Blackpool and Leyton Orient fans to unite for protest

Blackpool fans protesting outside Bloomfield Road.
Blackpool fans protesting outside Bloomfield Road.
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Blackpool and Leyton Orient fans unhappy with the ownership of their respective clubs will come together to take part in a demonstration ahead of this weekend’s match.

The protest, organised jointly by the Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust (LOFT) and Blackpool Supporters’ Trust (BST), comes at a time when both sets of supporters are calling for a change of ownership.

Orient fans are currently unhappy with Francesco Becchetti’s running of the London club, after the Italian bought it out from Barry Hearn in 2014.

Steve Rowlands, chairman of BST, said the protesters are keen for football’s governing bodies to take note.

He said: “Supporters of both teams will join together as fans united to send out a loud message to both clubs’ owners: ‘We want our clubs back’.

“It is important for fans of all clubs in crisis to keep up the pressure on football’s governing bodies to take note of the level of dissatisfaction that exists at Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Charlton, Coventry and Orient.

“The EFL and FA may not like the phrase ‘clubs in crisis’ but it is a reality they need to get to grips with and do something constructive about.

“Existing controls, like the self-assessed Owners and Directors Test (which replaced Fit and Proper Person’s Test), are wholly inadequate to ensure proper custodianship of our football clubs.”

Protesters will meet outside the Birkbeck Tavern, in Leyton, from 1.30pm before marching to the ground at around 2pm. They will then head via Leyton tube station down Leyton High Road, finishing near the ground.

Mr Rowlands added: “BST and LOFT are calling on both sets of fans to send a clear message during the game to their clubs’ respective owners and to football’s governing bodies that they support their teams, but not the current regimes.

“Marking the fact that both clubs were formed in the 1800s, the Trusts are calling for the 18th minute of the game to be the time that the Orient fans ‘Stand Up for the Orient’ and the Blackpool fans sing their equivalent protest.

“Subject to how the game is going, fans may or may not want to repeat this around the 80th minute but the Trusts are sure that both sets of fans will continue to Stand Up for their Football Clubs now and in the future.”