EXCLUSIVE: Owen Oyston breaks silence to accuse Valeri Belokon of 'bluffing' Blackpool fans
Under-fire Blackpool owner Owen Oyston has issued a sensational statement to The Gazette where he accuses Valeri Belokon of 'bluffing' the fans and forcing the club into administration.
In a statement issued through a spokesman, Oyston claims the Latvian has no interest in taking over the football club and is only interested in reclaiming his money.
This is despite the fact the club’s former president has spent thousands on trying to overturn his EFL suspension, which currently prevents him from holding high office at a British club.
It follows revelations that Oyston has offered to walk away “for free” by handing the club over to Belokon.
The proposal, which was put to Belokon’s lawyers at the start of February, also included Bloomfield Road, the club hotel and the Squires Gate training ground.
Belokon's representatives confirmed to The Gazette the offer was declined due to Oyston’s valuation of the club, saying the offer was “clearly not good enough”.
But Oyston claims Belokon never formally replied and says the Latvian has treated the offer with “nothing but contempt”.
In the statement, the 84-year-old's spokesman also says two separate buyers are interested in bidding for the club, but any potential takeover is being “held up” by the current situation with Belokon.
But Oyston, who in November of last year was ordered by a High Court judge to pay Belokon Â£31.27m, has had five months to sell yet still remains in charge.
The spokesman said: “Mr Oyston wrote to Valeri Belokon, through his lawyers Clifford Chance, on February 7 with a formal offer that included the football club, the stadium, hotel and revenue from the health trust totalling Â£25m worth of assets.
“It was an open letter that he never replied to. Mr Oyston also left messages on Belokon’s private phone and even arranged to make the offer through a third-party, but he never came back.
“He has treated the offer with nothing but contempt.
“During a conversation with Mr Oyston’s solicitors, Clifford Chance said Belokon was not interested and was refusing the offer.
“The consequences of that, in Mr Oyston’s view, is that he is just bluffing the fans. It’s propaganda.
“He’s never had any intention of taking the football club.
“Mr Oyston’s lawyer suggested all parties get around the table and talk about it, but Belokon is not interested in talking.
“He keeps telling the fans he is coming back, but all he wants is the money.
“No one else is trying to save the club but Mr Oyston. He is doing all he can to repair the damage.
“He still loves the club, he always will. But he feels as though he has no alternative now but to sell.
“He has two buyers lined up, but it is taking time to bring them in because of all this. One is a billionaire who loves football and is genuine.
“Mr Oyston feels as though he can solve the problem if given time.
“But Belokon just wants to get his money and run. He is bluffing the fans and pulling the wool over their eyes.”
Belokon, who began legal enforcement earlier this month, has made it abundantly clear he won’t carry out any action that harms the football club.
Oyston has disputed this, boldly claiming the club could enter administration and die due to Belokon’s actions.
Yet it was Oyston who was found to have “illegitimately stripped” the club following its promotion to the Premier League in 2010, before being accused of “game playing” in a recent court hearing.
His own son Karl even penned a letter to the EFL declaring Owen was not “fit and proper” to run the club.
The spokesman added: “Mr Oyston has offered to put his personal monies into Blackpool Football Club’s accounts to avoid a shortfall in cash and to prevent the club going into administration.
“Belokon refused and took the money out.
“His comments that he has the best interests of the football club at heart are nonsense.
“The club is going to die but he does not care. It is all rhetoric.
“Why will he not enter talks? There could be an orderly transition and the club could go on.
“Mr Oyston does not want to sell the club but he’s prepared to do so if it avoid the problems it will soon face.
“If the club went into administration, it would lose 12 points which would result in relegation.
“But Belokon is forcing the club into administration. If he took the club on he could stop that from happening.
“Mr Oyston feels as though he is being forced into this, he has no alternative.”
It is understood Oyston is on the verge of taking out a Â£25m loan, where the interest on the repayments could be as high as Â£400,000 a month.
This could spell disaster for the club, which is already struggling financially.
In a recent court hearing, it was revealed the club only has enough money to see out the rest of the season.
“Belokon knows Mr Oyston has got the money sitting in a solicitor's bank account acting for a potential lender. There is enough to pay him off,” the spokesman said.
“That money is waiting on due diligence and it’s just waiting on a signature.
“So why send the bailiffs in when he knows the money is there?
“Belokon is just wanting to pick the club up cheaply but if he does that, it will take years and years for it to recover."
In a bizarre claim, Oyston suggests Blackpool's recent upturn in form has coincided with the arrival of his daughter Natalie Christopher - who has taken over as chairwoman from his son Karl.
He was removed from his post at the start of February, while his son Sam exited shortly afterwards.
“Mr Oyston has taken some strong steps to address the problems the club faces," the spokesman added.
"He got rid of Karl and deposed of Sam.
“Mr Oyston doesn’t know what more he can do.
“Natalie has been a breath of fresh air since she came in. The team has only lost one game out of the last eight and are now only 11 points off the play-offs.”