Sean McGinlay previews the Blackpool protest this weekend where thousands of celebrities, ex-players and fans are planning to turn out against the Oyston family.
Judgement Day 2 is upon us. This weekend thousands of Blackpool and general football fans will descend on Bloomfield Road to voice their disgust at the purposeful dismantlement of one of Britain’s most historic football clubs. Twelve months on from the highly thought of original Judgement Day protest, which hit headlines across the world as the final game of the Championship season for Blackpool was abandoned after fans invaded the pitch, we are here yet again facing back to back relegations and no end in sight for the Oyston regime.
This however is more important than just the football club, this is bigger than just the football club. This affects each and every member of the local community, businesses have been hit severely by the lack of attendance on matchdays around the local area surrounding the ground. This is about saying enough is enough, that fans are and always will be the biggest part of any football club and that without them said club cannot function. This is about standing up to those who think they are above everyone, about sending a message to the footballing authorities that we will not stand by and let yet another poisonous ownership destroy another proud football club.
It is all too frequent in the modern day that the direction of ownership is turning into dictatorship, those who run our top football clubs and even lower league clubs do not understand the traditions, the history, the community, the basis of why football exists, their greed, mismanagement and downright arrogance to play down supporter revolt is something that not only reflects British football in 2016 but British society.
Some Blackpool fans may say that they just want to be a fan and support their team and do not want to get involved in the ‘politics’ as they see it whilst continuing to fund this heartless, vindictive Oyston regime. I ask those fans what is there left to support? If you really are fans of our great football club surely you would fight to keep our rich history and tradition intact, keep our community together as one? To say you just want to ‘support the team’ is in my view a complete and utter cop out, football clubs are so much more than that, they represent an identity, they showcase the area and the people who live within it.
You all saw the impact the success of the club brought to the town, the togetherness, the positivity which fought as a juxtaposition to the social problems that have inhabited the town throughout. There is no need to lose that, even in the worst of times keeping that togetherness is what makes a town. You only have to look at Liverpool today after the well overdue Hillsborough verdict, that city throughout the persecution from areas of the media stood hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder to say no, we will fight this. I have no doubt in my mind that the solidarity within that city was a massive factor as to why justice prevailed.
Solidarity for the greater good is what makes us who we are as football fans, as citizens of our great town. So I ask each and every Blackpool fan, every inhabitant of our town to make your way to the Judgement Day protest to say no to the Oyston regime. Stand shoulder to shoulder with your fellow Seasiders and let it be known that we will not lie down and take this, we will always be bigger and better than the Oyston family and in the end justice will prevail and we will get our established football club back.
There is no stronger group than a united one and I have no doubt in my mind that Saturday will prove that. An early kick off has been scheduled due to apparent ‘policing advice’ of which proves what many have said for years about football fans. No matter how disgusting and vile the owner, they are the so called ‘higher power’ and there is a continued institutional dehumanisation of football supporters. I can tell you for certain hundreds of highly educated, clever, professional people will be marching shoulder to shoulder to Bloomfield Road on Saturday, yet as usual they are generalised as some sort of risk or danger simply because they are football fans. This is a sad indictment on the policy of those who are supposed to seek justice but continually protect those whom are the ones in the wrong.
I finish by saying this. As a number of ex Blackpool players have said they will be joining the march, and with thousands expected to turn out, although this is being done due to the open neglect of a football club by vindictive owners, it has the makings to be one of the proudest days in Blackpool Football Club’s history. In years to come of course my story will be of Brett Ormerod slotting away at Wembley to guide us to the heights of the Premier League, but I am certain that I will be able to look much more proudly back on how we, the supporters, fought and battled when many told us it was hopeless, and regained our football club. ‘If you don’t fight for what you want, don’t cry for what you’ve lost’. It will be ours again. Make it happen.
Follow Sean on Twitter – @SMac_53