With Blackpool currently lying bottom of League One and with a fairly large proportion of fans now boycotting Bloomfield Road and any Oyston-run businesses in a ‘Not a Penny More’ campaign it is safe to say the football club is in a horrendous state. Though the difference with the Seasiders is that the people in charge seem set on allowing this downfall to continue. Chairman Karl Oyston has been silent for months and no one from the club has officially come out to address the issues which have made fans abandon ship in their droves.
The ‘Fans Progress Group’, an unelected and quite frankly irrelevant body set up and hand-picked by the club itself has been set up apparently to build communication with the fanbase though I can safely say this is not the purpose. It is clear that, after Karl Oyston’s ban for labelling a fan a “r**ard”, he is on thin ground with the FA and therefore has to make it look like he is trying to build bridges with the fanbase. Though if he was making genuine attempts he would currently be sat at Bloomfield Road with members of the Blackpool Supporters Trust committee and the Tangerine Knights, instead he is suing the spokesman for the Knights. Oyston can try and make out he is trying to build bridges and improve things all he wants, but Blackpool fans know every trick in Karl’s book by now and he does not have the mental substance to think up more innovative ways of tricking the fans.
Owen Oyston, convicted rapist and owner of the club sits in the background, frail and constantly followed by his henchmen everywhere he goes. Owen will leave Karl to incite and insult fans knowing that their plan to purposely destroy Blackpool Football Club is working, though I would argue his facial hair is more of an insult to the world than anything Karl has done. The Oyston family as a whole employ private investigators to stalk social media accounts of any fan they feel is outspoken as well as fan forums such as Back Henry Street which is currently embroiled in a legal battle with said family. The owner of Back Henry Street forum has taken on the battle on behalf of the users who made allegedly defamatory comments about the family by himself, a move which is both courageous and honourable and it cannot be understated the admiration I have for said owner for doing so.
I can personally state from first-hand experience that the Oyston family do employ people who stalk social media accounts as I myself was banned from a home fixture due to as they called it “unneeded comments”, free-speech alive and well at Bloomfield Road. Any fan who is outspoken and has an apparent public voice against the Oyston family will be targeted, a former Supporters Trust’ chairman and also a Tangerine Knights’ spokesperson just to name a few.
Blackpool president and the sole reason the club reached the Premier League, Valeri Belokon has launched legal action against the family for what he claims are “tens of millions” of payments made from Blackpool Football Club’s parachute payments to other Oyston-owned businesses. It is clear that they have invested nothing into the club and instead have taken the money for themselves, and it is also clear that they intend to purposely sink the club into non-league and even further until it ceases to exist for their own personal interests, “Operation Conference” as Karl Oyston kindly put it.
So what more can Blackpool fans do to save the club? First of all, every member of the Fans Progress Group needs to resign immediately. They have no mandate to be there, they do not represent me and they certainly do not represent any forward-thinking Blackpool fan. Though it is clear in my mind that the people in said group are doing it for the acclaim and to feel some kind of importance. The sorts of fans who will abandon all their thoughts and opinions in order to conform to a person with power’s agenda. The meeting minutes show the spineless questions put forward to our simple-minded Chairman.
The club is run like a dictatorship; anyone who opposes the Oyston family is in their eyes a threat who needs to be eradicated, mainly through silencing them or banning them from the ground. You only have to take a walk over to Bloomfield Road on a matchday to see the increase in security, intimidation being the blatant reason why there are lots of abnormally large men, arms firmly crossed with bright coats feeling important outside each and every turnstile. And all the while Karl, Owen and their children sit cowardly behind all this inciting fans on a daily basis.
It is telling that I have not even addressed the football itself yet, mainly because it is irrelevant. Blackpool manager Neil McDonald is the new mouthpiece to spout the Oyston-driven gospel, a man obviously void of any form of morality or self-respect, a puppet. The team will be relegated year after year and it is all down to purposeful lack of investment from the Oyston family. I imagine they have spent more pursuing legal action against fans than they have on transfer fees, though knowing the sort of people they are they probably hired lawyers on the cheap as well.
Karl and Owen Oyston are not only a tumour on Blackpool Football Club, they are a tumour on the community and the sport as a whole. They have no interest in football, they have no interest in having a relationship with fans and they have no interest in ending legal action against fans. They use their financial status as power and they think they are above everyone else. Blackpool Football Club is no more, what we are seeing right now is Oyston FC and until this odious family vacate Bloomfield Road the club will cease to exist.By Sean McGinlay