Blackpool supporters will probably be aware of the extensive media coverage the Club has been getting in recent days and weeks, focused on multiple instances of poor behaviour by a small minority of our own fans. This culminated at Saturday's game with Barnsley, with our victory being marred by fans throwing missiles and attacking visiting supporters and their coaches.
Earlier in the week the Club issued a strong statement condemning these events and putting supporters on notice that further action could follow. On Wednesday the Club's Chief Executive met with representatives of all the main supporters’ groups to discuss the problem and its implications.
These events are not consequence-free. The Club will ban individuals when they can be identified, but we are already attracting the attention of the footballing authorities and financial penalties may follow. These might get more and more punitive if the problem is not dealt with and could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds very quickly.
The Police are taking a close interest and if behaviour does not improve, they may well insist upon more games being identified as high category matches and on reduced ticketing allocations for visiting fans. In the current climate they can't be expected to sanction allowing home fans into the East Stand for big games either.
All of this has financial implications for the Club, who naturally want to invest in the squad and the Club’s infrastructure. Higher police costs, reduced crowds and EFL fines could all negatively impact their ability to do so.
Equally importantly, having in recent years built a reputation in football for all the right reasons, we are as a fan base in danger of throwing it away because of the antics of a few people. The undersigned groups all understand the Club's position and are determined to support its response to the problem. That includes supporting the steps the club intends to take, but we must also confront bad behaviour ourselves where we see it and help Club officials in identifying those who won't or can't behave properly.
Blackpool FC is lucky to have an owner and Board who are ambitious and prepared to invest in the Club’s future. We need to do our collective bit to support them, and that includes being ambassadors for the club home and away.
This statement is issued on Friday 1st October on behalf of the following fans’ groups:
Blackpool Association of Supporters in London
Blackpool Supporters Association
Blackpool Supporters’ Trust