Blackpool firework warning ahead of Oxford United play-off clash after man loses fingers

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Blackpool FC play Oxford United in a League One semi final play-off clash, with the winner heading to Wembley

Bloomfield Road

Bloomfield Road

A fireworks warning has been issued ahead of Blackpool FC’s League One play-off clash tonight after a man lost his fingers in a pyrotechnic explosion outside Bloomfield Road earlier this month.

The fan, 50-year-old Paul Markham, was celebrating outside the stadium on Sunday, March 9 after the Tangerines secured a spot in the play-offs following a 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers.

Paul quickly spotted a firework that had been fired in the air landing near a group of children.

He quickly moved in the situation to protect the kids – a move that saw the firework explode and blow off his thumb, index, and middle fingers.

Paul, also know as Speedy, was unable to get an ambulance in time and was rushed to Blackpool Victoria Hospital by car where fellow football fans managed to bring his digits in the hope they could be reattached.

He was subsequently transferred to Royal Preston Hospital to meet with a plastic surgeon and assess the damage of his hand after operating.

Blackpool FC’s second-leg play-off match against Oxford United takes place tonight (May 21) and ahead of that, Lancashire Constabulary has issued a stern warning to avoid the same situation.

And the message is more important than ever with fans returning to Bloomfield Road with many more potentially gathering outside as Blackpool protect a 3-0 first leg score.

An investigation the incident that blew off Paul’s fingers is still ongoing, a spokesperson said.

A social distancing warning is also in place, with gatherings of up to 30 people the legal limit for the time being.

Chief Insp Chris Hardy, of Blackpool Police, said: “We know this is a significant moment in the season for Blackpool fans but our overarching aim is ensuring all supporters go home safely and the team secure their place at Wembley.”