After years of waiting, the big tangerine celebration is just a week away.
Blackpool FC fans are ready to celebrate in style at the first home match next Saturday since the recent end of the Oyston era.
A bumper crowd is expected at Bloomfield Road for the landmark game – and fans wasted no time heading to the ground for tickets yesterday after confirmation the court-appointed official receiver is now in control of the club’s finances.
Some 6,500 tickets – including season tickets – had been sold by yesterday evening. The official attendance at Pool’s last home match, a 1-0 loss to Oxford, was given as 4,003.
The north, south, and west stands will all be open – and staff are ready to open the east stand if needed.
The Blackpool Supporters Trust (BST) have labelled the match day Homecoming Saturday – and are calling on as many fans as possible to join the parade, sporting scarves and banners and pack the ground to its 16,500 capacity.
A celebration parade, from central promenade to Bloomfield Road and led by former players, is planned ahead of the game – and former fans’ favourite Eamonn O’Keefe had pledged to be there to welcome in what he terms an exciting new era for the club.
“I’m delighted for the fans that they have got what they have been waiting for for so long,” said Eamonn, who made his mark up front for the Seasiders in the 1980s.
“They are premier league supporters and have been so patient.
“They have done things by the book and I am so pleased they have finally got what they have been looking for.
“I can’t wait to join them for the parade to the ground next Saturday.
“I’m sure the ground will be packed and the supporters can be worth an extra goal to the team.”
Tony Green, star midfielder of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, said: “I have stayed away from games for a few years now and I am delighted for the fans that they have got what they have been looking for.
“The sad thing is that we have lost a generation of you fans during these years when so many fans have stayed away from games.
“Just after the club won promotion to the Premier League, I remember going to Poulton Gala and seeing so many youngsters in tangerine colours. It was great but we haven’t been able to build on that and that’s so unfortunate.
“I’ll be going back for the game next Saturday and I would be delighted to join the parade to the ground.”
BST said in a statement to fans: “We have received official confirmation this morning from the court appointed receiver that he is now in control of the finances of Blackpool FC.
“This is the green light we’ve been waiting for. Thank you for your patience, for holding back until we could be sure that your purchase of tickets for next Saturday’s home match – and subsequent games – will benefit the football club and not the Oystons. Go ahead and purchase those tickets in confidence.
“We are on for Blackpool’s big Homecoming Saturday – let’s try and fill Bloomfield Road to capacity.
“Lancashire Police have approved plans for a celebration parade on March 9 from Blackpool Tower along the promenade to Bloomfield Road. More details will follow but in outline: meet at the Comedy Carpet from 1pm, set off to walk to the ground at 1.30pm, arriving at Bloomfield Road at 2pm.
“Everyone is welcome. Blackpool’s former players will lead the parade. Bring your banners, scarves, flags and let’s make it an occasion to remember.
“Whether you were boycotting for years or not, it is time to put any past differences behind us.
“The future is what counts and it starts here with an opportunity for us all to go back together in celebration of being Oyston-free, the day when we can start enjoying our football club again.
Finally, Blackpool are back.
“This has been a tremendous journey and once again the world will be watching.
“Let’s show everybody just how much this means to us all and what a fantastic fan base Blackpool has. There may even be a football match to enjoy.”
The club later said: “Blackpool Football Club is now in a position to confirm that the mandate on its bank account has been changed, in line with the appointment of the new board.
“This means that the relevant, authorised signatories are now in place and supporters can purchase tickets for next Saturday’s home match against Southend United as they wish.
“Tickets are currently available to purchase from the ticket office, or over the telephone by calling 0303 334 0999.
“The club is also working to restore its online ticketing platform, though a further update on this will be provided in due course.
“For those looking to sit in the North Stand, please be aware that Blocks A and B are unavailable due to tickets having previously been sent to Southend United for visiting supporters.
“A huge demand is expected for tickets, so please bear with staff while they work through the queues and prepare to welcome everybody back to Bloomfield Road.”