Too Big An Idea?
Is this just too big an idea?
Written by Seasider Tony.
Born in 1887, Blackpool Football Club is a true son of the Fylde's capital town. Bloomfield Rd, home of this famous club since 1899, has witnessed 108 years of football history, soaked in blood, sweat and tears. Generations of Blackpool families have experienced a multitude of soul stirring emotions over those many years.
Blackpool FC was formed after a merger with a breakaway group from the local St Johns football club and - carrying the towns name - Blackpool FC has been a wonderful ambassador, representing the town ever since.
The town has many iconic tourist attractions: the Tower, Pleasure Beach and the three Piers to name just a few, but that is just what they are - 'Tourist Attractions'. Blackpool Football Club means much, much more to the population of 142,284 that live in this seaside town.
The club has been through some rough hard times and the Blackpool public have been guilty of ignoring those times. It is also a fact, that some of it's past guardians over the years, have been culpable of serious gross neglect, but the club has survived and for that, we owe the Oyston Family a huge dept of appreciation and respect, for the major role that they have played in the clubs recent history - our best showing in the football league for thirty years. Although the marriage between Blackpool FC and the Oyston family has soured somewhat over the years, Blackpool fans have got to admit, it's not all been a bouquet of barbed wire.
The present situation regarding the future plans for the stadium, looked to have been wrapped in a shroud, with no divine resurrection likely; at any time. Karl Oyston's aspirations, whatever they may be, will sadly for the club and it's supporters, remain just what they are - 'aspirations'. This situation we now find ourselves in is a long standing business plan that KO sees as the way to run the club.
A meeting was held between Vital and KO at which, amongst the many issues discussed, was the question of the 'South Stand'. My conclusion after listening to what KO had to say on the matter was that there will not be a South Stand built under the present administration and the administration looks to be here for some time yet.
What can be done and by whom?
The sum of money I have heard mentioned that is required to build the South Stand is two million pounds - so everything that follows from now on will be based on acquiring this amount.
We know from the meeting with KO, that he will not use any of his or the Oyston family money to fund the stand, nor does he have any intention of borrowing any; what he wants is the money to be lawfully pledged to KO Properties, in the form of 25year leases, from local businesses who would wish to carry out their business from the premises, that will be incorporated into the South Stand structure. This is just not going to happen. Karl wants more revenue through the turnstiles, but won't invest in increasing the grounds capacity, to achieve this. Fact - End of Stand.
What Valeri Belokon's intentions are towards the club - in his capacity as 'The President' - remains an enigma, but we await hopefully for a pleasant surprise?
If the South Stand was Built, it would probably hold around 3,000 people, giving a ground capacity of over 12,000.
Who would fill it?
2,500 seats to Blackpool. 500 seats to the away team; this would be in addition to the seats in the Golf Stand.
How would it work?
Keep the South Stand as pay on the day, except for away supporters. Blackpool people will turn up if there sure of available seating, a lot of people do not like pre-paying and ending up with a ticket to dispose of, or even not making the game in time…
Target the young population of the town, between the ages of four and ten years old; there are 10,000 youngsters in that age group, (census 2001). That's more than enough to fill the grounds capacity with children! Circulate 500 free tickets on a Rota system around the schools - the child - with the free ticket - to be accompanied with a full paying adult. It is true that there is a similar scheme with the season tickets, but this does not work for children whose parents are not season ticket holders. This way adults would be able to go to the match with their child, when the occasion allowed.
The club need 2,500 extra Blackpool people to come to the game. The town's population according to the 2001 census was 142,284 - that was seven years ago.
The Blackpool population is growing year by year. The club should hang its head in shame if they cannot attract 12000 spectators while playing in the Championship. You wont catch any fish, if you don't go fishing. Football is a growth industry.
Who could build the South Stand?
The Blackpool Supporters Co-operative, and it should be named The Blackpool Supporters Stand. There would be a supporter's café/bar, for supporters to enjoy and be priced accordingly.
How would the money be raised?
A Share Issue - the issue would be open to the general public worldwide - with Blackpool supporters having priority.
There should be a share issue of 12,000 shares, each costing £185.00: this would raise two million two hundred and twenty thousand pounds.
People could buy a share by a one off payment of £185 or a standing order of £3.55 per week for one year.
The share certificates themselves would be a unique investment and collector's item.
Each shareholder would receive a beautifully framed share certificate in club colours, with an artist impression of the stand and a Blackpool first team squad photo printed onto the certificate, which would then be authentically autographed by the full squad.
Built into the share price, will be admission to the first league match played, upon the opening of the 'New South Stand'
A dividend would be paid annually, due to the Stand being leased to KO Properties
Who will buy the Shares?
