Man dies after fight between Blackpool and Burnley supporters
A 55-year-old football fan has died after sustaining a serious head injury in a fight that broke out between Blackpool and Burnley supporters.
The victim, who has been named as Blackpool fan Tony Johnson, was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after the attack at 7pm on Saturday.
Police were called to reports of 15 men fighting outside The Manchester pub on the Blackpool seafront after the 0-0 draw between the two clubs at Bloomfield Road.
On Monday, Lancashire Police confirmed Mr Johnson, from Blackpool, died in hospital overnight.
“It is believed the altercation broke out between a number of football fans, with Mr Johnson injured as part of this incident,” said Lancashire Police. “At this time there is no suggestion he was specifically targeted.
— Armfield Club Blackpool (@ArmfieldClub) March 6, 2023
“A 33-year-old man from Burnley was arrested at the scene on suspicion of wounding and he has since been bailed, pending further enquiries, until June 1.
“We are continuing to work with both Blackpool and Burnley football clubs to establish who else may have been involved and what exactly occurred.”
Supporters group Armfield Club Blackpool shared its grief over Mr Johnson’s death on Twitter, writing: “It’s very difficult to put into words how we all feel on this day, and all of our thoughts are with Tony’s partner and family.
“He did not deserve this to happen to him.
“Tony was Blackpool through and through, and one of the best friends ever likely to cross your path in life. Devastated is an understatement.”
DCI Tracey McMurdo, of Lancashire Police, said Mr Johnson’s family have been left “devastated” by his death.
“We are supporting them at this difficult time and are determined to get them answers about what happened,” she said.
“The investigation continues and we will pursue anybody involved to bring them to justice.”
DCI McMurdo said the fight happened in a busy area, and urged any witnesses or anyone with video footage of what heppened to get in touch.
“At the heart of this is a grieving family, who are incredibly distressed by what has happened, so we also ask that if you have any footage you do not share it on social media,” she added. “If you have already done so, we respectfully ask that you remove it.”
In a statement on Monday afternoon, Blackpool FC said it was “deeply shocked” by the incident and invited other supporters to sign a book of condolence and lay flowers at Bloomfield Road in memory of Mr Johnson.
“Blackpool FC is deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the news that supporter, Tony Johnson, tragically lost his life earlier this morning,” the statement said.
“The Club will be offering an open book of condolence from 4pm in the Moretti Lounge, giving supporters the opportunity to pay their respects to Tony.
“Supporters are also invited to lay flowers at the Mortensen Statue behind the North Stand at 4pm today along with the Club’s staff and players, giving everyone associated with the football club the chance to come together and remember a lifelong Seasider.
“All of the thoughts of everyone at the football club go out to Tony’s family and friends. Rest in peace, Tony.”
Anybody with information should call us on 101, quoting log 1262 of March 4th, or report it online at doitonline.lancashire.police.uk. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.