Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The end of SISA, the birth of the Trust!

Yesterday we emailed members informing them that SISA is going to disband as we move to our new Trust status. You can read the email in our notes section. As a result the SISA Facebook, Twitter and Blog platforms will be closed down within the next two weeks. As we begin our journey as a Trust we hope you will all continue supporting us. We thank everyone for the support so far, it has been phenomenal. You can 'like' our Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Seasiders-Independent-Supporters-Association-SISA/494584457251762?fref=ts Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/BlackpoolST

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Blackpool Supporters Trust Public Meeting 17th July 2014 - Agenda

Tonight’s meeting which is open to all Blackpool fans will take place at 7.30pm in the No 1 Club. It will be held in the large upstairs room. When we set the date for this meeting last week we predicted that somewhere between 75 and 125 people might attend. It seems entirely possible that there may be many more than that. We have therefore arranged to utilise the No.1’s PA system which will allow audio of the meeting to be relayed throughout the club. The upstairs room has a capacity of about 150 and if that is full we will begin to divert people to other rooms within the No 1 Club. We request that everyone attending tonight assists us in making this a successful beginning for the Trust by co-operating with the volunteers who will be stewarding the event.

We will do all that we can to answer any questions you have and to ensure as many points as possible are heard. There may not be time to deal with everything in the main meeting but members of the committee will be around after the meeting and will be happy to talk with anyone who has suggestions, questions or points that you would like to raise. 

Blackpool Supporters Trust has been set up to provide Blackpool fans with an independent voice – our primary aim is to increase the influence of Blackpool supporters at the club with the ultimate goal of the majority of the club being owned by the fans. We are not a protest or an anti-Oyston group. We will hold the owners to account on behalf of our members, scrutinise the way the club is being run and act, in all respects, in the best interests of the club that we all love.

Tonight’s meeting will be the beginning of that process, we are looking to develop, with our fellow fans, short and medium term approaches to the very obvious issues at our club. We will work constructively, diligently and constantly to change our club for the better and together help to develop a club that we can, once again, be proud to support.

1) Welcome and brief overview of Blackpool Supporters Trust

2) Aims of the Trust

3) Articles of Association

4) Discussion – Q and A

5) Moving Forward:

- The Club should make a clear, unambiguous statement about immediate plans for the player recruitment and the situation with the manager. 

- The Club to begin providing timescales and targets regarding various items including improvements to the Training Ground.

- The Club to explain to fans at what time and in what circumstances the£11 million, or any part thereof, held by the Oystons, will be returned for use by the club.

- The Supporters Liaison Officer should meet with representatives from BST, BSA and other interested fans groups at the earliest point to begin discussions about how the fans and club can move forward. We recommend that arrangements be made for an elected fans’ representative be placed on the board of the football club. 

- The club should develop improved communications policies that enable information regarding the club be shared more regularly and openly with supporters as part of the arrangements with the Supporters Liaison Officer.

- Vote of no confidence in the Chairman.

6) Membership/Website

7) Launch Party – Gary Parkinson Trust

8) Any Other Business

i) Further Q and A

The issues under Section 5 moving forward will be subject to approval of those at the meeting and will hopefully be supplemented by suggestions from supporters.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Blackpool Supporters Trust - Open Meeting

The Interim Committee of BST are pleased to announce that following the registration of the Trust we have arranged a first open meeting for THURSDAY 17th JULY 2014 at The No1 Club 730pm start.
The purpose of this first meeting will be to :
* Introduce the Interim Committee
* Answer any questions you may have about the purpose of and the aims of BST
* Discuss fan concerns over the current position at BFC
* Formulate ideas as to BST short medium and long term policies
* Provide those attending with the opportunity to sign up to be amongst the first Trust members (online memberships are expected to be available shortly )
We encourage all BFC fans to attend this first meeting of the Trust
We will shortly be launching the new website and social media platforms as well...
' Putting Football First '

Friday, 30 May 2014

Official Statement

SISA members and indeed BFC fans as a whole are no doubt very concerned about the Club's apparent lack of progress towards the appointment of a manager and beyond that the recruitment of a squad capable of competing in The Championship.

The Chairman's self-imposed time frame for appointing a manager has been and gone without any meaningful update being provided to the fan base.

Fans understandable concerns as to the Club's intentions are being expressed on social media/message boards and reflected in what are on anyone's assessment very worrying season ticket sales to date.

SISA now calls upon the Club to immediately extend the deadline of 21/6/14 that has been imposed for BFC fans to take up the offer of a discount on season ticket prices to 25/7/14 so as to allow the Chairman an opportunity to demonstrate to those who wish to see his commitment to the coming season before they make their own.

Friday, 2 May 2014

SISA End of Season Message

As the 2013/14 season draws to a close, we wanted to share a couple of messages with you and thank you for your continued support.

A season that many of us will want to forget; it has been a year characterised as much by off-field events as it has those on it. However, we are, as Football fans, eternal optimists and we continue to look to a future that holds exciting possibilities for Blackpool FC.

On the eve of one of the most important games in the the Club's history we will all unite for one last time this season and support those 11 men that step out wearing the tangerine shirt tomorrow. We need one last push to maintain our Championship status and then we can all sit down to enjoy the World Cup this Summer.

There appears to be a realisation that major change is needed over the Summer at the Football Club, and we hope that the Chairman will meet his responsibilities as custodian of the football club, finally taking the steps required to help make this Club worthy of the supporters.

Whilst the potential for transformation of the Club will undoubtedly give us cause for fresh optimism, what we can be certain of is that the that the Supporters Trust presents a genuine alternative for the supporters of our football club. SISA has been running for 18 months now and none of this would have been possible without the growing membership that has seen us reach unprecedented numbers for a Blackpool supporters group. We thank each and every one of you that has been with us along this journey and we hope you will provide your continued support as we make the next step to Trust status.

