Blackpool fans’ group condemns ‘abusive and intimidating’ behaviour

The protest march was 'predominantly peaceful' say Police
The protest march was 'predominantly peaceful' say Police
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Blackpool’s leading fans’ group has condemned the “handful” of protesters involved in “abusive and intimidating” behaviour on Saturday.

Thousands took part in the demonstration dubbed ‘Judgement Day 3’ ahead of the Seasiders’ final match of the League Two season at home to Leyton Orient.

Protesters marched from the Pleasure Beach to Bloomfield Road, where Pool beat relegated Leyton Orient 3-1 to claim a play-off spot.

Blackpool Supporters’ Trust (BST) organised the march jointly with the Tangerine Knights in protest at the way the Oyston family is running the club.

Leyton Orient fans, who have been vocal in criticising their club’s ownership, also took part along with fans of several other clubs.

Lancashire Police confirmed the march was “predominantly” peaceful but a few skirmishes were reported as the protesters massed outside the stadium and mounted police were called in.

The ground was locked down for around 10 minutes before queuing fans who wished to attend the match were let in.

A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “The march and the demonstration was predominantly peaceful. However, unfortunately a minority of individuals engaged in disorder when they arrived at the ground. We are in the process of identifying what offences have taken place and will be dealing with those responsible.”

BST chairman Steve Rowland apologised on behalf of the trust to anyone affected by abuse or threatening behaviour.

He said: “Blackpool Supporters’ Trust was pleased with most aspects of Judgement Day 3. We thank everyone who turned out to support the protest in such numbers. It sent a message to the people who run the whole of football in this country that fans are the lifeblood of the game.

“It is regrettable that two floats were set on fire during the rally and that some fans, including young children, who were going into the game at Bloomfield Road were verbally abused and intimidated by a handful of protesters.

“BST had made it very clear beforehand, as we have all season, that every fan has a right to choose to attend games if they so wish without incurring insult.

“We condemn all abusive and intimidating behaviour and apologise to anyone who was upset.

“That said, we hope everyone understands why passions run so high around Blackpool FC.”

The club declined to comment while investigations are ongoing.