Blackpool fan Neil Holden fined £500 for Arsenal bus demo

The Blackpool fan delayed the Arsenal coach leaving the team hotel by staging a protest on the roof Image copyright PA
Image caption Neil Holden was protesting against Blackpool FC’s owner Owen Oyston

A football fan who sat on Arsenal’s team bus roof in a bid to stop it being driven to an FA Cup tie at Blackpool has been fined £500 for his protest.

Neil Holden, 43, of Marton Drive, Blackpool admitted preventing the coach driver from carrying out his business.

Holden sat on top of the coach outside the Preston Marriott Hotel, forcing the team to use alternative transport to get to the game, on 5 January.

Blackpool fans raised money to pay the defendant’s fine and legal costs.

Holden, who was ordered by Blackpool Magistrates’ Court to pay £135 costs, was protesting against the way team owner Owen Oyston runs the Blackpool squad.

Arsenal travelled in a replacement vehicle and entered the stadium via a back entrance, with more protesting supporters outside the main door.

Blackpool fans have been organising protests, a sustained boycott of home matches and team merchandise, since 2015.

The club’s ground was half-empty for the third round match with Arsenal, with the 3,777 home fans outnumbered by Arsenal’s travelling support of 5,218.

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