Tag: Blackburn Rovers

Sit Down, Shut Up: Blackburn Rovers Supporters & The Stewardship Of Their Club

With an air of the inevitability that has accompanied much of their season and more than a hint of black comedy, Blackburn Rovers slipped from the Premier League last night. It was managed, as these matters so frequently are, by a very thin margin, with only a goal from Wigan Athletic’s Antolin Alcaraz three minutes from time being enough to separate the two sides on the night. Those protesting at Ewood Park last night, however, were playing protest as the longer game, having spent much of last nine months venting their fury in the direction of the Venkys group, whose ownership of the club has led to the eventuality of relegation and the financial uncertainty that comes with it. The black humour on display at Ewood Park last night provided merely the thinnest veil of levity to an otherwise depressing evening for the club’s supporters. Where else but at this ground, we might reasonably ask, could a match be held up because a chicken dressed in the livery of the home team managed to get onto the pitch? It was a moment that the high definition cameras of the watching broadcasters couldn’t help but focus upon, but as the fall-out began to settle after a fractious evening in Lancashire, a familiar narrative had been picked up on by those watching the match from the comfort of the studios – that of the know-your-placery that has...

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Blackburn Rovers: When Owners Turn Chicken

One emerging problem with the “benefactor model” of club ownership is “what happens next?” Blackburn Rovers have struggled with this problem since their 1990s benefactor, steel magnate Jack Walker, died in 2000. And current owners Venky’s are not, yet anyway, the solution. Walker, who famously took Rovers to/bought the 1995 Premier League title, made some post-benefactor plans, forming the “Jack Walker Settlement” (JWS), a trust based in the Jersey tax haven, where he lived from 1974, when his riches attracted taxes which the great benefactor was…erm…unprepared to give. The Trust dealt with the practicalities of Walker’s business legacy, to “promote and enlarge all my business interests.” For Rovers this meant providing finance “for the foreseeable future”, which manifested itself in annual £3m contributions. £3m wasn’t quite “a lot of money in those days.” But it became exponentially less significant over time. And the end of the “foreseeable future,” as David Conn wrote in the Guardian newspaper in 2008, “was apparently reached in January” when JWS trustees saw “no immediate requirement to invest further.” Rovers’ then-chairman John Williams negotiated funding for the short-term. But the trustees wanted to sell the club and Rovers had already joined the Premier League clubs searching for wealthy investment in those immediate pre-recession days. They attracted suitors such as Daniel Williams, Chris Ronnie and Nabeel Chowdery until the economic freeze turned the trail cold. Then...

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Match Of The Week: Manchester United 2-3 Blackburn Rovers

The Premier League title race, we have been told repeatedly over the last couple of weeks or so, is back on. Since getting knocked out of the Champions League by FC Basel, Manchester United have started to rediscover some of their familiar imperiousness, with sixteen goals in their last four Premier League matches – including five in two successive matches – while Manchester City have, with a defeat at Chelsea and a lacklustre draw at West Bromwich Albion, shown signs of chink in their previously impenetrable-looking armour. On top of this, Alex Ferguson (who gave himself three more years in the manager’s job at the club three years ago) confirmed that he intends to stay in charge at the club for a further three years this morning, and it’s also his seventieth birthday today. Today’s match, against the Premier League’s bottom club, should have something of a party atmosphere about it for Manchester United. Something, however, doesn’t feel right today. The atmosphere at Old Trafford is muted, rather as if no-one particularly wants to be there. It would certainly be understandable if the Blackburn manager Steve Kean didn’t want to be. He remains persona non grata for a proportion of Blackburn’s support, a feeling that has scarcely been diluted by his team’s recent draw at Anfield. They remain anchored to the bottom of the Premier League and, as those...

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Wigan, Bolton & Blackburn Labour Under Grey Lancastrian Skies

The absence of the top five or six clubs from much of the schedule for yesterday’s Premier League fixtures may have meant that the eyes of many may have drifted towards the bottom of the table instead. As has been the case for the previous couple of seasons, the bottom half of the Premier League table is starting to look rather congested, with just six points separating the team in tenth place in the table from the relegation places. With the half-way point in the season starting to come into view there is, therefore, all to play for, yet the bottom three places in the table are currently inhabited by three clubs of broadly similar proportions. Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers are all Lancastrian clubs, living in the perpetually long shadow of their more glamorous rivals, but these three clubs have not reacted in the same way to their currently straitened circumstances. Many of the headlines concerning the foot of the table have concerned the ongoing supporter protests at Blackburn Rovers against their manager, Steve Kean. Yesterday afternoon, Rovers up slipped again in the Premier League, when a late goal from Peter Odemwingie gave West Bromwich Albion a win at Ewood Park. Kean would have the air of being a dead man walking about him were it not for one highly significant matter: he seems to have...

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Match Of The Week: Blackburn Rovers 4-3 Arsenal

For the second time this season, the heavens opened on a Saturday lunchtime for Arsenal in more senses than one today, and this time around they contrived to be more defensively profligate than on the previous occasion, last month against Liverpool. For all the hysteria in the immediate aftermath of that match, it was plausible to chalk down that loss as having had a element of the freak about it. An own goal and a second on the break with only seconds left to play gave Arsenal’s supporters something to cling to and, while the thrashing at the hands of Manchester United managed to speak for itself, results since then – a scrambled and slightly fortuitous win against Swansea City followed by an honorable draw at Dortmund in the Champions League – offered a fig leaf of respectability to a season that has has largely, thus far, been one of massive disappointment. Today, though, the fig leaf was washed away in the Lancashire rain. Prior to kick-off, it was the supporters of Blackburn Rovers that were actively demonstrating, calling for the head of their most peculiar choice of manager, Steve Kean. They may even reflect this evening that their team didn’t even play particularly brilliantly this afternoon – rather, they took advantage of the chances that they had, showed a little character in overturning a two goal deficit and...

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