In-depth timeline of the long-running Oyston/Belokon saga

The ongoing saga between Owen Oyston and Valeri Belokon doesn't appear to heading to a conclusion any time soon.

Wednesday, 29th August 2018, 7:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th August 2018, 8:06 am
Owen Oyston has been in charge of Blackpool since 1988

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Belokon, who first invested in the club back in 2006 and was instrumental in the club's success in the following years, is still owed £25m following last year's High Court judgement.

Justice Marcus Smith ruled that the Latvian had been 'unfairly prejudiced' and found that the Oyston family had extracted millions of pounds out of the club following its promotion to the Premier League in 2010.

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Owen Oyston has been in charge of Blackpool since 1988

While a large chunk of the debt still remains, Oyston is somehow still clinging onto control of the football club.

Here's an exhaustive timeline of how the saga unfolded...

1988 - Owen Oyston buys Blackpool Football Club, then in the third tier, for £1, claiming to save it from bankruptcy.

1990 - Owen Oyston plans to build a £60m “Soccer City” to replace Blackpool's dilapidated stadium Bloomfield Road.

In 1996, Oyston was given a prison sentence for rape

1996 - Owen Oyston is sentenced to six years in prison for raping and indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl. His wife, Vicki, starts running the club.

1999 - Karl Oyston becomes chairman amid fan protests over Vicki's chairmanship.

2006 - Valeri Belokon buys a 20 per cent stake in Blackpool FC and becomes the club's president. Blackpool are promoted back to the Championship a year later.

July, 2009 - Karl Oyston pledged to provide a new training complex after manager Ian Holloway vowed never to hold another session at the Squires Gate base he described as “a hell hole”. Squires Gate was never updated, is now unusable and the club are currently training in Preston.

Oyston has held talks with a number of interested parties, but has yet to come to an agreement with any of them

March, 2010 - The new South Stand at Bloomfield Road was finally opened, seven years on from it being demolished.

May, 2010 - Blackpool beat Cardiff City 3-2 to win promotion to the Premier League for the first time.

August, 2010 - Blackpool players finally receive their bonuses for winning promotion to the Premier League.

November, 2010 - Manager Ian Holloway pledges to take training on Blackpool beach before playing Manchester United due to frozen training pitches.

Oyston yesterday released a 1,000-word statement where he offered his controlling stake in the club to Belokon for 5m

May, 2011 - Blackpool are relegated from the Premier League.

February, 2012 - Karl Oyston, and two of his companies were fined more than £40,000 for illegally dumping waste from the building of the club’s Jimmy Armfield Stand.

March, 2012 - The Guardian reports that £11m was paid out of the club to Owen Oyston’s company Zabaxe following Blackpool’s season in the Premier League.

2012 - Blackpool lose 2-1 to West Ham in the Championship play-off final.

2012/13 season - Managers of Blackpool’s opponents make a number of critical comments about the state of the Bloomfield Road pitch. Hull City manager Steve Bruce labelled it an “absolute quagmire”.

October, 2013 - Karl Oyston said Blackpool were the “envy of the Football League” after announcing the club had made huge profits the previous season.

Valeri Belokon is still owed 25m following last year's court verdict

January 2013 - Michael Appleton leaves his role as manager after just 65 days in charge.

2014-2015: Owen and Karl Oyston begin suing fans who criticise their ownership on internet forums. Five managers come and go in the space of two years and 27 players leave before the start of the 2014-15 season.

January 2014 - Karl Oyston sacks Paul Ince by text message.

April 2014 - Karl Oyston angers fans after being photographed standing in front of a billboard that read: “Oyston’s Cash Cow”.

April 2014 - A game against Burnley is temporarily halted after fans hurl tennis balls and tangerines onto the pitch in protest against the owners. Karl’s son George and his friends were then pictured holding up tennis rackets.

July 2014 - Blackpool posted a team-sheet for their pre-season match at Penrith with five players under the name of “trialist”. Karl Oyston said there was “no panic” despite Blackpool having just eight players contracted for the new season.

July 2014 - Channel 4 airs an investigation into the club’s finances. It found “unsecured, interest free loans worth tens of millions have been made to the club’s holding company, Segesta limited – owned by Owen Oyston”

August 2014 - Blackpool supporters raising money for the Gary Parkinson Trust are told they cannot fundraise within the grounds at Bloomfield Road.

August 2014 - Daily Mail investigation reveals senior members of staff had to travel to supermarkets to pick up ready meals for away games.

August 2014 - Blackpool only have nine eligible players the morning of their season opener at Nottingham Forest. Pool manage to field a team but could only name four substitutes. They lost the game 2-0.

September 2014 - Former player Andrea Orlandi claims Blackpool are the only team in the Football League that makes players pay their FA registration fee.

December 2014 - Karl Oyston becomes embroiled in a text message scandal in which he branded a supporter a “massive retard”. He was eventually banned for six weeks by the FA.

January 2015 - Owen Oyston reveals the club is taking legal action against Tim Fielding, the former chairman of the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust.

January 2015 - Karl Oyston’s car brandishes an ‘Oyston Out’ license plate.