Keep the faith and Up The Pool.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Free tickets for Wigan match

On behalf of our members, SISA recognise and applaud the Club's initiative in offering season ticket holders the opportunity of a free ticket to attend what is a crucial game this Saturday at the DW Stadium v Wigan.

We hope the additional support that should travel on Saturday as a result of the offer will be the 12th man Barry and the team need to help secure our Championship status.

UTMP and Football First

For more information on the Club's announcement click here 

You can get your free tickets here. Hurry as there are only 3,000 available!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Naming the Supporters Trust

Last night saw the inaugural meeting of the Trust Working Party who were tasked at the recent Public Meeting with the responsibility of setting up BFC’s Supporters Trust.

One of the initial tasks is to finalise the Trust’s trading name.

The Working Party invites nominations from all Blackpool fans and residents for consideration.

Nominations should be sent by email to kevin.boroduwicz@sisa-bfc.co.uk to be received no later than 27th April 2014.

All nominations will then be considered by the Working Party at their next meeting on 30th April who will shortlist the submissions.

Those selected will then be put to a public vote through BFC fan groups, all BFC forums, social media and hopefully the local press following that meeting to a time frame yet to be agreed.

This is your opportunity to assist the Working Party decide on the name of Blackpool’s Supporters Trust and we look forward to receiving your nominations.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

LFA Cup Final - Ticket Details

On Wednesday 23 April at 7pm at Bloomfield the Blackpool Youth team take on Oldham Athletic in the Lancashire FA Cup final.

This game is free to all season ticket holders. Let's get behind the lad and turn up in numbers!

More details here

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Youth Team reach the final!

The most notable positivity around the Football Club this season has been the success of the Youth Team.

Earlier in the season many turned out at Bloomfield Road to see a spirited display in the third round of the FA Youth Cup against a much vaunted Liverpool side. Check out some World class finishes from our hottest prospects below.

Already crowned Champions of the North West League our Youth side is now in contention to win Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup!

Following a 4-1 win against Preston (always a bonus) the side will now face Oldham Athletic in the final on Wednesday 23rd April at 7pm. Check out the highlights of the semi final below.

When we find out ticket and venue information we will report back. It would be fantastic if we could all get behind the Youth team who may hold the key to our future success.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Your Views

At SISA we encourage debate amongst supporters and always want to hear your views. We were sent the below article from SISA Member Gary Stansfield.

If you want to see your thoughts posted on the Blog email us at info@sisa-bfc.co.uk.

Karl Oyston claims to be a business/finance man and not a football man. However, he has been the BFC football decision-maker by virtue of his negotiations with players/managers and, as such, is solely responsible for the club's relegation which is now inevitable. With managers with strong personalities such as Ian Holloway and Paul Ince, this was probably an effective working arrangement, but in deciding to turn to an inexperienced manager in Barry Ferguson (despite all his football knowledge) and ask him to right the catastrophic damage that had preceded the start of his tenure, was only ever going to end in tragedy. The withdrawal of the loan players at the end of December with no replacement until the end of January was particularly the BFC throat-slitter and as KO was the manager at the helm during all of this process, I am very clear that he alone should pay a penalty - ideally equivalent to that of any other organisational manager which had produced such a shambolic performance - get rid of him!!
However, all that is in the real world and the minimum that we must accept is that KO must acknowledge the errors of his management decisions and clearly communicate with his paying customers how he will rectify his errors. Again though, his track record suggests that KO's game plan will be to go into hiding until the furore dies down, albeit silencing himself and his son from resorting to the usual mockery and taunts of a very reasonable BFC fan base. KO must, therefore, be hounded until he at least agrees to the creation of a more open and transparent style by the club with it's fans including the production of a detailed, negotiated, agreed and produced Business Plan. Additionally, I believe that the appointment of an independent (i.e. not Sam!) Club Manager, that sits between himself and the next appointed football manager, who is solely responsible for all football, club and communication matters and overseeing the success of the Plan, has to be made immediately.

There is only one reason/person why we are rudderless after all!! UTP!!  

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Supporters Trust gets voted in!

On Saturday 5th April the Public Vote for a Supporters Trust received unanimous backing from 125 people present at the No 1 club together with another 250 individual postal/email votes sent by exiles and others unable to attend the meeting.

Supporters Direct have given their backing for a Trust to be established for Blackpool FC.

A working party will now take the necessary steps over the coming months to make the Blackpool FC Supporters Trust a reality.

We would like to express our thanks to everyone who attended as well as those of you who have tweeted, emailed or otherwise expressed your support for the idea of a Trust.
You can watch the full meeting at the links below:


The events off the pitch at following the match with Derby were every bit as telling as the action on it. SISA’s view is that last night’s events were the inevitable result of 3 years of misguided and self-serving policies that have seen our owners prioritise their non-football related business interests at the expense of the football club.

The demise of the team in terms of the quality of performance and entertainment value has coincided with a sequence of disastrous decisions that have seen BFC  fall from the heights we saw under the guidance of Ian Holloway to the position where we now stare into the abyss that relegation to League One would bring.

These policies have been mirrored by increased levels of dissatisfaction amongst the fans and increasingly vociferous protests about the direction the club is heading.

Last night the disappointment and anger of the crowd resulted in actions that made it absolutely clear to our owners that to continue to  ignore and mock the fans was no longer going to be accepted.

The question of how it has got to the point where a good number of one of the most reasonable sets of supporters  in the country felt that they had no better option than to resort to direct action towards the owners of the club needs to be answered.

