Valeri Belokon reiterates stance that change is inevitable at Blackpool FC in special New Year's message to supporters

Valeri Belokon
Valeri Belokon
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Latvian millionaire Valeri Belokon has released a New Year's statement where he reiterates his stance that change is "inevitable" at Blackpool Football Club.

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The club's former director, who continues to be locked in a bitter battle with Blackpool owner Owen Oyston, released the special message to Blackpool Supporters' Trust.

In the statement, Belokon admits it has been and continues to be a frustrating period for the football club, which remains in limbo off-the-pitch due to the £25m debt Oyston still owes him following the November 2017 High Court judgement.

But he also says he is confident the club will see regime change at some point in 2019.

"In this dark but wonderful time of the year I would like to send you good thoughts and wishes," Belokon said.

"Yes, our club is going through perhaps the darkest times in its history. It is very sad and frustrating to see that it takes so long. Another year has passed yet there seems to be no progress.

"I have been criticised because of the slow progress that is being made. I share your concerns and take the criticism. I feel the frustration together with you.

"Unfortunately, the path that we have been forced to take is long, harmful and dividing the fans. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that this is the only path that we can follow given the current circumstances. The progress is slow but it is inevitable. I strongly believe that we will see changes next year.

"Today the only person who can make quicker progress is Owen. The fastest way towards a solution is for Owen to settle the judgement debt and facilitate the changes. Any other proposals, speculations or alternative scenarios would make it lengthier, require extensive due diligence and draw the process out well into 2019.

"If Owen really wants to help the club, he needs to pay the debts and allow changes to happen. Unfortunately, the level of trust between us is at its historical lowest point.

"I have said before and maintain my position that I would seriously consider my involvement in Blackpool only when the legal dispute with Owen is settled. I would only do it together with a strong local partner.

"I know that there are serious and honorable businessmen who are thinking about Blackpool FC. At the moment it is too early to discuss my involvement as no agreement has been reached.

"Once the legal dispute is settled, I will discuss my future work in Blackpool FC with investors and I will solve the EFL issue.

"Every crisis is an opportunity. Every difficult situation needs a different solution to overcome it. This crisis has led to a creation of Blackpool Supporters Trust - a strong and reputable organisation with not only local but I would say also a national agenda.

"Owners can come and go but Blackpool fans will always stay. I would encourage you to stay united, strong and fair. And when the changes come you will come out of this crisis stronger and more confident. Please remain united!

"The club is more than 130 years old now. It has experienced several owners. We have to give credit to Owen Oyston for what he has done for the club in the past. But sooner or later if you step in the way of progress you need to understand it and allow changes to happen.

"Perhaps Owen now needs to realise that the referendum on the subject 'Owen Exit' has already happened. Perhaps it is time for Owen to allow changes to happen.

"I wish you all a Happy New Year!"