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Blackpool owners accused of paying themselves and companies they control £26m after Premier League promotion

By Jack Gaughan Follow @Jack_Gaughan and Nick Harris Published: 16:46 EST, 23 April 2014 | Updated: 02:26 EST, 24 April 2014 2,631 shares 33 View
The Oyston family have infuriated Blackpool fans by paying themselves and companies they own £26million since the club’s unexpected rise to the Premier League. The family own the ailing Seasiders - who are now battling for survival in the Championship - and appeared to openly mock supporters when chairman Karl Oyston was pictured smiling alongside a ‘cash cow’ banner that suggested they use the club like a personal ATM.
Blackpool chief Owen Oyston infamously pocketed £11m on the back of their promotion to the top flight in 2010, with more finances leaving the club before and since.
Copy link to paste in your message +5 Ball boys: Blackpool players threw back objects chucked on the pitch

Ecstasy to agony

  • 2009-10: Promoted after winning play-off final
  • 2010-11: Impress in top flight but relegated on final day
  • 2011-12: Reach play-off final but lose to West Ham
  • 2012-13: Boss Ian Holloway leaves and they finish 15th
  • 2013-14: Currently 22nd and on the brink of relegation
. Supporters had hoped the cash windfall for promotion to the Premier League would yield progressive spending on the team, but none was forthcoming. Ian Holloway’s side only suffered relegation on the final day of the 2010/11 season, but they have since seen the squad decimated and are now stuck with a team of loan players and free transfers, the majority of which are out of contract this summer. Fans argue that barely any of the £80m afforded to promotion winners has been invested. Now in the bottom three, their record with caretaker Barry Ferguson and ex-manager Paul Ince in charge is abysmal. They have won just two of their last 28 games and haven’t scored more than one goal in a game since November. No side in all four divisions has found the net fewer times in 2014.
Frustration came to a head on Good Friday as they lost against Lancashire rivals Burnley, with supporters throwing tangerines and tennis balls on to the Bloomfield Road turf in a protest aimed at the hierarchy. On a day that was an shambles from start to finish, pitch invaders were overshadowed by the behaviour of coach Bob Malcolm, who became embroiled in a heated argument with substitute Stephen Dobbie and slapped the forward in the dugout.
Tim Fielding, chairman of the Seasiders Independent Supporters Association said: ‘My concerns surrounding the club started the moment we were promoted. It became clear that the Oystons would do things a certain way. The focus in the transfer windows was about preserving what they had rather than investing.
‘The perception I had when they talked about doing things a certain way is that they would look after themselves rather than the club. That manifested itself when you look at what’s happened since.
Copy link to paste in your message +5 Making their point: Blackpool fans threw tennis balls and tangerines and held banners objecting to the owners ‘Holloway went because he looked to have had enough, Michael Appleton (manager for three months last season) realised what the club was like and nobody would work here after that. We ended up appointed somebody, Paul Ince, who seemed a last resort. There are also broken promises with a new training ground.’ Blackpool still train at the same base as Stanley Matthews used 60 years ago. That was labelled a ‘hell hole’ by Holloway but has only seen minor improvements, with the search for a new facility now lasting a decade. Oyston and son Karl hold the only major directors positions within the company. One was handed £542,562 in the last set of accounts. Another £3.1m has been given to non-related Oyston-owned companies in recent years - including £323,000 to Oystons Ltd and £68,000 to Yorkshire Riding Ltd, a magazine publishing business with which Coronation Street star Bill Roache is involved. That £3.1m figure is more than double their transfer record, spent on striker DJ Campbell four years ago. More than £5m of football money earned is sat in parent company, Segesta Ltd. That account, which looks after the club’s properties, has been used to pay other Oyston businesses. It paints an unclear picture for Blackpool, particularly with Ferguson’s men facing an uphill struggle to stay in the Championship.
Copy link to paste in your message +5 Not happy: Blackpool fans have protested over the club's ownership at recent home games
Copy link to paste in your message +5 In the money: Owen Oyston pocketed £11m after Blackpool were promoted to the Premier League in 2010 Oyston faced mass demonstrations against Derby County two weeks ago - the first sign of overt dissent at the ownership for almost two decades. This comes only months after he’d called the strugglers ‘the envy of the Football League’. The much-maligned chairman recently provoked anger from supporters by grinning next to a protest billboard reading ‘Blackpool FC - Oyston’s cash cow’, a photo of which was then plastered over social media by his son, Sam.
Sam Oyston, in his early twenties, runs the club’s four-star hotel which is believed to have made a £182,000 loss last year. The hotel, a separate entity to the football club, is used to feed players at lunch and host loanees.
Oyston then quipped that ‘Sam is grounded and has had his pocket money stopped’, sparking fury from fans - added to when younger son George was pictured with a tennis racket immediately after the Burnley defeat on Friday in a direct response to dissent from a baying crowd.
Fans appear to have seen enough of what they perceive to be neglect and are forcibly acting. In what has been a bizarre fortnight on the Fylde Coast, Blackpool Supporters’ Association penned an open letter to both the chairman and players as the side’s slide to League One shows no sign of abating.
Copy link to paste in your message +5 Man in charge: Karl Oyston is the chairman of Blackpool Resentment in the stands is mirrored by the wider footballing world’s bemusement in the way the club is run. Ex-Liverpool chief executive Christian Purslow said that ‘Blackpool are the only club in the history of the Premier League who didn’t give their manager a chance or spend anything. They just trousered the money and said “sod it we’ll just go straight back down”.’ Blackpool are heavily indebted to Holloway and Latvian businessman Valeri Belokon for their rise to the top flight. Sportsmail understands the latter - whose combined loan of £7.2m to the club still hasn’t been repaid and helped sign players plus build a stand - is growing ever restless at the current situation. Murky goings-on are nothing new at Bloomfield Road. Part of the £26m to have left the club includes a deal whereby the Oystons are understood to have bought up land - owned by Blackpool FC - behind the stadium for £650,000 only to then sell it back for £6.5m after a lease for a Travelodge had been secured. Blackpool FC and Karl Oyston refused to comment when contacted by Sportsmail.


