BST hope High Court hearing will finally trigger end of Oyston era at Blackpool

Owen Oyston
Owen Oyston

Blackpool FC’s leading supporters’ group hopes and prays that next week’s court hearing will go some way to bringing about “long-overdue” regime change at Bloomfield Road.

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The next episode in the legal wrangle between Owen Oyston and Latvian businessman Valeri Belokon will be heard in the High Court next week, with club owner Oyston still owing more than £25m to the former director.

The hearing comes almost 12 months after the Oyston family was found to have unfairly prejudiced Belokon and illegitimately stripped the club of cash following its promotion to the Premier League in 2010.

A spokesperson for Blackpool Supporters’ Trust (BST) told The Gazette: “After the euphoria of the November 6 judgment and the subsequent announcement the football club was being put up for sale, the last 11 months’ developments have seemed to slow to a snail’s pace, with little seemingly being done to enforce the mammoth sum the Oyston family have been ordered to pay.

“The truth, of course, is that in the background significant steps have been taken since the Oystons first defaulted on the court-imposed payment plan in February, with applications then being made to charge 24 properties and Owen’s interests in (companies) Segesta and Closelink.

“Applications for orders for sale of those assets have been made and now it seems a series of applications have been issued to force the defendants to comply to facilitate the long-awaited auctions.

“Frustratingly for us, the listing of these applications has been delayed, firstly as a consequence of the time allowed to Owen by Belokon following his ‘Riga dash’ (a reference to the two men’s meeting in Latvia in July) – presumably in the hope that some negotiated settlement could be reached – and more recently by the court’s long summer recess.

“Information has been thin on the ground since the last court hearing in early June, when permission was given to start the auctions.

“As best we can tell there are three applications listed next Wednesday, which include a demand that share certificates and title deeds be delivered up under pain of anyone who obstructs the process being held in contempt of court, which could ultimately see them face a period of imprisonment.

“Of course what transpires between now and then, and what orders Justice Marcus Smith will actually make, remains to be seen.

“Where all this legal wrangling leaves Blackpool FC and it’s long-suffering fanbase also remains to be seen.

“We, of course, just want our club back and continue to pray that the enforcement action will finally provide the catalyst for regime change.

“That is long overdue and we can only hope that Justice Marcus Smith is as heartedly sick of the prevarication we have witnessed as we are.”