Council leader hints at support for fans' buyout of Blackpool FC

Could 10,000 supporters buy Bloomfield Road?
Could 10,000 supporters buy Bloomfield Road?

The leader of Blackpool Council has indicated the local authority would be “happy to help” with a proposed fans’ buyout of the football club.

It comes in response to a suggestion by the town’s former mayor Robert Wynne, who believes there would be no better owners of Blackpool FC than the people who live and breathe it every week.

Wynne has proposed a mass ownership scheme, though he admits around 10,000 supporters would have to invest to raise the required cash.

Blackpool Supporters’ Trust (BST) has told The Gazette it is an idea they are considering.

And council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “It would be very interesting to see how much interest there is in a fans’ buyout or other type of collective purchase. If Blackpool Council can be of assistance in that matter we would be happy to help.”

BST’s proposed fans’ takeover was rejected by Owen Oyston in 2015.

But now the club is up for sale, Wynne took to social media to put forward his idea.

He wrote: “I think this is a chance for the town to buy its football club and make sure it is run for the benefit of the people who love it.

“I know it sounds a little far-fetched but it has been done with other clubs.

“We could just hope for a magic owner like Roman Abramovich, but realistically we are more likely to get someone with an eye on personal gain and no real love for the team or the town. “So how about a club owned by the fans?

Minimum investment maybe £500, maximum investment £5,000. No one person dominating.

“We would need a lot of investors, maybe 10,000, but Blackpool FC has fans all over the world and is loved in the town and by Blackpudlians everywhere.

“We might not end up with a team competing with Chelsea every season, but we could end up with a team to be proud of, with real community ownership.

“It would have its ups and downs, but they would be our ups and downs.”

The businessman also suggested Blackpool Council could do its bit by working with the supporters’ trust to help them with a bid.

He added: “The council bought the Winter Gardens, the Tower and the airport in recent years. I don’t envisage them buying and running a football club, that would end up being a disaster.

“However what about the council assisting a buyout by the fans?

“Maybe we need 10,000 people to come together to put a £1,000 in each to raise £10m.

“Maybe we need more than that. Maybe we need the local authority to facilitate that to make it happen. But I definitely think it could happen.

“It would be a difficult thing for the fans to organise off their own back but my ideal scenario would be the local authority using its resources – not its financial resources – but its team of experienced staff actually trying to facilitate this.

“They could actually find out what the club is worth.

“It won’t be worth what’s been asked of it I’m sure but they could certainly do the due diligence process and see what the value of the football club is.”

BST chairman Christine Seddon said: “We are looking to do something but we need to have a committee meeting first to sort out how we can go about this.

“But as we said with our original bid a few years ago, we would have to look for investors to help with it.

“Whatever happens, we would really like some shares in the football club - even if it’s not running it.

“At the moment we don’t know what the club is valued at, so there is a lot to be considered.”