Wyre council becomes third authority to back football reform proposals

Coun Alan Vincent, Wyre Council
Coun Alan Vincent, Wyre Council

Wyre Borough Council has become the third local authority on the Fylde Coast to back proposals that will change the way football clubs are run.

The notice to formally support the ‘FansNotNumbers’ campaign was put before councillors on Thursday, with elected members voting overwhelmingly in favour of the motion.

Peter Gibson was the only councillor to vote against the motion

Peter Gibson was the only councillor to vote against the motion

Wyre joins Blackpool and Fylde councils in supporting the proposals, which seek to form an independent body which would intervene in disputes between fans and club owners.

All three councils will write to Prime Minister Theresa May and the Secretary of State for Sport Karen Bradley in support of the calls for an independent regulatory body for football in the UK.

Deputy leader Coun Alan Vincent said: “I’ve shared the pain of Blackpool Football Club for quite a number of years.

“It has been a great club in the past and it can be great again and I will support them through thick and thin.

“There have been some bad times as of late but these issues are not confined to Blackpool, they’re not the only club to suffer.

“What this motion is saying is that where they have been some issues between fans and owners, there should be a mechanism to solve that going forwards.

“So I think it is only right we join the Fylde and Blackpool councils to request the government’s support for an independent regulatory body.”

READ MORE: Fylde coast councils leading the way for football reform

The FansNotNumbers campaign is a joint initiative between Supporters Direct, sportswear company SKINS whose chairman Jaimie Fuller is one of the key agitators, and social media platform SPORF.

Their first meeting was held in the resort due to the ongoing dispute between supporters of Blackpool FC and owners the Oystons.

Coun Rob Fail, deputy leader of the Labour group, added: “This is not just about Blackpool, this is more about the future of English football and its sustainability.

“There have been many examples of mismanagement at football clubs over the years and the current system is simply not working - fans are suffering as a consequence.

“English football has some catching up to do and we need to start off by lobbying the government to put this in place as soon as possible.”

Former council leader Peter Gibson, the only councillor to vote against the proposals, described the mission as “gesture politics at its worst”.