Blackpool Supporters’ Trust Newsletter #44 March 2020

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

Another new beginning:


The departure of Simon Grayson was something that seemed inevitable. The football was poor, the results uneven and the tone of the manager was uninspiring. Simon Grayson’s efforts in his first spell in charge, when he took the club back to the Championship for the first time in almost 30 years will not soon be forgotten. The excellence of that 2007 side resulted in a record-breaking winning streak of 12 competitive matches and a style of football that all supporters could enjoy. The contrast with his most recent tenure could not be sharper. Neil Critchley, his replacement and new head coach, promises an exciting and innovative time on the footballing side. His experience at Liverpool will hopefully bring an increased focus on young local talent as well as a more expansive style of football. Neil began with a creditable 0-0 draw at Fleetwood and we would like to extend a warm welcome to him. Squires Gate FC Sponsorship: The Trust recently struck an agreement to sponsor an advertising hoarding at Squires Gate FC’s ground. This is a local grassroots football club at which the Blackpool FC reserves regularly play home matches. Entrance to these games is free for BFC season ticket holders and the cost of the sponsorship was about 50p per week. This is a club struggling for financial support and even a small sponsorship like ours is vital to the club – particularly when Blackpool fans attend reserve games and use their facilities. BST Volunteers: It is exactly one year since the BST volunteer army started helping out at Bloomfield Rd. Our first mission was of course, to get the ground ready after years of neglect in time for the Homecoming Game. What a fantastic week that was! Since then, 484 people have collectively spent 1456 hours (54 days) volunteering at the club, helping with stadium cleaning, gardening, litter picking and painting. A fantastic effort from everyone and a reminder of how wonderful it is to be part of a community football club. There is a real role for fans in helping their local football club in practical ways and this is something that we intend to continue to do. If you are interested in making a contribution please contact Tony (deputychair@blackpoolsupporterstrust.com). Gambleaware: Football gambling has become very big business as the sponsorship splashed across Premier League football kits has proved over the last decade. The Gambleaware initiative hopes to address the insidious disease that gambling can prove to be for many of those prone to regular betting. In moderation it is of course, not problematic, but when it becomes an addiction it can genuinely destroy lives. The club has agreed to take this issue forward at the last structured dialogue meeting that took place a few days ago.The link to the website is https://thefsa.org.uk/our-work/gambleaware/safer-gambling-hub/ Blackpool Football Club Community Trust Activities: BST Veteran representative, Ray Gregson, has been working with the BFCCT to support their many activities for retired members of the armed forces.  BST would like to compile a list of our members who are veterans to enable us to focus relevant information and connect those members with the club’s efforts so we would encourage you to email secretary@blackpoolsupporterstrust.com if you would like to be part of this group. BST Members are invited to attend any of the activities below.  A small cost may be incurred but many are free.  Further details on all activities are available and for more information please either call 01253 348691 or email ‘office@bfcct.co.uk’. The following groups and activities are particularly suitable for service veterans: Walking football: Walking or 5-a side football (depending on age and ability) every Thursday 6pm-7pm, Playfootball, Garstang Road, Blackpool  FY3 7JH Breakfast Club: every Wednesday 9am-10.15am. The Grange, Bathurst Avenue, Blackpool  FY3 7RW (free hot barm with tea or coffee on presentation of your Veterans Card or Regiment Number) Coffee Morning: Every Friday, 1030am-12pm, Education and Community Centre. North Stand, Blackpool Football Club, Bloomfield Road, Blackpool FY1 6JJ Other Groups: Replay: Every Wednesday, 2pm-3.30pm, Education and Community Centre. North Stand, Blackpool Football Club, Bloomfield Road, Blackpool FY1 6JJ Activities include table tennis, boccia, chair-based exercise, table football, badminton and more. Social Group for the over 50s: Every Monday 1pm-3pm, Holy Trinity Church, Dean Street, Blackpool, FY4 1BP Make new friends and enjoy a chat over tea, coffee and biscuits. There are weekly raffles, quizzes, music and regular trips around the North West area. Moving forward – where next for the Trust?: Some of you occasionally ask us what the focus of our efforts is now that the Oyston family have finally left the club. It’s a fair question; when an organisation gains much of its initial momentum from protest, what does it do to sustain it once the need for protest is over? The first thing that it does, of course, is to do all the things that other Supporters’ Trusts up and down the country have been doing ever since they were formed. Primarily, that is representing the interests of its Members - the club’s supporters - in its dialogue with the football club. We are lucky in that our new owner is the complete opposite of what we had before in terms of ambition, but he and his Senior Management team face a huge job in sorting out the shambolic mess they inherited and putting the club on a footing where it can not only compete for success, but also sustain itself as it goes forward. This is a club where dialogue between fans and owners had been practically non-existent. The last twelve months has seen BST able to contribute to the Fans Forum, mobilise volunteers to help the club with clean ups, gardening and painting work and then continuing this voluntary contribution as part of our desire to assist in a practical way. We man our match day “office” in the club shop before every home game, where anyone can come in and talk to members of the committee about the Trust, join or renew memberships or just chat about the football.