I am delighted to have been asked to join the Blackpool Gazette and I really hope that my humble little thoughts, anecdotes and opinions will strike a chord with at least some of you, at least some of the time.
My focus in this column will be all things BFC, which will include my personal memories, historic events, the here and now, and Blackpool Football Club’s undoubtedly successful future.
In this, my first column, I want to give a massive shout out to the loyalty and glorious stubbornness of the Tangerine supporters, which has always impressed but never surprised me over the years – and the never-failing certainty that we would eventually get our club back.
There were battles that needed to be fought and won – and here we are; job done.
To BST, the TKs and the rest of the mighty Tangerine Army, who stood strong through the dark years and who are now jubilant in the celebration of victory, the Army who, now the club has been reclaimed, are working hard to rebuild and reform our club, and now looking forward to celebrating victories on the pitch rather than off it – I salute you.
To all who marched in protest – and I was proud to join you – and stuck with the NAPM and match-boycott campaigns, total respect to you. Your commitment to the cause nailed it.
To the parents who stayed away on principle when you desperately wanted to take your kids to the matches at Bloomfield Road, just like your parents took you; you did good, you were right to stick to your principles.
Now the club is in safe hands, you can bring them and continue the family tradition.
And to the fallen; those who have sadly died and never got to see the end result, never got to see those whose names I will never mention in this column taken down and ejected forever, and never got to see the battle being finally won; God bless you and rest in peace.
I’d love to see some kind of tribute at the start of the first match of this new season to those who have been part of making these changes happen – and for those who are here now, and for those who are not.
This is probably the most serious I will ever get in this column, but I felt I needed to pay tribute to all of you who have struggled, fought, cried and been so utterly frustrated and affected over the last few years when the club was lost to us.
And I wanted to say thank you to all those who have been so involved and committed to the mission of claiming back BFC; you have done us proud.
I was at the club recently and stood on the pitch.
It has gone from looking like a cattle field to more like a bowling green. It is immaculate.
Well done and congratulations to all those who have worked so hard – and who continue to do so – to relentlessly drag our club out of the pathetic mess that it had been left in and who actually are, bit by bit, rebuilding it.
I’m looking forward to discussing the lighter, funnier, more optimistic side of BFC with you in future columns – and dissecting and celebrating future on-pitch victories.
I hope, through my own reminiscing, I am able to remind you of things you had forgotten and will make you smile – and I’ll try not to get on your nerves too much...