Latest Posts by BlackpoolSupportersTrust
BST will be in the BFC ticket office on Saturday 14th from 1.30pm until 2.30pm, for anyone who wishes to have a chat, renew or sign up for membership. This is our regular spot on match days and we hope to see many of you over the coming weeks.
When Blackpool Supporters’ Trust was created just over five years ago, its main purpose was, as it is now, to represent the interests of Blackpool fans, to help ensure the wellbeing of the football club and promote the involvement of the club in its local community. These relatively simple aims proved very difficult as a result of the unwillingness of our then owners to engage with supporters. The previous owners ignored the Trust, cravenly disowned BSA when that group opposed their shenanigans before creating a bizarre half-baked consultative body called the Fans Progress Group. So transparent was the artifice with which the Oystons’ tried to protect themselves from any kind of oversight or accountability, that the FPG numbers soon dwindled to literally less than a handful and the owners continued to drain the very lifeblood out of the football club until finally having BFC wrested from them by the courts.
This quick and hugely condensed account of the recent past serves only to remind us of just how dire the situation was and how vastly improved it is now. Largely because of the situation that Blackpool fans found themselves in, BST has been a leading light in developing new and effective means of ensuring that clubs are required to maintain communication with their supporters. That the clubs are subject to a degree of oversight by supporters who help to make them viable as businesses. It may even be that the Oystons’ most lasting and unintended legacy is the evolution of supporter engagement by football clubs.
We are fortunate now to have a board and an owner who want to actively engage with supporters, who wish to establish regular Fans Forums and would also like to have structured dialogue with supporters’ groups. It seems clear that Simon Sadler and his team would do this whether or not it was required of them by football’s governing bodies but not every club has the luxury of an owner who has the club and the community’s best interests at heart.
It is because the regulations relating to ownership are so flimsy that BST and many other such groups are consistently working to persuade the EFL, the PL, the FA and politicians that they need to develop a more robust system of governance that will help to prevent rogue owners from rapaciously or incompetently destroying football clubs.
One of the few initiatives to come out of this lobbying is ‘structured dialogue’ which is intended to provide an effective and formal method of communication between the executive level of football clubs and democratically elected supporter representatives on key issues of importance. The EFL rule book states that the clubs must be represented by owners, directors or senior executive management as the matters being discussed will often be of a strategic nature and may relate to the management and day-to-day running of the club.
This is something we are confident that the new board will embrace and will be an important step in helping to ensure the continued well being of the club.
BST welcomes the recent announcement from the EFL that they have commissioned an independent review, led by Jonathon Taylor QC, to review their regulations and procedures. At the same time, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee have announced an inquiry into the administration of football clubs and have requested help from football fans. The first step towards resolving the many issues that football faces is an admission that those issues exist, something that the football authorities have been reluctant to do thus far. The campaign by Blackpool fans (“the most brilliantly orchestrated campaign in football” according to a national journalist) to challenge the existing regulations and bring change at our own club has played a major part in highlighting the problems that exist and the need for change. The evisceration of Bury FC may prove to be the catalyst that finally brings that change
Regrettably, the BST committee have had to make the decision to cancel this year's golf day, due to insufficient numbers. To make this event viable, we need a good turnout from our golfing community and sadly, this has not transpired this year.
We apologise to those who had already committed their support as well as to the Gary Parkinson Trust and The Boathouse Youth, the charities which would have benefitted from this event.
We hope to rearrange for next year and will discuss this and other fundraising possibilities at our forthcoming AGM on the 12th October.
As we emerge from possibly the darkest period in the club’s history and into the hope and possibility of a new era, the simple joys of going to a football match are once again a thing that we can all take part in. The town’s affection for the football club remains as strong as ever: the support is raucous and enthusiastic, the attendances are higher than they have ever been at Bloomfield Road when playing at this level and there are initiatives aplenty in terms of blogs, video diaries, fanzines, coach travel and every other aspect of fanaticism for the football club. After perhaps the worst period to be a fan of the club we are experiencing some of the best of times.
A large majority of Blackpool fans had not been to games for several years and are now making up for lost time. The money previously unspent in the club shop and concourses is flooding back into the club. Tickets and merchandise are selling out and there is enormous goodwill towards the new ownership. The fans are once again fully engaged in the narrative of the team – the footballing story that excites the imagination and plays havoc with the emotions. We are at last, thankfully, something approximating a normal football club.
This presents a huge opportunity for Simon Sadler and his team to develop and further cement the relationships that the club is now enjoying with supporters. The positivity that fans feel towards Blackpool FC needs to be harnessed and developed for the long-term future of the club and its community. The supporters are the lifeblood of the club and genuine, lasting success cannot be achieved without them.
Of course, as Blackpool fans are only too aware, another necessary component of success is responsible and committed ownership. The situations at Bury and Bolton are stark reminders of just how much chaos and danger surrounds the business of football. There are far too many people in the game who really do not understand the fundamentals of professional sport. The obligation of an owner cannot simply be to make a profit. Professional football clubs, as the people of Bury will attest today, are not like any other business.
