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My shock as jolly Blackpool birthday away day at the Seaside took tragic twist

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Will Lancaster is a freelance writer and regular Record Sport contributor and is also a Burnley fan. He was at Blackpool on Saturday for the Clarets' trip to Bloomfield Road and was outside 'The Manchester Pub' just hours before tragedy struck when Seasiders fan Tony Johnson was injured in a mass brawl and later died.

Here is Will’s take on a black day for football. What promised to be one of the days of my year has quickly turned into a tragic note.

I'm a leap year-born kid and with my team Burnley playing away at Lancashire rivals Blackpool on one of the two birthday weekends I was blessed with being able to choose as a result of there being no February 29 this year, it promised to be a great one.

Anticipation was building up nicely - train strikes promised to ruin the mood slightly, but the trusty old National Express saved the day, and at half 10 in the morning, me and three mates took to the seaside from Manchester with the hope of bringing back three points.Prior to the game, everyone was in good spirits - our first 'away' pub of choice was a mere 30-second walk from the coach, The Castle.

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