Blackpool fans' anger over Preston councillor's 'bombsite road' jibe towards football club

A Preston councillor was today defiant in the face of criticism from Blackpool FC fans over comments he made on Twitter - including referring to the Bloomfield Road stadium as "bombsite road".

Monday, 25th February 2019, 2:38 pm
Updated Monday, 25th February 2019, 4:02 pm
Blackpool FC fans reacted angrily to a Preston City Councillor's reference to the Bloomfield Road stadium as "bombsite road". Photo: Getty Images

Coun John Swindells, a Preston North End supporter, appeared to mock Seasiders’ followers for the attendance at Saturday’s home game against Oxford.

The Labour councillor’s comments came after receiver Paul Cooper took control of the club last week, effectively signalling the end of Owen Oyston’s time in charge.

The Not A Penny More campaign has seen thousands of Pool fans boycott matches while Oyston remains at the helm, something Coun Swindells appeared to reference in a tweet.

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Preston city councillor John Swindells has stood by comments he made on Twitter that angered a number of Blackpool FC fans

However, many Blackpool fans insisted that their boycott of home fixtures – including the Oxford clash – would continue until Cooper had full financial control of the club, which had not been completed by kick-off on Saturday.

Coun Swindells’ tweets highlighted the attendance of 4,003, seemingly unaware of the ongoing boycott. He also described Bloomfield Road – where the Seasiders play – as "bombsite road" and was ridiculed by both Blackpool and North End fans.

On Saturday, he posted: "Good to see the missing 15,000 missing Blackpool fans return now Oyston's out. A near full house today with a crowd of 4,003 on bombsite road."

Asked if he regrets his Twitter comments, Swindells was unapologetic.

He said: “People seem to get offended at other people being offended. It just seems to be the way of the world these days.

“I tweeted as a Preston fan and I’m not setting two different Twitter groups up to put two different slants on anything.”

On Twitter, Keith Kaye said: “So called learned councillor that only sees a small part of the picture and ignores the full facts.”

James Butcher wrote: “As a huge PNE fan, not even funny….this isn’t even ‘banter’.”

And Christine Seddon, Chairman of Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, said: “Do you pay this much attention in council meetings?”

Andy Yule wrote: "Is this really how a Labour councillor should be behaving and trying to provoke potential Labour voters? I live in Preston and this guy is an embarrassment."

One Twitter user also replied by posting a link to a copy of Preston City Council's code of conduct for councillors when using social media.

It includes the line: "Do not use social media to make personal attacks or indulge in rude, disrespectful or offensive comments."

The return of thousands of fans to Bloomfield Road is expected for the Seasiders’ next home game against Southend United on Saturday March 9.

In December, Coun Swindells also caused controversy when he admitted he had not been in a high street shop for 18 months, despite his instrumental role in regenerating the city centre.