Joey Barton ‘only person I saw’ after tunnel incident, rival manager tells court

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A football manager has told a jury how the only person he saw after he was shoved into a metal post in the tunnel after a League One match, injuring his face, was rival coach Joey Barton.


Daniel Stendel was giving evidence at the trial of former England international Barton who is accused of assaulting the German coach at the end of a match between Barnsley and Fleetwood Town, at the South Yorkshire team’s Oakwell Stadium, on April 13 2019.

At the time, Mr Stendel was managing Barnsley, who won the match 4-2, and Barton was in charge of Fleetwood Town.

Giving evidence through an interpreter at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday, Mr Stendel described how he was walking down the tunnel towards the dressing rooms when he was surprised by a push from behind.

Joey Barton during his time in charge of Fleetwood Town

Joey Barton during his time in charge of Fleetwood Town

He said: “I got a hard shove on my right shoulder.

“Because I hadn’t expected it, I couldn’t react very quickly.

“I then fell forward, without being able to protect myself, into the metal bars in the tunnel.”

Asked by Ian Goldsack, prosecuting, how hard the push was, Mr Stendel told the jury of seven women and five men: “I’m quite tall and quite sporty. So, it was more than a normal push.

“It was a forceful shove, otherwise wouldn’t have fallen over”.

He said: “I couldn’t stay on my feet.”

Asked what happened immediately after he was injured, Mr Stendel said: “I felt the pain and I briefly looked up. I thought that someone would actually help me.

“I lifted my head and I just saw one person and it was Joey Barton, who walked around the corner.

“That was the only person that I saw.”

Asked by Simon Csoka QC, defending, whether he had “just assumed that it was Mr Barton” due to tensions in the match before, Mr Stendel said: “I can only say that I was pushed extremely.

“And directly after that happened I saw Joey Barton. These are the two things I can say.”

Mr Stendel told the jury about an incident at the previous fixture between the two teams, at Fleetwood, in September 2018.

He said Barton was intimidating towards him after that game, which was also won by Barnsley, and squashed his hand during the post-match handshake.

The coach said: “The usual handshake was more of a squash-my-hand than shake hands.”

He said that was “very unusual” and “it had never happened to me before”.

Mr Stendel said that when the teams met again in April 2019, he was surprised how normal the atmosphere was after what happened seven months before.

He confirmed that his Barnsley team led 2-0 at half-time and there were more goals in the second half.

Asked if he had any contact with Barton during the second half, he said: “After the goal, he came to our bench and had a go at me saying I shouldn’t celebrate the goals like that.”

He said: “He was annoyed and aggressive.”

Mr Stendel added: “I just said I was pleased about our goal. I wasn’t against him or his team.”

He said he was in contact with Barton again after the final whistle: “In the second half the atmosphere had got a bit tense.

“I didn’t really know if there was going to be a shake-hands. We approached each other and I went to give him my hand shake.

“He was very annoyed and aggressive. As far as I could understand, he was swearing at me.”

Mr Stendel said he tried to reason with Barton but “he continued swearing at me”.

The jury was shown video footage of Mr Stendel leaving the pitch after the match and walking into the tunnel at the corner of the ground.

The footage shows Barton running into the tunnel shortly after and the structure shaking slightly a moment later.

A different camera caught Mr Stendel being carried towards the dressing rooms with blood on his face.

Mr Stendel said one of his teeth was bent backwards in the collision with the metal post to the extent he thought he had lost it. He said he also suffered bruising to his arm, hand and knee.

Opening the prosecution earlier, Mr Goldsack told the jury that Barton provided a prepared statement to police after he as arrested in which he accepted using “industrial language” on the touchline but denied barging into or assaulting Mr Stendel in the tunnel.

Barton, who is now Bristol Rovers manager, denies one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He sat in the dock wearing a dark blue suit, a lighter blue shirt and a dark tie.



Lytham Festival will be an ‘absolute joy’, says traders’ chief

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The prospect of word-class music stars coming to Fylde for next summer’s biggest Lytham Festival is an ‘absolute joy’ and will provide a lasting boost to business, says a traders’ chief.


Suzanne Taylor, chairman of the Lytham Business Partnership, spoke of her delight after Simply Red and Elbow were announced as the latest headliners for the Festival, which be on Lytham Green over 10 nights between June 28 and July 10.

They join the likes of Diana Ross, Lionel Richie and Duran Duran as bill toppers for what will be a very special event after the usual five-day Festival had to be cancelled for two years running because of the pandemic.

The concerts, for which the final night headliner is now the only one still to be announced, will attract thousands of music lovers to Lytham, some for the first time, and Suzanne said: “These announcements are an absolute joy and what (promoters) Cuffe and Taylor are doing for Lytham is wonderful.

Lytham Festival will run this year from June 28 to July 10

Lytham Festival will run this year from June 28 to July 10

“They really put Lytham on the map and we hope people like what they see and want to come back and explore more.

“It’s great for business – anyone not getting direct benefit at concert time hopefully sees the results in the future from further visits which follow.

“Fans always remember where they were for a particular music event and the quality of the acts coming to Lytham is fantastic – the Festival promises to an absolute joy.”



TVR sports cars in grand send-off drive for Blackpool factory stalwart

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A convoy of classic Blackpool-made TVR sports cars is set to pay tribute to a long-serving worker at the firm.


