Blackpool MP writes to EFL to express concern at Blackpool FC situation


Gordon Marsden has warned the English Football League (EFL) there will be long-lasting damage at Blackpool Football Club unless they step in and intervene.

READ MORE: Time and date confirmed for EFL’s meeting with Blackpool fans

EFL chairman Ian Lenagan

EFL chairman Ian Lenagan

The Blackpool South MP has written to the EFL expressing concern about how the situation at Bloomfield Road has been allowed to unfold.

In a letter addressed to EFL chairman Ian Lenagan, Marsden says he would like to be a part of the meeting organised for Tuesday, March 20 – which will see EFL representatives meet with concerned supporters.

The letter reads: “You will be aware of the continued concerns and anxiety across Blackpool about the ongoing problems between the owners of Blackpool FC and its supporters.

“It is a situation that has caused much sadness to people in the town and my constituents.

Blackpool supporters protested outside the EFL's headquarters earlier this month

Blackpool supporters protested outside the EFL’s headquarters earlier this month

“Over the past five years this has resulted in thousands of people – some lifelong fans – to boycott Bloomfield Road in protest at the club’s running.

“I am glad to see that you have agreed in principle to meet with representatives from Blackpool Supporters’ Trust (BST) and other fan groups.

“I note that you have offered to include local MPs in the process and I would like to be part of it.

“The meeting is an important step forward because I know that BST – who represent many of Blackpool FC’s supporters in the town – have been concerned and raised with me the EFL’s reluctance to engage with them on the problems around the club’s ownership.

“I have consistently, not least in conjunction with the late Jimmy Armfield, urged the club’s owners to engage with the fans, talk to BST and open up its governance to them.

“In my latest meeting with BST last month, we discussed this and the urgent need for organisations like yourself to engage strongly with the owners as well.

“BST also raised with me their request to see a case review. I support the use of Blackpool FC as a potential template for you in this area, which could be useful in other circumstances affecting clubs and supporters.

“You will also appreciate there has been major concern about this in parliament – which led to a special debate last year in which I, and many others, spoke criticising the lack of action by the FA on this matter.

“I believe the EFL urgently needs to take its share of responsibilities on this matter as well.

“I have previously backed a bill in parliament by my Labour colleague Clive Efford MP that would have given accredited groups such as BST greater say and influence over how their club is run.

“I believe this should be part of your discussion because I think this will help us move forward in resolving some of the problems we face at Blackpool.

“Clubs like ours have a proud history, going back to our epic victory in the 1953 FA Cup final and the heroic careers of both Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Armfield.

“If the situation at Blackpool FC continues to go unchallenged and the EFL continue to fail to engage with supporters’ groups, it could have both significant and long-lasting damage – not just on the club and the community it serves, but also on the reputation of the EFL itself.”

The EFL issued an invitation to Marsden on Friday and say he is welcome to attend the meeting later this month, where his concerns will be addressed.

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