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Comments (33)

Share what you think  View all . . The comments below have been moderated in advance. ArtinOz, Sydney, Australia, 3 days ago I will set myself up to be red arrowed but, you Blackpool fans know the people running the club... the only way you can have any affect on the to stand outside the ground and dont pay to go in. Boycott the rest of the season.. you know the outcome anyway. As long as you pay to walk in and grumble, Owen will sit grinning at you. The reports of shifting money is in truth a legitimate business activity, its what you pay accountants to do to minimise tax. He can legitimately pay his office cats food bill and claim it eats fresh salmon. He can pay anybody he choses as a professional advisor, he can pay himself any salary amount he choses.. but it then incurs PAYE and NI... do its more likely he will take dividends. Fact is he can shift money how he wants.. the accountants know the loop holes. He can buy a new club coach with his own money..say £50,000 then add a teasmade and a microwave and sell it to the club for £250,000 as a customised team transport. All legal. 5 47 Click to rate . scfc64, blackpool, United Kingdom, 3 days ago I think these next two matches they have to play will be more important than their play-off final against Cardiff a few years back. The reason being,If they down,they'll not be back anytime soon,they'll flit between L1 & L2. A town like Blackpool really does need (at very least) a championship team and in the championship,you've half a chance. It also need to be run correctly,which it isn't. Support the team this next couple of games,its important to the town they stay up,then let the inquests start. The owners need to have a chat to the Coates family or the Burnley owners about how to run a family owned football club. Whatever happens,these coming days will be defining for BFC. 3 30 Click to rate . JakeWinter123, Poulton-le-Fylde, United Kingdom, 3 days ago I just can't understand how football; can sit back and abide by what the Oystons are doing to the club? It's more than clear that the club is in turmoil (not financially speaking because they pocket every penny). Blackpool are destined for league 1 and with no aspirations from the owners whatsoever they will stay there or descend even further into the abyss of lower English football leagues. Leaving neutrals wondering 'what ever happened to Blackpool?' I have supported Blackpool for as long as I can remember; I've seen the good, bad and the ugly under Oyston, but if his tenure remains, the very epitome of Evostik football beckons. 4 44 Click to rate . daveee, Blackpool, United Kingdom, 3 days ago Its about time national newspapers started reporting on the way this club is being run into the ground. How can a club that had £90mill in the bank just 2 years ago now have a squad full of loan players and free transfers. The majority of which are on 1 year contracts. So in the summer all the news starts again about whether Blackpool will have a squad to even play games. The Oyston family are in it to take out as much money as they can. Fans would not complain if they took a bit for themselves after investing some in the playing squad, staff and training ground but they dont, it is all one way, and that way is into their bank accounts. 1 56 Click to rate . Da kicker, London, 3 days ago Maybe I'm little off, but what does OWNER mean? You never hear that complaint from the US fans. If the owner doesn't put good product on the field they find different entertainment and force owner's hand. If you can't be happy giving your money to a rich man like Arsenal fans then find something else. It is their money for God sakes. 43 3 Click to rate . James Young, Epsom, United Kingdom, 3 days ago It's their club and it's therefore their money. The accounting appears to be legal and above board and they have every right to milk it. 100 17 Click to rate . halifax71, Blackpool, 3 days ago ¿Relegation from the Championship is not considered a considerable risk to the company, as turnover will still be assisted by guaranteed parachute payments from the Premier League¿ ¿ Blackpool Football Club Limited Directors¿ report for the year ended 31 May 2013 9 29 Click to rate . MrClark56, Virginia, United States, 3 days ago Wow owners of something made some money from their PROPERTY and used it. How truly awful. 83 18 Click to rate . AppleBFC, Appleby, United Kingdom, 3 days ago The Oystons won the lottery when Belokons money paid for Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell and Ian Holloway performed the premier league miracle. A tiny bit of ambition like providing a decent keeper to cover the injured Matt Gilks would have meant at least another premier league season but the greedy parasitic family decided just to grab the lot. The parachute payments which are meant to prevent the decline of relegated clubs have all gone the same way, as have the transfer fees from Adam and Matt Phillips. Not content with all of that, the odious family continue to taunt the fans who they refer to as 'the mob' with social media in a headlong steamroller attempt to make themselves the most despised people in Northwest England. 5 107 Click to rate ArtinOz, Sydney, Australia, 3 days ago Very simple...Dont pay to watch them. See how long before they sell out. 6 33 Click to rate . . Danny, Northampton, 3 days ago Being legal doesn't make it right... 8 111 Click to rate . . The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. We are no longer accepting comments on this article. Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now

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                                                                                                                    FTFulham2 - 2Hull
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                                                                                                                                                            FTAston Villa0 - 0Southampton
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                                                                                                                                                                    FTMan City2 - 2Sunderland
                                                                                                                                                                        FTEverton2 - 3Crystal Palace

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                                                                                                                                                                                                FTStoke1 - 0Newcastle
                                                                                                                                                                                                    FTSouthampton0 - 1Cardiff
                                                                                                                                                                                                        FTFulham1 - 0Norwich
                                                                                                                                                                                                            FTCrystal Palace1 - 0Aston Villa

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