Blackpool Stan Mortensen statue removal angers fans

Stan Mortensen statue and empty plinth Image copyright Tangerine Knights/PLChadwick/Geograph
Image caption Fans say the timing of the Stan Mortensen statue's disappearance is "coincidental"

Blackpool fans have called on the club owners to restore a statue of legendary ex-player Stan Mortensen they claim was removed before a demonstration.

Fans' groups planned to lay memorabilia at the statue outside the ground on Saturday but have alleged it was taken down to thwart the action.

Demo organisers also said the club would take legal action to stop fans gaining access to the statue.

Nobody from Blackpool FC or its owners the Oystons was available for comment.

A demonstration against the way the Oyston family run the club is due to take place before the last game of the season on Saturday. This could see the already-relegated team finish with the least number of points recorded in the Championship.

Fans group the Tangerine Knights said it had a witness who saw men in high-visibility jackets removing the statue on Tuesday.

'Club icon'

"To remove the statue of someone so beloved by the fans of the club that they themselves helped pay for, is beyond contempt," said a joint statement by the Tangerine Knights and the Blackpool Supporters Trust.

"Stan Mortensen is a hero to tens of thousands, most of whom never saw him play, he is an icon of all that is good about BFC and the community to which it belongs."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stan Mortensen scored a hat-trick when Blackpool won the FA Cup in 1953

The Tangerine Knights said the police told the group the club would take legal action against anyone trying to place memorabilia at the statue.

"We are sure that the club will have some legitimate reason for the removal, however the timing is very coincidental," said the group.

Christine Seddon, of the Blackpool Supporters Trust, said: "I can't say I'm surprised, we don't know why it has gone but I suspect it has something to do with our demonstration."

The statue was placed outside the ground in 2005 as a tribute to the Seasiders' centre forward who scored a hat-trick in the team's famous 1953 FA Cup Final victory. Fans raised part of the funds.

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