There are many Blackpool supporters and fans worldwide (Australia, Europe, North and South America, Asia, even Latvia (!), that's before we include Great Britain and Blackpool itself). There are over 110,000 people living in Blackpool over the age of 20 yrs old. That's nine times more than the share issue in Blackpool alone.
There would be no limit to the number of shares held by any one person, or indeed, a group of people can own one share.
Blackpool supporters and fans, Blackpool FC players, Directors and Staff, a group of Friends, Businesses, Sole Agents, Syndicates or a local school may like to buy one share for instance. Local football clubs, pubs, clubs, hotels, the Council, local MPs other football league clubs and supporters groups - the list goes on and we've not even crossed the river Wyre!
What about Karl?
Karl Oyston's role in all this would be to make the car park available free of charge.
The South Stand would be built and leased out to KO Properties.
The lease payment would be made by KO Properties to the Blackpool Supporters Co-operative and will be used as a dividend to all shareholders.
The shareholders may take the dividend or gift it to the football side of the club.
KO Properties will have the pre-lets business and all profits. In return he will fund the running of the stand on match days, stewards, police, the stand housekeeping and maintenance.
What are the figures?
With the extra seating of 3,000 - which includes 500 away supporters - if we take an average attendance in the stand of 2,000 over 23 games, that would mean 1,500 Blackpool supporters (let us say that 500 free children are in attendance) and 500 away supporters, this leaves 1,500 paying spectators, giving a very conservative 50% capacity.
Take out VAT and other stoppages, leaving around £12.00 per adult:
£12 pounds x 1,500 people x 23 games = £414,000. Income from Corporate Hospitality: 8 boxes? Bars, catering, advertising space, programme sales, and extra revenue from the club shop.
This could give the football club side, around £500,000 extra per season. The price of a proven goalscorer maybe!?
The away supporters
Karl Oyston said that only four championship teams would fill the away supporter's allocation at Bloomfield Rd. That remark has got to be in question. Give them a proper seat, in a proper stand, serviced with modern toilet facilities, some form of heating with a bar, catering and somewhere to stretch your legs and read your programme, without it becoming sodden with rain and the away supporters will show up at Bloomfield Rd, in much greater numbers than has attended so far this season, especially with the 'Blackpool effect'. Some away supporters are making the conscious decision not to come to Bloomfield Rd, due to them being subject to being treated like creatures from a hill top farm in Cumbria; they deserve a lot better.
Where are we going?
Blackpool Football Club is 120 years old this year and has played at Bloomfield Rd for 107 years. The ground has not had many changes over this time, until recently, when taken over by the Oyston Family who had a vision to build a super stadium. At the time a well intended project that would have made many a supporters dream, become a reality. The dream never materialised and their ambitions for the club were downsized to the half built stadium we see today - rusting away before our very eyes. To be fair, the present situation was never envisaged by the Oyston family. When the club was purchased by them, a long term business plan was activated. Unfortunately for the club and its supporters, there seems to have been several events within that plan that have brought the club to its present situation.
The club under the Chairmanship of Karl Oyston is at present solvent, which, like it or hate it, is still a sound base to be on. We would all like him to have provided us with the ultimate package. A fully finished modern stadium, together with a skillful and stable Championship Team, but for business reasons, he refuses to change direction. At the moment on the playing side, we are just holding our heads above choppy waters. The ground, well, if the humidity remains relatively low, it should slow the rust down and we should be able to sit in a two sided stadium a little longer than we thought. It's a difficult pill to swallow, making most supporters angry, annoyed and despairing for the future.
Could the supporters of Blackpool Football Club, possibly be happy to relinquish all responsibility for their beloved football club, in allowing its guardians to run the club for their own ends? This has happened before - taking it for granted that everything will be OK - oh it's our Blackpool FC, it's immortal, isn't it? NO it isn't! It is solvent at the moment, but it needs help and that is why we need to shift away from depending on whomever, to oversee all the clubs needs. This is your club, your ground. Karl Oyston will be moving on one day, but the club and the ground won't be going anywhere. They are here to stay, they were born here, and the town of Blackpool should treat the football club with the respect it deserves. So support it, all 143,000 of you!
BUY A SHARE OF THE BIG IDEA.
This would be a great opportunity to own a part of Blackpool Football Club, your club, a unique and valuable share, yours to keep, or sell on, signed by the squad of your favorite team. A new South Stand, apart of which you own, turning over half a million pounds going towards the playing side, more seats available, a real opportunity to give every Blackpool supporter, a seat at the home games. Be there when it opens, for its first league game 'The Tickets Included in the share price'.
YOU WIN ALL THE WAY
Thanks to SeasiderTony for his thoughts on BFC, and more specifically the ground.
If you would like to write for Blackpool Vital, don't hesitate in contacting any one of the editors on the site.