REVEALED: The Premier League owner who was being paid £11m while his club were being relegated

By Nick Harris for The Mail on Sunday

When Blackpool embarked on their historic first - and so far only - season in the Premier League, chairman Karl Oyston railed at the 'mad world' of 'arms race' salary payments and poured scorn on players chasing money above all else.

'Sometimes, I think ambition goes out of the window in favour of personal financial gain,' he said at the time. His words may now come back to haunt him.

For Blackpool's financial accounts for that 2010-11 campaign, filed in the past 48 hours and relating to their first season in the top flight for 39 years, reveal that one of Blackpool's six directors was paid a staggering £11 million in remuneration for the season that ended with the club's relegation back to the Championship.

Pay scale: Owen Oyston received £11million in director's pay at Blackpool - more than title winner Wayne Rooney was paid by Manchester United and more than Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, star player Charlie Adam and all his team-mates combined

Pay scale: Owen Oyston received £11million in director's pay at Blackpool - more than title winner Wayne Rooney was paid by Manchester United and more than Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, star player Charlie Adam and all his team-mates combined

And the unnamed director, paid through his company, Zabaxe, was the chairman's father, Blackpool's multi-millionaire majority shareholder, Owen Oyston.

Asked to confirm the identity of the £11m director, Karl Oyston told The Mail on Sunday: 'The payment was made to Zabaxe Ltd.'

Documents lodged at Companies House show the colourful and controversial 78-year-old, Owen Oyston, and his wife, Vicki, as the two directors of Zabaxe.

The company's two ordinary shares are both owned by Owen Oyston.

Already supporters, politicians, players and industry observers have condemned the £11m director's remuneration as 'shocking' and 'barely believable'.

Confirmation: Karl Oyston said the sum was paid to Zabaxe

Confirmation: Karl Oyston said the sum was paid to Zabaxe

Malcolm Clarke, the chairman of the Football Supporters' Federation, said: 'It defies credibility that this is a reasonable remuneration for one club director in a single year. This makes some of the bankers' bonuses almost look like small change.

'Football clubs are community assets and it's inappropriate for anyone to use them as a vehicle for payouts of anything approaching this magnitude. Even by the standards of "Planet Football" this is barely believable.'

The club's accounts, filed at Companies House, reveal that club directors were paid £11,067,554, and that the best-paid director, now revealed to be Oyston, received £11m.

That remuneration smashes every pay record for a non-player in English football and puts Blackpool's majority shareholder among the global game's highest earners for a single season, whether it is players, managers or club executives.

The sum equates to earnings of £211,538 a week and only Wayne Rooney, understood to be on a basic deal worth around £200,000 a week at Manchester United, plus some players at Manchester City, currently come anywhere close in the Premier League - the world's richest league.

But while Rooney won the title with United last season, Oyston, worth an estimated £80m last year, was rewarded with his bumper pay packet despite the club being relegated.

Fans' reactions have ranged from the outraged to the barely printable.

One supporter, a member of the club-affiliated Blackpool Supporters' Association and prepared to speak only under condition of anonymity, said: 'There's an argument that a club can do what they like with their money but it's excessive and will be completely unacceptable to many fans, who expect club-generated money to go back into the club.'

Another fan was more succinct in a post on an internet message board. The post said simply: 'Kerching! Oyston. Parasite.'

Tribunal: Charlie Adam fought Blackpool over a an unpaid £25,000 bonus

Tribunal: Charlie Adam fought Blackpool over a an unpaid £25,000 bonus

A third claimed the director's payment was 'nothing short of shocking and scandalous'.

Oyston's remuneration at the expense of one of the great club names of English football tarnishes the illustrious history of a club that have contributed some of the game's most evocative moments, including the 1953 'Matthews Final' win at Wembley.

The payment also puts into sharper focus the job done by manager Ian Holloway last season on a meagre budget.

The £11m paid to a single director is understood to be more than for the wages paid to Blackpool's first-team squad and the manager combined during their one season in the Premier League.

The Mail on Sunday understands that the players earned around £9.6m in wages and Holloway £400,000.

