Blackpool fan groups call for patience before receiver has 'complete control' of the football club

Blackpool fans are eager to return to Bloomfield Road
Blackpool fans are eager to return to Bloomfield Road
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Three of Blackpool’s leading fan groups have today released a joint statement urging supporters to remain patient “for a little while longer” until the receiver has complete control of the football club.

READ MORE: The Gazette says: Don't dock Blackpool FC points

It follows Wednesday’s date in the High Court, where a judge approved an application for a receiver to be appointed to discharge Owen Oyston’s assets to recoup the remaining £25m he owes Valeri Belokon.

However, as it stands, Oyston is still in control of the club’s finances and any cash raised from ticket sales will still go to him.

It was originally expected that Blackpool’s next home game, the fixture against Oxford United on Saturday, February 23, could be the first match where fans break their boycott to return to Bloomfield Road.

But that now appears unlikely, with the subsequent home game against Southend United on Saturday, March 9 now pencilled in.

In the meantime, fan representatives are due to convene with the receiver on Monday for a preliminary meeting.

A joint statement from Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, the Tangerine Knight and the Muckers Supporters’ Group reads: “Following further discussions with the court appointed receiver (CAR), it is now clear that control of Blackpool FC has not yet been transferred to the CAR and it is not yet known when this will happen.

“The legal process regarding the order made by the court is not yet complete and therefore it is necessary for Blackpool fans who are concerned about when to break the boycott to remain patient for a little while longer.

“It is possible the CAR will take control of the club at some point next week but exactly when is impossible to say at this stage and therefore any tickets purchased for the next home game against Oxford on Saturday, February 23 cannot be guaranteed to be Not A Penny More (NAPM) compliant.

“The basic conditions required for a return to Bloomfield Rd for most boycotting fans are:

1. A guarantee that ticket revenues will not end up in Oyston hands
2. A new board in place with no Oyston control

“At this moment these conditions have not been met.

“It is also necessary for supporters to understand that if Owen Oyston is able to pay the full debt owed to Valeri Belokon before the football club is sold, the debt is discharged and he will be able to resume control.

“Whilst this is a highly unlikely scenario, given that he has had 15 months to do this and is being charged interest at a rate of £5,000 per day for every day the debt is outstanding, nevertheless it is important for supporters to know that this remains a risk.

“A further issue is the possibility that once the club and other assets are sold and the debt discharged, Valeri Belokon’s shares could revert to Owen Oyston, leaving him with a 20 per cent share in the club. Again, this is unlikely to happen but is a possibility.

“With these points in mind Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, the Tangerine Knights and the Muckers Supporters’ Group offer the following advice:

“As soon as we know that the CAR has complete control of the football club, we suggest that supporters return to Bloomfield Rd on a game-by-game basis.

“In the unlikely event of any future Oyston involvement, the boycott can resume.

“It is important that we make it clear that we are only returning when the basic conditions are met and if this changes for any reason, the NAPM campaign will continue.

“We know that this is disappointing as we all want to get back to our home ground as soon as possible. Having waited for so long, it would make no sense to break NAPM for the sake of a few more weeks.

“It is likely that the home game against Southend on Saturday, March 9 can be the target game for the return of the fans and plans for this will be put in place as soon as we have assurances that the CAR has assumed control of the football club.”

BST’s next meeting is on Saturday, February 23 at the Village Hotel in Blackpool, starting at 11am.

It will be attended by the receiver Paul Cooper who will be able to offer further clarity about the role of the CAR.

“Given the euphoria surrounding Wednesday’s court decision, it is understandable that people want to rush back immediately,” the statement continues.

“However, legal processes take time and we must allow the court and the CAR time to do their job and make our club Oyston free before we lift the boycott. We have worked too hard for too long to mess this up now.”

It is understood Oyston has sought permission to appeal Wednesday's judgement, although this is highly unlikely to succeed.

The Gazette has contacted the High Court for confirmation and to see when a decision is likely to be made.

However, this process won't stop the receiver from carrying out his duties once he takes control.