our most recent session was at Clifton’s Christmas tree switch on

If you have any areas in Clifton ward which you feel could benefit from a volunteering session please get in touch.

www.cliftoncommunityvolunteersclub.org