Blackpool: Simon Sadler announced as new owner of League One club

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Blackpool have announced Simon Sadler as the new owner of the League One club following English Football League approval.

Receivers have run the club since February after ex-owner Owen Oyston’s 31-year reign ended in the High Court.

Sadler, who was born and raised in Blackpool, has worked in asset management in Hong Kong since 2007.

In addition to purchasing 96.2% of the club, Sadler takes control of the Seasiders’ stadium and adjoining hotel.

The deal, in which Sadler is acting in an individual and personal capacity and not through a third-party company, also includes the club’s training ground.

“By providing financial stability and investment over time, my intention is for the club to achieve its full potential. I will ensure that the club is managed with the interests of all stakeholders in mind,” Sadler said in a statement on the club’s website.

“I would like to thank the joint receivers and the current board, management and staff for having chaperoned the club during this time of transition.

“I would also like to thank the fans and the wider community for re-engaging with the club after a lengthy period of turmoil.”

Meanwhile, executive chairman Michael Bolingbroke, managing director Ben Hatton and non-executive director Ian Currie will continue in their roles at the club “for the next few months”.

A long road to new ownership

The new ownership marks the end of a tumultuous period in Blackpool’s history, which was heightened when ex-director Valeri Belokon successfully sued Oyston and his son Karl, the club’s former chief executive.

Belokon brought legal action after discovering that they had “asset-stripped” the Tangerines by paying themselves huge bonuses and salaries following the club’s season in the Premier League in 2010-11.

Oyston was ordered to buy Belokon out for £31m in November 2017 but the club were eventually put into receivership by the High Court in February as Oyston was forced to pay Belokon the £25m he was still owed.

That ended Oyston’s association with the club, a period during which a large section of supporters boycotted matches and held protests for several years over the family’s running of the Lancashire club.

Analysis

BBC Radio Lancashire’s Andy Bayes

This is the news that Blackpool fans have been waiting for, not just since going in to receivership in February, but for a number of years.

The relationship between the support base and the former owners was nonexistent with the club falling from the Premier League to League Two in just five years.

Simon Sadler is inheriting a club with potential and a base to build on with the solid work already in place from the current board. It remains to be seen whether the budget handed to manager Terry McPhillips is going to significantly change, but it’s imperative that the players have 21st century training facilities and a pitch fit for purpose to move forward.

It’s probably fair to say that Blackpool might the be party capital of the UK for the coming days.