It is at this point, hopefully, that the chairman Karl Oyston seriously considers his own role in events. His willingness to openly mock the fans, and effectively their passion for the club, at every opportunity, betrays a complete disregard for his customers and an inability to understand their relationship to the club.

Further Karl’s continued unwillingness to engage with fans representatives in the form of SISA and to also attempt to mock and belittle their efforts has certainly not helped and has undoubtedly further damaged the relationship between the owners and the support. It is also to be noted that even the very few fans that he is willing to meet with appear to have barely any influence whatsoever upon him. His actions and words seem often to court controversy and confrontation. Allowing, indeed encouraging your most loyal customers to believe that not only do they have no say, but also that they have no value – must surely be one of the most self-defeating mistakes that an owner can make.

Things need to change and they need to change now. The fan base won’t be placated as they were last season by empty promises and cheap season tickets. There is a huge amount to do in order to address the issues that our owners have created and to stabilise the position we find ourselves in.

The starting point must be for both Owen and Karl to acknowledge the mistakes made , engage with the wider fan base and put in place a manifesto to ensure that whether we survive in The Championship this season or not they will stop treating BFC as their CASH COW and put FOOTBALL FIRST.

The SISA Committee 

Monday, 31 March 2014

More Guests Added to Saturday!

We are pleased to announce two more speakers for Saturday's Trust meeting.

Paul Brooking from Blackburn Rovers Supporters Trust

- Discussing his experience of having a Supporters Trust at Blackburn and how it benefits the fans and the club

Kate Ramsey from F.C United of Manchester

- How a Trust/Community can benefit the community with examples of community projects undertaken by F.C United of Manchester

Let's give both these speakers a warm Blackpool welcome!

Confirm your attendance to the Trust meeting here

Exiles and Overseas Supporters of the Trust

As we build towards Saturday's Trust meeting we are receiving unprecedented feedback and support from as far away as New England, Perth and even China!

We recognise that many of our overseas and exiles supporters would like the opportunity to vote on the formation of a Blackpool Supporters Trust. However, under our current constitution and the guidance of Supporters Direct (the legal body and mechanism behind the formation of football Trusts) we must request that only votes in person and on the day will go towards the overall count.

We do not currently have an official electoral role, but should we become a Trust then we will then have the ability to accept votes from those that are unable to attend meetings.

What we would like to add though is that messages of support are very much welcome and will be read out and used to place around the meeting room. Please send your messages of support to our Secretary at kevin.boroduwicz@sisa-bfc.co.uk.

Compère for Saturday's Meeting

Have you checked out the list of speakers for Saturday's Trust Vote?

It's not often, if ever, we get this type of event in Blackpool let alone being free and a chance for everyone in attendance to make history.

The first speaker and compère for the event will be Roy Calley. If you don't know Roy he is a lifelong Blackpool supporter and wrote the fantastic book ''Blackpool: The Complete Record''. He is also known for his work at the BBC and Radio Lancashire.

We are really excited about Roy joining us. Confirm your attendance below.

Supporters Trust - Event Invite - Click Here

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Blackpool FC Supporters Trust Open Meeting and Public Vote

Blackpool FC Supporters Trust Open Meeting and Public Vote

Saturday 5th April. Number 1 Club, Bloomfield Road, Blackpool

11.45  Roy Calley (Moderator/ Chairperson) Introduction and Welcome

11.55  Jacqui Forster (Supporters Direct) - Who Supporters Direct are and what they do.

12.10  Paul Brooking (Blackburn Rovers Supporters Trust) - Blackburn's experience of a Supporters Trust,  how it benefits the fans and the club.

12.25 Kate Ramsey (F.C. United of Manchester) - How a Trust/Community Benefit Society can benefit the community with examples of community projects undertaken by FC United of Manchester.

12.40 Tim Fielding (SISA) Relevance of a Supporters Trust for Blackpool FC

12.50 Questions and Answer Session

13.20 Vote to establish Working Group

Supporters Trust - Some Thoughts

On the 5th of April a vote we will hold the vote on the formation on the first ever Blackpool supporters trust. The meeting will take place at the No 1 Club, Bloomfield Road, Blackpool commencing at 11.45am.

As we near that date it's worth recapping on what a supporters Trust is, why it's important and the benefits of it.

The purpose of this meeting is to introduce the Supporters' Trust movement to Seasiders fans and the people of Blackpool with the help of guest speakers from the government backed Supporters Direct organisation.

Blackpool FC Supporters Trust will be a democratic, non-profit making organisation owned and controlled by the fans themselves. It will be open, accountable, affordable, actively inclusive and representative of its members throughout the world.

Blackpool supporters will be provided with a truly independent voice. There is a great deal of knowledge, expertise, energy and enthusiasm amongst the tens of thousands of people who love and support our club. These supporters are the club's most valuable asset and can provide enormous benefit to the club and the wider community when given the opportunity and encouragement to do so. We believe that the formation of a democratic, representative, active supporters' trust can help to further galvanise our fans and our owners, both present and future, for the long term progress of the town and the team.

What is a supporters Trust?

A formal, democratic and not-for-profit organisation of fans. The main actions behind a supporters trust is to strengthen the influence of supporters over the running of the club they support. As a registered company, a Supporters Trust when established, provides a safety net for the club - quickly moving to gather finances and/or form a consortium of investors to ensure that any immediate threats to the club's future can be prevented or avoided. A Supporters Trust can also be a registered charity.

Why is it important for Blackpool supporters?

