Blackpool match abandoned after fans invade pitch and camp in centre circle in protest at Karl Oyston

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Blackpool’s Championship match against Huddersfield has been abandoned after supporters, including one on a mobility scooter, invaded the pitch and camped out in the centre circle in protest at chairman Karl Oyston.

Three minutes into the second half, with the score 0-0, hundreds of disgruntled Seasiders fans poured on to the turf at Bloomfield Road, forcing referee Mick Russell to take players from the two sets of sides off.

A flare was set off while fans also held up banners against Oyston, who watched on from his seat in the West Stand, for his already-relegated side’s final game of the season.

Lee Clark, the Blackpool manager, said it compounded a “horrendous” season, but he refused to criticise the fans for their actions.

Around an hour after the protest began, Huddersfield said the match had been abandoned.

The Football League will now have to decide whether the match is replayed.

Saturday had been dubbed ‘Judgement Day’ by disgruntled Seasiders fans in response to Oyston’s August declaration that naysayers should “judge us at the end of the season”.

A pre-match march was also organised by Blackpool Supporters’ Trust and the Tangerine Knights.

Clark said: “It just compounds an absolutely horrendous season. The supporters were just acting on this season and the culmination of the relegation.

“Frustration has been building up over a period of time. It’s a very, very disappointing day. I love football and I love working in the industry ever since I left school, and I didn’t want to be involved in anything like this.

“I have the feelings of a supporter and I’ll never criticise them. Since I came through the door there has been a very toxic atmosphere and you can’t be successful with that.

“We kept chatting to the referee and the officials and match commander, but we couldn’t determine what was going to happen or how long we’d have to wait before it was abandoned and what would the sanction be. Is the game going to be replayed? No-one knows as it’s a unique situation.”

Blackpool will face a Football Association investigation and could be hit with a fine or a points deduction.

A Football League spokesman said: “Following the abandonment of today’s match at Bloomfield Road, it will be for the Football Association to consider any matters relating to crowd behaviour with the Football League ruling on whether or not the match should be replayed.”

 

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