Armfield: Blackpool must pull together
Jimmy Armfield has called on Blackpool FC to resolve their issues with supporters as quickly as possible.
The club’s vice-president revealed he has been working behind the scenes to try to help and wants the Oyston family to meet Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, the club’s largest fan group.
Pool have suffered back-to-back relegations and face record low attendances as fans turn their back on the club and its owners.
But legend Armfield, a one-club man who played 569 times for the Seasiders, said it’s time to move forward.
He told The Gazette: “The whole thing needs resolving as quickly as possible. That has to be the aim.
“It’s time for the owners to talk to the Supporters’ Trust to try to sort all this out, one way or another.
“I hear people asking what I’ve done or why I’ve been quiet – but I have been trying behind the scenes, trust me.
“I’ve been speaking to as many people as possible to try to resolve all this. I’ve met fans, the owners, local councillors, everyone.
“I’ve done as much as I can for an 80-year-old and I’ll continue to do so.”
Armfield was part of a golden era for the Seasiders, playing all but three of his 18 years at Blackpool in the top flight.
And after watching with pride as the club reached the Premier League in 2010, the England World Cup winner insisted it’s now time the club realised the seriousness of its position.
He added: “There’s no point any of us talking about where the club has been or should be. We have to realise we are in League Two now and it’s serious.
“You only have to look at clubs like Grimsby, Wrexham and Stockport to see what can happen to big traditional clubs if problems aren’t resolved. It’s taken Grimsby a very long time to get back.
“It won’t be easy this season. We will be up against big clubs, like Portsmouth and Plymouth, but Blackpool need to get out of League Two as quickly as they can.
“Gary Bowyer is a good manager and I think he’ll do well, but he needs everyone on his side if they are going to move forward.
“It’s hard enough for a football club without all the problems Blackpool have had lately.”
The club’s decline has drawn attention from all over the footballing world, with fans of many rival clubs joining in with protests last season.
But Armfield warned that only the people of Blackpool and fans of the club can resolve the problems.
“Everywhere I go I am asked, ‘What’s happened to your club?’ I only ever played for one club, so it’s all people talk about,” he said.
“But ultimately none of those people are going to change what’s happened at Blackpool – it’s all down to us.
“Even if you go down the road to Kirkham, they might ask you about Blackpool but they’ll also want to know how North End have got on.
“The only people who all this really affects is us in Blackpool, and only us can change it.
“We have to somehow pull together and sort this out – for the sake of the club, the town and the supporters.”