Pensioner Frank Knight, 67, was facing uncertain times after recieving a £20,000 bill for damages to the Oyston family in regards to comments he had made online about the chairman, Karl Oyston, and the club’s owner, Owen Oyston.
Or so it would seem, until a kind-hearted stranger stepped in with a way to help raise money for the costs. Joe Atherton, a fellow Blackpool supporter, set up a Go Fund Me page (http://www.gofundme.com/s5bbb8r) to help pay off some of the costs, but the response was phenomenal to say the least as the page exceed the £20,000 target in just three days.
Mr Atherton described the response to the page as “overwhelming” before going on to say “I set it up on Thursday night, and to reach £20,000 by Sunday morning was pretty mind blowing really”.
When I asked what had inspired him to do such a gesture, he responded by saying “I’m just sick of what’s going on at Bloomfield Road. Both on and off the pitch. The Oyston are suing fans, their own customers, for sums of up to £150k, but most are settling out of court for £20k. While I believe the guy I set up the page for was seriously considering selling his house to pay off these legal fees. Of course you have to be careful with what you put on social media these days, and if you’re saying incorrect stuff on public platforms you’re going to come a cropper”.
But thanks to the generosity of people around the world, Mr Knight instead only had to issue an apology on his Facebook page for the alleged defamatory comments that he made online.
Mr Atherton ended by saying “I think it speaks volumes for how football fans rally round one of their own. We all root for our team and enjoying laughing at other teams failures, but when it comes to real off the pitch issues fans tend to come together and show real unity”.
Blackpool have had a disaster of a campaign this season, winning just four of their 45 games they have played so far and were the first team in the Football League to be relegated. The Oyston’s relationship with fans has declined since their relegation from the Premiership in the 2010-11 season.
There have been several protests regarding how the club is ran in the past two years, including a notable one on TV last season.