Blackpool chief executive Ben Mansford warns of serious penalties facing club over crowd disorder

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Fines, a reduced capacity and smaller ticket allocations for away games are some of the punishments Blackpool could face due to the mindless actions of a “small minority” of fans.

 

It comes after Preston North End were allocated just 2,200 tickets for this month’s derby at Bloomfield Road.

It follows disorder at recent home games, with pyrotechnics and missiles thrown from the North Stand. Chief executive Ben Mansford told The Gazette it’s a “real shame” Bloomfield Road won’t be open to full capacity on October 23, when half of the East Stand will be left empty.

Blackpool FC have warned that the misbehaviour of a 'small minority' of supporters has massive financial implications for the club

Blackpool FC have warned that the misbehaviour of a ‘small minority’ of supporters has massive financial implications for the club

Mansford said: “The vast majority of our fans have created the best atmosphere I’ve seen in a Championship stadium so far this season. Since the Oxford game, the support has been outstanding.

“However, we’ve got a minority, and a very small one at that, of predominantly younger fans that have caused trouble since the Cardiff and Coventry games, which escalated around the Fulham game and really escalated against Barnsley.

“What that means is that the police, who we ask to help us manage the threat of any disorder and risk, have been very clear that this is a high-risk fixture, as everyone would acknowledge, and they do not feel comfortable there being more than 2,200 Preston fans in the stadium.

“It’s a real shame for the atmosphere in the ground, but not only does it mean we’re having to restrict the number of tickets to away fans, we were also hoping we’d have demand for the northern end of the East Stand for home fans.

“Clearly they will now not be able to use that empty space either. It is a real disappointment.

“And along with us not being able to sell the maximum number of tickets to Barnsley and Blackburn fans, that has cost the club well over £100,000. The only way we can recuperate that is through a curtailment of investment in the squad and infrastructure.

“There are so many knock-on consequences: increased police cost, EFL and FA sanctions and fines, not selling alcohol to fans… the list goes on.

“There’s a strong suggestion we will now face strong sanctions from the EFL and FA and they could be considerable again.

“Some of the implications could well be a reduced capacity in the North Stand. It could be that blocks A and B are closed for certain games.

“We will have budgeted for the game against Preston to be towards full capacity and now it won’t be, so it’s very sad.

“I just hope the minority of individuals involved realise the extreme damage they’re doing to this football club and how badly they are undermining the huge amount of unbelievable work done by Critch and his staff and players.”

The reduced allocation hasn’t gone down well among Preston fans, who have suggested their club retaliates by limiting Blackpool’s following for the return game in March.

Mansford added: “That’s a question for Preston and their safety team to answer many months down the road.

“But if this minority of fans don’t behave appropriately quickly, then I think there are going to be implications for away ticket allocations.

“It will be a real travesty if Blackpool fans who want to get behind Critch and the boys away from home are prevented from doing so by the behaviour of a small minority.”

Blackpool fans’ groups are to issue a joint-statement on Friday morning echoing the club’s worries over the problem.