Blackpool fans say they are overjoyed that the long reign of the Oyston family’s ownership is finally coming to an end.
Seasiders supporter Tim Whitley, who was at the 1-0 home defeat to Oxford United on Saturday, spoke of his delight to see Owen Oyston, who took over in 1986, lose control of the club after a receiver was appointed.
The High Court ruled that a receiver could be appointed to sell the club after Owen Oyston failed to pay the £25m he owed former director Valeri Belokon.
He said: “I think things are most certainly looking up, I mean the ambition is to obviously get back to where we were. When (Valeri) Belokon first got interested in the club, he said he’d get us in the premiership in five years and he did it in four years. We’d certainly like to get back on that track.
“(Manager) Terry McPhillips has done a wonderful job. We had a meeting this morning and there was probably 600/700 people in that room and Terry McPhillips took time out to come to that meeting, spoke to the passionate fans for 20 minutes and the energy that was in that room, I mean he was buzzing as well, and hopefully he’s brought that back to the dressing room.”
This seems like a historic moment for the seaside club, but how did it get to this point?
It began when Valeri Belokon, who has a 20 per cent stake in the club, has been in dispute with Owen Oyston for several years and won a High Court case in 2017 when he successfully sued Oyston and his son Karl, the club’s former chief executive, after it was ruled they had “asset-stripped” Blackpool by paying themselves huge bonuses and salaries following the club’s season in the Premier League in 2010-11.
However, after being given a 20-year jail term in Kyrgyzstan for “money laundering, tax evasion and dishonesty”, Belokon failed the English Football League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test and is currently disqualified from club ownership.
Receivership is a legal process where an external party is appointed to sell or safeguard the assets of a company or business.
Receivership could come at a price for Blackpool, however, as the EFL could potentially deduct the club 12 points, which would leave them just two points above the drop zone.
Despite all of this, Tim remains confident that his club is back on track.
He said: “Blackpool are back. Without a doubt.”