Fans enraged by 'disgraceful' neglect of statues of Blackpool FC heroes
A group of Blackpool supporters enraged by the 'disgraceful' condition of the Jimmy Armfield and Stan Mortensen statues outside Bloomfield Road have decided to take matters into their own hands.
Fans have accused the club of failing to look after the statues, which are said to be overgrown with weeds and in dire need of essential repair and maintenance, and have offered to undertake the work themselves free of charge.
The work would also involve surrounding brickwork being power-sprayed, gaps between bricks filled in with sand and damaged paving slabs replaced.
Tim Fielding offered to coordinate with the club on behalf of fans who wanted to tidy up the areas around the statues, which he describes as a “real mess”.
This comes after two volunteers took it upon themselves to weed the area around the plinth on Armfield’s statue back in June.
Mr Fielding claims club owner Owen Oyston approved their plans five weeks ago, but he was told the supporters would need to get the go-ahead from his daughter Natalie Christopher.
However, he has since been frustrated in his attempts to secure a meeting with the club chairman.
Mr Fielding said: “I’ve been unable to make any progress despite regularly chasing up this issue, which leaves me feeling that we are being messed about. This is a great shame as all the volunteers wanted to do was offer to ensure that our legend’s statues and the surrounding areas were properly presented at no cost to the club.
“This isn’t a political issue – nothing to do with Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, Tangerine Knights or the ongoing Not A Penny More campaign – rather just to show due respect to two great servants of the football club.
“Now I have no alternative other than to report back to those who kindly offered to help to say that I’ve been unsuccessful in securing permission for the work which we wanted to ensure was completed before the start of the season.”
Family members of both Mortensen and Armfield have both lent their support to supporters, according to Mr Fielding.
He added: “I appreciate there are other things going on at the football club at the moment, however these statues are very important to those of us who fundraised to have them constructed.
“Putting it bluntly, they and the surrounding areas are a disgrace and should never have been allowed to get into the condition they have. The club are their custodians yet have allowed this to happen.
“It shouldn’t need a meeting and if it does then the club should prioritise it. Instead I am told to wait another two weeks. Sorry but that’s not good enough.”
The Gazette contacted Natalie Christopher for comment but received no response.