The formation of a trust is not just for Blackpool FC but for the whole town and community. Forming a trust will make us a legal entity and gives greater scope for the supporters views to matter and have a real impact on the club with the ultimate aim of board representation at the Football Club. Furthermore, becoming a Trust will give us the opportunity to carry out charity work in the local community. We want to form the Trust for future generations of Blackpool supporters. The Trust can hold assets including for example shares in the club and property (such as the ground) and that each member of the Trust becomes a co-owner of those assets.

Furthermore, becoming a Trust will give us a responsibility to carry out charity work in the local community. We want to form the Trust for future generations of Blackpool supporters.

What benefits will supporters see?

A Supporters Trust serves the purpose of benefiting the club, its supporters and its community. It is a non-profit making concern and so would always ensure that any surplus is reinvested rather than removed.
This is is achieved by a number of different strategies, including gaining control by fundraising to finance the acquisition of shares in the club or direct board representation. More than 110 Supporters' Trusts currently hold equity within their football clubs.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Footage and Pictures from Saturday's Demonstration

Thank you to everyone that came down to the demonstration on Saturday. It was another good turnout with over 300 people in attendance. You all did yourselves proud and despite the heavy rain everyone persisted from the start to the end.

We are very grateful for the coverage and a special thanks go to BBC North West Tonight, The Football League Show and On The Spot News.

Interview with our Chairman Tim Fielding for On The Spot News discussing what the demonstration is about.


Marching along Seasider's Way

Interview with our Vice Chairman Stephen Smith on North West Tonight. (From 3 mins)
Click Here

Footage of the march on The Football League Show.

On The Spot News also covered the story with more pictures and video click here

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Riga - Meeting Minutes

Earlier this week we reported that we had we visited club President Valeri Belokon. 

The minutes of the meeting are below.

Venue: Baltic International Bank, Riga

Date: 18th March 2014

Attendees: Valeri Belokon (President BFC), Kaspars Varpins (Director BFC), Tim Fielding (Chair SISA), Stephen Smith (Vice-Chair SISA) 

The meeting opens with TF explaining to VB the circumstances that led to the formation of SISA namely the fans concerns over the number of the issues facing the Club at the beginning of 2013 (no manager, poor form, perceived lack of investment). 

SS elaborated and explained how the role of SISA was to independently represent and campaign on behalf of Blackpool FC supporters on issues decided by its members. It was set up as a pro-Blackpool FC organisation intending to secure improved communication between the fans and the club. SISA saw its role to encourage the Club to be more open, responsive and accountable to its supporters and felt this could best be achieved by increasing the level of influence the supporters have at BFC. 

TF explained that SISA wish to work constructively with the Club, and aim to ensure that supporters’ comments and opinions are shared with and listened to by the Club and any other relevant groups or agencies.

SS confirmed that they we currently had between 1100-1200 members. 

TF then took VB and KV through the initiatives SISA had worked on to date (recognition by Supporters Direct, Safe Standing Roadshow, ACV, £90m note, future protests and forthcoming games) and the plans going forward with the Supporters Trust and what this means in practical terms.

VB queried the position re BSA and TF confirmed they were the official supporters association whilst SISA was independent.

SS then dealt with the problems SISA had encountered in establishing ourselves in that the Oyston family and BSA both currently refused to recognise or have any formal dialogue with us.

TF and SS spoke about the steps that had been taken to develop media relations with Radio Lancs, local TV and the Gazette.

TF then detailed the concerns the membership felt as BFC fans about the lack of direction at the Club over the last two years whilst at the same time large sums had been removed from the Club through Segesta, Zabaxe and other Oyston-owned entities.

Both TF and SS highlighted numerous examples of BFC fan concerns  - player recruitment policies, over-reliance on loanees, lack of progress re the training ground, poor maintenance of the stadium infrastructure (VB shown the photos of the cladding as an example ). It was SISA's view that these concerns would have led to a significant drop in attendances last year but for the extraordinary season ticket initiative. This type of initiative was unlikely in SISA's view to work to the same degree again.

TF also observed it was SISA's view that the policies being followed at the moment couldn't continue beyond next season as they heavily relied upon receipt of the parachute payments - the last of which was payable in the summer.

TF concluded by expressing SISA's  concerns that BFC was very quickly returning to the position it had been in before VB's investment with no legacy from the Premiership monies and that absent a sea change in approach season ticket sales were likely to be markedly reduced for the 2014/5 season which ultimately would be likely to escalate the downward spiral.

VB then took the opportunity to explain his position namely that he had found his investment in BFC stimulating. He was committed to supporting BFC and didn't see himself investing in any other football club. As a businessman he wanted to make a return on his investment however equally he realised the importance in investing in the team and recognised that in commercial terms football clubs were somewhat unique because of their social importance which he felt imposed upon the owners a responsibility to engage with and take account of the views of all Club stakeholders including the fans.

VB confirmed he'd enjoyed playing an active role in strategic decisions at BFC. He gave examples of his positive contributions - the development of the South Stand, direct discussions with Ian Holloway re player recruitment and the formulation of a strategy with OO and IH that underlined the investment he had made in BFC.

VB was disappointed about the troubled performance of the Club this season and discussed with SISA the possibilities of how we might improve decision- making at the Club so as to improve the team's performance next season. 

KV confirmed that in general terms the figures that appeared in Chris Walker's analysis of VB's investment were correct. VB’s total investmentto date stood at over £9m of which £182k had been repaid. 

Moving forward VB was willing to work with SISA and confirmed he was also willing to do the same with the Supporters Trust once formed. As he saw it feedback as to the fans views should be of significant importance to any owners decision-making process.

VB was also in principle willing to work with the Trust on community / charity projects and consider funding for a number of pre-agreed initiatives. He would also be willing to hold further meetings with SISA/Trust representatives in the future. In the interim TF/SS would keep both VB and KV appraised as to significant developments regarding the Trust by telephone/email.