John Mleczek, 65, who died last month a was a legend at the former TVR factory in the resort, joining the firm at its Bristol Avenue, Bispham, plant in 1974.

He played a key role in the body shop working for owners Martin Lilley and later Peter Wheeler.

Between 20 and 50 cars of different marques are expected to gather at the former site of the factory in Bristol Avenue at 10am on Wednesday, December 1, before following the hearse to the service at Lytham Crematorium.

John, right, with designer David Hives prior to a trip to the USA to meet TVR car club fans

John, right, with designer David Hives prior to a trip to the USA to meet TVR car club fans

John’s father Joe was one of the firm’s first employees taken on by company founder Trevor Wilkinson at its works in the former brickworks at Hoo Hill, Layton and John’s son, Stuart, completed the Mleczek family’s hat trick of generations, working at the company for five years.

John is survived by wife Jenny, son Stuart and daughter Charlotte.



Young woman’s battle after brother and mum die within weeks of each other

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Holly Ireland wants to help other people struggling with mental health issues after the deaths of her mum and brother


Family: Holly lost her mum and brother within the space of a few weeks
Family: Holly lost her mum and brother within the space of a few weeks (Image: James Maloney)

A young woman has revealed her determination to improve local mental health services after her brother and her mum died within weeks of each other.

Holly Ireland was left devastated last May when her younger brother Marshall, who was just 17, died after an incident at a Blackpool building.

However, the tragedy was not to be the only one to hit the family, as just four weeks later Holly’s mum Jane Ireland was found dead at her home in Lytham.

An inquest which concluded this week heard that both Marshall and his mum were under the care of local mental health services at the time of their deaths.

Marshall, a keen footballer who loved fishing, “retreated into himself” after his bulimia worsened and he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was twice admitted to a specialist in-patient unit; The Cove in Heysham, which his sister believes made his problems worse.

“He absolutely hated it in there,” Holly said during the inquest.

“There was only one person in there who could get down on his level. He shut himself off to everybody; he was really poorly. I was constantly ringing The Cove but would a doctor speak to me? No.

“They just drugged him up, he didn’t have any therapy, but he was sectioned so it was like we didn’t have a voice.

“I fought so hard to save them both but they’re not here anymore. The Cove turned him into a zombie.”

Tragedy: Marshall's mum was found dead weeks after his death
Tragedy: Marshall’s mum was found dead weeks after his death (Image: Family photo)

Holly believes Marshall was failed by local services and during the inquest the head of Lancashire County Council’s social services admitted that there were failings in Marshall’s care. Senior Coroner Alan Wilson concluded that Marshall’s death was suicide and gave a narrative conclusion in relation to Jane’s death.

Holly is trying to find a positive in the double tragedy she and her family have faced. She has launched a campaign, called Marshall’s Movement, and – with the help of Fylde MP Mark Menzies, hopes to bring her plight to the attention of the government.

The campaign’s website provides “a platform, community and a voice for the people and families that have suffered injustice and neglect at the hands of the broken system that we are currently forced to rely on”.

“Something needs to change,” Holly, 26, told LancsLive.

“I have heard of so many people who have had similar experiences with mental health services and it’s just not on.”

Last week a number of current patients of Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services in the region, spoke out about their own experiences following the death of Katie Foulds from Blackburn. Katie died after walking into the sea at Lytham and an inquest into the 22-year-old’s death found she was failed by mental health services.

Patients told LancsLive about their fears that more families will lose loved ones to suicide if local services aren’t improved.

Tragedy: Katie Foulds was just 22 when she died
Tragedy: Katie Foulds was just 22 when she died

There has been a steady increase in the suicide rate in Lancashire between 2007 – 2009 and 2017 – 2019 for all persons (from 11.7 to 13.4 per 100,000 of the population). Residents of Lancaster, Chorley and Preston account for over a third of the deaths from suicide and injury of undetermined intent in the Lancashire area (169 of 421 deaths).

In June 2019, LSCFT was issued with a warning notice by the Care Quality Commission regarding its mental health crisis services. Inspectors found the mental health decision units “were not fit for purpose, they were not being used in the way intended and they persistently failed to meet the basic needs of patients”.

At the time the then chief executive Caroline Donovan described the report as “disappointing” and apologised for the fact that some issues identified in a previous inspection remained. She promised that staff would “work tirelessly to make the required improvements as a matter of urgency”.

A subsequent inspection in 2020 found that although LSCFT had met the requirements of the warning notice, and the mental health decision units had all been closed, the trust’s rating remained as inadequate and it has not been inspected since.

A spokesperson for Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust said after the inquest into Katie Foulds’ death: “Following Katie’s tragic death, our internal investigation highlighted the importance of communication between teams and with outside agencies involved in her care, and actions have been taken to ensure this is strengthened.

“We urge anyone needing support to call our Mental Health Crisis Line which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 0800 953 0110.”



Spurned teen faces jail after following the child of his older blonde lover who dumped him – saying he LIED about his real age

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A spurned teen lover exacted his revenge on his older blonde lover, who dumped him and claimed he had lied about his real age, by following her child home from school, a court was told.


Cameron Gillett enjoyed romps with the mum-of-one marketing director for months before she called it quits, with magistrates in Blackpool being told she ended the affair after finding out he was only 19 and not 25 like she’d been told.

She refused his calls to her home and wouldn’t answer his phone calls.

