COVID won’t go away
It would be nice if, at this festive time of year, we could post exclusively about foot-ball. After all, starting from tomorrow Blackpool play nearly 10% of their League fix-tures and an awkward looking FA Cup tie in the space of three weeks. it is a time which could well define the rest of our season. Do badly, and we could be looking anxiously over our shoulder going into the New Year. Play well, get some good re-sults and we could be looking upwards towards the top six again and perhaps con-templating a Cup run.
There is, by any measure, a lot a stake. But as from tomorrow the emphasis again shifts to keeping ourselves safe from a virus that shows no signs of going away, and is probably more transmissible than ever before.
None of us wanted to hear the Prime Minister’s sombre announcement of the imple-mentation of “Plan B” last week. But spare a thought for football clubs who had to suddenly consider new ways of getting people safely into grounds, advise them about new conditions of entry, quite part from recruiting and then briefing considerable extra numbers of stewards. For them, that announcement has caused some real, practical challenges and a great deal of extra work.
Both the club and the Football Supporters Association (FSA) are to be commended therefore for getting their guidance out into the public domain very quickly. The club’s Guidance can be viewed here :
The key messages are simple :
• if you are showing COVID symptoms - stay at home, for the sake of others apart from yourself. There will be other games to go to in the future
• If you are not yet double vaccinated, you will need to provide evidence you have done a recent lateral flow test if you want to enter the ground
• even if you are double vaccinated, you will still need to bring your COVID Health Pass with you. The Club's guidance tells you how to get one
• please arrive early. The stewards and club staff have not had to carry out this exer-cise before, and it will take longer to get in than usual
• it looks as though this new procedure will be with us for a while ; the sooner we all become familiar with it and alter our routine to suit, the less painful it will be for all of us
BST Shirt Initiative - Year 2 Children
We are delighted that in the last week or so we have finally, working with the football club and the Community Trust, been able to distribute Blackpool shirts to all Year 2 Children in Blackpool’s schools who want one. Getting this order from the factory in these COVID times has been challenging, but our patience has been rewarded.
BST have earmarked a sizeable part of our reserves to pay the lion’s share of the costs of this initiative this year, and are very encouraged by the huge numbers of families who have come forward to take advantage of the offer. In doing so we are seeking to get youngsters affiliated with our club as early as possible, and build stronger links between their families and the football club at the same time. We know our Members are proud of this project ; we are too.
BST Democracy flourishing
On 4 December, BST held its AGM and announced the result of our annual elections.
The electoral process has been overwhelmingly positive this year. We had five very strong candidates for the three positions on offer, and our turnout (at over 51%) was amongst the very best that Supporters Trusts have been achieving nationally. If you are a BST Member and voted, we thank you for your support. If you are not a Member and would like a voice in deciding what we do, you can apply for Membership by con-tacting Francis Charlesworth at email@example.com
We are very glad to welcome Neil Holden and Mark Turner to the Trust Committee for the first time. And it is a special pleasure to welcome back Tim Fielding to the team. Tim served the Trust with distinction during very dark times and then acted in a different capacity on the Interim Board prior to Mr. Sadler taking over the club. Wel-come to all three.
Our AGM itself was also a very special occasion. It is always good to have senior figures from the Club address us, and on this occasion Ben Mansford, Brett Gerrity and Ashley Hackett all joined us and spoke with great vigour and clarity about the work they are doing, and the club's ambitions for the future.
We also enjoyed a tour de force from Clarke Carlisle. Clarke spoke candidly about his struggles with depression when he was still playing football, and what his continuing work with mental health charities means to him.
He also shared some thoughts about his time as Chair of the Professional Football-er’s Association, and (more topically) about his role as an expert advisor to Tracey Crouch as she conducted the fan-led review of English football, which reported re-cently.
Finally, local MP Paul Maynard spoke to us about we can do to help promote the work that Tracey Crouch is doing. He was also good enough to say some very kind words about BST’s contribution, both in given evidence to the Panel, and in supporting the Football Supporters Association in compiling its own response nationally.
Lee Charles kindly attended and recorded this event, and you can watch it (in three parts) on his Youtube channel (LeeCharlesTV).
All in all, another very busy month. 2022 offers more of the same ; but as we pause for breath to spend some festive time with our families, the BST Committee would like to wish all the Blackpool FC family a Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous - and above all, healthy - New Year.