I was on my soapbox at North Shore Golf Club where I’m a long standing member and was telling some of my friends of many years about my time as a Director of Blackpool Football Club this particular story was about Blackpool FC’s move to Wyndyke Farm where the Club proposed to build a new Stadium.
As a Director of BFC I was given the remit to investigate the possibilities of the development by the board and Chairman Owen Oyston. It may be questioned whether I had been given the right or not to negotiate this deal but If I may remind everyone that Wyndyke is now owned by the Oystons this had nothing to do with myself, what I would like to do is tell everyone on how I was approached about becoming a Director of this famous club.
My Wife and I jointly owned The Boston Hotel 398/400 North Promenade Blackpool Lancs, It was common place for friends to pop into the Boston and casually socialise with me. On this particular evening my friend Ken Parr who incidentally was an ex Pro referee came in, Ken’s son Anthony is an announcer at BFC and does the half-time draw etc. During our socialising Ken asked me if I would like to become a director of BFC, I spoke openly with him and stated that It had never crossed my mind and that It wasn’t something that I was pre-occupied with but that the thought of it fascinated me and as I had played professionally for 11 years.
Maybe it was a way back into the game that I loved, football was and still is my ideal job, I was later to find out that becoming Director of any Football Club is more of a hindrance, I actually didn’t know how to approach them. Ken said that it was easier than I thought and he actually wrote my application to join BFC as a Director. I won’t trouble you with the day to day running of the Club, I was a Director of BFC for some 12 years before I was removed from the Board along with 2 fellow Directors by Owen Oyston. Our reasons were because we didn’t agree with his way of running the Club, it still smarts me that the Oyston family continue to have a successful Football Club. Luck is not always going to be on your side and I worry what the future might hold for BFC.
I went to the farm with an open mind and as I drove down to the house I noticed through the front window a shotgun on the wall, being in a negotiating mode it struck me that maybe there could be a deal on the cards. I was a bit of a shooter myself and had the required firearm certificates plus I was carrying “as you do” a very old 410 small bore shotgun in the boot of my car. I thought because of this gun that I had a deal it could be dated very easily as it had been made by “James Mortimer & Sons of Edinburgh” who last traded as gun makers in Edinburgh in1865. It was worth a “few bob” it was given to me by a friend as a gift because he new all about me shooting, he was a Master Plasterer and had found it up in one of the ceilings of this Stately Home that he’d been renovating
I never used to charge him when he came down to Blackpool as he was my best pal so maybe he was just trying to be nice. I knocked on the front door of this farmers house and was confronted by this chap whom I knew to be an ex policeman. I had been told by Ken MacKay the Chief Constable whilst he was in attendance at one of our home matches we were having a drink or two after the match when Ken had explained the owners position. Ken was very keen that BFC should move to the outskirts of the Town he was a firm believer that it would be better for the policing of the town if we moved out!!
I had an interesting meeting at Wyndyke for a starter my 410 went down a treat, the ex policeman was very happy indeed to take my gun as he was keen to have it for his young son who was about 11 or 12 year old at the time. I did however lay down a proviso with the gun, the proviso was that should the deal with the Football Club not take place then I was entitled to have my firearm back.
Everything was going along OK but sadly the deal never came to fruition, it was at this time that I was sacked from the football club, my gun had become unimportant and it was left for several months in the capable hands of our ex policeman and landowner. It was an oversight on my part and to all intents and purposes our landowners son would enjoy the freedom of shooting on his Dads estate.
What was to follow was typical of some individuals, one day I remembered my 410 shotgun the one that had been given to me as a present by a friend. I duly drove to the farm and knocked on the front door a lady came out and asked me who I was and what did I want, I told her and the story about my 410. She said that she didn’t know where the gun was and that her husband was out but that I could come in as her husband would be home shortly.
I sat in the front room of the house waiting and as I looked around I saw this stock of a gun sticking up from behind this sofa, it was my gun and it had been broken in two. Rather than make a fuss I waited for the husband, he arrived not much later, it was when I spoke to him that I was flabbergasted he told me to take it to Entwistle Green Gunsmiths in Preston and have it repaired there. I was slightly put out as he had been given the use of this gun which was in full working order as a sweetener if BFC and himself had struck an agreement and I thought that he should have repaired It for me.
Obviously I was embarrassed and confused so I tried to explain my problem to our ex policeman and what I had expected of him to which he replied that if I didn’t leave his house immediately and take the broken shotgun he will call the Police. I didn’t know what to do and didn’t want any police being called. I had the gun repaired at Entwistle’s in Preston, the cost of the repair was £1200, I didn’t have that kind of money on me at the time, so I gave them the shotgun towards the repair, I know that my 410 was worth more than the cost of the repair but because of certain circumstances I’d much rather not talk about them at the moment, such is life.