Blackpool Supporters’ Trust has released the results of its annual members survey.
The survey ran from Wednesday, June 12 to Wednesday, June 19 and received 797 responses in total - making up 44 per cent of the Trust’s membership.
Of those who responded, 57 per cent lived on the Fylde Coast, 16 per cent from the North West, 22 per cent from outside the area and five per cent from overseas.
If this sample is representative of the wider fanbase, it was suggested a large proportion of fans may not be able to commit to buying season tickets due to distance.
Alternatively, fans proposed the idea of the club offering flexible tickets so those exiles can pick and choose what home matches they attend.
When asked about their realistic expectations for the coming season, the majority of fans said they expected the club to consolidate in League One, while a “sizeable minority” believe promotion to the Championship is achievable.
“Fans recognise that there have been years of neglect of the infrastructure at the club and prioritise these areas before expecting on-pitch investment and success,” the survey found.
Suggestions included development of the training ground and stadium maintenance, targeting of young supporters to grow the fanbase and improving the matchday experience by enhancing the food, drink and entertainment on offer.
Most popular comments about food and drink were suggestions for a fan zone (29 mentions), the re-opening of the Seasiders bar or some kind of supporters’ bar (20) or general improvements to catering (24), such as meal deals, better beer, a happy hour before the match and healthier food choices.
The vast majority of those surveyed (89 per cent) lent their support to the introduction of safe standing - 41 per cent saying they would use it and another 48 per cent supporting the idea although they wouldn’t use it themselves.
Another large majority of BST members (86 per cent) either strongly agree or agree that there should be some form of fan representation on the club’s board.
On the subject of what fans expected from BST, members responded saying they wanted a good dialogue with the board, “ensuring the voice of fans is heard, while at the same time maintaining independence” and be able to challenge where necessary.
There is appetite for the Trust to lobby for formal fan representation on the club’s board as well as seeking to purchase a minority shareholding in the club.
Better communication with fans is an area of improvement according to 59 members.
“Though a minority say ‘keep up the good work’ or ‘continue to engage with fans’, many others feel that more could be done to keep them in the loop,” BST said.
Suggestions included regular fans’ forums, Q&A sessions, an improved website and a BFC app.
“Fan groups are also undoubtedly a way of keeping supporters informed, though one mentioned that BFC should not be seen to single out a particular group for favouritism,” the survey also found.
Lobbying for change in football governance was desirable, but the majority of members surveyed said they wanted BST to continue acting as the voice of fans.