Blackpool match abandoned

Date published: Saturday 11th July 2015 5:06

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Tangerines boss Neil McDonald was forced to lead his side off the pitch in his first match in charge while they were winning 3-1 after a pitch invasion by about two dozen of the club’s disgruntled supporters.

Only a handful of stewards were on duty at The Giant Axe Stadium and they were unable to prevent the fans from walking onto the pitch to protest against the club’s controversial chairman Karl Oyston.

“It’s sad for me, it’s sad for the players,” McDonald told Sky Sports News HQ.  “The players just want to play football and I want to manage them.”

Former West Ham assistant manager McDonald had no hesitation about his leading is side off and insisted he had no regrets about his decision.

“It’s the safety of the players which is paramount and making sure that they are ok.

“After coming off, was there any point in coming back on? No, I’m happy with the 75 minutes that we played.

“We played some really good stuff, they’ve listened to what I’ve said to them and they’ve implemented that considering that they’ve had a really, really tough couple of weeks and they look quite fit.”

Last season fans staged a number of protests against Oyston, who in June was banned from all football activity and fined £40,000 for sending abusive texts to a fan.

The chairman was also involved in a public fall-out with club president Valerie Belokon at the start of last season and has issued legal proceedings against several fans for defamatory comments made about him and the club.

Blackpool’s final game of last season against Huddersfield at Bloomfield Road was also abandoned when around 150 angry fans poured onto the pitch to protest against the 47-year-old.

The club prompted fury among supporters ahead of the May 2 clash by removing the statue of 1953 FA Cup final hero Stan Mortensen from outside of the ground ahead of a proposed fans’ protest.

No explanation was offered by Blackpool but Lancashire Police later revealed the club took the steps themselves to remove the statue which was returned the following week.

The Football League elected not to replay the game but charges were brought against the club by both the League and the FA, while the incident proved to be final straw for manager Lee Clark, who quit shortly afterwards.

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