Paul Stewart column: Give Blackpool FC back to the fans

Paul Stewart in action for Blackpool in 1985
Paul Stewart in action for Blackpool in 1985

Last week’s article caused much debate, especially across social media, with varying solutions to the ongoing problems at BFC.

As I said last week, I don’t wish to write a column every week labouring the crisis at the club, nor do I wish to give the owners any airtime, but with the situation still rumbling on and the varied views from fans, I’ll reiterate what my views are – and they are mine alone.

I think the owners should stand aside and give the club back to the fans. How they do this is of no concern to me.

The money owed to Mr Belokon is also no concern of mine as this still leaves the club in the same position.

There are no certainties that Mr Belokon is going to take control after he has received his money.

Speaking as a fan and as someone who has a lot of history with the club, I have no intention at present of returning to BFC in any capacity until the current owners are gone.

But as I said last week, my fear is that the club will go out of existence before anything is settled.

Nobody will relish buying the club, so finding new owners is going to be a challenge in itself.

Supporters have all but ceased to exist due to the ongoing issues and the town does not have a football club that it can call its own.

I would also like to respond to Blackpool fan Lee Johnson, who sent me this email.

“I read your article in the Gazette (October 5) and could not help but email and thank you. You certainly pulled no punches and laid the blame squarely where it belongs – at the door of the Oystons, in particular Owen.

“I would also love to know from Mr Belokon what his next move will be. It seems things are extremely quiet on that front and have been for some time.

“My question is: would you be willing to assist us in our plight? Would you be willing to talk with BST and try to further engage the EFL?

“I think having someone like you working with us and speaking on our behalf will help gain great media coverage and put the EFL to shame for their inept and incompetent handling of this affair.

“Do you have any ideas in mind which may make the EFL sit up and pay proper attention?

“We have tried everything, as you will know. Nobody seems to want to listen to a ‘load of moaning football fans’.

“It seems the game is no longer for the ordinary man but for the rich, greedy owners who have infected our national game, ripping out the heart of communities and robbing families of dreams. I look forward to a response. Many thanks.”

In answer to Lee, if I thought that speaking with the EFL would make any kind of difference, then I would have no problem picking up the phone and speaking with them.

The fact of the matter is that I believe they are powerless to act over the club’s owners, otherwise I am sure sanctions would have been placed upon the owners and the club. This course of action must have been discussed by legal people far better placed to understand what can and can’t be done.

I would be happy to speak with BST if it would help to bring this saga to a conclusion. I have been speaking with Christine Seddon and know Pauline O’Rourke very well.

But as you clearly stated, the voice of the real fan is not going to be heard. Protests in some ways give the fans a voice and I know many have been made.

But except through such protests and constant pressure via the media, fans are powerless.

In conclusion and as previously stated, I will be concentrating on the positive in this column, so I will leave you this week with some fond memories of the club and maybe a more cheerful talking point.

Here’s a favourite Blackpool XI from my time at the club in the 1980s.

B O’Rourke; D Bardsley, C Greenall, S Hetzke, D Moore; J Deary, M Davis, A Dyer, M Walsh; E O’Keefe and P Stewart.

The manager? Big Sam Ellis .