Blackpool Supporters Trust column

Blackpool fans at Millwall recently
Blackpool fans at Millwall recently
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Another depressing chapter in Blackpool’s footballing soap opera seems to be heading for a catastrophic conclusion. Wouldn’t it be nice to rip up the script and write it differently? With hope for next season?

Blackpool fans had an entirely reasonable expectation that our rise to the Premier League would be the platform for sensible and sustained investment in the club, a lasting legacy for Blackpool FC and the wider community. Instead, we are plunging towards the bottom of the league.

The majority of supporters have become increasingly frustrated with the consistent failure of the Oyston family to manage the business of Blackpool FC for anything but their own profit.

Lack of investment and an unwillingness to listen to the supporters has led thousands to believe the only viable option is for the Oyston family to sell the club.

In order to help deliver the positive change they want to see, many fans have decided that an ethical consumer boycott is the best way forward – the Not A Penny More campaign was born of this sentiment and has had a noticeable impact.

Ethical boycotts offer campaign groups and individuals the chance to exert economic pressure. They are particularly appropriate when consumers feel their voice is not being heard and there are limited means to effect change through existing legislation.

They are widely considered a vitally important extension of our democracy and have proved a very effective way of delivering positive change: companies as large as Nestle, Johnson & Johnson and BP have all changed policy in the face of well organised ethical consumer boycotts.

Blackpool Supporters’ Trust supports the ethical boycott as a lawful and reasonable way for supporters to place financial pressure on the owners to respond to the will of the fan base.

We are fully supportive of the call for positive change at Blackpool FC and believe such a transformation can probably only be delivered by a change of ownership.

With an announcement on season ticket prices expected from the club in the coming weeks, we would encourage all supporters to give serious consideration to supporting an ethical boycott of season tickets.

That said, we also uphold the right of every individual to make their own decision. The Supporters’ Trust is for all Blackpool fans, whether they wish to boycott or not. Everyone should be able to support the club as they see fit without being intimidated or threatened in any way.

We recognise the ethical boycott is not for everybody and some still want to cheer the team on – some for very compelling family reasons, some even though they would much rather the Oystons had nothing to do with the club. They must all be respected in their choice.

For fans who intend not to buy or renew season tickets, the Trust realises this is a tough decision. We will be putting in place a number of initiatives to support fans with an alternative option for match days and a means by which loyal Blackpool fans can retain contact with fellow supporters.

As far as possible, we will give an undertaking that when the change of ownership finally happens, we will restore continuity of membership for season ticket holders as though the lapse had never occurred. Together we can make a difference. We are Blackpool FC.