At the end of the meeting VB confirmed his continuous commitment towards development of BFC and was pleased to see that SISA fans have taken an active role in it. VB and KV were honoured to host TF and SS  in Riga and look forward to fruitful cooperation with fans in the future. They wished good luck to all Blackpool fans.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Hello, SLO

One of SISA's main concerns since it's formation has been the non appointment of a Supporters Liaison Officer (SLO) at the Blackpool Football Club.

Article 35 of the 2010 UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations stipulated that each professional club across Europe must appoint an SLO by the 2012/13 season. The role of the SLO is to ensure proper and constructive discourse between the Club and their fans.

We have contacted the Club, Supporters Direct and the Football League on several occasions asking for an appointment to be made and so we were were delighted to receive the following email from the The Football League yesterday:

''Further to our conversations regarding Blackpool’s appointment of a new Supporter Liaison Officer, we can confirm that they have now appointed Mark Ridgway to that role.

Mark Ridgway’s e-mail address is mark.ridgway@blackpoolfc.co.uk and his telephone number is 01253 685023. This information will appear on our website shortly.

Thank you for contacting The Football League.''

We see this as another step towards greater transparency and an enhanced supporter/owner relationship at Blackpool. We also looking forward to engaging with Mark over the coming months and years.

We are sure you will join us in welcoming Mark to his role as our new SLO.

For more information on the SLO role Click Here

Another good read is the official UEFA Supporters Liaison Officer handbook

Thursday, 20 March 2014

SISA meets BFC co-owner Mr. Belokon in Riga to discuss future collaboration

At the personal invitation of the BFC President Seasiders Independent Supporters Association (SISA) travelled to Riga this week to discuss the latter’s plans to form a Supporters Trust and the future direction of Blackpool Football Club.

SISA Chair Tim Fielding and Vice-Chair Stephen Smith held a series of meetings with both Valeri Belokon and BFC Board Member Kaspars Varpins during their two day stay. Tim Fielding detailed the progress SISA, Blackpool's largest fan group, have made since their formation a little over 12 months ago and their imminent plans to form a Supporters Trust to the Latvian businessman.

Mr. Belokon expressed his enthusiasm for BFC and his willingness to help improve the performance of the Club. In his view, football clubs are more than just a business - they are also a social project with wider list of stakeholders and a significant role to play within the local community. Therefore he believes it is important to operate the Club in a transparent manner and take into account the opinions of its fans.

Mr. Belokon is disappointed about the troubled performance of the Club this season and discussed with SISA the possibilities of how to improve decision- making at the Club so as to improve its performance next season. 

Both parties confirm that it is the intention to hold further meetings in the near future with a view to developing relations to include charity and community-based initiatives that can be put in place subject to the outcome of Trust vote scheduled to take place on 5th April 2014.

SISA's Committee take this opportunity of thanking Valeri Belokon and Kaspars Varpins for their willingness to openly engage with SISA and their hospitality during our stay in Riga.

(Tim Fielding, Valeri Belekon, Stephen Smith, Kaspars Varpins)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Demonstration this Saturday

This Saturday sees the 2nd of our planned Demonstrations to highlight the lack of investment in Blackpool FC.

This will take the form of a funeral march to mark the ‘death’ of the Premier League Legacy. Once again this is aimed as a spectacle to get both fans and the media to sit up and take notice about the chronic underinvestment at Blackpool FC and the impact the owners current policies have ont he football team. For example in 2012/13 season, more money was paid in directors salaries (£568,000) than was spent on purchasing players (£485,000). The Oyston-owned Segesta Ltd increased its borrowing from the football club by £8 million and now owes BFC Ltd more than £25 million. However, we are told in the Director’s Report that, “Remaining in the Championship is not considered a considerable risk to the company, as turnover will still be assisted by guaranteed parachute payments form the Premier League.” This quote form the 2012/13 club accounts reveals something of the owners’ approach to the football club’s playing success.

The scheduled march will begin at 2.15pm from the Old Rigby Road coach park,situated across the road form the Club Shop & Ticket office. We will walk south along Seasiders Way and then on to Bloomfield Road behind the South Stand and then down Back Henry Street before dispersing in the Paris Casino car park where a death certificate for our dear departed Premier League Legacy will be presented to the media.

We would like to invite all members of the media to come along and cover this event and showcase the situation our great club finds itself in.     

Again the aim is to publicly voice our dissatisfaction at the lack of investment in the club. With enormous revenues coming into the club as a result of the footballing success that saw us in the Premier Division, the members feel that a greater share of those monies need to be invested into the playing side and the general infrastructure of the club – particularly the training ground. 

SISA would like to add that our members want to be clear that this demonstration is entirely about investment and transparency – it is neither aimed at, nor a reflection on the team.

If you require any further infomation please do not hesitate to get in touch 

Kind Regards

Tim Fielding SISA Chairman   07962 129360
Stephen Smith Vice Chairman 07771 373507
Lee Good   Spokesperson 07825 588853

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Tangerine Theory

As Blackpool fans we love seeing new mediums emerge where we can engage with all things BFC related.

A new fanzine from our friends at Tangerine Theory has just been launched. The author of Tangerine Theory gave us an open and honest account of why he wanted to write the fanzine.

"This week I will be launching a new Blackpool fanzine – Tangerine Theory. I would be lying if I said it has been easy. I can certainly tell you that its launch could not be timed worse. It will be born into a world of anger if not, worse, apathy. I’m honestly worried if anybody will have the energy to bother reading it after what will be 19 games without a win – equaling our worst record in history – if we don’t beat Millwall tonight.

