Pool’s plans to net off rows causes anger

The front rows at Bloomfield Road will be blocked off for Saturday's game against Rochdale
The front rows at Bloomfield Road will be blocked off for Saturday's game against Rochdale
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Blackpool’s plan to ‘net off’ rows of seats to prevent further pitch invasions has been described as a ‘disgrace’.

The Seasiders are currently facing the possibility of a three-point deduction and being forced to play behind closed doors should there be a repeat of scenes on the final day of last season when a pitch invasion halted the Championship clash with Huddersfield.

Malcolm Brocklehurst

Malcolm Brocklehurst

In an attempt to prevent that a number of new measures have been brought in for the new season, one which will see the front rows of the stands netted off.

It means a number of season ticket holders will lose their seats, something which they were informed of by letter this morning.

A number of supporters have made their feelings known on social media and 82-year-old Malcolm Brocklehurst contacted The Gazette to brand the decision as disgraceful.

“To let us know of this just two days before the first game is dreadful, Saturday will be total chaos,” he said.

“I picked my seat as I am disabled and struggle to climb steps and my normal Row E seat has a rail which helps me climb the steps.

“Without any warning or consultation they’ve just told me I’ll now be eleven rows back, it’s a disgrace.

“Football is a social thing for my friends and we all go and enjoy sitting around the same people, we even share flasks and food.

“I’m going into my second year of the two-year deal and can’t believe how we’ve been treated.

“Instead of moving us, why don’t they just put on more stewards.”

Bloomfield Road will have a different feel for the visit of Rochdale on Saturday, with the East Stand now closed and as many as a thousand away fans housed in the North Stand.

A statement from Blackpool FC said the measures were put in place following talks with the FA.

It read: “The club will be netting-off rows of seats within the stands of Bloomfield Road until further notice following discussions with The FA.

“Necessary to assist in preventing the threat of further pitch invasions and sanctions, the decision will unfortunately affect a number of supporters currently located in the front four rows of the North, West and South Stands.

“Those required to relocate to another seat will receive a letter in the post indicating your new allocated seat. Existing season ticket cards are still valid to enter the ground. Wheelchair spaces are unaffected.

“The club would like to thank supporters for their understanding and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Despite the statement, season ticket holder Sue Duke got in touch with The Gazette to label the club’s decision as a disgrace.

She said: “I really don’t see how this can prevent the threat of a pitch invasion.

“Everyone on the row we are on are of pensionable age and are certainly not a safety threat.

“It’s disgusting they can just move us, we have grown to know everyone we sit around and see it as a social event.

“I’ve tried to call the club to ask for their reasons, but no-one answered to me all afternoon.

“It’s a ludicrous decision.”