Overseas firm bids to buy Seasiders - but will any deal include Bloomfield Road?

An overseas-based private equity firm has lodged firm interest in buying Blackpool Football Club.

Friday, 9th March 2018, 11:07 am
Updated Friday, 9th March 2018, 12:10 pm
Banning orders have been lifted for tomorrow's game

But The Gazette understands that, while an offer is on the table for the club, it involves the interested party leasing the Bloomfield Road stadium as part of the deal.

This would be a deeply unpopular move among Blackpool’s fanbase who have made it abundantly clear they want no Oyston involvement in the future of their football club.

As it stands, the club is being advertised for sale as two different entities: the club and its properties.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Rumours have circulated that relations have broken down with Owen, left, and his son Karl

While it remains unclear whether the stadium would remain under Oyston ownership in a prospective buyout or be sold to a separate buyer, both would be risky scenarios.

League Two side Coventry City have experienced issues with their controversial owners Sisu leasing the Ricoh Arena stadium from the local council.

The situation reared its head during the 2013/14 season when Coventry were forced to play their home games at Northampton Town’s Sixfields ground - 40 miles away from their home.

It is now owned by Rugby Union side Wasps, which bought it from the council in 2014.

Rumours have circulated that relations have broken down with Owen, left, and his son Karl

More recently, non-league outfit Dulwich Hamlet have been threatened with eviction from their ground by the property investment fund which owns the Champion Hill stadium.

Dulwich were handed an unanticipated bill for back rent of £121,000 on Monday evening with the threat of a winding-up order to follow within 21 days, and were served notice that their licence to play at the stadium had been terminated with immediate effect.

This latest development in the ongoing saga at Blackpool Football Club follows claims made in a national newspaper that an American group, separate to the private equity firm, is also interested in taking over.

The Gazette understands five or six separate parties remain interested, although one obstacle remains: Owen Oyston.

The story, published in the Daily Mail, also claims Karl Oyston, the club’s former chairman, has written to both the EFL and the FA to claim his own father isn’t fit to run the football club.

It is claimed Karl has written to football’s main governing bodies to express concerns at Owen’s handling of the club following November’s High Court judgement.

Former director Valeri Belokon was awarded £31.27m after it was found the Oystons had illegitimately stripped the football club of funds following its promotion to the Premier League in 2010.

Justice Marcus Smith found the Latvian had been ‘unfairly prejudiced’ and the club was put up for sale four days later.

Belokon is still owed in the region of £25m after the Oystons missed January’s deadline to pay the second £10m instalment. That led to bailiffs being sent to Bloomfield Road on Monday, on behalf of Belokon, as well as Oyston’s Quernmore Park Hall estate in Lancaster.

The Mail claims Karl wants a sale to limit the amount of family assets picked off by Belokon.

These claims come after Karl made a surprise intervention in the most recent court hearing last month - emailing the judge to confirm that realistic offers for Oyston-owned properties had been rejected by his father.

This comes in the midst of a bitter family feud between Karl, who was sacked as chairman in January, and his father Owen.

Karl’s son Sam also left his role as chief executive in February having spent just 28 days in the job.

Owen’s daughter Natalie is currently employed as the club’s chairwoman.

When contacted by The Gazette, the EFL said they were in no position to comment on private correspondence.

The FA, meanwhile, declined to comment while Karl Oyston failed to respond.