Ben Burgess column: Fan power can drive clubs forward

Karl Oyston was removed as Blackpool chairman as the situation with Valeri Belokon rumbles on
Karl Oyston was removed as Blackpool chairman as the situation with Valeri Belokon rumbles on
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Another monumental week off the pitch for Blackpool Football Club has ensued.

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Last week, we heard the news that Karl Oyston had been removed from his position as Blackpool chairman.

Sadly, the move seems to have arrived far too late in the day.

A lot has happened between the owners and fans and many aspects of the way they have run the club have soured the relationship between the two parties, none more so than the legal action taken against the loyal supporters.

As we all know, the Oystons have missed their second payment of £10m to Valeri Belokon, and they are getting very little sympathy from Mr Justice Marcus Smith.

The judge has decreed that the full amount of around £25m is to be paid in full by the Oystons, or they will be faced with the prospect of being forced to sell their assets.

From the fans’ perspective, they have concerns that the club could go into receivership and this could trigger a points penalty in the league, which Gary Bowyer’s men can ill afford as they rest perilously close to the drop zone.

Will Valeri Belokon ride to the club’s rescue once again?

Will the ‘overseas’ investor make his move?

Hopefully an answer to these questions will arrive in the coming weeks and the fans can start to plan on getting back to Bloomfield Road and cranking up the atmosphere.

On the subject of atmosphere, Jose Mourinho has once again criticised the Manchester United fans, calling them quiet and lacking in enthusiasm.

His rather random comparison with Portsmouth’s Fratton Park, where he believes the atmosphere is incredible was strange to say the least.

I’m not sure the atmosphere was that great at Pompey, as they plummeted to the bottom tier of English football.

In the case of Old Trafford’s lack of noise, Jose should possibly look at the way he sets his team out and question whether he gives the fans something to shout about.

If your team is energetic, exciting and honest then the fans will create a rocking atmosphere.

Just look at Bloomfield Road under Simon Grayson and Ian Holloway’s tenure; the sea of tangerine outsang everyone and the atmosphere was electric.

In comparison, you could hear a pin drop at Notts County in my time under Paul Ince, as the fans were not impressed with our turgid style of football.

Meadow Lane is now getting back to how it should be, as Kevin Nolan drives them towards promotion from League Two – we won’t mention the 8-1 FA Cup loss to Swansea City.

Despite Mourinho’s playing style, I do believe he may have a point about Premier League stadiums in general.

I have watched Manchester City from the age of six; they always packed out Maine Road and had record attendance figures when they dropped down the divisions.

Now, with the team more successful than ever, we can see many empty blue seats at the Etihad and I believe there are many contributing factors in play.

Firstly, the ticket prices at most grounds are extortionate and it’s hard to justify spending hundreds of your family’s hard earned money.

So straight away, the demographic of a football club’s supporters changes to the more wealthy and usually more reserved spectator.

Secondly, the more successful a club becomes, then the more a visit to the stadium becomes more like a tourist attraction.

Inside football grounds shouldn’t be about taking photos of players while they’re playing, it shouldn’t be about taking a selfie to prove you’re there and it certainly isn’t about half and half scarves.

The gentrification of football is what is affecting atmospheres in Premier League games – and Jose’s negative tactics.