The impact of the closure of a football club reaches far beyond the employees, suppliers and partners. It reaches deep into the heart of the community, right to the very identity of the place that the football club represents. When we sing about Blackpool FC on a Saturday it is not just the football club we are singing about, it is also the town that we celebrate, the community of people that makes the place what it is. The football club is a focal point for expressing local pride and reinforcing local identity, a sense of camaraderie and belonging – a basic human need as old as the existence of humanity. This is something that Bury has lost, hopefully temporarily, but it is a significant blow to the town’s prestige and sense of importance in relation to the rest of the country.
For these reasons alone, it is more critical than ever, that football’s governing bodies are effectively regulated. This is something that BST together with many other fans’ groups is actively working towards. The demise of Bury football club has its roots in a complacency and negligence that exists at the centre of football governance in this country. When the situation was at its worst with our previous owners, the very best that the EFL, PL and FA would do was quietly sympathise. It is hard to imagine that such sympathy will console the fans of Bury any more than it did the fans of Blackpool when our club was being so obviously stripped of its assets.
Many in the game like to talk mawkishly and patronisingly about the football family. Usually it is for the purposes of creating a soundbite and establishing a sense of connection where none actually exists. However, in the case of Bury, we truly have lost one of the family and as much as it ever has been, a minute's applause and the wearing of black armbands by all professional teams in England’s top four divisions is warranted. Such an act would signify not only a sense of that shared loss but a desire and a determination to prevent further casualties.
The FSA are asking all football fans attending games on Saturday to show respect to Bury FC and its supporters by joining in a minute's applause in the 27th minute of the game. It was the 27th August when the club were expelled from the league and it is 27 years since such a thing last happened.
We hope that Blackpool and Portsmouth fans will support this initiative.
BST 3rd Annual Golf Day:
As has become the tradition, BST will be holding a Golf Day at Green Drive Golf Course, Lytham, on Sunday 22nd September. We are looking for teams of 4 players to take part in this annual event and fundraiser for the Gary Parkinson Trust and the Boathouse Youth.
The cost per person is £50 and this includes: coffee and bacon butty at the start, a round of golf and a 2-course carvery meal at the end of the day when the BST trophy will be awarded. There may be some spaces available at the dinner for non-golfers to join, at a cost of £20 per head. The maximum will be 32 groups of 4 players, so please book in good time. When reserving your place for this event, kindly let us know if you are booking your own group of 4 or if you wish BST to allocate you a place.
There will be players past and present joining some groups although at this stage we cannot give names of who will be available on the day. It would also be helpful if you could let us know your handicap. This event is open to men and women.
To reserve/book your places, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Seasiders – we've got a new owner, Blackpool-born and passionate about the club. The spectre of the old regime is gone for good. It is all about the future now. The League One fixture list will be published on Thursday, the pitch is looking good and this is going to be the most exciting pre-season in nearly a decade. Things are going to happen at our club that we never imagined would be possible.
As of today, season ticket sales were just short of 4,500. In the circumstances (new owner, new sponsors, new possibilities) that feels a bit disappointing, to be honest. If you are planning to buy a season ticket, you should no longer have any reservations about doing so – get on the phone, get down to Bloomfield Road. Let's show faith in Blackpool FC, Simon Sadler and the new board. We wanted our club back. This is a call from BST for everyone to come back on board and be part of the best trip as it gets under way again.
BST will be supporting this initiative tomorrow as part of "Fans Supporting Foodbanks" If you have any free time to come along and support you would be most welcome.
Collection for unpaid Bolton Wanderers staff tomorrow.
⚽️ 10:30am ASDA, Burnden Park, BL3 2QS
⚽️ 12:20pm ASDA, Middlebrook Retail Park, BL6 6JA
Please come down and show your support for the unpaid Bolton Wanderers FC staff. Look out for our purple van outside.
We will start at Burnden Park at 10:30am and drive up Middlebrook Retail Park for 12:20, we'll spend 1 hour 30 minutes on each site.
FOOD BANK COLLECTION FOR #BWFC STAFF TOMORROW:— BWFC Food Bank (@BWFCFoodbank) May 17, 2019
10:30am ASDA, Burnden Park, BL3 2QS
12:20pm, ASDA, Middlebrook Retail Park, BL6 6JA
Please come down and show your support for the unpaid Bolton Wanderers FC staff. Look for out for our purple van!#HungerDoesntWearClubColours pic.twitter.com/MCG1KohQ8h
Representatives of BSA, BST, MSG and TKs met briefly this afternoon at his request with Henry Teh, a Singaporean investor considering a bid for Blackpool FC. Mr Teh, whose portfolio of companies is involved in running airports and seaports, in infrastructure and township developments is looking to table an ambitious bid that would include key amenities in the town and not just the football club, making it part of a decade-long regeneration project for the resort. He conceded he had no expertise in the football business but if he became owner of Blackpool FC he would look to put in place skilled professionals to run it properly and restore its prestige in its rightful place at the heart of the community. He clearly does not underestimate the size of the undertaking. We thank Mr Teh and his associate Tim Williamson for their time and candour.
The final BST Gazette column of the season is up on the Trust website now, linked here: https://www.blackpoolsupporterstrust.com/Site/LatestNews.aspx?NewId=203