Monday, 23 January 2012

28 Companies, £100 million profits, zero debt, yet no money for Rovers!

Long headline I know, but you will just have to bear with me on that. I was just so frustrated when I read the now famous four page spread in the Economic Times of India and there was so much I wanted to say, but it was very hard to cook down to a few words...

Aaaaany who - this post won't have much to do with football, but will mostly be about some of Venky's financial numbers.

Now, Venky's have been hailed as these brilliant business people (and I'm not saying they aren't), but let's just look at the very few numbers below.

Venky's finances
Some of the Venky's empire financial numbers

Their empire embraces 28 companies, which in 2011 had a combined turnover of some £1 billion, zero debt and growth forecast of 15% annually for the next years to come. Now that is all well and good, especially the debt part is very impressive, but keeping in mind that the Indian economy is bursting forward, it's only an average performance at best.

In theory, their 28 companies are averaging a turnover of around £36 million, resulting in an average profit of less than £4 million. It sort of helps painting the picture, of a hardly impressive record, considering India's current financial trend (see BRIC Countries -

If you then take a look at the four graphs concerning Blackburn Rovers, it all looks very positive with three out of four figures going up. However four out of four are moving in the wrong direction. The picture just gets worse and worse by every word.

In one calendar year, debt has risen from £21 mill to £26.3 (almost 25%), wage expenses have risen from £47.4 mill to £49.9 mill (around 5%) and a fall in ticket sales from £6.1 mill to £5.5 mill (just over 5%). These three figures could well be "sold" to someone with no interest in Blackburn Rovers, considering the economic climate that we find ourselves in. However the last figures are very hard to explain (creative accounting would be a good shout) and would put a frown on the face of anyone, with or without interest in Rovers - in a year with no major transfers, except the sale of Phil "Superman" Jones (£16.5 mill + add on), the Pre-tax Loss rose from £1.9 mill to £18.6 mill (just shy of an astonishing 1,000%)!

The British media (let's just say the Sky is the limit here) can call us Rovers Supporters what ever they damn well please, but we know the facts! Yes we might have targeted the wrong man at first, although seven wins in 38 isn't exactly impressive, but we are well within our right to protest against owners like Venky's - compare them to a country's government, like in Greece where there have been riots because of derailed finances, and you get the point pretty quickly.

Totally justifiable comparison by the way...

And just a thank you to Wen Y Hu at for mentioning my blog in their latest podcast. Always good to get a mention ;)

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A United Statement By Blackburn Rovers Fans

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

       Vital Blackburn
       BRFC Fans
       The Blackburn Rovers Supporters Trust
       The Norwegian Blackburn Rovers Supporters Club
       The Wild Blackburn Rover
       Rovers Revisited

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Does he deserve it?

As far as I have seen this morning, several papers have reported that Steve Kean has signed a new deal. It hasn't yet been confirmed by the club however, but although this is football and gossip should rarely be taken seriously, there's rarely smoke without a fire (Faroese saying).

A couple of weeks ago, reports started to surface that Venky's were preparing a new deal for Kean. Apparently they were so impressed with the progress shown by the team. It's not a joke, but dear lord it's funny!

As I wrote in my post yesterday, there has been massive improvement over the last few weeks, but surely it doesn't merit anything resembling a new contract. Of course the progress should loosen a couple of nails in the coffin, but a new deal is going a bit overboard with the support.

If and only if Venky's absolutely want to prove to the world of football, that there is such a thing as unconditional support for a manager (which I am all for, by the way) I would advise them to form out a contract. Make sure Kean sees it as a great offer, but only make the offer IF he can lead the team to a minimum of four wins and two draws in the next six games.

That's only my opinion on the matter. What's your?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Duracell Torch

The Blue and White Halves has been gathering dust for quite a while. Now I have finally decided to take out my imaginary Swiffer (Google it if don’t know it) and dust off the ol' gal'. I will of course mostly focus on the best team in chicken farm, but every now and again, there will be a post on some of the other teams in the EPL, La Liga and possibly even the dodgy UEFA, FIFA or FA.

So where to start? This is the first post since the January transfer window slammed, but all the drama at Ewood Park has been so well documented, that one might think the media doesn't like our little club, boxing out of our weight class. Anyway here's a little recap of the last 10 months - we got some players in on loan, signed two incredible young talents, played some horrible football, barely survived, didn't manage to sign JJ, lost PJ, started the new season horribly, signed some players, played more horrible football, won one match, a lot of people started booing, a airplane flew over Ewood Park and the media chose SK's side.

In all seriousness though, things have been looking horribly bleak and at times the candle at the end of the tunnel has gone out. BUT - thank God for buts - I think our beloved owners just might have found a torch running on Duracell. Although it is very early to be making this call, I can't help but feel, that since Paul Clement arrived, our performances have improved by a gazillion percent (and that is a lot!).

The game against Man City was horrible, weirdly enough resulting in Jensen getting the boot. The one against QPR wasn't that bad but ultimately not good enough. A day after Clement's arrival, the lads put on a great performance against high-flying Spurs, but the lack of ruthlessness meant we were left disappointed. Then came a monstrously good performance against the only unbeaten team in the Football Leagues and an equally good performance against Norwich, in which the ref obviously didn't want us to win. The last game against Chelsea wasn't half bad, but ultimately it didn't give us any points.

But what has changed in the very short time since Jensen's departure? For starters the vastly unfruitful partnership of the Zonz and the Serb, has been tweaked and turned into a very impressive partnership between the Zonz and Gamst. Nzonzi has done the dirty work, tackling and chasing, while Gamst has done the pretty stuff, passing and shooting. Out on the wings Rochina and Hoilett have been tearing up defenders with pace and trickery. Up front we have seen two strikers in the Yak and Gato. At the back - right back to be exact - Lowe has slotted in beautifully, making damn sure we haven't missed Salgado's impeccable lack of pace. But most importantly, the players seem to be playing for each other.

