Owen Oyston breaks silence to blast critics and reveal hurt

Blackpool's Owen Oyston
Blackpool's Owen Oyston
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Owen Oyston has broken his silence to describe Blackpool’s on-field fortunes as “murderous” and hit out at claims he hasn’t invested properly in the club.

The Pool owner’s first media interview for two years was given against a background of huge protests from supporters, who want him and his son Karl to leave the club.

Oyston, who is Blackpool’s majority shareholder, hit out at his critics and the media but admitted the club “hasn’t done a thing right” in football terms for four years.

He said: “It’s been terrible on the pitch in the last 18 months, murderous.

“I hate it more than any fan, I can tell you. It just seems that since we went back to Wembley for the second time and lost (in the 2012 Championship Play-off Final against West Ham), we haven’t been able to do one thing right. It’s gone downhill on the pitch but we are restructuring.

“We’ve had the stuffing knocked out of us since then and we seem not to be able to make the right decision.

“We’ve certainly been wrong with the managers – they didn’t fit in. Picking certain managers were big mistakes but who’s to know these things in football? Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We got it right until that point.

“To come from bankruptcy in 1987 to the Premier League was an amazing ride. The fans used to sing it was the best ride we’ve ever been on and it was.”

After three relegations in six seasons, many believe a lack of investment is the main reason for the decline and point to the large sums taken out of the club since Pool’s money-spinning season in the top flight.

An £11m payment to Oyston himself hit the headlines, but in the interview with BBC Radio Lancashire he denied inadequate investment in the club and blamed media reporting.

“It’s a criticism which is totally unfounded,” he said. “It’s the kind of media attacks we’ve had. The media never let the truth interfere with a good story. “They don’t want the fans to think well of the football club. They want fans to attack the directors, that’s the way it is today.

“They have misled many of the fans with the statements they’ve made.

“It’s a pack of lies. The money did go back into the club and we have the asset base to prove it.

“In the four years from the time we were in the Premier League, we spent £48m on players’ wages and associated expenses. That’s an average of £12m a year.

“When we went into the Premier League, the promotion team cost £4.6m, the lowest figure anyone had ever achieved Premier League status with – so it’s not about throwing money at the football club.

“Many people think we’ve been asset-stripping and taking money out of the club – it’s absolutely ridiculous.

“Anyone who looks at our accounts will see the net asset value of the club has risen from minus when I took it over to today £38.7m at cost.

“It’s actually worth a lot more than that on the market value. Financially we’ve been a huge success.”

Oyston suggested selling the club wasn’t an option and insisted his family was focusing on reviving Pool’s fortunes.

“Obviously we are deeply unhappy about the quality of the football over the last 18 months or so,” he said. “It’s our job now to make sure we get it right.

“We have tried to create a philosophy where we don’t have borrowings and the football club becomes self-sufficient.

“The football club has a big asset base now as that’s what we’ve created.

“Most of the younger fans won’t know about the background and what’s gone on.”