A regional daily has refused to publish a former football club owner’s message to supporters on the grounds that he repeatedly declined to answer questions from its journalists.
HTFP reported last month how The Gazette, Blackpool, had covered a High Court ruling which meant Blackpool FC Owen Oyston had lost control of the club.
Saturday’s home match against Southend United saw thousands of fans return to Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road home ground for the first time in years after a mass boycott of matches over the Oyston family’s running of the club.
Ahead of the game, Mr Oyston contacted The Gazette with a message for fans on the team – but the paper opted not to publish the message, saying “nothing should be allowed to overshadow” the fans’ return to the stadium.
The newspaper said in an editorial: “Blackpool fans’ return to Bloomfield Road is just days away. The patience shown in the run-up to this long-awaited return, with more than 14,000 home fans expected at the stadium on Saturday, has been nothing short of remarkable.
“The supporters have fought long and hard to get to this point. Saturday will be a day of celebration and nothing should be allowed to overshadow that. Least of all the man who has caused so much upset and anger for loyal Pool followers, Owen Oyston. Today, he contacted The Gazette with his message to fans and the team ahead of the big game.
“We will not be printing a word of it. The blame for so much of the mess that has blighted the club for too long rests with him. He has repeatedly declined to answer legitimate questions about his ownership of the club. He has refused to be held accountable for his actions.
“He dodged those same questions again today. So no, Mr Oyston, we will not pass on your message. Some supporters may want to know what he said. But coming now, two days before Bloomfield Road roars once more, it would only undermine what they have worked so hard to achieve. Regardless of the result on Saturday, this weekend will be a victory for the fans. They deserve this moment. Nobody else.”