Lancashire

Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston wins libel damages from abusive fan

Karl Oyston Image copyright PA
Image caption Karl Oyston is the chairman of Blackpool FC

Blackpool Football Club's chairman Karl Oyston has won £30,000 in libel damages from an abusive fan who claimed Mr Oyston threatened him with a shotgun.

Mr Oyston sued Stephen Reed over material posted on a fans' webzine, Back Henry Street, in June 2015.

Mr Justice Langstaff in the High Court in Manchester ruled Mr Oyston was blameless and Mr Reed's allegation was untrue.

The verdict comes the day after the club was relegated to League Two.

Mr Reed's website posting claimed the club chairman entered into a foul-mouthed rant at him in public, held a gun in such a way as to make Mr Reed believe he was about to be shot at and had assaulted Mr Reed and put him in fear for his safety or even his life.

The judge said judgment for Mr Oyston was entered in August 2015 and Mr Reed now accepted the club chairman did not brandish a gun at Mr Reed, who maintained had not lied about the incident since he had given his honest opinion.

'Other libel actions'

In ruling Mr Oyston was blameless, the judge added that further libel had not been discouraged by an award in an earlier action brought by Mr Oyston against another supporter, David Ragozzino.

The judge said the effect appeared to have been "to stir up, and maintain, resentment of and hostility" toward Mr Oyston and his wife Victoria.

He ordered Mr Reed to pay Mr Oyston £30,000 and his legal costs.

Mr Reed was among a number of Blackpool supporters unhappy about the way the Oyston family have run the football club.

Fans have held regular protests and boycotted games over the past two seasons.

Mr Oyston was fined £40,000 in June and banned from football activity for six weeks by the Football Association for five breaches of aggravated misconduct after sending abusive and insulting text messages to a fan.

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