Deadline day for Blackpool FC owners with £10m payment to Belokon due

Tim FieldingTim Fielding
Tim Fielding
Clubs up and down the land will be hoping they can conclude some last-minute transfer deals tonight. Instead, Blackpool Football Club will be involved in a rather different deadline day.
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Should they fail to stump up the required cash, High Court judge Justice Marcus Smith may have no other option but to appoint a receiver which could go a long way to forcing a change in ownership.

Tim Fielding, honorary vice-president of the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, dubbed today’s deadline as “Judgement Day 5”.

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He told The Gazette: “Valeri Belokon is effectively holding all the cards at the moment.

“Either the Oystons are going to pay the £10m, which means Belokon will have received over 50 per cent of the amount he’s due to receive – and that is a good place to be from a negotiation point of view.

“Or secondly, he’ll wait and see what move the Oystons make next. Do they approach him to say, ‘Can we talk?’ Or do they ask the court for more time, knowing they’re going to face more difficulties?

“All these options can only strengthen Valeri’s hand and I personally would like to think he will be involved in the future ownership of Blackpool Football Club.

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“If he is then the position he is in at the moment is a good one for him to be in.”

It comes after the Oystons were denied permission to appeal November’s High Court ruling – which found that they had illegitimately stripped the football club following their promotion to the Premier League.

The Oystons were subsequently ordered to buy out Belokon’s shares for the princely sum of £31.27m.

Mr Fielding believes that decision taken by the Court of Appeal on Monday was of huge importance.

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“It was hugely significant because, since the rule changes in 2016, this means it is the end of the road for them in terms of the appeal process,” he added.

“Originally you effectively had three bites at the cherry but that third stage has now been removed.

“Being granted permission to appeal would have given them some hope of reversing the original decision, or at least in some part.

“As a Blackpool fan, what it tell us is that things are likely to come to a head a lot sooner than would have otherwise been the case.

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“That can only be in the best interests of the football club.

“It’s satisfying because we need this to come to a head.

“If the Oystons are going to stay, let’s at least know they’re going to stay and then we can deal with the consequences.

“Hopefully the penny is going to drop that, financially, it doesn’t make sense to carry on.

“I think we’ve already seen that to a degree with rumours of internal disputes going on because the word on the street is there’s different views within the family of what should happen now.

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“That is a reflection of the difficult situation they find themselves in, even before this appeal decision was confirmed.

“Whatever happens now, there’s going to be some very serious ramifications if the payment is not made.”