Former Seasider Eamonn O’Keefe says attending today’s anti-Oyston protest was the least he could do to help Blackpool’s long-suffering fans.
The hugely popular O’Keefe, who scored 23 goals in his year with the club, was among those 500 or so supporters who congregated outside the stadium prior to the club’s game against Portsmouth today.
The 64-year-old, who played for the club between 1985 and 1986, told The Gazette he was only too happy to stand side-by-side with the fans.
He said: “The supporters have always been great with me, they were unbelievable when they supported my testimonial. So the least I can do is support them. They just want a fair deal, that’s all.
“It’s gone too far, he (Owen Oyston) needs to walk away. He can’t go back, it’s too severe now.
“Even the way he dresses up, they’re probably better off using him as a scarecrow in the middle of the pitch. There’s no feeling for him at all.
“It’s a shame because the club has built up since I was here. It’s a fantastic stadium but it’s no good without supporters and he’s not got that.
“The fans are genuine people and I had a bit of a lump in my throat because it shows you just how much the football club means to them - and it is their football club at the end of the day.”
The protest was organised by Blackpool Supporters' Trust but was also supported by members from Muckers' Supporters' Group and the Tangerine Knights.
It was originally organised weeks ago as a means of reminding Oyston of the fans' continued anger at his running of the club.
It coincided with their opening home game of the season, but it took on extra meaning this week following Gary Bowyer's shock resignation on Monday followed by last night's club statement.
Christine Seddon, chair of BST, said: “We’re here because it’s the first home game of yet another season - in fact it’s the fourth season the majority of Blackpool fans have been boycotting.
“We want to send a message to Mr Oyston that, if he’s still in any doubt, we as fans as and as a community are not prepared to accept his ownership and we are not coming back until he has gone.
“Blackpool Supporters’ Trust has a presence outside the ground before every single home game for the past three seasons and we will continue to do that until this club is Oyston free.”
The protest was also well supported by a number of Portsmouth fans, who have experienced their own issues with rogue owners in recent years.
Pompey supporter Andrew Blades said: “Obviously I’m here to watch Portsmouth but I’ve got a lot of sympathy for the Blackpool fans.
“Normally I don’t meet other away fans but because we know what it’s like to go through this, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”