Things could not be more different when I first conceived of the idea. I was working in London over the summer, and had to read as much about my club as possible online to keep up to speed and feel involved – blogs such as Measured Progress, with OneDaveBamber and TangerineDreaming’s excellent writing, as well as John Aspinall’s work with the Podcast were not only great for that, but they also served as inspiration. Things were pretty good, we were up at the top of the league, and Paul Incehad the most points per game in BFC managerial history – a point I made again and again with my short lived blog, the early Tangerine Theory in all its naïve glory. As an exile, I was seeing the results without enduring the negative performances. It was hard not to get caught up.

Despite everything that has happened since then, I have always had the desire to keep going with the fanzine, and to be honest it will be strange seeing it out in the public this week. I have been swapping emails with Morty from the NATA, but apart from that this has all been just an idea in my head. 

The pilot is raw, and as is a pilot’s nature, an illustration of work in progress. Butthrough it all I feel it still holds that naïve optimism that brought about its original conceptionOne section features 3 fan testimonies, with emotive and I feel important writing fromthose who really matter – Blackpool supporters. I hope their stories will give us all a small reminder as to why we do this. It certainly made the effort of putting this all together worth it.

The download will be available later this week and you can follow us on Twitter @BFCFanzine. Anybody looking to write for the next edition can either get in contact through Twitter, or at my email click here."

Nathan Fogg

Check out the website here!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Q+A with Leeds Supporters Trust

Up next in our series of Q+A's we spoke to Leeds Supporters Trust (LUST) that represents Leeds United supporters. Taking our questions was Gary Cooper who is the Chairman of LUST.

A huge thanks to Gary for taking the time to answer our questions.

Please feel free to leave any comments or follow up questions in the comments box below.

Can you tell us why you formed Leeds Supporters Trust?

The trust was formed long before my time as a member but my understanding is it was recognised as a clear opportunity to provide an independent voice for its members with the club which at the time was begining to reel from the over spend of the Ridsdale era.

You state on your website that it is vital for fans to have an independent voice. Why do you think this is important?

In any democracy independence from influence, pressure and a party line is vital to hold to account those charged with the responsibility of governance, LUST is the vehicle which is able to provide that independent voice to its members. We are not bound by club rules or regulations and free to say what we are thinking without constraint, we feel that's invaluable.

With regards to investment in the footballing side, and given the documented history, what sort of financial policy would you like to see implemented at the Club. Do the Trust have a view on this? 

We try to be open minded but its difficult when your club has suffered the conseuences of massive over spend followed by huge under investment on the pitch, we have swung full circle in more ways than one so what matters most to our members if sustainability and proper strategic and financial planning pretty much in line with what UEFA are doing with FFP.

Do you have any contact with the Club owners/board to discuss concerns etc?

Since GFHc took control from Ken Bates contact has been very good although right now turmoil has taken over during a new sale to another new owner. We have been able to speak freely on all matters relating to our club and our members concerns and the MD, David Haigh, attended our last AGM and took questions from our members in attendance, on social media and listening to our broadcast so we cant complain about contact really.

And finally, what advice would you give for fans who are thinking of joining a supporters group or Trust? 

There is lots of support available from Supporters Direct and Jacqui Forster* is always available for good advice and direction if needed. I would say speak to other established trusts, ask questions of them and try to relate your own issues to those others have experienced in order to establish if there is good practice to learn from them. As a body of individual groups we are very supportive of each other, with that comes not only strength but also unity and purpose, we are stronger than the sum of our parts because we look after the sum of our parts. The trust movement will only grow in the years to come and any independent group can benefit from that by belonging.

For more information on Leeds Supporters Trust click here

*The SISA committe have met with and has been in constant communication with Jacqui Foster and Supporters Direct in our preparation for forming our own Trust. Don't forget the Members final vote for this is on Saturday April 5th April before the Yeovil match

Q+A with Wrexham Supporters Trust

Next in our series of Q+A's we spoke to Wrexham Supporters Trust (WST) that not only represents Wrexham FC supporters but also owns the club itself! A truelly fascinating read, taking our questions was Peter Jones who is the Chairman of WST.

A huge thanks to Peter for taking the time to answer our questions.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and any follow up questions in the comments section below.

When forming your Trust did you receive any negative comments or was there a groundswell of support amongst Wrexham fans?

Wrexham Supporters Trust were formed in 2002 as ‘Wrexham INdependent Supporters’ – WINS. They began with an initiative called the ‘Beer-A-Week’ fund. The idea was for fans to give up one beer a week and put the money saved into the ‘pot’ to help the then manager Denis Smith to strengthen his squad.

I personally was against that at the time, as the club as usual were short of finances, and utility bills were not being paid. Phones were being cut off and so was the electricity, so buying players to strengthen the squad was not so important in my eyes. 

But the other aim was of interest - to buy a share in Wrexham Football Club. At that time the club had just been sold to the former Chester City Chairman Mark Guterman – a property developer. He’d bought the 78% of the shares from the previous Chairman Pryce Griffiths in February 2002. It was not a popular purchase, but the majority of fans were willing to give Guterman the benefit of the doubt.

That seemed to be working fine when Wrexham won promotion to League One in 2002/03, but the following season the troubles began.

It was discovered that a company named Broadhall Properties – a company owned by an Alex Hamilton, now owned the Racecourse Ground – the home of Wrexham Football Club. Until then it had been owned by Wolverhampton & Dudley Brewery, with Wrexham FC having a 125-year lease on the property at a peppercorn rent of just £1 a year. We were only about five years into the lease.

