Blackpool Supporters’ Trust maintained its moral presence outside Bloomfield Road before Tuesday’s Carabao Cup game against QPR – and well done to Terry McPhillips and the team for a fine win on the night.
The BST delegation arrived two hours before kick-off, having been advised the club was planning to invite a slew of possible VIP sponsors into corporate hospitality.
BST handed letters to the few potential sponsors who did turn up; letters which made them aware of the background to the present situation and asking them to consider if they really wished to be seen giving their endorsement to a family whose custodianship of Blackpool FC has been so publicly exposed in recent months.
One Blackpool fan approached BST outside ground and asked: “Which league do you want Blackpool to be in once the Oystons have gone?”
The answer was easy: “The highest league the team can manage in the circumstances,”. The fan came back sharply with: “That’s why we go into the ground, to support the team,” then quickly turned on his heels before further debate could take place.
Here are the points that BST would have made had the fan not hurried away.
The first, and most obvious, is that Tuesday’s match was an EFL Cup game – so nothing whatever to do with how high the Seasiders can finish in the league!
If Blackpool do find themselves at home in the fourth round when the draw is made, then it might be an opportunity to step up the protest against the Oystons.
This will surely be discussed at BST’s AGM at the Excelsior on Lytham Road tomorrow (from 1pm). The AGM is a public event, open to all.
The second pertinent point is that a loyal following at Bloomfield Road is simply no guarantee that the team will do well.
Look what happened during the decline of 2013-2016.
Conversely, spartan support as a result of the ethical boycott/NAPM has not led to the team doing badly.
In point of fact, the success of the team is much more down to the qualities and aspirations of the manager, his backroom staff and his squad of players.
The third point is that resolving this far from ideal situation and making such a change is not going to happen while the Oystons are still in charge.
Thirty years of broken promises have made that abundantly clear. The only significant uplift in our footballing fortunes came on the back of Valeri Belokon’s investment in the club.
Whether they like to think of it in this way or not, the fans who pass through the turnstiles on a regular basis are allowing the current regime to cling on far longer than if the boycott had been 100 per cent.
Of course, BST upholds the absolute right of every fan to support the team as they see fit and to go to games if they wish to – and this includes BST members – but there is no evidence to justify such attendance on any other grounds than your need to watch your team play; please concede that the many fans who are sacrificing their opportunity to watch their own team are doing so to ensure Blackpool FC has a future.
BST will continue to maintain its dignified protest outside Bloomfield Road until the current regime departs.
As a legally constituted and democratic fans’ organisation, the Trust is much more than a protest group and the stand its members have chosen to take is supported by national fan organisations as well as supporters the length and breadth of the country.
One of its main aims is to hold the owners of our club to account, whoever they may be; the boycotters will hand out fliers encouraging visiting fans to support our ‘not a penny more’ stance, to help in the ongoing struggle to rid Blackpool FC of owners who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.