BST column: Sort the Seasiders’ situation once and for all

Blackpool's home games have been played out in front of a large number of empty seats
Blackpool's home games have been played out in front of a large number of empty seats

In all the debates about bad owners and a divided fanbase, it is easy to lose sight of the real human impact of the toxic mess that the dog-in-the-manger owners of Blackpool FC have precipitated.

Here is the real human impact. Brian is a devoted Blackpool fan and an ordinary member of Blackpool Supporters’ Trust.

Today’s column is mostly in Brian’s words – and they are very eloquent ones. We hope this gets read in the boardroom:

“There is no logical reason as to why I support Blackpool. I lived a very long way from the town. Growing up, I never envisaged living in the area. No-one in my family background had the slightest interest in supporting them.

“Indeed, their loyalty was to other sports. Yet, from my very early pre-teenage years I felt an irresistible bond with Blackpool. I idolised and loved club and team from afar.

“Finally, I saw them live. Try to visualise that! Two of my heroes, Jimmy Armfield and Tony Green, majestic in full flow.

“Then that magical night when Fred Pickering scored the hat-trick at Preston.

“Dreams do come true. Without him realising it, Bill Shankly summed up my deepest feelings. Standing in front of the Kop at Anfield after another First Division title he exclaimed, referring to the supporters: ‘We are in communion with each other.’

“That’s it. We are in comm-union, we are one. We are the club. Bloomfield Road is my spiritual home. My heart and soul is deeply embedded in it.

“So as the club rules my life, in return, I feel emotionally that every blade of grass in the hallowed turf is mine, is part of me. Not just a hobby, not just a passing interest, but every fibre attuned to its good and not so good days.

“Of course, the club has, and must have, physical owners - and is it too much to expect that their hearts are as enthralled as mine?

“Just as in the bad old days when the owners bailed us out financially so I have no problem with them rewarding themselves a fair profit especially with the hoped for legacy of the post-Premier League glory.

“But there is the rub; a fair profit. Physically, they own the club; spiritually I, and many more like me, passionately and psychologically believe we own the club, we are the living heritage and history of the club.

“So, to me, the owners, are not just owners but diligent custodians protecting and ensuring our club’s wellbeing and good name. In that sense they are accountable to us as guardians of our dreams.

“So 50 years on from first seeing my team what is the diagnosis? Those were happy days; thrilled when we won, happy with a draw, consoled in defeat that there was always the next game. Today, these are unhappy soul-destroying days. The fan base is fractured. The majority boycott and the minority attend.

“I, for one, have no problem with their presence at the home games even though I passionately disagree with them.

“With every heartbeat I despair that my Saturday worshipping at the shrine is no more. I feel divorced from my spiritual home. But somehow the two threads of supporters need to be reunited.

“We need to be the supporter base of old; united as one in our undying support. We need ownership, leadership, with the heart and desire and commitment to mend broken supporters.

“Does the present ownership have the inclination, willingness and ability to bring about this much needed sea-change? I feel a divided club cannot survive.

“It is not just that I want my club back; I want my club to be able to hold its head high again.

“And if the present owners can’t unite us then they need to accept they are the hinderance to the future unity of our beloved club. Or as Shakespeare said through Lady Macbeth: At once, good night. Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once.’”