Return of Blackpool fans is 'massive' for our club says chief Ben Mansford

The prospect of Bloomfield Road reopening at full capacity is made even sweeter by the fact fans will watch Championship football.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 8:00 am

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The prospect of Bloomfield Road reopening at full capacity is made even sweeter by the fact fans will watch Championship football.

That’s according to Blackpool chief executive Ben Mansford, who is as delighted as anyone that the government has given the green light to ease the remaining restrictions on social distancing.

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Blackpool can't wait to open their doors to all supporters again

It means Bloomfield Road will be open to full capacity for Blackpool’s league game against Cardiff City on Saturday, August 14 – seven days after their opening day trip to Bristol City.

Pool’s first competitive game in front of home fans will actually be the Carabao Cup tie with Middlesbrough, listed as being on Wednesday, August 11.

“It’s massive (having the supporters back),” Mansford said in an interview with the EFL.

“Covid has been a horrendous thing for the entire world and Blackpool has really suffered, especially hospitality and tourism.

“The fact we’re able to have supporters back in the stadium, but more importantly back in the stadium for a year in the Championship, is huge.

“Having supporters back in the stadium after the challenges they’ve had over recent years and the part they’ve played and the way they’ve come together and supported (owner) Simon Sadler, we’re just delighted we can give them Championship football again.

“Last season we had over 4,000 supporters buying season tickets knowing they might not see a game, not knowing when they would be allowed back in.

“We’ve been able to give them a team, a squad and a coaching staff where you can see they’re working so hard to achieve great things for this wonderful football club.

“We’ve had a fantastic last nine months, since October really, where everything really kicked in and we really started to believe in the type of thing we wanted to build here. We’re really delighted.”

Sports venues in England are set to return to full capacity from July 19, the government recently confirmed.

The Seasiders play Rangers in a pre-season friendly two days later, while they take on Burnley on Tuesday, July 27.

Crowds in the UK have either been kept out entirely or allowed in severely restricted numbers since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the UK in March last year.

Test events with higher attendances have been held as part of a Government programme since April.

Blackpool held a pilot event back in October 2020 for their 2-0 win against Swindon Town, while a limited number of fans were permitted to attend their play-off ties against Oxford United and Lincoln City.

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