New Blackpool FC owner Simon Sadler keen to move on from Oyston era and begin new dawn

Blackpool FC owner Simon Sadler
Blackpool FC owner Simon Sadler
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Simon Sadler is keen to move on from Blackpool’s chequered past and usher in a new era for the football club.

READ MORE: The Gazette's report from fans' forum with new Blackpool FC owner Simon Sadler

The 49-year-old was unveiled as the club’s new owner on Monday and spoke in depth to a number of media outlets.

All of those conversations had one thing in common – there was no mention of the Oyston family as Sadler regularly stressed the need to look forward, not back.

"Clearly it’s important to move on but I honestly don’t want to dwell on the past,” he said.

“You may find this hard to believe but I’m not really thinking about it. I’m only looking to the future, to what I can do and what the team here can do to develop this club for the future, not the past.

“I think you could argue the club has already got its identity back. I think that day in March, when all those fans returned for the Southend game, was such a pivotal moment.

“I think it’s already gone a long way to reclaiming its identity.”

It was announced last month that Sadler had acquired 96.2 per cent of the club’s shares (the remaining 3.8 per cent belong to supporters) as well as 100 per cent of the hotel.

It meant Sadler had taken Valeri Belokon’s 20 per cent share in the club, a stake that could have reverted to Owen Oyston had the former owner ever settled his debt with the Latvian.

That caused speculation that Sadler had come to an agreement with Belokon to transfer the Latvian’s shares into his control.

However, Sadler revealed yesterday he has had no conversation with the club’s former president and believes Blackpool need a fresh start from top to bottom, suggesting the Latvian will play no further role.

“I haven’t (had any contact),” he confirmed. “I’ve never met him but clearly he’s a very, very important person in the history of Blackpool Football Club.

“There’s a very strong argument that we would never have seen the Premier League if it wasn’t for his investment.

“But again, I was keen to buy the 96.2 per cent and I think the club needs a fresh start. I’m looking forwards and to the future, not to the past.”

While pledging to increase the playing budget, Sadler also acknowledged the desperate need to invest in the club’s infrastructure in the short term.

He suggested he will be seeking a new site for a training ground and spok of the need to give the stadium a lick of paint.

But Sadler also spoke with passion about the club’s academy, suggesting the Seasiders will have to bring through their own players if they are to be successful.

“I wouldn’t say the club is able to fund itself, I would say there is some very significant investment that is needed and I’m prepared for that,” Sadler said.

“You just need to look around the stadium – there’s clearly some TLC needed.

“The academy needs to be developed and of course the big one is the training ground.

“Squires Gate, as long a history as it’s got, is not really suitable for a club of Blackpool’s stature.

“Blackpool should be a solid Championship club and that is the goal.

“The goal right now is to get Blackpool out of League One and into the Championship and establish it in that division.

“To be an established Championship club we need a better infrastructure and part of that is getting much better training facilities.”