BST column: Blackpool are flying high but why can’t the EFL be more effective?

As we approach our second home league game of the season, Blackpool have got off to a flying start on the pitch and the club are achieving great things off it.

Friday, 16th August 2019, 10:00 am
Blackpool fans are getting used to a normal club and one which has made a successful start
Blackpool fans are getting used to a normal club and one which has made a successful start

The atmosphere at Bloomfield Road has been transformed and the chatter on social media is all about football, squad strengthening, away trips – all the normal things that football supporters should discuss.

We can be forgiven for still feeling a bit dazed – Blackpool FC hasn’t done ‘normal’ for a very long time and it’s taking some getting used to.

News from some other football clubs is nowhere near as positive and following the (mis)fortunes of clubs like Bolton, Bury and Coventry, to name but a few, underlines just how fortunate we have been in how our particular story has turned out.

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The national picture of football governance continues to be of concern, with the football authorities seemingly unable to take effective action against bad owners or provide meaningful support for the clubs who are suffering at their hands.

It is astonishing how the EFL saw no reason for concern when they allowed Steve Dale to buy Bury FC for £1 (where have we heard that before?).

The due diligence carried out on Simon Sadler before he was allowed to purchase Blackpool was in depth and rightly so, yet Mr Dale was able to pass the Owners and Directors Test without having to prove he was financially able to run the club.

Quite how an official organisation like the EFL can be so inconsistent in the application of their own rules is beyond belief. As ever, it is the football club’s fans and community that will ultimately pay the price.

BST are working with the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA), local and national MPs and other supporters’ trusts in a campaign to bring independent regulation to football.

The current situation, with power devolved to the leagues and those leagues acting for the benefit of their members (the owners) rather than the clubs and supporters, is simply unacceptable.

The parliamentary petition that BST set up last year, calling for the appointment of an independent regulator, was ahead of its time but has been resurrected now by a group of journalists and we would encourage you to sign it.

It can be found on the UK Government and Parliament Petition website under “Legislate for the creation of an independent regulator for football”.

We are also organising a meeting of the North West branch of the FSA to discuss this and many other issues relating to football in our area as well as the national picture.

This will be an open meeting and we will share details as soon as possible.

Blackpool fans have already proved how powerful supporters can be when acting collectively.

We now need to increase the pressure to improve football governance so that we can all feel more secure, whoever owns our football clubs.

If you wish to discuss this or any other matter to do with football generally and Blackpool FC specifically, committee members will be available before every home game.

Having spent the last four years at our “Outdoor Office” opposite the main entrance to the football club (in all weathers), we are very pleased to now have a regular space inside the club shop and ticket office.

We will be there from 1.30pm tomorrow, so do pop in to see us, sign up / renew your membership or just find out more about your Trust.