Blackpool football club is in a terrible state. Thousands of fans are boycotting the club until the owners, the Oyston family, go. We know that if we don’t get the Oystons out then they will keep damaging lives and could destroy the club.
The reason we boycott
The boycotts are not about money. Yes, there is a wasted opportunity of a £90m windfall from Blackpool’s recent season in football’s top division and much of that windfall has been loaned from the club to other companies rather than spent on football. The terrible waste of that money is damaging the club but that is not the reason we boycott.
The boycotts are also not about being a laughing stock as the club fell 3 football divisions in 5 years and couldn’t even put out a full squad at the start of the 2014 season. The Oystons are currently in a legal battle with someone who owns 25% of the club. A legal battle that is bringing yet more shame on the club as allegations fly in the courtroom. Blackpool is a laughing stock because of the Oyston’s management of the club. We will not forget the shame but that is not the only reason why we boycott.
The boycotts are mainly because the Oyston family have abused fans; taunted them and taken legal action against them. An unknown number of legal actions are ongoing. These legal actions carry a large cost.
The real human cost of legal action
Fans from across the country have raised money to help Blackpool fans defend these legal actions but money is never everything.
Two weeks ago the Blackpool Supporters Trust wrote about the real human cost of the legal action saying:
Some individuals have lost their jobs, businesses are in jeopardy, relationships with partners have broken down and health has suffered.
they went on to say
some of the people caught up in this situation ha[ve] been seriously impacted — two cases of cancer, a stroke victim, depression, loss of a baby and an attempted suicide all in the last twelve months.
These are some of the people that used to fill that stadium, who used to cheer on the team and travel around the country with other Blackpool fans.
This is not just a club being damaged, this is people’s lives being destroyed.
They don’t get it
Unfortunately too many other people either don’t realise or don’t care that the football club is acting this way. They are not speaking up to say that this must stop or taking any form of action to help get the Oystons to go.
— Matt Scrafton (@matt_scrafton) December 6, 2016
The club and its employees didn’t comment on the legal action or the tales of the damage the legal action has caused to fans, instead they released “funny” Christmas videos. Some fans still go and put money in the club’s coffers rather than joining the boycott. The local paper tries to stay neutral and frequently reports on Blackpool as a normal football club when it should campaign for change. The local council and its leader stay curiously silent. The footballing authorities sit on their hands, rather than trying to save the club and help the fans.
My family and I made our choice to boycott Blackpool FC a long time ago. I haven’t been to Bloomfield Road for 2 1/2 years. We don’t just boycott though, like many other Blackpool fans we work to stop the damage by getting the Oystons out. We won’t give up and we won’t go away.
I’d invite those people who still don’t get it to work with the fans who are both trying to stop the damage being done to our fellow fans and trying to save the club. There is a big job to do. Every voice, every pair of hands and every pair of feet can help.
It is also an urgent job. If you don’t help now and we don’t get the Oystons out soon then we may find ourselves with a much bigger task.
Building something new from the ashes that the Oystons leave behind.