Thousands join march in protest at Pool owners

A Blackpool fan protests  Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport  Football
A Blackpool fan protests Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport Football

Blackpool town centre and promenade was turned into a sea of tangerine as an estimated 3,000 Seasiders fans joined a protest march.

The disgruntled Blackpool FC supporters marched noisily but peacefully to Bloomfield Road to repeat their calls for owners the Oyston family to quit the football club.

Blackpool fans protest against the Oystons on a parade through the town to the ground

Blackpool fans protest against the Oystons on a parade through the town to the ground

Speaker after speaker called for the Oystons to “return the club to the fans”, claiming there had been chronic under-investment.

One fan said: “Five years ago we were in the Premier League. Now we are struggling at the bottom of League One and there appears to be no way back under the Oystons.”

The mass protest was labelled ‘Judgement Day 2’ ahead of Pool’s final home game of the season, in which they lost 4-0, signalling almost certain relegation. Fans groups the Blackpool Supporters Trust and Tangerine Knights​ are leading the protests against the Oystons

The march was a follow-up to last season’s action.

Blackpool fans protest against the Oystons on a parade through the town to the ground

Blackpool fans protest against the Oystons on a parade through the town to the ground

Fans gathered at the Stanley Arms Pub on Church Street, where the club was formed in 1887, and marched through the town before arriving at Bloomfield Road.

Wilf Brooks, of the Yorkshire Seasiders, addressed the fans before they set off.

He said the club had a long and proud tradition and its founders would be “turning in their graves if they were here to witness the state the club found itself in now.”

He said : “Let us show them what true support is.

Blackpool fans protest against the Oystons on a parade through the town to the ground

Blackpool fans protest against the Oystons on a parade through the town to the ground

“Let us be loud and proud within the law and take the higher ground.”

The crowd, bearing “Oyston Out” banners and chanting throughout, was largely good-natured in the sunshine as the sea of people grew.

At the Comedy Carpet opposite the Tower, a van belted out David Bowie’s Heroes, in tribute to the fans who were determined to see off the Oystons.

The crowd, some bearing smoking flares, then gathered for a noisy demonstration outside the main entrance to the Bloomfield Road ground.

Owen Oyston   Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport  Football www.camerasport.com

Owen Oyston Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport Football www.camerasport.com

Christine Seddon, of the BST, said she was delighted with the turnout.

“There are 3,000 people here, which is more than last time.

“We want our football club back. Change is coming. Blackpool FC will never die because we (the supporters) are the club.”

A plane trailing the sign ‘Oystons club killers, get out now’ flew over the marchers as the matchday kick off time approached .

Loyal fan Darren Humphries, of Blackpool, said: “I’ve been a fan for 19 years but I haven’t had a season ticket for the last two years.

“My dad died not long ago and I was going to get him a memorial brick at the club but I won’t put another penny into this club.

Many protestors outside the ground   Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport   - www.camerasport.com

Many protestors outside the ground Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport - www.camerasport.com

“The Oystons don’t seem to treat fans with respect.”

Another female fan said: “Karl Oyston seems to like the confrontation.

“He’s provocative. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve had enough.”

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden sent a message to the rally calling for all sides to talk about the way forward.

He said: “Now is the time for the people to be given a bigger say in the running of Blackpool Football Club.”

He said “the status quo could not continue” and called for all sides to sit down talk about a way forward.

MP Paul Maynard said: “What I want to see is a club that feels part of the town again, and a town that feels the club is there for Blackpool too.”

Steve Rowland, BST chairman said: “We want to say a massive thank you to the thousands of brilliant Blackpool fans who marched on Judgement Day 2.

“What a day!

“A river of pride and passion flowing through the streets of the town to Bloomfield Road.

“That atmosphere is just a taste of what it will be like when we finally get our club back – and we will.

“When the irresistible force meets the immovable object eventually the object is swept away.”

Many protestors outside the ground   Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport   - www.camerasport.com

Many protestors outside the ground Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport - www.camerasport.com