Pool could face more FA sanctions after invasion

Blackpool fans invade the pitch
Blackpool fans invade the pitch
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Blackpool could face yet more charges from the Football Association after Saturday’s opening friendly at Lancaster City ended in chaos.

With 15 minutes remaining a group of 20 supporters entered the pitch forcing the match to be abandoned – the latest stunt by fans who are desperate for chairman Karl Oyston and owner Owen Oyston to leave the club.

Blackpool fans invade the pitch

Blackpool fans invade the pitch

In May Blackpool were charged by the FA after the Championship clash against Huddersfield ended in similar style – with a punishment yet to be decided.

And should referee Paul Kettlewell include the 
incident in his report, it is likely to lead to further charges for the club – potentially resulting in a points deduction or Pool being forced to plan future home games behind closed doors.

It is just the latest incident in a turbulent year for Pool, whose supporters have now become used to off-the-field incidents over shadowing the football.

Chairman Karl Oyston last week began a six week ban from all football activity and was fined £40,000 by the FA for calling supporter Stephen Smith ‘a retard’ and telling him to ‘enjoy the rest of your special needs day out’ during a text-message exchange last November.

Blackpool fans invade the pitch

Blackpool fans invade the pitch

Last week Blackpool Supporters Trust(BST) tabled a bid worth £23m to buy the football club and it’s parent companies from the Oyston family.

And while BST refused to back the weekend’s pitch
 invaders, their spokesperson Christine Seddon said she understands why the incident happened.

“We do not encourage people to break the law and get matches abandoned, that’s not what we are about,” she told The Gazette.

“For a long time we have tried to negotiate and be 
reasonable with the Oyston family and as we all know we have just placed a bid for the club.

“However, we have to say everyone has to look at the bigger picture here.

“This kind of action is what happens when you have owners who refuse to engage properly with their fan base.

“Not only have the Oystons failed to engage with the fans, they have actively wound them up – something which is still going now.

“It’s very irresponsible behaviour from the owners.”

The incident appears to have split supporter opinion with some feeling a pre-season friendly wasn’t the right time or place to hold this sort of action.

Hundreds took to The Gazette’s website to give their opinion, with feelings clearly mixed.

CleveleysPool wrote: “A pointless protest that achieved nothing to help regime change but harms the team and spoilt the day for the fans.

“For those wanting new owners, the best course of action is to support the BST campaign.”

Pooltillidie said: “I was furious at the end of the game . This was a pre-season game at a friendly little club and for the most part there was a good, family atmosphere.

“We were 3-1 up and these people just strolled on to the pitch and ruined the enjoyment for about 700 other people.”

While EllyJay1976 added: “Well done to all involved, I know a few and are TRUE supporters that have spent hundreds and hundreds of pounds watching the pool up and down the country for 30 years or so.

“Passion shows in different forms.”

While a number of well-known Pool supporters have, through social media, admitted taking part regular protest group Tangerine Knights have distanced themselves from Saturday’s incident.

They said: “While the occupation of the centre circle on Saturday was not done by Tangerine Knights we can understand and empathise with those who chose direct action and civil disobedience again today.

“This club is still involved in a civil war that will only stop once the Oyston family leave.”