Blackpool still have a long way to go, warns Pompey fan

Portsmouth and their fans involvement could provide Blackpool with a possible blueprint
Portsmouth and their fans involvement could provide Blackpool with a possible blueprint

Boycotting Blackpool supporters have been warned there is a long way to go until they can step back inside Bloomfield Road.

That was the message from Ashley Brown, chief executive of Supporters Direct and former chairman of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, who spoke at the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust’s (BST) extraordinary general meeting on Saturday.

It comes after the football club was put up for sale on Friday, four days on from a momentous High Court judgement which saw the Oystons ordered to buy out Valeri Belokon’s shares for £31.27m.

Mr Brown said: “Let me congratulate the Blackpool fans for reaching the first step to getting rid of some of the most despicable owners in the Football League. But you still have some way to go.

“Portsmouth Football Club has had its own spree of poor owners – although most weren’t as blatant as yours.

“We were forced to go into administration a couple of times but that gave the fans the opportunity to step up and be counted. We bought the club, took on the old owners in court to get the stadium, and then we helped stabilise the club and made the business viable.

“We won promotion and then an American billionaire made an offer and convinced us to sell. So we’ve shown it can be done.”

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Mr Brown also went on to say it is imperative the supporters have a say in the running of the club once a new owner is found.

“Blackpool Supporters’ Trust have done an amazing job. Boycotting matches is the toughest and most incredible thing to do,” he added.

“Now you need to make a difference and help select the new owner. Continue to be concerned – you can’t just accept anybody. There’s also the possibility of being part-owners yourselves.

“When fans get together with one voice it is incredibly powerful. But this is only the first part of the battle.

“The Oystons are on their way out, there’s no doubt about that. But the club might suffer some more damage in the interim, so there’s a long way to go yet.”

Meanwhile Dave Kelly, of the North West branch of the Football Supporters’ Federation, added: “You need to continue to campaign with a new vigour. Yes, you have got to enjoy this moment but this is just the start.”