Stop ALL legal action now, pleads fan group

Owner Owen Oyston
Owner Owen Oyston
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Blackpool Supporters’ Trust has reiterated its call for the Oystons to end all outstanding legal action after a defamation case against an online fans’ forum was struck out by court.

Paul Crashley, 38, was being sued by the club and the Oyston family for £150,000 over comments posted on the fans’ forum he ran, Back Henry Street.

But on the day a court case between the Oystons and club president Valeri Belokon began, it emerged the case against Mr Crashley had been struck out.

The club’s chairman Karl Oyston has vowed that no new legal cases would be brought against “genuine” fans but action continues against a number of supporters involved in a pitch invasion which led to Blackpool’s last Championship game against Huddersfield being abandoned in May last year.

Reacting to the news, Christine Seddon, deputy chair of the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust (BST), said the action against the message board should never have been brought in the first place.

She said: “BST are delighted that the Oyston case against Back Henry Street has fallen through.

“This legal action should never have been brought in the first place because, to the best of our knowledge, it was based purely on a technicality.

“It is impossible to understand what the Oystons hoped to gain from such an action. Their lack of understanding and empathy for the fans of Blackpool Football Club is at the root of the breakdown in their relationship with us.

“Again, we call on them to end all outstanding litigation.”

The Oystons were suing the message board for up to £150,000 over six comments posted on the site in 2014.

Official court documents showed both Karl and Owen Oyston, plus Blackpool Football Club, were hoping to claim damages of a maximum £50,000 each.

A statement was posted on the message board on Tuesday which claimed the case had been struck out, with full costs to be paid. In that statement, Mr Crashley admitted it had been a “difficult” and “distressing” period.

Karl Oyston confirmed the legal action had been ceased in an email to The Gazette.

This news coincided with a separate hearing brought by Belokon and taking place in Manchester this week.

Belokon, the club’s Latvian president, claims to be owed millions he invested in the club. After Belokon himself gave evidence to the court on Tuesday, it was the turn of Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston yesterday.

Oyston said that Belokon should have been repaid at a time when the club was “awash with cash” following promotion to the Premier League and a £13m loan was made to his father Owen Oyston’s company Segesta.

The hearing is expected to conclude today.