Time Up?
By Editor
Wednesday 07 Nov 2018 19:34:00
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Time is a strange beast. The Play Off win against Cardiff and the Premier League season seems like 5 minutes ago, whilst it seems an age since I last stepped foot inside Bloomfield Road. The first was 2010 and yet the latter was only 2015. Maybe it's because the memories of 8 years ago bring back so many incredible memories and yet the last 3 years experience has been nothing but pain, angst and frustration. As BST marked 12 months since the judgement that we thought would see fans flood back to Bloomfield Road, it does feel as though events continue to conspire against us. Owen Oyston's subborness and ignorant denial, the courts slow and antiquated systems, Belokon and Clifford Chance's cautious and frustrating lack of action and the EFL's ignorant and head in the sand approach. It feels as if no one is on the fans side and therefore time drags on and this stalemate seems endless.

With each court case comes that false hope and optimism that something is about to change. Since Normund Malnacs departure, the silence from Latvia has been deafening, broken only by the stifled laughter each time Owen makes a Club Statement. The mistake we're all making is that this isn't about the football club or it's fans, it's about business. The fans are just an annoying commodity who want this settled yesterday. The truth is that both Oyston and Belokon, being businessmen of many years, are used to playing the long game. They are probably getting some sort of warped enjoyment out of playing cat and mouse with each other and watching for their opponents next move. Both have plenty at stake and they'll only get one shot at completing the right deal. Why should they rush just because some frustrated fans on the Fylde Coast want to get back to watching their football team? They both have a bigger picture and it's unlikely that our supporters feature in either. 

It's also unlikely that either will have to clear up the mess that this court case (along with all the years of Oyston ownership) has done to Blackpool FC. A solid fanbase of thousands has been eroded by disenchantment and disappointment and whilst a good percentage will return, it's unlikely the club will get back to any normality for many years. Football is habitual and is an expensive and time consuming pastime at that. When I think back to summers only a few years ago, I used to count down the weekends until the first friendlies and the start of the season. No football would leave a gaping hole in my life which seemed almost impossible to fill. Three and a half years of being an armchair fan has saved me a fortune, lead to more marital and family harmony, given me a chance to use weekends more wisely and yet the football has continued without me. I still cheer a goal, bemoan a defeat, watch the highlights and look at the tables, but it is no longer that all consuming passion it once was .. or maybe ever will be.

There is a real danger that the longer this legal battle goes on, that the more difficult it will be to get fans back on board. Already I know friends who have said they've written this season off and are looking to next season (if the Oystons have gone), but what excuse will there be then? "Can't afford a season ticket', "no real investment", "I don't know any of the players" or the honest answer of "I can't be arsed anymore!". The sad reality is that this never ending saga is draining the life out of Blackpool FC. No doubt the first game back after the Oyston family have gone will be a huge celebration with a great turn out, but it will take something special to get back to a time when going to football was as routine as changing your socks or putting the bin out.

If you would like to contribute an article, e-mail us at avftt@mail.com - we'd really appreciate your input.

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