Saturday 28th January will see Blackburn Rovers host Blackpool FC in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Under normal circumstances, the game would be a mouth-watering prospect for two of England ’s most historic clubs. The fixture will see these two local teams battling for a place in the fifth round of the oldest cup competition in the world. The romance of the FA Cup should see a bumper crowd cheering, whilst dreaming of being on the road to Wembley.
However, both clubs have been reduced to a shell of their recent and historic glorious past. Under the disastrous ownership of the Rao (Venky’s) and Oyston families, both clubs have suffered not only a humiliating fall from grace but have become totally disengaged from large sections of what should be the very lifeblood of any football club: their supporters.
Both sets of supporters have seen long-running protests against their respective owners. Both sets of supporters have met a wall of silence from their incompetent owners and the footballing authorities.
The Football Association, who deemed both the Rao (Venky’s) and Oyston families as “Fit and Proper” owners, seem happy to sit back and watch the coordinated dismantling of both football clubs.
As a result of the actions of these families and the lack of action from The FA, this game will see rival football fans stand shoulder to shoulder: fans united in an unprecedented protest at the wanton destruction of their clubs.
Supporters of both Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool are encouraged to boycott this fixture and stand together in protest outside Ewood Park whilst the game is played inside.
With both sets of owners and the FA standing to gain financially from this fixture, the message from boycotting fans will be loud and clear: “Enough is enough, we have asked YOU, The Football Association for help, yet YOU continue to do ‘sweet FA’”.
The Tangerine Knights (Blackpool fans’ organisation) believe:
“With 90% of the Blackpool fans adopting the NAPM (Not a penny more) stance at Bloomfield Road, it has come to symbolise our fight against owners who have sued fellow fans and have shipped millions of pounds from Blackpool Football Club into family businesses through a variety of interest free loans. Whilst the current owners of football clubs seem to care only about the monetary values involved in our national game, the ethos of it being a ‘working man’s sport’ has been lost and in time the clubs that have been the mainstay of communities could well be lost also. The way fans can fight back is by hitting the owners with the one thing they care most about in this world, money. By calling for a boycott of the Blackburn v Blackpool game, we hope that both sets of supporters can unite as #FansUnited and show that beyond the rivalry there is a camaraderie between supporters who have one common goal, to see their clubs run for the benefit of the local community with fan involvement and an end to football clubs being brought to their knees by owners who care only about what they can get out of it, not what they put into it. An empty Ewood would mean empty ticket office tills which would match the owners empty promises. Jock Stein once said that ‘Football is nothing without fans’, in the FA Cup 4th round at Ewood Park you will see that a ground without fans is not football.”
The Blackburn Rovers Action Group believe:
“We call on all supporters, including those currently boycotting Ewood Park to join us and stand in solidarity with the supporters of Blackpool against the destruction of 2 historic Lancashire football clubs. Football supporters have been the lifeblood at clubs up and down the country for generations, ensuring that clubs continue to remain at the epicentre of its local community. Supporters remain a constant, whist owners can pick it up and drop it as they see fit. At Blackburn Rovers & Blackpool the two stories are different, however the supporter anguish and fear is identical. Two football clubs destroyed by incompetent and disinterested owners, leaving supporters disengaged with the very thing they have devoted parts of the lives to. Supporters of both these clubs, together with other clubs across the country have been in dialogue for some time regarding co-ordinated protest plans against the football authorities and their lack of will to ensure that supporters remain a part of football. We ask supporters not only to consider boycotting the FA Cup fourth round fixture, but to attend Ewood Park and to remain outside in demonstration as the match kicks off, a heart-wrenching sacrifice, yet a powerful message to the powers that be that football supporters have had enough!”
The Blackpool Supporters Trust believe:
Blackpool Supporters’ Trust encourages all Blackburn and Blackpool supporters to not only boycott the 4th round FA Cup match but to demonstrate together outside Ewood Park on match day. A ‘more out than in’ protest against the unacceptable running of both clubs will send a powerful message to the football authorities that fans are being disenfranchised and changes in the governance of the game are long overdue. Without the fans there would be no football. These are our clubs and we want them back.