Originally published April 27th
Dear Member Welcome to the latest BST Newsletter; we write to you after an eventful period on the field when we suffered a disappointing defeat at Deepdale, enjoyed a complete demolition of Birmingham City and then saw our team perform very creditably against Luton Town in front of the Sky TV cameras.
We have also been busy behind the scenes, and a sample of our in-box appears below.
Structured Dialogue (SD)
After what seems an age - and is an age - a date for the next SD meeting has been agreed, and it will take place at 7 p.m. via Zoom on Tuesday 10th May.
BST, as always, will be represented at the meeting, and as has become customary we invite you to submit any questions you have for the club via us. These can be sent direct to
the club’s Supporters Liaison Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
alternatively, you can submit them via BST by sending them to us at
Which route you choose is of course for you, but if you submit questions to BST we will follow up answers to ALL of them after the meeting, including those which are not addressed at the meeting itself.
All questions need to be with the Secretary by no later than 6th May.
Class of 92 Dinner: 20th May
Some of you will already be aware of this dinner, which is being organised to commemorate the 30th anniversary of our first play-off final win at Wembley.
Many of the players from that team will be in attendance, as well as members of the late Billy Are’s family, and the evening will feature a mix of good food, player interviews, a film covering the events of that time and the usual raffle and auction opportunities. All monies raised will go to either Brian House or the Gary Parkinson Foundation.
Tickets are priced at £30 and BST has taken a table at the event. If you are interested in taking one of our places, they are available on a first come, first served basis. Please contact the Treasurer as soon as possible at email@example.com
Saturday’s home game with Derby is the final opportunity this season for Blackpool fans to dig deep to help those who are less fortunate, and the Trust will be taking food donations as usual.
You can drop off contributions at either the Armfield Club or at the Community Trust office between 2.00pm. and 2.45pm; this work will continue next season and we hope to have additional collection points then.
You have been very generous this year - hopefully we can end the season on a high.
Preston North End away
Many of you will by now be aware of the very troubling scenes at Deepdale on 5th April, and may well have experienced them first hand yourself. After the match, we contacted Lancashire Police and they invited us to collate a list of issues and concerns.
We would like to thank you for your response; you wrote to us in unprecedented numbers and the attached open letter to Lancashire Police set out the many worrying things you told us. You can read it here:
We are awaiting a debrief meeting with the senior police officer who was in charge of planning for this match; no date has as yet been agreed. We need to see and hear the response from the police, but local MP Paul Maynard has offered to help us pursue any issues of concern that remain once that meeting has taken place. We will report back to you in due course.
The Armfield Mural
You may be aware that the Armfield Club are fundraising for the creation of a mural of Jimmy on the gable end wall of the premises. The total cost of this project is thought likely to be around £10,000, and a variety of contributors (including Simon Sadler and a variety of supporter groups) have put money into the pot.
The Committee discussed this issue at our last meeting on 13th April. On the advice of the Secretary, BST Chair Andy Higgins (who has a financial interest in the AC) took no part in the discussion. We concluded that the Mural was the kind of project that BST would want to support; apart from improving the quality of the local environment at that end of Bloomfield Road, it is also a source of community pride for all of us. We therefore chose to donate £250 to the cost of the project.
Allocated Seating at Away Games
Those of you who regularly attend away matches will know that standing throughout the game in away ends is becoming increasingly prevalent. Whilst this adds to the enjoyment for many fans, for those of us who are slightly more elderly - or infirm - it can be just the opposite.
Of course, if all seats are sold on the basis that fans sit in their designated place, this is less of an issue. But this is not always the case, and stewarding policy operates in very different ways up and down the country.
This issue is being discussed at the national level and we have been asked to begin a discussion of this issue at the club level too. This will be with our away following, the club through the SLO and the police to see if there are any simple things we can do to make sure that - as far as possible - friends can sit or stand together without anyone having to suffer an impeded view.
if you have any views on this - and whether it is a significant problem - we would like to hear from you. And if you have any good ideas about how to manage the issue, we would like to hear them too. Contact the Secretary on the email address set out above.
Fan Led Review (FLR)
This newsletter is being prepared very shortly after the Government published its long-awaited response to the FLR led by Tracey Crouch.
In many ways that response is pleasing. The Government has accepted all of Tracey’s main recommendations which means that:
• we will get an independent regulator for English football
• fans will get a far greater role in key strategic questions affecting their club
• there will be new, more stringent tests to make sure that the people who buy clubs - or are Directors of them - have the integrity fans rightly expect
• player welfare will be more strongly policed than it is now
• there will be a separate review of the future running of women’s football
All of this is very encouraging, but there are some remaining areas of concern:
• the Government has promised to work “at pace” to deliver change and bring forward legislation - but this still looks as though it is some way off (perhaps 2024)
• there has as yet been no progress between the EPL and EFL in agreeing a new distribution of TV revenue across the period - and we know that the two sides are a long way apart
BST continue to be active on this front, and we are seeing a pleasing level of engagement from local MPs:
• before our home game with Sheffield United, Paul Maynard MP joined Christine Seddon and Robbie Whittaker for a constructive meeting with senior figures at BFC, as well as Trevor Birch and Nick Craig from the EFL. It had been hoped that Tracey Crouch would join us, but unfortunately COVID in her family kept her away
• Scott Benton MP is taking a close interest in the Government’s response to this issue and is closer than most to Ministerial thinking; he has been in contact with us to offer a meeting which we hope can take place very soon
• Cat Smith MP spoke in the debate on the Government’s response to Ms. Crouch on 25th April, calling for change to a financial system which is clearly not working
Things to look out for in the future
We will write again, hopefully in late May, when we hope to cover:
• strategic objectives for BST for 2022/23
• sponsorship opportunities
• feedback on structured dialogue
…. plus lots more.