February 2015 - Fan David Ragozzino appears in court being sued for up to £150,000 by the club, as well as Karl and Owen Oyston, over alleged defamatory comments posted online.

April 2015 - Blackpool are relegated from the Championship with a record low points tally.

April 2015 - Blackpool remove statue of club legend Stan Mortensen from outside the ground ahead of a planned protest.

May 2015 - Fans invade pitch during the last game of the season against Huddersfield; some attempt to break into the directors’ box seating area.

May 2016 - Blackpool are relegated into the bottom tier of English football for the first time in 15 years.

August 2015 - Blackpool hit with suspended three-point deduction and £50,000 fine from the FA for the pitch invasion.

September 2015 - Fans are served with letters from the club demanding compensation for loss of earnings following pitch invasion and match abandonment.

January 2016 - A fan is given a 26-week prison sentence and six-year football banning order following a trial for storming the directors' box in Huddersfield Town game previous year.

2016 - The ethical boycott is implemented and the fans pledge never to return until Oystons go. Valeri Belokon instigates court proceedings against the Oystons.

January 2017 - Karl Oyston brands protesting Blackpool fans a “busted flush” in an interview on TalkSport.

March 8, 2017 - Valeri Belokon is suspended from the club’s board with immediate effect following disputed claims of money laundering.

May 2017 - Gary Bowyer guides Blackpool back to League One at the first time of asking after beating Exeter City 2-1 in the play-off final. Only 5,000 Blackpool fans attend.

September 28, 2017 - Karl Oyston, through Blackpool FC's official website, announces that Valeri Belokon has been banned from holding high office by the English Football League (EFL).

November 6, 2017 - The Oystons are defeated in the High Court and are ordered to buy out Valeri Belokon’s shares for £31.27m after it was found they had “illegitimately stripped” the club. Four days later the club is put up for sale.

December 4, 2017 - The Oyston pay an initial £10m installment to Valeri Belokon. The next deadline for a second payment of £10m in January is missed and the Oystons ask for more time to pay off the full debt.

January 13, 2018 - The club announces the shock departure of chief executive Alex Cowdy, less than an hour after the team had drawn 0-0 with Bristol Rovers at Bloomfield Road. He was eventually replaced by Sam Oyston.

January 17, 2018 - Owen Oyston’s daughter Natalie Christopher is appointed the club’s new chairwoman. When the Seasiders enjoy a fine run of form in February, Oyston almost appears to attribute the positive results to Natalie’s appointment.

February 2, 2018 - Controversial chairman Karl Oyston is sacked by his father Owen, adding fuel to the fire of rumours of a family feud.

February 5, 2018 - Justice Marcus Smith orders Owen Oyston to immediately pay up the £25m he still owes Valeri Belokon or face the consequences of legal enforcement action.

February 13, 2018 - Blackpool spring a surprise by beating league leaders Wigan Athletic 2-0 at the DW Stadium. Just 45 minutes before kick off, it was announced Sam Oyston had also been relieved of his role after just 28 days in the job.

March 20, 2018 - Concerned Blackpool fans take part in a meeting with the English Football League. The EFL appear to indicate they would not stand in the way of Valeri Belokon taking over the football club, but to this day have still not overturned his ban.

April 21, 2018 - Following a 4-0 away win at Gillingham that guarantees Blackpool’s League One safety, Bowyer tells the media this has been the most difficult season of his career.

April 26, 2018 - Owen Oyston claims an agreement with an investment group has been finalised and will be confirmed in the next “three to five days”. A deal is never announced.

May 2018 - Blackpool defy expectations to finish 12th place in League One.

May 4, 2018 - Valeri Belokon sends in the bailiffs to Blackpool Football Club. His legal advisors Clifford Chance confirm legal enforcement is underway.

June 7, 2018 - The Gazette reveals Singaporean blockchain company vSport has bid £25m for the football club. Owen Oyston declined to comment.

Summer 2018 - The club are forced to undergo another overhaul of their squad after losing a number of key first-team players. In total, 20 players depart including loanees.

July 4, 2018 - Owen Oyston flies to Latvia to meet with Valeri Belokon. The Gazette later reveals Oyston was joined by a businessman called Jonathan Disley, who appears to be in talks regarding some sort of investment in the club. The auction process is consequently put on hold.

August 6, 2018 - Gary Bowyer hands in his resignation after two seasons with the club.

August 8, 2018 - Blackpool Supporters’ Trust meet with Jonathan Disley, who has been pictured with Owen Oyston at a number of recent Blackpool games. Both parties sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

August 10, 2018 - Owen Oyston releases a 1,000-word statement in which he offers his controlling stake in the football club to Valeri Belokon for £5m. However, the football stadium, hotel and training ground are not mentioned in the offer, while there’s also no mention of the outstanding £25m debt.

August 11, 2018 - Protests are to be held outside Bloomfield Road ahead of Blackpool's opening home game of the season against Portsmouth.

Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer handed in his resignation earlier this week
Oyston was pictured with Jonathan Disley in the directors' box at Wycombe last week