Blackpool FC's partnership with council 'fundamental' to rebuilding ties with community

Ben Hatton makes Monday's announcement from the top of Blackpool Tower
Ben Hatton makes Monday's announcement from the top of Blackpool Tower
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Blackpool FC board members Ben Hatton and Tim Fielding believe the Seasiders' 'ground-breaking' partnership with the town council is fundamental to re-integrating the club back within the community.

READ MORE: Picture gallery from Blackpool FC's ground-breaking sponsorship announcement at the Tower

The ties between the club and the town have been severed for a number of years due to the Oystons' controversial tenure, which saw thousands of supporters boycott matches.

But following Owen Oyston's removal from the board in February, all those fans came back in their droves for the club's remaining games last season.

Oyston's departure saw the receiver implement an interim new board, and one of their first jobs was to sign up a new partner for next season.

On Monday, Hatton - the club's executive director - announced Blackpool Council as the new principal sponsor.

This new partnership will see the branding of VisitBlackpool and the health campaign 'GET VOCAL' adorn the front of the club’s shirts next season.

“I’m immensely proud of this agreement," Hatton said.

“I don’t think this club can move forward in any way and enjoy the prosperity it deserves without being integral to the town and the community.

“If you Google Blackpool you get two things, you get Visit Blackpool and you get Blackpool Football Club. The two are now hand in hand.

“I’m not sure if it’s a new era or just a continuation of the era that was ushered in on February 25.

“But it’s fundamentally important, it’s the next step in re-integrating this great football club in with the town and the community.

“We’re supporting two very different but equally important campaigns.

“Visit Blackpool is all about promoting tourism, which is a billion pound industry in this town. It’s fundamental to the growth and the continued prosperity here.

“On the flipside we’ve got Get Vocal which is all about encouraging young men particularly to talk about their mental wellbeing and their feelings.

“That in itself is a challenge here in Blackpool.

“There was only one conversation we wanted when we came in.

“With Visit Blackpool, there was no other appropriate message which we wanted to adorn the front of our home shirts.

“We’re all over the country 23 times a year, we’re here in Blackpool 23 times a year, so the exposure for the town we can create is incredible.

“There was no other conversation but from that came the idea for us to support the Get Vocal initiative with the alternative shirt."

Tim Fielding, the fan representative on the club's interim board, told BBC Radio Lancashire a partnership with the council was their aim from the outset.

“From the day we came in as a board we felt it was very important we rebuilt the ties between the town and the football club," he said.

“As fans we are very much community centric in the way we approach things and it was very gratifying from my perspective when I met Michael (Bolingbroke) and Ben that they had a similar view.

“We set out from the outset to identify an appropriate sponsor and we got the one we wanted.

“We think it is going to be fantastic next season for the team and the fans all to be effectively supporting the icon of the Tower and the rollercoasters at the Pleasure Beach. The synergy there is just fantastic.

“We have the rules in place at the moment which means if you have a sponsor relating to alcohol or betting, then children’s shirts have to be different.

“We all know, for those of us who have children, the last thing they want is to be different from the heroes they come to watch on the pitch.

“That’s really important, not just from the view of marketing, but also from the point of view of making these children feel part of it all.”