Legal claims launched against online Blackpool fans’ forum

Blackpool fans hold up scarves and banners reading 'Oyston Out'
Blackpool fans hold up scarves and banners reading 'Oyston Out'
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An online fans’ forum is the latest target of a series of legal claims being launched by Blackpool FC and its owners Karl and Owen Oyston.

Back Henry Street is being sued for up to £150,000 over six defamatory comments allegedly posted on the site last year.

According to a statement posted on the site, legal papers were served on Thursday.

The club and the Oystons are already involved in legal proceedings started against fans who are alleged to have posted damaging comments online.

The statement, posted on Back Henry Street by a user known as TheSteed, said: “To clear up any rumours, on Thursday February 5, Back Henry Street was served papers from the court, relating to the Oystons, and Blackpool Football Club’s intent to seek damages for six allegedly defamatory comments made on the site in 2014, limited collectively at £150,000.

“For obvious reasons, we can not go into any more detail at this time. Thank you for your continued support.”

The club has reportedly confirmed the legal action but nobody was available to comment when The Gazette tried to get in touch.

The news was met with anger on the forum, with one user, BoltonSeasider, posting: “Seriously, is there no limit to the depth these people will sink to?

“Desperately sad times for true Blackpool fans.”

Another, posting as seanmacca100, added: “Hope this gets sorted for you all.”

A fund has since been set up to help cover the forum’s legal costs, which has attracted donations from fans of various clubs.

One user, under the name sofaofthedamned, donated before posting: “I’m a Preston fan and hate Blackpool, but I hate bullies more.

“Good luck.”

Other contributors to the cause included fans of West Ham United and Derby County.

Legal action has already been started against a number of supporters, including David Ragozzino, who appeared in court last week, and former Blackpool Supporters’ Trust chairman Tim Fielding.

Dozens of supporters turned up to Manchester Civil Justice Centre last week to show their support on Thursday as Mr Ragozzino was granted a further 21 days to submit his defence to the claim.

Papers submitted on behalf of the club and the Oystons list a series of remarks the 32-year-old allegedly made and outline their case for claiming up to £50,000 each in damages.

Another fan, Stephen Sharpe, has already apologised to the club and agreed to pay £5,000 to the club’s charity arm, the Blackpool FC Community Trust, after the club threatened legal action against him.