Enraged Gillett, of Hoyle Avenue, St Annes, then threatened to tell her best friend about their trysts, the court was told.

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

Blackpool Magistrates’ Court

And prosecutor Scott Parker, who said Gillett got his hands on a silver Mercedes, which was seen following the woman’s child as they were being driven home by his victim’s friend.

It tried to force her black 4×4 off the road before doing an emergency stop in front of it, the court heard.

The pal called police and her parents before driving home – where Gillett turned up before smashing his way onto her driveway, causing £1,400 damage to electric security gates.

Gillett, who had keys to his ex-lover’s house, didn’t have permission to use the car, which belongs to a gas worker who was away, Mr Parker said.

He pleaded guilty to taking the car without consent and driving it dangerously.

He also admitted not having a driving licence or insurance, criminal damage, and sending threatening messages.

Defending, Hugh Pond said: “He was 19 when he met the 35-year-old woman, with whom he had a sexual relationship for a considerable time.

“He says she was fully aware of his real age and never said he was 25.

“When she told him it was over, he became emotionally fragile. He knew both the women involved in this case and knew they were bosom pals.”

Mr Pond said Gillett, who was bailed before a sentencing hearing to be held at Preston Crown Court, didn’t know there were children in the 4×4 when he followed it.

Mr Parker asked magistrates to slap a restraining order on Gillett, who was given an interim driving ban, forbidding him from entering Islay Road and Laverton Road in St Annes.



Blackpool goalkeeper Chris Maxwell set to play this week

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool goalkeeper Chris Maxwell is closing in on a return to action and is set to play in a behind-closed-doors game this week.


The Seasiders skipper, out for almost two months with a torn quadricep, was able to join in the warm-up at Birmingham City ahead of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat.

Head coach Neil Critchley said: “It was good to have him back in the squad and travelling with us.

Chirs Maxwell has been out of action for almost two months

Chirs Maxwell has been out of action for almost two months

“We’ve now got a midweek game and hopefully he’ll play in that.”

The 31-year-old Welshman sustained the injury in the 2-1 home victory over Blackburn Rovers at the start of October.

In his absence, summer signing Daniel Grimshaw has established himself as Pool’s regular keeper, starting nine Championship games.

Addressing the Maxwell situation during a press conference a week ago, Critchley said: “Maxi is starting to progress his team training and his game scenarios. He’s kicking as well.

“He obviously had a quad muscle injury, so you have to be careful of doing too many repetitive actions and kicking, as goalkeepers do. It takes a certain amount of exertion to do that.

“But he’s starting to step that up and kick further and kick more footballs. If he comes through that fine, then at some point we can look to include him back in the squad.”



What life is like on one of Blackpool’s most dangerous streets

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Meet the people who live in Lowrey Terrace where a crime is recorded every two days


Rubbish: Karl Pierce says the statistics which claim to show his street is dangerous are 'rubbish'
Rubbish: Karl Pierce says the statistics which claim to show his street is dangerous are ‘rubbish’ (Image: James Maloney)

Residents living in a street with one of the highest crime rates in Blackpool say they are aware of “some issues” but insist where they live is safe.

In Lowrey Terrace, a street measuring just 101 metres in length with 31 houses, a crime was recorded every 2.12 days between September 2020 and August 2021. The most common crimes were those involving violent or sexual offences with a total of 64 meaning that an assault happens, on average, every 5.7 days.

The figures have been published by national crime website CrimeRate which reveals that Lowrey Terrace, which is close to Blackpool FC’s Bloomfield Road, has one of the town’s highest crime rates.

Anti-social behaviour is the second most common incident reported to police with 44 crimes logged in the 12-month period, followed by 12 incidents of criminal damage and arson, 12 public order offences, 10 involving drugs, seven thefts, three classed as ‘other crime’, two crimes of theft from the person, one robbery and one burglary.

It’s worth bearing in mind that crime rates are calculated according to the number of crimes per every 1,000 people – so in Lowrey Terrace, which has just 31 homes, even a slightly higher than average rate will seem significant given the small population.

Official police figures published on the website for the Bloomfield 2 and 3 area reveal that 12 crimes were reported to Blackpool Police in Lowrey Terrace in September of this year. They include six violent and sexual offences, three reports of anti-social behaviour, two for possession of weapons and one other crime.

In August 2021 14 offences in Lowrey Terrace were reported to police, following 13 in July, six in June, 18 in May, 17 in April, 18 in March, seven in February, 14 in January, 10 in December 2020, 16 in November and 20 in October. These figures add up to a total of 165 crimes in Lowrey Terrace which were reported to Blackpool Police in the last 12-month period.

Despite Lowrey Terrace’s high crime rate resident Karl Pierce (main image) insists the street is safe.

“There have been the odd couple of incidents where residents have kicked off but it’s mainly quiet here,” he told LancsLive.

“I’ve been here nine years and I can’t believe that it has the highest crime rate in Blackpool.”

Statistics: Lowrey Terrace has one of the highest crime rates in Blackpool
Statistics: Lowrey Terrace has one of the highest crime rates in Blackpool (Image: James Maloney)

Paul Watson has just returned to his flat in Lowrey Terrace following a 10-month jail sentence. His mum Susan lives across the road.

“I’ve been coming here for eight years and it’s not somewhere I’d say there is a lot of crime,” Paul said.

