BST column: We have a right to protest

Blackpool fans brandish an 'Oyston Out' banner at Sheffield United
Blackpool fans brandish an 'Oyston Out' banner at Sheffield United
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The protesters outside Bloomfield Road on Tuesday were accused by some passing fans of being responsible for the state the football club.

If that isn’t a case of calling white black, what is? Just look at the team we had five years ago this month (when we were briefly top of the Premier League) and compare it to the squad we have now (as we occupy a relegation spot in the third division).

Did we, the supporters, squander the Premier League legacy? Did we let the decent players and backroom staff go? Did we insist on trying to get by with loanees and short-term contracts?

Did we state repeatedly that Blackpool is a cash-rich club while refusing to use some of that cash wisely to maintain a credible Championship squad?

We all know where the real responsibility lies for this disastrous decline.

We would much rather not be protesting. We’d really like to be able to watch a well-funded, well-managed team in tangerine tearing into the opposition with attacking ambition and flair – but that has not been on offer for several years now.

We, and I mean Blackpool Supporters’ Trust members, did try to engage the owners in a constructive dialogue over the direction our club was heading in. We formed as a democratic and independent voice of the fans as a positive agent for change, not as a protest group.

The owners didn’t want to listen, so we protest about the state the club because we care so passionately.

A tweet on Tuesday read: “So you didn’t buy a ticket, so you have no right to say anything.”

There are a couple of replies that could be made to such a cynical remark but the most straight-forward is that many of the protesters are among the few thousand who bought two-year season tickets when we were promised the ‘Riga Revolution’ – remember that?

We are fully paid up for this season but we are boycotting Bloomfield Road on an ethical point of principle and have every right to say how deeply disappointed we are that the club we love has not been taken better care of.

Unless there is a radical change at the top, Blackpool will be relegated again before too long, a prospect none of us wants.

The fans deserve better, but change will not come without us all standing together and showing some passion and commitment.

If you care for the future of Blackpool FC and are not a member of Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, then I ask you to think seriously about taking that step.

The more members we have, the more representative we can be of the voice of the fans.

Just doing nothing isn’t really an option, is it?