Oyston: 'Feed them on raw meat'

MOST Blackpool fans wouldn't describe Karl Oyston as a passionate supporter of the club.

Try as he might, the chairman is unlikely to win any popularity contests among the fans.

But Oyston knows that and accepts that. After all, not many chairman are popular on the terraces and for those that try to be (Mike Ashley at Newcastle for starters), it often ends in tears.

However, speak to Oyston about the prospect of a Blackpool-Preston game at a sell-out Bloomfield Road and the chairman claims he will be as giddy as anyone come 1pm on Sunday.

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"As chairman I get excited. It's difficult not to. I feel like telling the manager to feed the players on raw meat all week," said the chairman.

"Normally I keep my nose out and don't say a thing or express a view on any playing matters.

"But I have to admit that in this instance, yes, it is important to the board that we give a good account of ourselves and – if possible – win.

"I don't know why that is. It's an illogical thing because it's just another game. But it isn't, if that makes sense. It's very, very important that we do OK."

But how can a man who sits in the directors' box and nibbles on some chicken legs at half-time understand the intensity of the rivalry?

Oyston is quick to answer. "I absolutely understand the rivalry. I am probably the person with the fiercest tribal views you can get," he said.

"And I think anyone that thinks the prawn sandwich squad sit there and they are not bothered is entirely wrong.

"It's just as important, if not more so, to us than it is to everyone else. It's not to be under-estimated how strongly I feel about this game."

Directors' box or not, Oyston claims he will be the first to jump to his feet and cheer should Blackpool get a goal.

But win, lose or draw, he'll also be the first to offer his hand to his counterpart at North End, for Derek Shaw is a man he likes.

"I think Derek is a good bloke and he has done extremely well since he took over at Preston," added Oyston.

"They are a good club, established in the Championship. He has finished the ground and he has done very good job.

"He has slightly different constraints and slightly different circumstances to what we have but I think on the whole he does a good job and doesn't deserve any of the stick that he sometimes gets.

"Derek, I think, of all the club chairman that I know, is one that would probably be far more comfortable sitting in the stands with all his mates having a pint watching the games, which is credit to him as far as I'm concerned."

One of them is likely to be smiling more than the other on Sunday.