Blackpool fans to watch AFC Blackpool in protest at owners

By Nathan MiddletonBBC Sport
Blackpool fans
Blackpool fans have seen their team win just four times this season

A group of Blackpool fans plan to protest against the club's owners, the Oyston family, by going to watch AFC Blackpool's game in the North West Counties Premier Division on Saturday.

'Tangerine Knights' will hold a protest at Bloomfield Road before the Championship side's match with Leeds, and then go to the non-league game.

The Seasiders look set to be relegated to League One - they are 18 points from safety with eight games remaining.

AFC Blackpool face Bootle on Saturday.

They play in the ninth tier of the English football pyramid and are based at The Mechanics, a ground with a capacity of about 1,500.

"It is a joint protest - it is not just to do with the football club this week," Tangerine Knights spokesperson Stephen Smith told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"It's a joint venture with Leeds fans, against not only Karl Oyston being a regional representative on the Football League board, but it's against the Football League as well and the various things they have done over the past couple of years.

Championship table
Blackpool have been bottom of the Championship since the end of October

"It is to show our discontent with the way the football club is being run and to vote with our feet effectively.

"AFC Blackpool also play in tangerine. It puts some money back into the local community. They are struggling with funds, so to show our support is a great thing."

Former Blackpool striker Stuart Parker, the manager of AFC Blackpool, told BBC Radio Lancashire that they are expecting between 400 and 1,000 people to attend their fixture - an increase on their usual attendance of about 35.

Blackpool fans demonstrate against Karl Oyston

Owner Owen Oyston and his son, chairman Karl Oyston, have had a troubled relationship with Blackpool fans in recent seasons.

Last month about 1,000 fans protested over the running of the club, while in October some fans walked out in the 53rd minute of their game against Cardiff - in reference to Blackpool winning the FA Cup in 1953.

Karl is currently part of an ongoing Football Association investigation over allegations he sent a supporter a number of abusive text messages.

Both Owen and Karl began legal action against fan David Ragozzino and a web forum for libel earlier this year.

On the field, Blackpool started the season with a run of 11 games without a win, not helped that just two weeks before the campaign started they had only eight contracted professionals, forcing them to cancel a pre-season tour of Spain.

Jose Riga was sacked as manager after just four months in charge with the club bottom of the table, and his replacement Lee Clark has failed to lift the team out of relegation trouble.

Blackpool have 22 points and need five more from their last eight games to avoid the lowest ever tally in a 46-game second-tier season, a record currently held by Stockport County.

Bloomfield Road
The Tangerine Knights projected images onto the outside of Bloomfield Road on Tuesday
Blackpool fans
Blackpool's fans have protested on a number of occasions about the running of the club
Blackpool fans protest with tennis balls
Blackpool supporters halted a game against Burnley last April by throwing tennis balls and tangerines onto the pitch