Football

It’s been a long time coming, almost a decade in fact

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The turn of the millennium saw the saddening death of club legend Jack Walker, a man who had inspired Blackburn to incredible Premier League glory as one of only four teams to win the trophy. The club has struggled ever since to fill Walker's shoes at the top.

Two years ago Blackburn Rovers were put up for sale by the Jack Walker Trust with the intentions of helping the club to step closer to its former glories. But instead Rovers could only stand by and watch as countless other English clubs put ink to paper on takeover agreements from foreign investors.

Indian group Venky’s look set to become Rovers’ new owners next month following several ‘detailed discussions’ between themselves and the club. It all sounds good on paper, but we have all seen how investment from abroad can quickly turn sour.

"We are particularly delighted that the team is Blackburn Rovers, with whom we believe we have many shared values and ambitions," Venky’s chairman Anuradha J Desai said.

Of course a major cash injection is exactly what the club needs to progress, but caution is naturally going to take a firm grasp of proceedings when it comes to fan expectations. Too many times have we witnessed foreign investors arrive talking about identity and heritage with little or no knowledge of the club. A scarf around your neck does not change a thing.

Football is often not a game for the fans anymore, but a playground for the rich from abroad. Desai has done little to alter this with her ambitions to ‘make Blackburn Rovers an even bigger brand in India than Venky's’.

But where there is cynicism there will also be prudence, and with a takeover there is always a sense of optimism, even if your potential new owners have claimed that Sam Allardyce will only have £5 million to part with in the January transfer window.

A scare that was indeed at the time, but Desai has since reassured Rovers fans with the promise of ‘significant’ funding over the course of the next three years. The bluff of poverty could perhaps be a clever ploy.

One thing is for sure however, and that is that Rovers need this. Allardyce has already lamented his side’s inabilities to find the net, claiming that his team will need to find a significant number of 1-0 victories if they are to survive. A striker is, and has been for a long while, priority when January arrives.

And there is nobody involved in the club more desperate for finance than Allardyce himself. The Rovers chief has forged a reputable name in English football for his dealings on shoestring budgets, but even he has found the club’s financial plight testing.

For Blackburn the horror stories of clubs such as Portsmouth and Liverpool will live strong in the mind. The proposed deal with Syrian businessman Ahsan Ali-Syed was a false dawn.

The deal on the table is far from complete, but surely this time Rovers will have their moment. Will it be worth the wait? Only time will tell, but there is plenty to suggest that with sensible business Blackburn can begin to push for dizzier heights of the Premier League.

Manager Allardyce awaits the outcome with interest, and says: “I don't know the figures. There's no point discussing them. People have said £5m would be disappointing and, when another said £300m, people were 'oohing' and 'aaahing'. I rather keep it to ourselves. I'd not want to publicise it." 

Allardyce added: "I had a couple of minutes with them before the game in the boardroom. Chairman John Williams invited me up to say hello to them and if, and when, the deal has been struck, we'll look to sit down and see the way forward. 

"I'm told the deal has not been finalised yet but I would hope they would have been impressed and excited by a performance like that (against Chelsea)."

Topics:
Football
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
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