“I’ve just come out of prison, I was inside for 10 months, so I don’t know what’s happened during that time but I think of it as being pretty quiet.”

Blackpool itself has been branded as one of the most dangerous places in the UK by CrimeRate with a crime rate of 131.15 per 1,000 people, making the seaside town statistically more dangerous than major cities Liverpool and Birmingham.

Across Blackpool the central area has the highest crime rate followed by South Promenade and Seasiders Way – which includes Lowrey Terrace, North Shore and North East Centre. Squires Gate and St Anne’s North are the safest neighbourhoods in Blackpool.

Rick has lived in Lowrey Terrace for 32 years. He and his wife were involved in the creation of the street’s Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the early 2000s.

Nonsense: Rick said the stats are 'a load of rubbish'
Nonsense: Rick said the stats are ‘a load of rubbish’ (Image: James Maloney)

“It’s a load of crap,” Rick said when asked for his thoughts on Lowrey Terrace’s high crime rate.

“Them figures are rubbish. Maybe it’s just one family. We have had the odd bit of trouble from certain houses but I wouldn’t have said it was that bad.”

Amanda Ball is another resident who highlights the good work of Neighbourhood Watch coordinator Irene Greaves.

“I’ve owned my own property here since 1994,” Amanda told LancsLive.

Issues: Resident Amanda Ball
Issues: Resident Amanda Ball (Image: James Maloney)

“I think when there have been problems it’s been down to tenants who have rented flats. Property developers come in and break up houses into flats and then have a quick turn-around.”

Wayne Greaves, the son of civic-minded Irene, said he was aware of an alleged incident of sexual assault on the street. This may help to add further context to crime statistics because even if reports do not always go through the full judicial process unless they are logged as ‘solved’ or otherwise, they will remain on the system as crimes.

“We have had a lot of problems with drugs,” said Irene, who turns 90 next week, said.

“We have really good links with the local police, Peter Smith is our bobby, and he’s brilliant.”

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton regularly hosts surgeries aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour in his constituency which he said has some of the country’s “most deprived wards”.

“Unfortunately, for many complex reasons, Blackpool does suffer a higher-than-average crime rate and in my constituency of Blackpool South, we have several of the most deprived wards in the country,” Mr Benton told LancsLive.

“I’ve discussed this issue with ministers on several occasions. The government are rightly taking a two-tier approach: tackling crime and the causes of crime.

Concerns: Scott Benton says he is working closely with the police in Blackpool
Concerns: Scott Benton says he is working closely with the police in Blackpool (Image: House of Commons)

“The government has hired over 300 new police officers in Lancashire since the election and has brought in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which makes provision for new offences and modifies existing offences.

“These measures help tackle crime itself and ensure justice is served, but equally important is the implementation of schemes to tackle the causes of crime. This can be seen in Project ADDER, currently being trialled in Blackpool, which provides extra resources for drug treatment and recovery services to break the cycle of reoffending.

“I’ve also been meeting regularly with the Chief Superintendent at Lancashire Constabulary to discuss anti-social behaviour and have hosted well-attended surgeries on anti-social behaviour in conjunction with the police and the council.

“I’ll continue to work with government, the local council, and the police on this issue. If any constituents do have any concerns with crime or anti-social behaviour in their area, they can contact myself or my office and we will do what we can to assist them.”

Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement, Recovery), which the Blackpool South MP references, is a three-year pilot funded by the Home Office and managed by Public Health Blackpool.

The £1.1m pilot was launched in January and aims to tackle illegal drug misuse by ‘bolstering’ local police capabilities to support an increase in targeted drug supply disruption and related offending. It also plans to use the criminal justice system to divert people who use drugs away from offending and into health interventions.

Detective Superintendent Becky Smith of Lancashire Constabulary, who is leading Project ADDER, said in January: “We have worked really hard as a partnership in Blackpool over the last three years to change cultures around how we identify, protect and disrupt those involved in county lines exploitation.

Pilot: Det Supt Becky Smith (front) is leading the ADDER enforcement team
Pilot: Det Supt Becky Smith (front) is leading the ADDER enforcement team (Image: Lancashire Police)

“Having a dedicated team of officers working alongside practitioners from partner agencies will now provide us with an opportunity to dismantle the organised criminal gangs but also to work differently – diverting those individuals involved in middle-market drug supply away from criminality whilst reducing drugs deaths and making a real difference to people’s lives.

“Having policed Blackpool for the last 27 years and seen first-hand the harm that is caused by the supply of drugs, this is an exciting opportunity for Blackpool to be part of. The team is really keen to make an impact and to make improvements for our communities.”

LancsLive has approached Lancashire Police for a comment about Lowrey Terrace’s crime rate.



Blackpool boss Neil Critchley welcomes precious time on training ground

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Neil Critchley welcomes a few full weeks on the training ground as his Blackpool side bid to rediscover winning form.


Following the goalless draw with West Bromwich Albion last Tuesday, the Seasiders aren’t scheduled to play another midweek match until Middlesbrough arrive at Bloomfield Road after Christmas.

Blackpool will take the opportunity to play a behind-closed-doors game this week, with goalkeeper Chris Maxwell set to return to action after injury.