When Kean was appointed, we were promised that the football would be far more pleasing on the eye. What we got however was a circus. We were dropping points as if it was in fashion. Let's just say, that the overnight shift from Big Sam's hoofball to Steve Kean's supposed free-flowing football didn't work out as planned. But now there seems to have been a change in either the players attitude or possibly a change in the instructions they're receiving.

As I said, it might be a little bit to early to make this call, but I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel. From what I've seen in the last couple of weeks, I think Paul Clement just might be the right dose for our insanely optimistic Steve Kean.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Welcome to Ewood Park and thank you for your service!

In recent transfer windows, Blackburn have been among the least active clubs in the league and up until two hours prior to the window closing, that looked to be the case yet again, with only two loan deals. But then something started happening at Ewood Park, with the transfers of Fernando Torres, David Luiz and Andy Carroll taking up all of Sky's air time.

Just as people started getting flashbacks of prior windows with a lot of talk but no action, announced the purchase of 19 year old Barca player Ruben Rochina, who can play as a striker and as attacking midfielder. A player who could very possibly be a long term replacement for the creativity at Ewood: David Dunn. The reported value was around £1 mill, although no figures have been made official.

About half an hour later, still behind the scenes, Ewood Park was once again active. The long awaited purchase of 22 year old Argentinian playmaker Mauro Formica, was made official at a reported value of around some £3 mill. The player has been dubbed a young Batistuta by Steve Kean, but surely it wasn't meant in the sense that he's a prolific goalscorer, as his relatively impressive goal tally isn't exactly Batistuta status, at 20 goals in 86 appearances for Old Boys, compared to Batistuta's average of more than a goal every two games. However he is a very talented player, with loads of assists to add to his tally, making him a direct contender for Dunn and Gamst.

Shortly after the Formica deal was announced, a great servant of Rovers, EH Diouf, was loaned out to Glasgow Rangers, with a view to a permanent deal and Dioufy has already expressed his desire to become a Rangers legend. Personally I don't feel that this is a good move for us, as he has that impeccable work rate, decent technique and he really gets under the skin of his opponents. I know a lot of fans are applauding his departure, but I for one will miss him in the blue and white shirt.

All in all, it has been a very turbulent window with jokes about the likes of Ronaldinho and Beckham, endless waiting and some very exciting deadline day transfers.

With this I would just like to welcome two VERY exciting talents, that can rest assure to get a very warm welcome at Ewood Park and a heartfelt thank you to EH Diouf for his great service.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Senior citizens leading by example

In recent years, because of financial handcuffs, our beloved club has had a difficult time of holding on to its better players. With our newfound financial strength though, one would think it would be a whole lot easier. That hasn't been the case however, with our arguably best player, King Samba, expressing a desire to leave for greener pastures.

It was always going to be a difficult task for Steve Kean to keep all our players happy, as most of them were apparently very happy with Big Sam and the way he worked with the players. But it is common knowledge that wisdom is acquired with age and that also seems to be the case at the Brockhall training ground, as both Admiral Nelsen and Commander Salgado have both signed new contracts, thwarting speculation about unrest at the club.

Reports of Spurs coming in for England's true No.1, has reportedly made the club offer him a new contract, both as a way of fending off interest, but also as a way of proving to the fans, that we are no longer a selling club.

The contract extensions signed by our senior players, will also inevitably help the club attract younger players and supposed big name players, as there once again seems to be stability at the club. This is apparently already working, with Formica on the brink of signing, Roniel coming in on trial and so on.

The new signings, both loans and permanent signings, should also inject a feeling of excitement which in turn should motivate players like Samba to stay at the club and help it reach new hights.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Onwards and upwards

After more than a week of pneumonia, I'm back and will be back to full fitness in a couple of days and hopefully the writing will follow suit.

These last couple of games, and the days in between, have shown that sacking Big Sam maybe wasn't such a bad decision after all. Some claimed that having such an unproven manager might make it difficult to attract quality players. Some claimed that we were serious relegation contenders with Kean at the helm. Our current 7th position tells a different story.

Kean promised more attacking football and boy has he delivered. I am a fan of Big Sam's football and I think football is a man's sport. But I must admit we are looking more attractive now than before. With Olsson and Hoilett on the wings, Gamst and Dunn in midfield and a mixed front line, we are looking like a mean attacking force. The players are trying to exchange the long balls for short quick passes and they are adjusting to the new life slowly. This was easy to see against WBA where we lost too many balls because of sloppy passes.

The signings we have made so far are not flashy or big, but from what we saw last night, they are more than adequate. Although he didn't do anything incredible and was lucky not to concede a penalty, Jones ran his socks off, got stuck in and passed the ball well. The thing to remember is that he hasn't played regularly in several months. Roque Santa Cruz worked hard and was involved in several good things. He held up the ball well and set up a couple of good shots from Samba, Dunn and Olsson.

Player of the match could have gone to two players - Hoilett and Olsson. Both were immense! Olsson made several crucial tackles at the back and had a few good runs forward and was unlucky not to score on his long shot. Hoilett was a menace going forward with his blistering pace and good technique. He even helped out at the back. His goal wrapped up a great performance and he gets my vote for man of the match.

With only a week left of the window, I do have two wishes. The first on my list is Samba's new contract. He has shown time and again that he is invaluable to the team and we should do what ever we can to keep hold of him. Other than that, I would just like to see a creative midfielder coming in. It's not crucial and can easily wait till the summer window, but it would be nice to get an exciting talented player in.

Over and out - Onwards and upwards