Blackpool fans pitch invasion protest – match abandoned

Footage of pitch invasion and protest march to the ground by angry Blackpool fans

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Blackpool’s game with Huddersfield Town at Bloomfield Road was abandoned after 48 minutes following a pitch invasion by protesting home fans.

With the score 0-0, hundreds of supporters came on to the field, forcing referee Mick Russell to take the players off the pitch. The game was held up for more than an hour before a decision was made to call the fixture off. It is not known if the match will be replayed at a later date.

A Football League spokesman said: “Following the abandonment of today’s match at Bloomfield Road, it will be for the Football Association to consider any matters relating to crowd behaviour, with the Football League ruling on whether or not the match should be replayed.”

Before the match, 2,000 Blackpool fans protested outside the ground against the club’s owners, the Oyston family. The Seasiders have already been relegated from the Championship and have endured a miserable season, collecting just 25 points from their 45 games before Saturday’s final match of the campaign.

Saturday’s protest was the second in just under a month at Bloomfield Road, after home fans threw fireworks and eggs during their draw against Reading.

Shortly after half-time, Blackpool supporters made their way on to the pitch and headed towards the centre circle. Some fans released flares and began angrily chanting towards the Oyston family in the directors’ area, as tensions rose inside the stadium.

The scene soon became somewhat farcical, as one fan entered the pitch to join the protest on a mobility scooter, while others broke out in a conga line as supporters continued to voice their frustrations. Despite pleas from the referee to restart the match, the protesting fans stood firm and the match was eventually called off on safety grounds after over an hour of on-field protesting.

Football - Sky Bet Championship - Blackpool v Huddersfield Town
“you wantsum Oyston!”

 

Blackpool manager Lee Clark: “It just compounds an absolutely horrendous season. The supporters were just acting on this season and the culmination of the relegation.

“Frustration has been building up over a period of time. It’s a very, very disappointing day. I love football and I love working in the industry ever since I left school, and I didn’t want to be involved in anything like this.

“I have the feelings of a supporter and I’ll never criticise them. Since I came through the door there has been a very toxic atmosphere and you can’t be successful with that.

“We kept chatting to the referee and the officials and match commander, but we couldn’t determine what was going to happen or how long we’d have to wait before it was abandoned and what would the sanction be.

“Is the game going to be replayed? No-one knows as it’s a unique situation.”

Huddersfield manager Chris Powell: “I feel sorry for our fans first off, coming all this way. I’m sure some will have come last night and paid for accommodation and they were all in a good mood.

“What happened is something that I’ve never seen before. It’s unprecedented and what’s going to happen now?

“To be fair to the referee, he was a little bit in shock but handled it well and got advice from safety officers and the head of police. They tried their best to get the game back on but in the end they couldn’t guarantee our safety.

“It’s strange to end the season this way. There’s talk of replaying it but half my team go away on Tuesday so I really don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know how they are going to do it.”

blackpool pitch invasion protest 2may15

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Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/32459756

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