“For Blackpool Fans, our Club and our Community”.
This note to Blackpool supporters is written at the close of what has been a desperately disappointing season. League One football is not what any of us hoped for and all our efforts now have to focus on the task of a swift return to the Championship.
This is not just a question of status. The financial difference between tiers two and three of the football pyramid is around £7 million per season , which is a significant one for a club of Blackpool’s size. Mr. Sadler has already had to put a great deal of money on the table to first buy the club, then nurse it through COVID and finally begin investing in its infrastructure. Relegation hurts him as much as anyone.
That said, we all know that mistakes have been made this season. The loss of Neil Critchley was a shock we never got over ; the club concedes that his departure caught them unprepared and without a contingency plan in place. We have paid a significant price as a result.
How the club responds now is very important. But so too is the way that we, as supporters, rally around our common cause. The competition next year will be fierce, and it is important that club and fans face it together.
Our view is that there are some important criteria for success next season :
• key appointments to senior positions on the football side of the house need to be made quickly, and need to be supported by all of us
• we hope too that the club will swiftly address the loss of leadership capacity caused by the departure of Brett Gerrity. This is not just because he was able to see the club through the eyes of a fan ; the club also has a great deal to do to prepare for independent regulation and everything that goes with it. This will need focus, time, energy - and people to provide it
• we as supporters have to show our mettle. We have done it before, and we all know that making Bloomfield Road a hostile environment for visiting teams is one of the key ways in which we can make a difference
• to help that, we hope the club will make offers on season and match day ticket pricing that make attending games as affordable as possible. Football is an expensive luxury for most of us these days, and the current cost of living crisis is making it even more so. We understand that there is a difficult balance to be struck here - but the overall aim has to be to get as many people as possible into the ground, It may ultimately make all the difference.
We rightly expect a lot of the people who manage the club, and Mr. Sadler’s position as custodian of the club’s future is especially important. But we all have a vested interest in the club’s future, and at Blackpool Supporters Trust we see our function as being supportive of the club and its aims, while remaining independent from it. Above all, we have to ensure that what we do is for Blackpool Fans, our Club and our Community.
We are therefore pledging that at BST :
• we will continue to support the club in its attempts to grow the fanbase. This means that we will expand our support for the club’s mascot programme to a point where we fund one mascot at every home league game in 2023/24. Seven of these will go to good causes ; the remainder will be awarded through a ballot open to all current BST Junior Members and those Junior Members joining BST for the first time
• we will continue to support the club through sponsorship and purchase of match tickets whenever we can, concentrating on getting younger fans into the ground. These youngsters represent our next generation, and we must nurture and encourage them
• we will continue to support the development of women’s and grassroots football in our community wherever we can
• we will continue to promote the 1953 Sweepstake, which funds many of the things we want to do. The more it grows, the more we can do with the money it raises. No other scheme raises money for the benefit of the club in the way that ours does
• we will review our membership pricing structure with a view to making membership easier and more attractive for Juniors, and for Families
• we will continue to look for ways in which we can support our award-winning Community Trust in the fabulous work that it does for those in our community who are less fortunate
• we will help the club prepare for big changes that are expected in terms of independent regulation in any way that we can. These will, for example, make high quality dialogue between club and fans even more important than it is now. We have some highly relevant skills in these areas, a good knowledge of the national picture and will put both at the club’s disposal
We hope that as many of our fans as possible will join us in all these activities. If you are not currently a BST member, you can rectify that here :
if you want to help raise money to support both the club and less fortunate members of our community, you can support us via the 1953 Sweepstake here
and finally, if you have ideas, suggestions or specialist skills that you think might help us to be more effective, we would love to hear from you at :
The fightback starts here, and we hope that you will join us in supporting the club through a difficult time. It, is, after all, what we do.