Blackpool claim their supporters were put at risk during the Preston derby at Deepdale

Blackpool’s supporters were put at “risk” during the derby at Deepdale last month.

Thursday, 12th May 2022, 9:55 am
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2022, 10:22 am

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That’s according to the club’s chief executive Ben Mansford, who expressed his disappointment at Blackpool’s reduced allocation for the away fixture, where Preston ran out 1-0 winners.

PNE opted to split the Kop end in half for April’s derby, when the stand is traditionally left for away supporters only.

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After the match, Blackpool supporters expressed concerns over the policing after the game, having initially been detained inside the ground a lot longer than advertised.

The Seasiders won the initial fixture 2-0 at Bloomfield Road, where PNE were only given 2,200 tickets for the away end, lower than the 3,300 given to clubs like Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers and the 4,000 to Derby County.

However, Blackpool were never going to realistically sell out the home ends during those games as they did against their fierce rivals.

In a meeting with supporters earlier this week, Mansford revealed Preston fans received 13 per cent of the gate for the game at Bloomfield Road, higher than the 10 per cent that is regulated.

The Seasiders were given a reduced ticket allocation for last month's derby at Deepdale

“For the home fixture, we had the demand to sell to our own supporters, so we decided to sell to them rather than give Preston an increase of away tickets,” Mansford said during the club’s structured dialogue meeting.

“They received just over 13 per cent of the gate, when the regulations say they are entitled to 10 per cent.

“There were then some direct conversations with Preston for the fixture at Deepdale, as we were told they were going to give us 10 per cent for our supporters, after segregation.

“We pointed out that if we were to run next season’s fixture at Bloomfield Road in this way, then they would receive far less seats than they had for the fixture back in October.

“Once we heard that the stand at Deepdale would be halved between Blackpool and Preston supporters, we expressed our concerns both to Preston and the police about the risk we felt our supporters would be under. That turned out to be very much the case and we followed this up.

“We hope to get to a place next season where ticket allocation is far better, particularly for the away fixture and that the danger our fans were in will not happen again.

“The police commanders that now run our games at Bloomfield Road are different to the ones that run the matches at Preston and I think we’re now in a much better place.

“We have a bit more consistency for matches from police commanders who know Blackpool well and have more detailed knowledge of our fan base. I think the recent matches against Birmingham and Derby were well-handled under testing conditions.”

The policing of Blackpool’s home games was also discussed, with Mansford revealing new plans were being put in place which should help with the exiting of away supporters from the East Stand.

“We’re currently working with the police and Blackpool Council on road closures around the stadium,” he said.

“We’re particularly looking at closing Bloomfield Road between Seasiders Way and Central Drive for a short period after the game.”