Neil Critchley saw his Blackpool side beaten at Birmingham but says they would still have been disappointed with a draw

Neil Critchley saw his Blackpool side beaten at Birmingham but says they would still have been disappointed with a draw

Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Birmingham City left Blackpool without a win in five Championship games, from which they have taken three points.

Critchley’s side are next in action at home to Luton Town this weekend and the head coach said: “We have a few Saturday-Saturday games coming up now, which will give us time on the training ground and we’ll take the benefit of that.

“We’ll need that time and it’s good to get that time. We need to improve on this (Saturday’s) performance.

“I say that, but in the first half, I thought we were fine. It wasn’t a lack of competing or effort – it was there.

“ I think we’d still have been disappointed had we drawn at Birmingham.

“To come to a place like Birmingham and be disappointed with how we played despite dominating the game….

“We are there, we are competing, but I don’t want us to be just another team in this division. We’re really close but we just have to do a little bit more if we’re going to take that next step.”

Seasiders skipper Maxwell, out for almost two months with a torn quadricep, was able to join in the warm-up at St Andrew’s.

Critchley said: “It was good to have him back in the squad and travelling with us.

“We’ve now got a midweek game and hopefully he’ll play in that.

“If he comes through that, that will bring him closer to back to being in the team.”



Festive food-bank appeal was a success, said Blackpool presenter Hayley Kay

Home | Blackpool Gazette

BBC Lancashire’s Hayley Kay was ‘blown away’ by food bank donations at The Sandcastle Waterpark event


Organisers were ‘blown away’ by generosity at a food bank Christmas appeal this weekend.

The eighth annual Locals Helping Locals for Christmas event took place on November 26 at the Sandcastle Waterpark, when kind-hearted people brought bags of food while being treated to live festive music.

BBC radio Lancashire presenter, Hayley Kay, organised the event. She said: “I have once again been left speechless by the generosity of the Fylde Coast. The event was a huge success.”

L-R Angela Molyneux from Locals Helping Locals, Bev Lucas CEO of the BPL food bank, Neil Reid Chair of the BPL food bank, Hayley Kay from Locals Helping Locals & Mark Wilkins Marketing Manager from Sandcastle Waterpark.

L-R Angela Molyneux from Locals Helping Locals, Bev Lucas CEO of the BPL food bank, Neil Reid Chair of the BPL food bank, Hayley Kay from Locals Helping Locals & Mark Wilkins Marketing Manager from Sandcastle Waterpark.

Donations came from individuals and local businesses, including the Sandcastle Waterpark, Hy Hotels, Blackpool Sixth Form and the Friends of Solaris Centre.

Neil Reid, Chair of the Blackpool Food Bank, said ‘These items will go such a long way in helping the most vulnerable in our community over the next few months. Thank you to everyone who has donated and supported this event.’

Hayley Kay launches festive appeal for Blackpool Food Bank

Blackpool born Hayley said; “Blackpool people need very little encouragement to give back to the community. The food bank is crucial in our community, especially this year. Nobody likes to think of people in their town struggling.”

More details, photographs and videos are available on our Facebook page ‘Locals Helping Locals at Christmas’



Blackpool hotel guest’s birthday ‘ruined by shambolic stay’ with ‘bogeys’ on the walls

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

“It’s got to be one of the worst places I’ve stayed in in my life, I don’t even know how to explain it,”


Henson Hotel in Blackpool
Henson Hotel in Blackpool

A man says his birthday trip was ‘ruined’ after a ‘shambolic’ stay at a Blackpool hotel where he saw what he thought were ‘bogeys’ on the walls in his room.

Jason Stevenson and his partner planned a three night stay in the Henson Hotel as part of his seaside town retreat for his 33rd birthday.

Having both worked as key workers throughout the pandemic, the pair were ready for their first break away in over a year and decided to plan a full weekend in Blackpool.

As well as the hotel, Jason had booked tickets to various attractions around Blackpool in advance and had been excited that he and his partner would finally get a break.

Having looked at the hotel’s website and paid £200 for the privilege, the pair claim they had high expectations of their stay at the Henson but soon realised their expectations didn’t match up to the reality.

Once they had checked in on August 6, Jason said he realised from a quick scan around the room that what he saw in front of him was not what he saw in pictures on the website – including the addition of ‘bogeys on the walls’.

“There was a broken window which didn’t shut properly so the room was quite cool- under the bed there was all sorts, money, clothes tags, hairs everywhere and there was damp on the walls,” Jason said.

The window of the couple's room was broken
The window of the couple’s room was broken

“You absolutely wouldn’t even let your pet live there at all. It was disgusting.

“When you go into a room you expect your bed to be made, it was, but not to the extent that cleaning staff had done it- it looked like it had been done by the previous people who were there.

The room had stained furniture
The room had stained furniture

“We decided we’d try and make the best out of it. We went out bought cleaning products, cleaned the room a little bit, stayed a night and we still didn’t want to stay there.

“It was so demoralising, you have your first holiday away after Covid and it’s ruined by sheer poor service.”

Jason says that had he been staying in the hotel alone, he wouldn’t have complained about it but knowing his partner, who was pregnant at the time, was with him, he knew they couldn’t stay there any longer.

Black mould marks were found on the blinds
Black mould marks were found on the blinds

“It was more my partner I was worried about- it’s one of those hotels where if you were with the lads, you’d have just put your head down, had a few drinks and then come back.

“It’s not one of those hotels where you take your partner, especially when she’s pregnant.”

