Oyston: Some fans will never return to Blackpool

Karl Oyston
Karl Oyston

Karl Oyston says he wouldn’t inflict running a football club on “my worst enemy” – and admits some fans will never return as long as his family is in charge.

The Pool chairman last week conceded taking legal action against lifelong fan Jeremy Smith, which the Oystons dropped at the 11th hour in court, was an error.

But he is set to continue with action against a handful of supporters involved in pitch invasions that caused the Championship game against Huddersfield in May 2015 and a friendly at Lancaster in July 2015 to be postponed.

An update on those matters is due this week, just days after fans held another protest against the Oystons’ ownership before the FA Cup win over Kidderminster Harriers at Bloomfield Road.

Oyston, who was rapped by the FA for telling a fan to enjoy his “special needs day out” and angered fans by changing his car registration to OY51 OUT, acknowledges any legal action will continue to drive a wedge between the club and fans.

He said: “I wholly understand the reasons people are staying away and I respect that choice that they make.

“ It would be futile to encourage them to come back. They have got their views and they are entitled to those views, based on fact.

“They are upset at where the club is and so are we.

“Hopefully at some point in time they will look at things more positively, when we achieve some stability, which we have lacked in recent years. Every fan has got views and opinions. I appreciate a certain category of fan will never come back.

“In terms of someone taking over from me, I can’t see an orderly queue forming to take over, either from my family or elsewhere, and I wouldn’t inflict it on my worst enemy.”

Blackpool Supporters Trust launched a bid to take control of the club last year but it was flatly rejected.

Pool sit 15th in the League Two table, four points off the play-offs and three off the final relegation spot.

Oyston attempted to refute claims made in a text exchange with Pool fan Steven Smith, where he suggested he wanted to see the club plunge into the National League.

He said: “To suggest I have a plan to take us to the Conference is plain ridiculous.

“To take my comments, albeit inappropriate ones, as a statement of club policy is not right.

“It’s always difficult when you are being attacked by people who are often absent of the facts. But to react like I have is the wrong thing to do.”

Pool’s official average attendance is just 3,600 this season, with many fans boycotting home games under the ‘Not A Penny More’ protest.

But Oyston said the atmosphere at the ground has improved without the protesting supporters – comments likely to anger the stayaway fans further.

The chairman claimed: “Things within the club, team and management, and the supporters that choose to attend home and away games, are brighter than they have been for some time.

“But some fans just want to watch their team in peace and quiet and hopefully that team is a successful one, which Gary (Bowyer) is trying to achieve.”