Seasiders fan David Ragozzino has warned other Pool supporters to be careful when commenting on his beloved club after he was ordered to pay the Oystons £40,000 in a libel case.
The 32-year-old from Marton was told to pay Karl and Owen Oyston £20k each in damages after a court ruled he had made “serious allegations of a defamatory nature against the claimants.”
I’ll let the dust settle on all thisDavid Ragozzino
Mr Ragozzino, who was also ordered to pay Blackpool Football Club £1,000 in damages, had “gone well beyond vigorous criticism” when he posted on websites including fansonline.net, Judge Stephen Davies said in his 11-page ruling.
In an internet posting on the same website, posting using the name ‘Rugrat’, Mr Ragozzino urged fans to “don’t cross your passion for Blackpool FC with the law.”
He said: “Was it worth it?
“At this moment in time, absolutely not.
“Did I expect a different result? No.
“Unbeknown to everybody, I attended court to hear this judgement made. I was informed last Thursday about the hearing but felt I needed to attend on my own so did not announce it.
“Nobody has died and I will come to some sort of arrangement with the Oystons over this judgement.
“Perhaps they might show mercy and allow some sense to prevail.
“I’m not sure what or how but you never know. As much as I disagree with the outcome, I am a man of morals and I accept that the decision has been made and now needs to be dealt with honourably and achieved as best I can.
“This has not ended well for anyone involved and if I could go back and give myself one word of advice it would be ‘don’t cross your passion for Blackpool FC with the law.’
“I apologise to Owen and Karl if they genuinely feel aggrieved by some of the correspondence that has taken place.
“I’ll leave it there for now and let the dust settle on all this.
“I’m sure you’ll all hear what happens in the future as these messageboards seem to have a habit of unveiling information faster than Google.
“Some think I deserve this outcome, some don’t, but in the end, compared to what’s happening around the world it’s not the be all and end all.
“I’ll be back, maybe just a bit quieter next time!”
The comments made by Mr Ragozzino, who claimed he had been “duped” into signing a consent form at a previous hearing, centred around “lurid allegations of a sexual nature”against Owen Oyston and also allegations of fraudulent and corrupt behaviour against Karl Oyston in his running of Blackpool FC.
Judge Davies, sitting at Manchester High Court, said: “I am quite satisfied that Mr Ragozzino has been motivated by malice against the Oystons both as regards the initial posts and as regards his subsequent conduct of this case.
“If he had limited himself in his posts to genuine, even if intemperate, criticism of the Oystons for their management of Blackpool FC in footballing and in financial terms then he would not have found himself in his current invidious position.”
A spokesman on behalf of the football club and the Oyston family said: “This was a regrettable course of action that was not taken lightly.
“Unfortunately the defamed parties were left with no alternative, despite trying from the outset to resolve matters with Mr Ragozzino and his advisor.
“The defamatory postings went way beyond football and the normal criticisms aimed at football club directors.”