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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Popular protest @ Blackpool 0 Wigan 4

Latvian Flags representing the part Owner's interest in BFC - Mr Belokon - fly in front of Blackpool Town Hall. Bolton (not Wigan) 66 threads its way past the crowd in front of the Tower.

The malaise of Blackpool's football team over the past two or three seasons triggered a large protest march through Blackpool's town centre today. Assembling on Church Street opposite what was the site of the former Hippodrome (tram tracks underneath the roadway) - between two and three thousand people carrying signs and banners slowly wended their way to Blackpool Town Hall. On what had been the former tram terminus of the Marton service - the crowd held up traffic whilst speeches protesting the current Football Club's Owners were generally good natured.

Moving on to the promenade but avoiding the utility works ongoing at Talbot Square (for the future North Station extension) a by now sizeable processions traversed the Promenade escorted by police and stewards. Trams (and traffic) in both directions gave way to the tangerine and white bearing crowds which then moved south along the promenade to cross over at Trafalgar Road and then on to Bloomfield Road Football Ground.

Not your normal Bank Holiday weekend crowds on the Promenade. Wigan supporters cheered the protest as it passed by that famous Manchester Hotel venue - adding their voices to the volume of tirades aimed at the family owning Blackpool's iconic team. Blackpool was playing its last Home Game of the 2015/2016 Season against Wigan in an important match for both Clubs. Only a few years previously Blackpool were hosting even more famous teams at Bloomfield Road having attained a position in the Premier League under a charismatic Manager - Ian Holloway. Those days are now well behind BFC as Blackpool now lurches into the bottom tier of the FA Leagues in dramatic fashion with back to back relegation seasons and growing boycott by supporters angry at the Oyston family tenure and its desultory Ownership and general indifference to the Club's fortunes.

Tram service slowed down temporarily as crowds move across the Promenade and down Trafalgar Road to Lytham Road. The police presence moved with the procession and mobile squads at the ready (but were not needed).

I was present at two previous parades on the Promenade featuring the Club and Team - with a very different tone of celebration and support. Trams were caught amid the promenade protest - with the near empty heritage trams and bemused passengers on the 'Flexities' wondering at the slow procession making its way from the Tower to just past Manchester Square. A few images from the day All Copyright : John Woodman

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