FanVox experienced one of the largest demonstrations against the mismanagement of football clubs. Date and location were already set: May 2nd at Blackpool, where #JudgementDay was held.
If you weren’t in Blackpool, waking up was an extremely early duty. But it did not matter, the reason behind it was extremely relevant: the#JudgementDay against the Oyston Family. Hundreds of fans turned up at 10 AM at the Bloomfield Pub to have some pints before the march. There we met David Goldblatt from our friends of F.A.N. and the lads of Copa90, who were filming the protest and interviewing supporters and key participants.
You could sense their excitement yet seriousness regarding this protest. Different signs, flags and scarfs were part of the beautiful supporter landscape. And you could understand why. The Oyston family took over their beloved club and now they threw it away into relegation without caring about what the teams represents for the community and the fans. Time for preparation was over and at 10:30 AM, the organisers of the march, theTangerine Knights along with Blackpool Supporters’ Trust and Andy Higgins, started the march with the surveillance of the police in this cold, rainy and freezing morning.
Amongst the #OystonOut, #JudgementDay, “Blackpool FC, not Oyston FC” signs, there were a couple of participants who dressed up as judges, the Oyston clan, or even clowns. It was a very well organised protest, and it was meant to be that way.
Led by two scooters, we headed down through Bloomfield Road towards the Blackpool FC Stadium. The Tangerine Knights widened their massive round flag (it was huge) and chants against Oyston started to “warm up” the demo. At this stage, the number of people that joined the demo increased considerably and numbers rose the 2000, according to the Blackpool Supporters Trust and the Knights.
The first stop was at the Blackpool FC Hotel. We stopped there (acknowledging the team and staff could possibly be there) and started raising our voice with different chants and had the chance to take many pictures of the Oyston Clan . After a while, and before it was too late, we headed down to the stadium, where the main protest was thought to be held.
In front of the stadium, we, the supporters, made sure our voice was to be heard. Christine Seddon from Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, Stephen Smith from Tangerine Knights and one lad representing Brigthon Hove & Albion went on stage and shared their thoughts on this awful situation. All of us agreed with their views and started to chant as hard as we could.
The last part of the demo was the most emotional one. Following the horrible decision of the Oystons to remove the statue of Stan Mortensenprior to the demo, hundreds of faithful tangerine supporters left priceless memorabilia as a sign of their love to their club and how they were in pain seeing how the club was “dying”. The supporters even brought a fake statue to resemble the original“Morty”.
One of the key aspects of the demo relied on the involvement of supporters from different clubs that understood the tragic situation Blackpool fans were facing. Therefore, and as a sign of solidarity with them we, the fans from other clubs/countries, were glad to raise our voice and show our colours. Countless teams and even supporters of squads from far away (like FanVox with Colombia) were glad to take part in this very important event. The #FansUnited campaign was a total success and made us realise we shall stick together for a football that belongs to us and the communities.
Lastly, after the game started, lots of supporters went into the stadium to watch the match. We all knew what happened afterwards: a pacific invasion of supporters who went onto the pitch and a suspension of the game. Despite the relative bad publicity of this event, it was a clear sign that fans will fight for bringing back their club where it belongs: in Blackpool and supported by the community.
The #OystonOut demo was a tipping point for the supporter movement in the UK. It showed how fans from different backgrounds and supporting diverse clubs, are becoming aware of their #FanPower. If supporters get together and agree on certain aspects to bring back football to its roots, there are no boundaries. That is why FanVox aims at facilitating this process, by offering a platform that enables the suppporter discussion and collective action on the key topics that are impacting football nowadays. We look forward to empowering supporters all across the world to decide on their fate by raising their voice.
#OystonOut was just the beginning; things can change and#FansWillRaiseTheirVoice!
Welcome to the new era of #FanPower!