Blackpool missed out on Premier League survival in the final game of last season, and then by only a single point.

Fan Chris Walker told The Mail on Sunday: 'Holloway and his team worked wonders, but having come so close you do wonder what could have been achieved with the purse strings loosened just a little bit.

Heartbreak: Blackpool's inaugural season in the Premier League ended with a 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford

Heartbreak: Blackpool's inaugural season in the Premier League ended with a 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford

'Norwich and Swansea are showing this season how far sensible levels of investment can take you and there is a nagging feeling of regret that Blackpool could easily be in their shoes had the Oyston family sanctioned more investment on the playing side.

'Having now seen the amount taken out of the club in directors' pay, these emotions are heightened further.'

Blackpool were involved in high-profile disagreements with players over bonuses last season. Charlie Adam, captain during the Premier League year, took his employers to a tribunal to force the payment of a £25,000 bonus that should have kicked in when Blackpool guaranteed their Championship status in 2009-10.

A source close to the Liverpool and Scotland midfielder said: 'That Charlie had to go to a tribunal over a £25,000 bonus in the year Blackpool got promoted, and then the owner takes £11m in one go is just unbelievable.

'Charlie only took that action because there were others not getting their bonuses. It actually cost him money when his legal fees were taken into account. This £11m payment beggars belief.'

Frustrated: Holloway

Frustrated: Holloway

Chris Walker adds: 'It is very disappointing to see that there was clearly money in the club that could have been used to fund the playing side and had this director taken a salary in line with his Premier League counterparts, Holloway could have had more resources at his disposal.'

Oyston's £11m bonanza is put in stark context when set against executive pay at England's biggest clubs.

Manchester City's former CEO, Garry Cook, earned £2m in 2010-11. Manchester United's directors were paid a total £1.72m for football club business in 2010-11, at a club with an income almost £300m more than Blackpool.

Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis earned £1.7m in 2010-11, comprising £1m salary, £600,000 bonus and £100,000 pension contribution.

Oyston banked six and a half times as much as Gazidis for overseeing a club that went back down to the Championship, albeit having earned a record income of £51.7m, of which £40m came from Premier League central funds. Blackpool actually made a £20.9m profit from their Premier League season.

'In the long term, the major concern as a Blackpool fan is that the legacy of our sole Premier League season could disappear,' said Chris Walker.

'There have been some improvements to Bloomfield Road itself, but the promised new training ground has yet to yield anything tangible with the players still having to use antiquated facilities.

'It is vital that the club still has something to show for its top flight adventure in 15-20 years' time and with such large amounts being taken out of by a single director, one wonders whether the future of the club is as bright as it may appear to some outsiders.'

The club's total wage bill, for all 127 staff, was £12.1m in 2010-11, which was actually lower than the £12.6m wage bill of 2009-10. That £12.1m included pay for 67 employees as well as for all the club's players of all ages, Holloway and his coaches.

The senior players were subject to a £10,000-per-week pay ceiling.

Holloway, at different times, has been frustrated with the limits placed on his spending, and is understood to have been close to walking away.

As recently as last month he talked about his first meeting with Karl Oyston when he was interviewed for the job in a Preston hotel.

Holloway claims he said to Oyston: 'I suppose I'd better order the coffee because I've heard you're a right tight so and so.'

There is nothing illegal in the £11m remuneration to a director but many observers, and politicians, believe there should be legislation to stop such sums being paid.

Tom Greatrex, a Labour MP with a longstanding record of working with fans' groups and campaigning on governance issues, says: 'It is genuinely shocking that someone can profit to that extent, especially from a club whose public attitude to gaining promotion was premised on thrift.

'This case underlines the lack of scrutiny of what matters in our national game, and the Sports Minister is right when he says change is overdue.

'Supporters have a profound emotional investment in their clubs and it's only right they should know where the money flows. While nobody expects all club owners are acting purely from the goodness of their hearts, this is a truly shocking.'

Owen Oyston paid £11m while Blackpool were relegated: Nick Harris

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