POOL CRISIS: Fan group hits out at council

Andy Higgins and members of Blackpool Supporters Trust at Blackpool Town Hall
Andy Higgins and members of Blackpool Supporters Trust at Blackpool Town Hall
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Disgruntled fans are writing to every member of Blackpool Council in the next step of their campaign calling for intervention in the way Blackpool Football Club is being run.

Andy Higgins, of the Blackpool Supporters Trust, addressed the last full meeting of the council about the issues which have led to a breakdown in relations between fans and club chairman Karl Oyston.

In response, council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said while he understood there was “a great deal of unhappiness” around the club, the council could not take sides.

Now BST says it will send transcripts of both Mr Higgins’ presentation and Coun Blackburn’s response, along with its own response statement, to all 42 council members requesting their thoughts.

In its statement, BST says: “The situation at Blackpool FC, regularly described as ‘a club at war’, has national implications regarding football governance.

“However, the most serious economic and social impacts are being felt locally.

“Many local businesses have recently gone public about suffering the adverse effects of declining attendances, which may be as low as half the official reported figures (which still include non-attending season-ticket holders).

“With ill feeling being compounded by the succession of legal actions taken by the club’s owners against its fans, surely our local representatives should be exploring every avenue to address these worsening issues.”

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden and Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard have written to the sports minister Tracey Crouch on the issue, while last week Tory councillor Tony Williams called for a truce between fans and Mr Oyston.

Supporters: ‘We certainly hoped for more from our local council’

BST’s statement says it is trying to “find sensible ways forward”.

It adds: “We have the support of three of our local MPs and the shadow Home Secretary.

“We have also received encouraging letters from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport up to and including ministerial level.

“Even the often-criticised governing bodies of the national game such as the Football Association and the Football League have started to be responsive to our concerns and we have meetings scheduled to discuss these matters in more detail. We certainly hoped for more from our local council.”