However, there had been absolutely no mention of the sale of the Racecourse by the new club owner. That itself raised suspicion, and it was further discovered that the ground had initially been sold to Wrexham Football Club, but immediately sold on to Broadhall Properties for £300,000. These transactions were later proved in the High Court to have been done without the consent of the Board of Directors of the football club making it illegal.

With this discovery, and the already known fact that the Club Chairman Mark Guterman was a property developer, it was now known that he was also a front for Alex Hamilton.

Following a red card protest at our last home game of the 2003/04 season against Brighton, where Brighton fans, who had lost the Goldstone Ground, in similar circumstances, held the red cards up to a man (and woman!), whilst only about 25% of Wrexham fans did so. This was because at the time, the local newspapers failed to highlight fans concerns, and only those with internet access were aware of the facts.

Guterman soon left, leaving Alex Hamilton to become Chairman and he didn’t mince his words, stating that he would “Bulldoze the Racecourse”. Fans began protests to highlight the dire situation as talk of the Racecourse becoming a site for a B and Q warehouse was rife.

Hamilton called a board meeting with the remaining two directors, Wrexham businessmen Dave Bennett and Dave Griffiths. He attempted to appoint his son and his secretary to the board, but the ‘Two Dave’s’ voted against it. This led to Hamilton’s immediate resignation as Chairman and director. As the major shareholder, he called a shareholders meeting with the intention of removing the ‘Two Dave’s’ from the board, but before this meeting was held the club was put into administration in December 2005, becoming the first ever Football League club to lose ten points for this action.

The Administrators then took Hamilton to the High Court where following a long process, and an appeal, it was decided that the original purchase of the ground by Wrexham Football Club was legal, but the sale to Broadhall Properties was deemed illegal, and the ground was returned into the hands of Wrexham Football Club.

The club eventually came out of administration in August 2006 when local businessmen Nev Dickens and Geoff Moss took over. It was thought our troubles were over……

Your successful bid and takeover of Wrexham Football Club received national coverage. Can you tell us how and why you came to be owners?

When Dickens and Moss took over they promised fan involvement, with a share issue being made, but these not only didn’t materialised, but we lost our Football League status!

Dickens stepped down, and a property developer, Ian Roberts came on board along with a local accountant Paul Retout, who had brought Roberts and Moss together, setting up a company named Wrexham Village Ltd. Retout became the Club’s Chief Executive, and the deal saw them announce plans for student accommodation to be built on land at the back of the Racecourse.

    (The Racecourse Ground - home of Wrexham FC)

It was said that this development would clear the club’s debts, and as Paul Retout was recorded as saying: “for the avoidance of doubt every penny made would go back into the Football Club.” - Paul Retout is now serving a prison sentence for deception (For a crime not connected to the Football Club).

So well did the threesome get on, they actually bought a Rugby League club, Crusaders, bringing them to play their home games on the Racecourse from South Wales. Being in the Super League, they soon found the Football Club (now non-league) to be a poisoned chalice, and began to build up the Rugby League club.

However, Crusaders crowds began to drop, and the debts that the club had from their time in South Wales began to surface, and it all began to turn sour for the owners. Eventually they put the Crusaders into administration, but amazingly they took them back on! They’d put them into administration to clear those inherited debts.

Crowds didn’t improve, and debts began to build up again, and in December 2010 they liquidated the Crusaders Rugby League Club on the eve of not knowing the decision if Crusaders would be in the Super League for the forthcoming season.

It soon became apparent that they wanted out, and would sell both the Racecourse and Wrexham Football Club, but with this came the vultures. First they agreed a deal to sell to a consortium named Van Morton Investments Ltd, who were fronted by former Shrewsbury Town Chief Exec Rob Bickerton. However, following the Leader newspaper’s exclusive interview with former Chester owner Stephen Vaughan as being part of the consortium, fans revolted at the next home game with Gateshead, following which the consortium backed away.

Next was Hotelier Stephanie Booth, a local businesswoman who had had much media coverage with her TV series ‘Hotel Stephanie’, and she announced at the Forest Green home game that she was the ‘preferred bidder’. It then became a bit of a circus, before it was found out that she didn’t meet the ‘Fit and proper persons’ criteria set by the Football Association. She then slid away without trace! 

Further bids came in from Stephen Cleeve, yet another banned company director who sold above the odds for sites that have little or no development potential. Another bid came from former Wrexham player Ashley Ward, who fronted a deal for Colin Poole, who was a disqualified director and former head of the insurance firm Claims Direct who had been struck off the solicitor's roll by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

With all this, the board of Wrexham Supporters Trust eventually took it upon themselves to launch a bid to take over the football club itself. Glyndwr University had already taken it upon them to purchase the stadium and the Colliers Park training ground, which they completed in July 2011.

It was at this time that Moss and Roberts announced the club’s new owner was to be Jon Harris, another former Chief Exec of Shrewsbury Town. It was well known that he didn’t have the financial clout to purchase the club, and it was soon discovered that he was yet another person to be fronting a takeover of the club for Colin Poole. Within days of this announcement, Poole withdrew his financial backing, blaming "the actions of a few misguided individuals”. With this Geoff Moss agreed to sell the Football Club to Wrexham Supporters’ Trust.

However, the takeover was not without its hitches, as the Conference board demanded that Wrexham FC paid a bond or bank guarantee of £250,000 to satisfy the board that the club can meet its legal and financial obligations for the coming season. The club is given just over 48 hours to find the money. 

Wrexham fans rallied round to raise over £150,000 in less than a day, and       the club is granted a 24-hour extension; prove that it is solvent and sign a lease for a home ground for the 2011/12 season.

The board of Wrexham Supporters' Trust, called the deal “one of the important steps to football continuing at the Racecourse”.

