What journalists say about Blackpool FC

Thousands of Blackpool fans are boycotting their football club, because of the owners, the Oyston family. They will not go back whilst the Oystons own the club.

Many football professionals have joined the fans in speaking out about the appalling behaviour and dreadful management of the club the Oystons.

As Blackpool loses yet another game and Karl Oyston is accused by a police officer of inciting violence from fans I thought it might useful to pull together some of what the journalists (*) who write for our national and local newspapers have said. It is useful to know what it is legally safe to say and who has heard journalists saying it.

Quotes from journalists on Blackpool FC

Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail reported:

Murky goings-on are nothing new at Bloomfield Road. Part of the £26m to have left the club includes a deal whereby the Oystons are understood to have bought up land — owned by Blackpool FC — behind the stadium for £650,000 only to then sell it back for £6.5m after a lease for a Travelodge had been secured.

Henry Winter of the Telegraph wrote:

There are many unanswered questions over where the funds generated in the Premier League have gone. The Football League needs to be more robust with the likes of Karl Oyston. Call him to account. Go through the accounts.

At that time Karl Oyston sat on the board of the Football League. No action was taken.

Paul Wilson of the Guardian said:

The owners of the club — not the manager and the playing staff — appear to have some sort of death wish, at least as far as footballing survival is concerned.
In 2015 the Mirror asked “Professional football or Sunday league? Make up your own mind.” Picture by @derekquinncomm.

Before the end of the 2014/15 season when Blackpool were relegated the Guardian’s James Riach said

Protests instead have been targeted at Karl Oyston, the Blackpool chairman, and his father Owen, the club’s majority owner. It is they who have presided over a remarkable decline, one with no end in sight. Perhaps when the parachute payments from the Premier League dry up after this season, a clearer future will emerge.

The parachute payments have ended. The club look like they will be relegated for the second season in a row. The future seems clear.

The Independent reported on an apology to Karl Oyston:

Comedian Jason Manford has ‘apologised’ for describing Blackpool owner Karl Oyston as an odious ferret after being handed a solicitors letter from Oyston. Cheeky Manford has responded to the letter to say that he is sorry…to ferrets and ferret owners for comparing them to the Seasiders’ owner.

Last year the Telegraph decided Blackpool was the worst run club in Britain:

At the centre of all of this was chairman Karl Oyston, who was forced to make a public apology for sending abusive texts to a Blackpool supporter and whose Land Rover mocks the protestors with a OY51 OUT number plate.

After his abusive text exchange with a fan the local Blackpool paper said:

Given such disgusting and offensive comments, Mr Oyston’s weekly column in The Gazette has been scrapped with immediate effect.

Reporting on the Oyston family removing a statue of footballing legend Stan Morten before a fan’s protest march the Mirror said:

The Tangerines’ boss is Public Enemy No.1 for fans after branding supporter Stephen Smith a ‘retard’ in a text message, adding: “Enjoy the rest of your special needs day out.”

As Alyson Rudd of the Times wrote:

legal wrangles come and go at Bloomfield Road it is local people who are suffering the most from club’s decline.

You would have expected that this chain of thought would resonate with Blackpool’s councillors. The leader of Blackpool council invited Karl Oyston to his wedding.

Who hears the views of journalists

UK national newspaper print circulation in 2015. Source: Wikipedia

The Guardian, the Telegraph and the Mail have a combined print circulation of about 2.3 million people with 28.8 million online readers in November 2015.

Just this weekend 2.5 million people heard boos when the Oyston’s name was mentioned on Radio 4.

The blue line is internet searches for “Blackpool” the town. The red line is internet searches for “Blackpool FC” the club. Data from GoogleTrends

The seaside resort of Blackpool has been in decline for many years. Unfortunately Google’s search data tells the tale of an enormous drop in searches for Blackpool following the Oyston’s mismanagement of the club. Sport and entertainment could have played a significant part in regenerating the town. Instead Blackpool’s promotion was a wasted opportunity.

Internet searches for “Oystons”. Data from GoogleTrends.

The data also tells another tale. The growing number of people who are researching the Oystons.

Increasingly it is stories from the fans, the football professionals, journalists and their tales of the Oystons’ appalling behaviour that they are finding.

(*) I know Kelvin Mackenzie, ex-editor of the Sun, has also written strong words about the Oystons and Blackpool but he is no journalist. You can donate to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign online.

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