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Blackpool chairman says sorry for calling a fan 'a retard'

Karl Oyston became embroiled in a text message row with a supporter.

Oyston today issued an apology to a Blackpool fan.
Oyston today issued an apology to a Blackpool fan.
Image: Mark Robinson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

BLACKPOOL CHAIRMAN KARL Oyston was forced to apologise on Monday for branding one of the Championship club’s supporters “a retard”.

With Blackpool rooted to the bottom of the second tier table after losing 6-1 at home to Bournemouth on Saturday, the already under-fire Seasiders supremo had been subjected to more abuse from frustrated fans.

He became embroiled in a furious text message row with fan Stephen Smith over the club’s problems, branding him “a retard” and telling him to “enjoy the rest of your special needs day out”.

The texts were published on the Tangerine Knights website over the weekend and, after being condemned by Blackpool fans and a number of organisations for his insensitive comments, Oyston issued an apology on the club’s official website.

“I would like to unreservedly apologise for any offence or distress caused by my text responses reported in the media recently,” Oyston said in a statement.

Blackpool, relegated after a one-season stay in the Premier League in 2011, have been in turmoil for months and Oyston has been the target for fans who claim he is to blame for the team’s problems.

Belgian boss Jose Riga, who was appointed by Oyston in the close season, quickly fell out with the chairman over transfer policy and was replaced by Lee Clark on October, but results have yet to improve.

Oyston revealed he had received a number of abusive messages in recent weeks after his phone number was published online.

But he conceded he should not have responded to Smith with such language whatever the provocation.

“I regret stooping to the level of those threatening and abusing my family,” Oyston added.

“My mobile number was placed on a social media website recently and it led to a barrage of abuse about my mother, father, wife, children and myself.

“In hindsight the aim of this was clear, and I foolishly opted to challenge some of the abuse, harassment and threats.

“Given my position, I should have acted with more responsibility and reported the abusive text messages, phone calls and answerphone messages to the police, rather than get embroiled in such an exchange.”

Oyston said he would make a donation to the club’s Community Trust, which works with a number of organisations that support disabled people.

- © AFP, 2014

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