BST column: It's frustrating but Blackpool boycotters have to remain patient
Another away day in London's High Court in the case of Belokon versus Oyston and another firm turn of the screw on Owen Oyston courtesy of Justice Marcus Smith.
It is now nearly a full calendar year since the original damning judgement and £31.2m award was made in favour of Valeri Belokon.
Apart from the original £10m down-payment and the announcement that the club was up for sale – since retracted – the growing consensus appears to be that Oyston has been dragging this process out for as long as he can.
Given that Oyston has missed deadline after deadline to repay the balance, precipitating the auction process over which he then apparently also dragged his feet, it should come as no surprise that he was deemed this week to be in breach of his legal obligations to comply with the Order For Sale that was made by the court earlier in the year.
Justice Smith has therefore imposed a Penal Notice on Oyston to focus his mind on complying with those obligations in a timely manner.
There was talk of the possibly of a court-appointed receiver, but for now, the direction is on both parties to proceed swiftly to the execution of the auction process.
Of course the protracted nature of this process is immensely frustrating.
As supporters, we need to be patient and resolute for a while longer, to keep up the pressure of the ethical boycott/NAPM and our legitimate calls for the Oystons to go.
Owen Oyston is running out of time, friends and options but for the good of the club he has to go.
Amidst all the twisting, obfuscating and obstructing, we are trying to be principled because we know where the absence of principles takes you.
Remember it is the Oystons who have precipitated this dark period in Blackpool’s history; the Oystons who have ‘illegitimately stripped’ the football club of funds; the Oystons who have unfairly prejudiced the minority shareholder; the Oystons who have squandered that Premier League legacy; the Oystons who have intimidated and sued the fans; the Oystons who have overseen the managed decline of the club in the last seven years.
Any success that Blackpool FC has enjoyed since falling into the bottom division is almost despite the owners.
Our training ground is unfit for use, the stadium is falling into disrepair and the place that ought to be a buzzing community asset and hub is a shadow of what it was.
It is simply not the case that huge numbers of fans will return if the club is doing well on the field – as it is at the moment.
This is a principled stand by the thousands who are boycotting and the club will never turn the corner and be sustainable without that mass of disaffected supporters.
It would be quite something if the 2,000 or so fans attending games at Bloomfield Road would also signal publicly that they are not happy with this state of affairs, if they would organise some show of displeasure with Oyston and solidarity with those boycotting by holding an ‘Oyston Out’ protest inside the stadium.
Surely we are all on the same side in wanting to see regime change at Blackpool FC?
We believe, we hope, that events will start to move more quickly in the coming weeks.
Ideally regime change can be achieved and this sorry mess resolved well before the end of the current season.
As fans we have suffered long enough. This squad looks promising, is on one of the longest unbeaten runs in the league and has reached the last 16 of the League Cup against Arsenal.
There were 3,000 of us in the Clock End in August 2010. ‘Not-A-Penny-More’ means there will be maybe a third of that when Blackpool play on Wednesday but, in absentia, we wish the Seasiders well.
The team deserves our wholehearted support and we would love to give it in person – which we will again once the Oystons are no longer any part of our football club.