Blackburn Rovers relegation: Ex-players, fans, politicians livid with Indian owners
Blackburn Rovers were relegated from the Championship yesterday after finishing in the bottom three of English football’s second division. The club, who are owned by Indian poultry giants Venky's, will play in the third division of English football next season, a steep fall from their heady days in 1995 when they won the Premier League title.
Fans, ex-players and local politicians were quick to express their disappointment at the club’s nosediving fortunes and did not hold themselves back from criticising the flawed ownership of the club by Venkys. Under the Venkys regime, Blackburn have gone from being Premier League’s mid-table club to suffering double relegation. Here is how those close to the club reacted as Rovers fell into the darkness of League One.
Rovers’ Premier League-winning SAS strike duo of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton were left saddened by their former club’s plight, but both of them attacked Venkys scathingly on social media.
Plenty of prominent politicians also had their say on a disappointing day for Blackburn. The Labour Party’s Parliamentary candidate for Hyndburn, Graham Jones, said: “Blackburn Rovers brings pride to the area. It's well known that football clubs which do well bring business into the area.
"For the club to drop into League One will knock Blackburn and East Lancashire off the map.
"It is really important the owners recognise the damage that's been done not just to the football team but to the area.
"It's time the owners started to meet with the fan groups and civic leaders and have a conversation about their intentions.”
The club’s fans also joined in on the act as they protested against Venky's with their 1600-strong contingent who travelled to Griffin Park for the final day of the season, knowing that Rovers’ fate lies in other clubs’ hands.
Mark Fish, chairman of the Blackburn Rovers Action Group, said: “The club is in terminal decline. It has been in terminal decline since 2010.
"Until the owners realise they don’t want their unwanted baby anymore and seek new ownership for the club it won’t improve.
“Whatever division we’re in they’ll continue to downgrade the squad and not support the manager.
“We used to carry the message that the step forward is to talk to fans and we would move forward together.
"There is nothing coming from Venkys apart from statements that they’re determined to get us into the Premier League, despite continuously selling our assets and downgrading the playing squad.
“The only way the club can move forward now is for Venkys to sell up.”
It is clear Venky’s have been largely responsible for Blackburn’s demise as a top English club, as the reactions voiced by those affected by the club’s relegation shows.