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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 08:46 GMT
Blackpool chief's FA Cup dream
Blackpool triumph in 1953 FA Cup

By Saj Chowdhury

Last June, Latvian businessman Valeri Belokon became the new president and director of Blackpool Football Club.

The millionaire bought substantial shares and is believed to be investing 5m in the League One club.

Since Belokon's arrival, Blackpool's fortunes have changed for the better and the Bloomfield Road side are vying for promotion to the Championship.

The Seasiders are also aiming to book a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup, a competition they won back in 1953 when their most famous son Stanley Matthews stole the show.

So ahead of their tie against Aldershot, BBC Sport caught up with Belokon, who talked about his love for the FA Cup, Porto wine and the future of the tangerine kit.

This is your first taste of the FA Cup. How popular is the competition in Latvia and what did you know about it before you came to Britain?

In my youth, Wembley was more famous than any other British sporting venue among Latvians.

During the 1970s and 1980s I followed the competition religiously, but, of course, I've become more aware of its great history, since coming to Blackpool.

So the name 'Sir Stanley Matthews' must have been mentioned to you on more than one occasion?

I have to admit before coming to Blackpool I did not have a great deal of knowledge about the history of the club.

The tangerine colour has become the integral part of Blackpool life

Belokon on the club colours

I had heard about Sir Stanley Matthews, but I didn't know about the other great players who played for the club.

A book of the history of the Seasiders was given to me as a birthday present and it fascinated me.

Do you have any particular plans to celebrate if Blackpool reach the fourth round? And what do you know about opponents Aldershot?

If you're suggesting I might call the fans for a procession along Blackpool's promenade, then I don't think that will happen. Although, if they want to do that then I'd fully support them.

If we are triumphant then I'll probably gather some friends and relatives around to help me finish a good Porto wine.

With regards to Aldershot, I'd like to believe that a team that reaches the third round of the FA Cup deserves serious attention.

Why get involved with a football club? Are you not worried about losing money?

I was an ordinary football fan when I was a young boy. I had passionately supported my favourite team of the city, Riga - in those times it was known as Daugava.

When I was given the chance to get involved with a football club, the old love reappeared. I think it was a decision made by my heart rather than a pragmatic one.

The money aspect not only affects the football business. As an investor one of the basic rules is that you have to be ready to lose money in order to progress.

For the club to grow in stature it may need an improved stadium and better players. Do you have the finances and ambition to achieve that?
Blackpool FC

It's not very difficult to finance the construction works for the increase in capacity at Bloomfield Road. It's vital that we give all those who want to come to see Blackpool the chance to do so.

Our players? I hope you're not saying we've got a bad bunch playing who are lacking ambition, because we certainly don't.

I do agree with you to some extent, new faces need to be brought in to make the squad stronger and better in order to get back to the heights we reached in the middle of last century.

Some fans are concerned Blackpool have been playing a lot in the maroon kit and not the traditional tangerine. Do you plan to change the club colours?

Blackpool played four games in the maroon colour kit and we did happen to win all those matches.

But just to reassure the fans, we're not going to make any changes, because the tangerine colour has become an integral part of Blackpool life.

Coca-Cola Football League One Table
30 January 2010 17:06
    P GD PTS
1 Norwich 29 34 63
2 Leeds 27 29 60

3 Charlton 28 20 55
4 Colchester 27 13 49
5 Swindon 26 8 48
6 Millwall 28 11 46

7 Huddersfield 26 20 45
8 MK Dons 28 4 43
9 Bristol Rovers 26 -3 38
10 Brentford 27 -3 34
11 Southampton 27 15 33
12 Carlisle 26 -3 33
13 Walsall 25 1 32
14 Yeovil 28 -5 31
15 Southend 28 -7 31
16 Hartlepool 29 -10 31
17 Leyton Orient 27 -10 31
18 Exeter 29 -11 30
19 Gillingham 28 -7 29
20 Brighton 27 -13 28

21 Oldham 25 -10 26
22 Tranmere 27 -22 26
23 Wycombe 29 -22 23
24 Stockport 27 -29 16

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12 Jan 06 |  Blackpool
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22 May 06 |  Lancashire
Oyston cool on Blackpool takeover
10 Jan 06 |  Blackpool


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