Anyone who has followed the travails of a certain straggly-bearded half-man half-gorilla out in Siberia (me, in case you slow-witted types hadn’t guessed) will know I am about as likely to stroll down a Paris catwalk as Daniel Levy is to say: “Here’s my credit card”. My daughters actually praise me for managing to get two matching socks on in the mornings, and I last bought a razor about a decade ago.
And yet I feel perfectly justified in saying that Owen Oyston is a bizarre, confused tramp. Heads up, that is genuinely going to be about as positive and complimentary as I am going to be for the rest of the article. When your glasses are bent, your hair is a cross between Donald Trump’s toupee and a strain of Wetherspoon’s vomit and even Indiana Jones wouldn’t touch your hat, you know you’re a complete mess.
This week saw a truly momentous day as Oyston and his clan of selfish fuckwits finally, legally, and for the love of god permanently saw their slimy tentacles peeled out of Blackpool Football Club. The turgid affair of the seaside club will still leave the fans, players and staff nervously looking towards their employment status as the club was placed into receivership, but at least the poisonous cancer at the heart of all pain and suffering has been sliced out.
Let’s start at the beginning. Three decades ago, Oyston became the owner of Blackpool after acquiring a majority of shares. In the mid-1990s a number of rape allegations were made against him, with most being thrown out after the women in question were found to have lied. One case, however, saw him convicted. He served over three years in prison, and despite endless attempts to appeal, he was forced to pay huge sums in costs and out-of-court settlements.
Coincidentally, just before that particular court case, Oyston claimed to have been offered a controlling stake in Manchester United according to Peter Gillatt’s Blackpool FC On This Day. Christ alive, and I thought the Glazer family were bad.
Fast forward to 2009. Club president Valeri Belokon announced that a considerable transfer fund would be made available to a slightly odd-looking chap from the West Country. Some was spent on a rather rotund chap from Scotland, who for a brief slither in time made himself look like a footballer.
12 months later, Ian Holloway and Charlie Adam were in the Premier League. That was as good as it got, unfortunately. At the end of the season, the ‘Govan Messi’ left for Liverpool, and although the Championship playoffs were reached again, managers came and went faster than Charlie Adam could eat a double portion of deep-fried Mars bars.
No fewer than 27 players left in 2014, and at one point there was a genuine prospect of there not being 11 senior players ahead of the new campaign. Two successive relegations saw them in the fourth tier just five years after mixing it with the big boys.
Now through all this time, the Oyston family had remained in charge in some capacity of another. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the lower down the football pyramid a club falls, the tighter the financial constraints are due to lower TV revenue and sponsorship. This didn’t stop the slimy buggers siphoning off over ₤26 million from the club in “directors’ payments” to companies under the Oyston family name.
Back in 2017, a court ruling ordered them to pay that sum back to Belokon – who had ploughed ₤31 million into the club in 2006 – but they have still only paid less than half. It gets better though; Belokon himself has been convicted in Kyrgyzstan of money-laundering, and is not allowed to be a director or owner of a football club under the fit and proper persons test.
Ah, that old chestnut. How many times have we seen criminals, cheats, liars, sex pests, fraudsters and general all-round cunts pass this test? I would love to know what the test actual comprises. I mean if the depth of humankind can slip through so easily, what on earth are they even testing?
If you apply for a visa to the United Kingdom, there is a question that asks “Are you a terrorist?” I swear to god, I am not even kidding. Perhaps the same people drew up football’s most pathetic excuse of a security measure.
These are people’s livelihoods at stake. When scum like this leech off a football club, they don’t care about who it damages. And yet they keep on making their way into football. So who’s really at fault here? A fraudulent rapist has obvious deficiencies in their character, but the people letting them through in the first place have a lot to answer for.
Right now, I hope that fans of Blackpool feel some sense of closure. Owen Oyston can no longer pervert the course of justice at their expense. The next hurdle is the prospect of a 12-point deduction that is the standard procedure for clubs that are taken into receivership. At the time of writing, the EFL were due to meet and discuss the individual merits of this case so it isn’t certain whether punishment will be meted out.
I hope that common sense prevails; the financial mismanagement has so clearly come about as a result of the horrific whims of Oyston, so to punish the club for being abused by him seems to me to be unfair to say the least. I am sure some readers will explain to me why legally I am wrong. Morally, I know I am not.
Whatever the outcome, at least we can all agree on one thing: there will be no tears shed for Oyston and his family.