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BST Gazette Column

BST25/03/2016

There has been much speculation in recent months about the official attendance figures given out at Bloomfield Road. Whilst there is nothing unusual in season ticket holders being included in the gate numbers – the FA’s rules say that clubs should report attendance figures including all tickets sold – the fact that the amount of empty seats on display is in stark contrast to the official figures shows that something unusual is going on.

For this reason, Blackpool Supporters’ Trust was extremely grateful to a member who contacted us some weeks ago and offered to establish the true attendance figures on match days. This can be achieved by the use of a fairly simple (manually intensive but effective) computer system which allows an accurate count of objects in a photo. We arranged for a couple of people in the ground to take photos of all the stands, including the corporate areas and each individual was then counted. Identities have been protected but an accurate count has been made over the last 3 home games. True attendances were as follows: Blackpool v Shrewsbury 13th February: official figure: 6,873 (including 790 away fans); crowd count: 4,289 (inc. 790 away fans) - that’s 2,584 less than the official figure. Blackpool v Bradford 27th February: official figure: 8,780 (including 3,063 away fans); crowd count: 6,100 (inc. 3,063 away fans) – that’s 2,680 less than the official figure. Blackpool v Coventry 12th March: official figure: 8,869 (including 3,000 away fans); crowd count: 5,845 (inc. 3,000 away fans) – that’s 3,024 less than the official figure.

Blackpool FC states that there are currently 4,600 season ticket holders. These accurate crowd counts would suggest that over half of the season ticket holders are already boycotting home matches. Undoubtedly this will have serious implications for next season; people who are not using tickets they have already paid for are unlikely to purchase new ones.

This extraordinary and appalling situation is why Blackpool Supporters’ Trust is involved in organising a community march and demonstration on Saturday 30th April. The impact of the demise of Blackpool FC on the fans and the local community is well documented and it is highly likely that, for many Blackpool fans, this final home game of the season will be their last time at Bloomfield Road until the Oyston family have left. We are calling on all interested parties, whether that be fans old or new, supporters of other football clubs, local business owners, community leaders, councillors, ex-players - everyone who has an interest and an affection for Blackpool FC – to turn out in their thousands to show that we want our club back.

The march will begin at 1pm near the Blue Room on Church St – the site of where Blackpool FC was originally formed in the Stanley Arms. It will progress to Bloomfield Road via the Town Hall and the Comedy Carpet opposite the Tower and fans can join us at any point along the route. The day is also being titled Judgement Day 2 and we hope that fans will turn out in their thousands. There were 30,000 people on the Promenade to greet Ian Holloway and the squad in May 2010 following promotion to the Premier League. Since then the demise of Blackpool FC has been rapid and distressing; 30th April is an opportunity for all those fans to turn out and help our fine old community club in her hour of need. Whoever you are and whatever your connection with Blackpool or the football club, if you believe that what has happened to Blackpool FC is wrong, now is the time to stand up and be counted. Join us.

#WeAreBlackpoolFC #FansUnited #10K for Judgement Day

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