The walls were also covered in patched of damp
The walls were also covered in patched of damp

After their Friday night stay, the pair went off to spend the day in the town but when they got back said they decided instead of staying another night in the hotel, they would drive back to their home in Sheffield.

When complaining to the hotel staff about their stay, Jason said they were only able to get the refund for the night they stayed and were refunded just under £50 from their £200 bill.

“It’s got to be one of the worst places I’ve stayed in in my life, I don’t even know how to explain it,” Jason said.

“I’ve stayed in fantastic hotels in my time but for an expensive hotel with no breakfast, you get that.

“I’m not local to Lancashire, I’m from Sheffield so it took me a good two and half hours to get home with diversions when we left on the Saturday night.

“When we tried to get our refund it took up almost three months and we kept ringing up and they said we’ve sent but it hadn’t been sent at all.”

Jason found what he believed to be bogeys on the walls
Jason found what he believed to be bogeys on the walls

Jason has visited Blackpool on many occasions before and enjoys all the tourist attractions the seaside town has to offer.

Now after this stay, he says he’s been put off coming back to visit again.

“Blackpool for me and a lot of people is what they call their happy place- I love going regardless if it’s rainy or snowing there’s always something I love doing there.

“It’s not only made me not want to go back, it also just demoralises you and the holiday has been ruined.”

The Henson Hotel is rated 3.5 bubbles on TripAdvisor with 187 excellent reviews and 115 terrible reviews with the most recent two ratings being one star with one person stating: “Gross filthy hovel. Feel sorry for Scott, the manager, who was very good and tried to help.

“Complained to environmental health Blackpool. Complained to Disgusting. Avoid this place at all cost”

Another person left this review: “We booked to stay for 2 nights but only managed one.

“The hotel is dirty and loud and I really don’t see where the pictures on the website are, I think they must of took them from someone else’s hotel. This place needs shutting down.

“Do yourself a favour and book some where else.”

A third person left a lengthier review which states: “This place has pictures on their FB page which I can only presume are stock images from a holiday brochure, especially as one clearly has a palm tree out side next to the balcony??

“In reality it is a complete dump that needs closing down, seriously deep cleaning and a full refurb starting from scratch. I have no idea how they remain open it’s filthy.

“Carpets dirty and worn, bathroom grimy and unclean, windows dirty inside and out, lift broken, the narrowest corridors ever. When we arrived alarm bells were screaming as I looked at the sign with half the letters missing.

“We didn’t stay the night, we didn’t actually stay very long at all as the smell in the room was enough to make you feel as though there are serious issues with hygiene hence there would have been no way on this earth I’d have stayed the night and had breakfast.

“God knows how they are allowed to trade by environmental health. Avoid this place, the website does not tell a true story at all and booking sites need to be removing this hotel/hostel from their pages.”

There are some positive reviews from recent weeks, with one guest calling the hotel ‘fantastic’.

“A lovely little hotel right on the sea-front. Very high standards of cleanliness,” they said. “Excellent value for money. The staff very helpful and approachable, especially the head housekeeper. We will definitely visit again.”

Lancslive contacted the manager of the Henson Hotel who declined the opportunity to comment due to a change in management which meant they were not present for this particular stay.



Your chance to vote for which iconic Jimmy Armfield mural should adorn side of Blackpool FC supporters’ bar

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Members behind Blackpool FC supporters’ bar the Armfield Club are planning to paint a huge mural of club legend Jimmy Armfield on the side of its building.


Five eye-catching designs have been put forward and Blackpool fans are now being asked to vote for their favourite.

A survey has been launched and results are expected to be released on Sunday, December 5.

Local artist Matt Bishop has already been identified as the man who will bring one of the iconic designs to life.

A recent raffle raised £800 towards the project, which is estimated to have a total cost of around £10,000.

A spokesperson for the Armfield Club, an independent bar which officially opened in October of last year, said: “A number of our Armfield Club members have commented how impressive a mural depicting images of Jimmy Armfield and Blackpool FC would potentially look on the gable end wall.

“It is quite a large wall and ideal for a mural so we want to create something iconic that our great fans will be proud of.

The Armfield Club officially opened its doors last year

The Armfield Club officially opened its doors last year

“In recent weeks we have been working with Blackpool Council, the landlord, a local artist and the Armfield family to come up with a workable solution.

“The project timescales are uncertain as the wall obviously needs repairing to be made suitable for the mural and the project and design will require planning permission from Blackpool Council.

“That said, time waits for no man or woman so we are pressing ahead with the mural design and would welcome any feedback/ideas from our members, BFC supporters and interested parties.

“We really want this to be an iconic design to do justice to Jimmy, the fans and The Armfield Club.”

The gable end wall is the side of the building that faces Bloomfield Road and is currently draped in a large cross of St George.

Organisers have also been in contact with local businesses regarding the possibility of sponsoring the project.

To vote, click here.

If you have any further feedback for the artist, email



The best hotel in Blackpool according to TripAdvisor with ‘wonderful breakfasts’ and amazing views

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The best hotel in Blackpool according to TripAdvisor with ‘wonderful breakfasts’ and amazing views


The Fossil Tree Hotel in Blackpool
The Fossil Tree Hotel in Blackpool

A Blackpool hotel with ‘wonderful breakfasts’ and rave TripAdvisor reviews has been crowned the best sea view guest house in the country for the second year running.