Despite a rigorous takeover - it took over three months for the Conference to sanction the deal – Wrexham Supporters’ Trust became proud owners of Wrexham Football Club on 30th November 2011.

Do you feel it is important that the owners of a football club are open, transparent and communicate with supporters regularly?

One of the main attributes of Wrexham Supporters Trust becoming the owners of Wrexham Football Club has been the transparency and openness.

Some fans may disagree, but they are the ones who would want to know the wages of every player. In America, the MSL have a policy where every club knows each other’s budgets, but over here it is a no, no. This means club’s play cloak and dagger with each other to avoid others from finding out how much they have to spend on wages and possible transfer fees – at Conference level, transfer fees are hardly heard of!

Having said that, Wrexham Football Club hadn’t had a shareholders meeting for over ten years before the Trust took over. Now they have two a year! There is the Football Club AGM and the Supporters’ Trust AGM, and all owners, there’s now over 3,000 of us, all have the opportunity to vote on decisions and the people we want to run the club.

Every other month a Trust Meeting is held for members where they can voice their opinions and ask questions of the Trust Board. The month in-between will see a news briefing sent out by email to members with the latest news.

These people who run the club, both the Football Club and Trust Board’s are all volunteers, who give hours of their time up for free. There are many more volunteers who also give up there time for free, whether it be working in the Club Shop, distributing leaflets to helping with Community projects. They are all part of OUR club, and have a say in OUR future.  

And finally, what are the aims of Wrexham Football Club over the next 10 years on and off the field?

The primary aim of Wrexham Football Club is to get back into the Football League at the earliest opportunity. It seems to be harder by the year, as the Conference has a strong former Football League club’s membership, all wanting to return to there heyday’s.

We are no different, but we’ll do it our way. That mean’s we won’t be putting our football club at risk. We will only spend within our means. A lot of fans still can’t get there heads around that, especially when you have the Premier League football syndrome thrown at you every where you look on the TV, newspapers and social media.

Every football fan dreams of a Roman Abramovich taking over their club. But people like him are few and far between. Make no mistake people with money have had every opportunity to purchase Wrexham Football Club since the turn of the Millennium, but no one with true intent has been near us, just chancer’s who have faded away when they were put to the test of ‘what was in it for them’.

Wrexham Supporters’ Trust is the fans. Every fan has an opinion, but any debate is done in a democratic manner. A decision is made, and we move on. Over the next ten years we hope that we have claimed our Football League place back, and are pushing for the verdict least Championship football, and maybe playing on a level field again with Blackpool! 

For more information on Wrexham Supporters Trust Click Here

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Q+A with the Chelsea Supporters Trust

In the third of our Q+A's with supporters groups we spoke to the Chelsea Supporters Trust  who are an independent group that represent Chelsea FC supporters. Taking our questions was Tim Rolls who is the groups Chairman. We discussed the importance of board representation and why joining a supporters group is important for every fan.

A huge thanks to Tim Rolls and the CST for taking the time to answer our questions.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and any follow up questions in the comments section below.

Did you come across any problems or negative comments on your journey to becoming a Trust?

We were formed after a group of like minded supporters got together and decided that the trust model had clear merits and was something that we felt could operate effectively at Chelsea. Before forming the Chelsea Supporters Trust (CST) we contacted existing supporter groups, websites, fanzines etc. and explained what we were doing. Inevitably there were concerns and suspicions, but we tried to keep dialogue going, and to prove that we were no threat to them. The club were keen to talk to us, and in our first year of existence we have had three meetings with them, which we see as positive. We said we would hold board elections, regular members meetings and an annual survey, and we have done all of these.

We formed SISA to be the 'voice of the fans' of Blackpool Supporters. One of our long term aims is to have a fan on the board of the football club. Is this something your Trust are actively pursuing and how important do you think it is to have fan representation on the board?

Board representation is a (very) long term aspiration of the CST. Realistically we are never going to own the club, but we do believe that supporter representation at board level is desirable at any club and over a long period of time we aim to work towards this.

At Chelsea you have The Fans Forum. Can you tell us what this is and how this has affected, it at all, your work at the Trust?

The Fans Forum is operated by the club. It consists of representatives from various supporters groups (including the CST), websites, fanzines etc. as well as independent representatives of (for example) season ticket holders, members, away season ticket holders etc. These latter individuals are chosen by the club from those who apply. The Fans Forum meets three times a season and is attended by club executives.  It covers issues of interest to supporters. In my view it focuses too heavily on housekeeping issues as opposed to matters of strategic importance, but at least it is a vehicle for club/supporter dialogue. Our aspiration is that the CST can, over time, have that missing strategic relationship with the club.

It has been documented that Chelsea are looking to move from Stamford Bridge to a new location. How important is this for the future of Chelsea Football Club?

To me it is fundamental that Chelsea stay at Stamford Bridge, their home since formation 109 years ago. Because of our location, in reality finding an alternative home in the direct vicinity would be almost impossible anyway.  The focus needs to be on redeveloping Stamford Bridge. A number of trust members, including myself, were actively involved in the SaynoCPO campaign in 2011, where club attempts to take the freehold of the club back from Chelsea Pitch Owners were successfully resisted.

Finally, what advice would you give for any supporter looking to join a supporters group?

Don't just join, actively participate. Attend meetings, vote in elections, get involved in campaigns. There are issues at every club and the more supporters get actively involved, the more effectively those issues can be addressed.  I believe the trust model, with democratic elections and open policies (we have four meetings a year and hold surveys to identify our members concerns), is the most effective way of ensuring supporter views are taken into account, and I wish SISA all the best in your endeavours.

For more information on Liverpool Supporters' union click here