“I will never run the club by mob rule – never have and never will." The words of Karl Oyston back in January regarding the sacking of Paul Ince, however, is this still the case?
Karl Oyston has had a tempestuous affair with the Blackpool faithful ever since he has been chairman of the club but, in recent months, the relationship has reached boiling point and it finally spilled over on Tuesday night against Derby.
The fans were chanting obscene songs about Oyston from the 75th minute (even Derby fans joined in with the crude chanting), they had a banner which said "At least Dick Turpin wore a mask" and they finally stormed towards the section of the crowd where Karl was sat. So some people will be asking what has Karl done to annoy these fans to such and extent?
The main reason the fans have a hatred for the Oyston family is the severe lack of investment in the club in recent years, especially on the pitch with hardly any money provided to retain players for more than a season.
The players that are on the books for Blackpool F.C are either on a one year contract, a contract which is up in the summer or are loaned from another club. Mr.Oyston does not believe in paying agent fees (too right) however he isn't willing to pay a penny which results in Blackpool missing out on players who have the ability to return them to the Premier League.
Karl has also been promising a training ground which will be of a decent standing for the past four years, yet this still has not materialised. Bloomfield Road at one stage had only two and a half stands which made Blackpool a bit of a laughing stock with the other leagues. The 'half' stand was only temporary with no roof leading to fans calling it the 'Gene Kelly stand'.
This 'temporary' stand lasted for eight years and to be replaced with another temporary stand which has a restricted view. The 'mob' want a proper stadium!
The fans also question weather Karl actually cares about football or if he just treating it as a business. This has led to protests at games which included fake £90 million pound with Owen Oyston's face on, a funeral style march around the ground and even a plane which flew over the stadium during the Birmingham game. The final nail in the coffin was prior to the Derby match where Karl posed with a "Oyston's cash cow" board. A lot of fans feel as if he is doing it just to aggravate the fans.
Other frustrations come to the fact that he hasn't employed a new manager but instead has put possibly one of Blackpool's best players in charge of a team in turmoil with no experience, no funds and no idea what he can do for the future. Barry Ferguson (interim manager) is working on a temporary basis and does not know where his future lies, how can this be for a club who are looking to the future yet the manager cannot build his own team and is just putting polyfilla in a cracking weak side who look destined for League One.
What some fans seem to forget is where Blackpool F.C would be without the Oyston family. Owen (father of Karl) bought the club when Blackpool were close to administration and managed to turn the club into a strong force again as they were in the 40s and 50s.
Owen passed over responsibilities to Karl who then rejuvenated the club after a promotion back to League One and further onto the Championship. In 2001 he built a brand new stadium (North and West stand with the South stand not coming till 2008/09) and managed to gain stability at the club with Blackpool gaining the unexpected promotion to the lofty heights of the Premier League. Karl even charged £195.30 for a season ticket in the 2013/14 and has even froze the prices for the up and coming season which gained him some popularity with the fans.
Fans may just have to wait a while longer before the family name Oyston has left Blackpool FC. However, if Blackpool fans want a chairman who will spend obscene amount of money, this may not be the answer as we have seen with clubs who spend freely and plummeted down the leagues. Blackpool and Karl need to rebuild the realtionship for the sake of a historic club
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