The Fossil Tree Hotel has been named as the Best Sea View Guesthouse in England by the Travel and Hospitality Awards in 2020 and again this year.

Situated on Blackpool’s iconic Queen’s Promenade, the praiseworthy establishment has a tranquil view overlooking the beach on the quieter North Shore.

Located only a mile away from the centre of Blackpool, the top-notch hotel also offers a haven from the hustle and bustle of the town centre.

Popular with older couples in search of a peaceful hotel on the coast, the establishment is still close to Blackpool, Bispham and Cleverleys and offers great access to the tram network.

The Fossil Tree Hotel in Blackpool which has been crowned the 'Best Seaview Guesthouse' in England for the second year running
The Fossil Tree Hotel in Blackpool which has been crowned the ‘Best Seaview Guesthouse’ in England for the second year running

You can even catch a glimpse of the stunning sunset while sampling a drink from the hotel’s ‘Honesty’ bar and guest lounge which overlook the beach before venturing out for the evening.

The hotel also offers free parking for guests, luxurious ensuite rooms with full or side sea views – and delicious breakfast included in its prices.

The accolade is the latest in a string of awards to have been acquired by the hotel, which is one of the few hotels in England to have achieved Safe Travels certification by the World Travel & Tourism Council and Visit England’s ‘Good to Go’ certificate.

The top-notch venue has also achieved the prestigious TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award, which is given to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on TripAdvisor.

And it seems that the praise does not stop there for the tranquil, seaside haven, as it has also been flooded with hundreds of rave reviews on TripAdvisor, where it has been rated at the top ranking of 5.

Describing the hotel as ‘simply the best’, one reviewer, Leicesterfox41, said last month: “A superb hotel that excels in every way. Our room was spotlessly clean. It had a very comfortable bed and a fantastic hospitality tray. We spent two nights here and had two wonderful breakfasts; we made use of the honesty bar which was superb value. We found Chris to be a great host and it is so easy to see why the hotel is rated so highly.”

Meanwhile, a reviewer named ‘Andy’ described it as an ‘excellent location’, adding: “Have just come back from a two night stay at the Fossil. Wwe were really impressed by the hosts’ attention to detail, effort that has gone into the decor and the knowledge and advice from host Chris. The Fossil appealed to us as it is out of the hustle and bustle but close enough to walk into Blackpool; that coupled with the free onsite parking means you can leave the car alone for your stay as there is a tram stop just out the front.
“Breakfast was great and a good selection – either continental or full English cooked fresh to order. The room was very clean and had high quality furniture making our stay very enjoyable – we would definitely stay again.”

The Fossil Tree is closed for the season and reopens on April 1, 2022. To find out more, visit their website here.



Goalkeeper Chris Maxwell makes Blackpool return in draw at Huddersfield Town

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Goalkeeper Chris Maxwell made his first Blackpool appearance in almost two months in Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors game away to a Huddersfield Town B team.


The Seasiders captain played 65 minutes in the 2-2 draw at the Terriers’ Canalside training base, where Blackpool twice came from behind with equalisers by CJ Hamilton and Tyreece John-Jules.

It was Welshman Maxwell’s first taste of action since tearing a quadricep in the Championship win over Blackburn Rovers at the start of October.

Chris Maxwell has missed Blackpool's last nine Championship fixtures

Chris Maxwell has missed Blackpool’s last nine Championship fixtures

The 31-year-old told the club website afterwards: “It was good to blow the cobwebs off and get back in a match scenario.

“It was much-needed and felt really good. My body is fine and it’s great to be back.”

Of his return to fitness, he explained: “It was going to be a long process. It took longer than I anticipated but it’s quite normal for a thigh injury for a goalkeeper to take that much time. The physio and the gaffer have built me up slowly and I feel great.”

Stuart Moore replaced the injured Maxwell against Blackburn but it is Dan Grimshaw who has gone on to claim the jersey in the subsequent nine Championship games.

Maxwell added: “I’m not used to missing games and it has been difficult at times, but that’s part and parcel of football.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be fit for pretty much my whole career. I’ve now learned from the process and I’m glad to be back.

“I’ve still tried to be influential in the dressing room, even though I’ve not been on the pitch.

“I always try to help the players playing and those not in the squad to the best of my ability. It’s been different but I’ve enjoyed that different type of leadership.”



The very best chippy in Blackpool according to TripAdvisor

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Yorkshire Fisheries in Topping Street dates back to 1907 and has a top rating on TripAdvisor


Best: Hungry diners tuck into fish and chips at Yorkshire Fisheries
Best: Hungry diners tuck into fish and chips at Yorkshire Fisheries (Image: TripAdvisor)

With an average rating of 5/5 across almost 3,000 reviews there’s little doubt that Yorkshire Fisheries is one of the best fish and chip shops in Blackpool.

Dating back more than a century to 1907 to the days of William Taylor’s ownership the chippy was named Yorkshire Fisheries after the Second World War.


In 1989, the shop was bought by George and Val Vasiliou, and they upheld its reputation as “the best chippy in town”. When they decided to retire in 2005, George’s niece and husband, Maria and Pavlos, took over the reins, wanting very much to keep the quality and standard just the same.

The chippy in Topping Street has won many awards including the Quality Award from the NFFF, Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor and the Gold Taste of Lancashire Award.

