Recently, Blackburn Rovers fans have been the subject of attention in the national media and we as a body feel that our situation has been misrepresented and that our stance has been grossly misunderstood. The major representative websites of Blackburn Rovers fans have combined to clarify our stance with regard to our current plight in the statement below.
Blackburn Rovers fans are not an unrealistically ambitious, over-expecting group of supporters and are not noted by any means for their militance. The large majority would generally be content with a mid-table finish and a good cup run and would be delighted with European qualification, as we have been fortunate enough to experience on a number of occasions in our recent history. We understand that the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, and more recently Manchester City, have budgets that are quite beyond us, and we do not expect to be able to compete with them financially. What we do expect, however, is for our club to live up to its motto, “Arte et Labore”, and by skill and labour do justice to its 136 years of history while respecting its fan base, which has always been the heartbeat of the club.
The vast majority of fans are desperately disappointed by the direction that has been shown by the club since the change in ownership a little over twelve months ago when Venky’s bought the club from the Walker Trust, who provided stability and modest success for a club of our stature. On the field, we believe Steve Kean has had sufficient time to prove himself capable of managing a Premier League club. During his tenure as manager of Blackburn Rovers, Kean has been in charge of 42 Premier League fixtures and has presided over a record of 8 wins, 13 draws and 21 losses. Over the course of a season, this equates to a dismal 33.5 points. Having taken the club to the brink of relegation last season, a continuation of his record thus far this season will guarantee relegation in May. His predecessor Sam Allardyce, an experienced and highly competent Premier League manager, was dismissed with a far superior points per game ratio, which makes it difficult to understand why the former team coach Steve Kean is still in his position as manager and continues to enjoy the backing of the owners, no matter how ignorant they are of footballing matters. Only one team in Premier League history has survived relegation having been bottom at Christmas and there is no sign that we look like becoming the second to do so.
Off the field, Blackburn Rovers supporters are also frustrated by the pitiful lack of communication between club and fans. We feel that it is essential for owners Venky’s to build a stronger relationship with the stakeholders, the fans. The club’s public relations are sadly lacking. Steve Kean regularly appears in the media, representing the owners’ plans, detailing how much funding Rovers have and expounding the current goals of the club. Many fans feel this is beyond the remit of a team manager and believe that a chief executive or chairman should be charged with such a brief and that such information should be conveyed with a degree of discretion that is absent under the current ownership. Regrettably the owners see fit not to employ people capable of discharging such duties quintessential to the running of a modern football club, having dispensed with the services of John Williams and Tom Finn, who were widely regarded as most able administrators among the Premier League fraternity. The fact that they have not been replaced is of considerable concern to Blackburn Rovers fans and should be of concern, we believe, to all football fans who have the welfare of the game at the heart of their thinking. We believe that the owners’ apparent attempt to run the club from India while using Steve Kean as their mouthpiece is unacceptable.
Bigger clubs than ours have been relegated from the Premier League before and indeed we have suffered that particular fate before, but that is not our issue here. Our club is not only in jeopardy of losing its Premier League status, it is in danger of disappearing into oblivion under the stewardship of an absent and reckless owner whose public front is a manager who shows little sign of possessing the acumen to manage a team at the highest level and who has singlehandedly managed to drive a wedge between club and fans that has never before been witnessed at our football club, where a perfectly well-functioning community is being systematically dismantled before our very eyes.
As the first steps in the restitution of our football club, we, as concerned fans of Blackburn Rovers, seek the appointment of a respected manager who has the requisite experience to preside over our proud club and who can rebuild the bonds between club and fans, and we further seek the establishment of an administrative structure that is becoming of a modern institution such as a Premier League football club.
The Editors of
The Blackburn Rovers Supporters Trust
The Norwegian Blackburn Rovers Supporters Club
The Wild Blackburn Rover
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