Huddersfield Town fans will be taking keen note that Blackpool’s board have taken “full responsibility” for their relegation to the fourth tier of English football – and promised to build bridges with fans.
Protests have become commonplace at a club which was playing in the top flight just six years ago, but has now suffered back-to-back relegations to drop into Skybet League Two.
Supporters angry with Karl Oyston’s running of the club have consistently called for the chairman to stand down, and Blackpool’s match against Town last May was abandoned due to a pitch invasion.
The match was eventually declared as 0-0 (the score at the time of the abandonment in the 48th minute) and Town backed the travlling supporters in their bid for compensation, but a Football League Disciplinary Commission ruled none would be paid to the 2,238 who made the journey.
Before Blackpool’s final home game of this season, a 4-0 defeat at home to Wigan on April 30, more than 3,000 fans marched through the town to protest and an anti-Oyston aeroplane banner was flown over Bloomfield Road prior to kick-off.
The Seasiders’ latest relegation was confirmed by a 5-1 defeat at Peterborough on Saturday, and the Blackpool board have now promised urgent action to discuss the way forward.
“Everyone at Blackpool Football Club is deeply hurt and disappointed to have experienced relegation to League Two,” read an official board statement posted on the club website.
“The board takes full responsibility for the position we now find ourselves in.
“An urgent board meeting has been called to discuss the club’s future and implement plans to halt further decline.
“Mistakes have been made in the last few years and we continue to pay for some of them, whilst learning from others.
“The club virtually overhauled its playing squad last summer and changed its philosophy on contracts to ensure longer-term stability, while investing in younger players to develop.
“Although the policy hasn’t immediately come to fruition in terms of results on the pitch, the nucleus of a young side remains and the rebuilding work starts immediately to make a swift return to League One.”
The Blackpool board also addressed the thorny issue of supporter relations and the club says it hopes fans will have a “large say in shaping future policy”.
“We understand that the supporters care passionately about the club and want to see it succeed,” the statement added.
“Fan representation on the board has already been initiated. A democratic process for fan board membership will be implemented for the coming season and it is hoped that the fans will have a large say in shaping future policy.
“It has been proposed that areas of control will be devolved to the FPG (Fans’ Progress Group) so that fans have a level of influence that has previously been absent.
“There are financial implications that apply to competing in League Two next season and we must comply with Football League rules.
“Operations will now be reviewed over the summer, however there is a determination to bounce back and achieve the results required with the right personnel to deliver this.
“The board does not underestimate the challenge ahead and will now re-focus its energies to rectify things on-the-pitch and try to repair some of those off it, whilst sadly accepting that some of the issues may not be curable.
“We look forward to working closely with the club’s supporters to begin a positive resurgence.”