It’s clear that this award-winning chippy is a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike with recent TripAdvisor reviews rating it as one of the seaside town’s best.

Rated by one as “the best in town” Yorkshire Fisheries one reviewer posted this week: “Great food, great service, and super friendly staff. I would recommend the homemade curry sauce – we loved it! We’ll definitely be returning.”

During a visit from Coventry Heidi and her husband took time out of their busy day to head to Yorkshire Fisheries and they weren’t disappointed.

My husband said that the cod was the best he had in many years and hands down the best in Blackpool,” Heidi posted.

Popular: Yorkshire Fisheries in Topping Street
Popular: Yorkshire Fisheries in Topping Street (Image: TripAdvisor)

“After visiting we totally understand how Yorkshire fisheries gets such good reviews as from start to finish our experience was faultless. We would really like to Give a special mention to the wonderful members of staff who served us today Renee and Mike for there wonderful hospitality and friendliness.

“Whenever we come to Blackpool again this is now at the very top of our list of our places to eat.”

The chippy serves local pies, including Holland’s from Baxenden near Accrington and Clayton Park from Clayton-le-Moors, and even has different portion sizes depending on your appetite.

You can choose from a king-sized cod and chips with mushy peas (£15.50) or, if your belly isn’t quite as hungry, for £10 you can opt for the special cod, chips and a side served with bread and butter and tea or coffee.

A minced steak pudding with chips and gravy is just £6.50 and children’s meals start from just £2.80.

Fresh: One of the puddings
Fresh: One of the puddings (Image: TripAdvisor)

All the fish is cooked to order at Yorkshire Fisheries but it’s clear from the reviews that it’s definitely worth the wait.

One reviewer, who visited last weekend, posted: “Staff were friendly, attentive and on the ball. Food was fresh and cooked to order. Went for a special myself and it was superb. Opted for beans instead of mushy peas and a side of gravy. All tasted fantastic and the batter was amazing. Loved it, will be back in future.”



Kenny Dougall: November not good enough but Blackpool aim to end year on a high

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Kenny Dougall says he and his Blackpool team-mates are determined to put a “very disappointing” November behind them, starting at home to Luton Town on Saturday.


After an outstanding October, in which the Seasiders won four of their five Championship games, Dougall’s side won none out of five last month.

November began and ended with 1-0 defeats, to Stoke City and Birmingham City, with three draws in between and Blackpool were never ahead in any of those fixtures.

Kenny Dougall has featured in 18 of Blackpool's 20 Championship games to date.

Kenny Dougall has featured in 18 of Blackpool’s 20 Championship games to date.

Midfielder Dougall, whose Wembley goals sealed Blackpool’s promotion to the Championship, is yet to score after 18 second-tier appearances but is backing Neil Critchley’s side to return to winning ways.

The Australian said: “That’s five without a win now for us, three draws and two losses, so when you look at it like that it’s not good enough.

“Whether you’re fighting for promotion or fighting to stay in the division, no win in five is very disappointing.

“But we’ll rectify it on the training pitch and hopefully we can put a performance together against Luton and get three points.

“We’ve got more than enough quality to win games in this division, which we’ve already shown.

“It’s been a tough spell with so many games but we’re starting to get some more bodies back, so we’re still looking up. Three points against Luton is the goal.”



Four men arrested after ‘violent incident’ in Fleetwood

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Four men were arrested after police were called to a “violent incident” in Fleetwood.


The incident occurred in Addison Road on Sunday evening (November 28), police said.

Officers rushed to the scene and arrested four men on suspicion of affray.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “Whilst the investigation continues our increased police presence in the town remains.

Four men were arrested after police were called to a "violent incident" in Addison Road, Fleetwood

Four men were arrested after police were called to a “violent incident” in Addison Road, Fleetwood

“Violent incidents and the use of weapons will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly.”

Anyone with information can call 101 or report it online via

Lancashire Police have been approached for more information about the incident.



Ex-Manchester City, Newcastle United and QPR player Joey Barton stands trial on charge of assaulting rival manager

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The Bristol Rovers manager is accused of assaulting the then Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel while managing Fleetwood Town


Joey Barton arriving at Sheffield Crown Court
Joey Barton arriving at Sheffield Crown Court

A jury has been sworn in at the trial of former Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton, who is accused of assaulting a rival manager.

The 39-year-old ex-England international appeared at Sheffield Crown Court today (November 26) for the start of his trial, which is expected to last a week.

He is accused of assaulting the then Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel in the tunnel at the South Yorkshire side’s Oakwell Stadium, on April 13 2019, when he was managing the visiting side Fleetwood Town.

A jury of seven women and five men was sworn in and sent home after being told the prosecution will open its case on Monday morning.

It was selected after each potential juror was asked a series of questions about football and the defendant.

These included “have you heard of Joey Barton” and “do you have any opinions about Joey Barton”.

Potential jurors were asked whether they were at the match, watched it on TV and whether they had read press reports of an “off-pitch incident at that game”.

They were also asked whether they supported either of the teams involved and whether they followed football closely.

Bespectacled Barton, who now manages Bristol Rovers, watched the jury selection process from the dock flanked by a security guard.

He was wearing a dark blue suit, a lighter blue shirt with matching handkerchief and a dark tie.

He denies one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, adjourned the trial until Monday and Barton was given unconditional bail.