Blackpool FC fans angry at the running of the club staged a protest outside chairman Karl Oyston’s country home – and today insisted: “We are not giving up.”
Around 60 fans took part in a demonstration organised by the Tangerine Knights group outside Oyston’s family home, near Waddington, yesterday.
They were met by uniformed police officers on the lane close to the house, who prevented them from getting to the gates.
Steven Smith, of the Tangerine Knights, was not at the protest but played a part in its organisation.
He said: “The hope of today was to raise awareness and the situation fans find themselves in. The idea was protest peacefully but to bring the fight to Karl’s front door and show him we are not giving up.”
A member of the Tangerine Knights, who was at the demonstration but wanted to remain anonymous, said: “As far as we are concerned it makes the point to him that we are not going away, as stubborn as Karl is, so are we.
It was great as it also showed it’s not just youngsters in the Tangerine Knights, as families made the hour long journey to voice their concerns
“We want a change of ownership and we have to take different steps to achieve this.
“It was great as it also showed it’s not just youngsters in the Tangerine Knights, as families made the hour long journey to voice their concerns.”
Unverified pictures posted on social networking site Twitter showed the Oyston family in the grounds of the home speaking to a police officer.
The group had visited two pubs in rural Lancashire beforehand – including the Parkers Arms in Newton-in-Bowland where the landlady claimed she had close the pub temporarily after accusing some fans of being verbally abusive towards her.
Kathy Smith, landlady of the Parkers Arms, said she was disappointed with the actions from some of the supporters.
Mrs Smith said: “The fans seem to think me and Karl are friends when I only know of him by sight.
“Since 2007, I don’t think I have served him more than 10 times, the fans for some reason think he has me in his back pocket.”
The landlady also said an orange smoke bomb was let off outside the pub once they were told to leave.
She added: “Some fans came very abusive once I told them they had to leave as we were unable to serve food to people who had booked tables.
“An orange smoke bomb was thrown outside and they made a large amount of noise, I did lose a few customers as a result.
“Not all the fans were a problem and I understand they might have an issue with Karl but we are a small rural pub that relies on selling food and we were unable to do that for some time on our busiest day.”
“We had no idea that these protests were planned today, the pub could not cater for a large amount of drinkers.
“It’s ironic that they targeted here as my father was a huge Blackpool fan and supported them all his life, his ashes were laid on the pitch at Bloomfield Road.”
The unnamed fan said he did not condone smoke bombs being thrown but said that the vast majority of fans at the protest were well behaved.
He said: “As far as I know, two smoke bombs were lit, one outside the Parkers Arms pub and one at Karl Oyston’s home.
“As a group we do not condone these actions and it probably would have been one of the younger members who got carried away.
“Police even told us when we leaving the area that they were pleased with how everyone behaved.”
Paul Heathcote, landlord of the Higher Buck in Waddington where the group also visited, said there was no trouble at his pub.
He said: “All the fans were well mannered and kept reasonably off the main road when standing outside.
“They let me know that they meant no trouble and were here to protest against the football club.”
Despite repeated calls, no-one from Lancashire Police was available for comment.
Blackpool fans have now held a series of protests against the club’s owners prior to recent matches, with eggs thrown at the main reception, as the club careered towards relegation to League One.
Protests have been held for more than 12 months with Blackpool’s game against Burnley towards the end of last season halted for several minutes after fans threw tennis balls on the pitch.
Oyston, who has been accused of goading fans, most recently after displaying a new number plate OY51 OUT on his car, is awaiting the outcome of an FA charge after he called a fan a “retard” in a text message conversation.
The club revealed annual profits of more than £9m just last month.