Sunday, 31 October 2010

18, living with mum and dad and bashing Chelsea for a living

Less than a year ago, Phil Jones made his EPL debut against none other than Chelsea FC, helping Rovers to a 1-1 draw and almost destroying Chelsea's title run. Today, just 10 months on, he is a regular starter in the blue and white halves and personally I have never seen him play a bad game. He's known by Rovers fans as the future of England and has already earned rave praises from no other than Alan 'there are only four good teams in England/anti-rover' Hansen!

From time to time in my 23 years of living, I have thought to myself, why oh why didn't I work harder in practice as a kid? But today I think even the neighbors heard me thinking that! There I see this modest 18 year old kid, running around like a lunatic, throwing himself at every possible tackle and winning most of them. Now I'm not saying that I'm unhappy with where life has taken me, but bloody hell!

People have been talking about him being a defender and that he shouldn't be in midfield, but today he really put those comments to the ground. His tackles were the usual impeccable tackles, his passing was good and his movement spotless. What more can we ask for? Yes we have some other, more experienced players, who are primarily midfielders, but he's been good so far this season and today he was just awesome! He did get some great help from Emerton and the others, but he fully deserved his MOM from the sponsor, though it could easily have gone to one of the others like Benjani, Mame, Samba or even Emo.

Like so many others have said previously, the boy is fantastic and unless he really really wants to become a second Ronnie Clayton, he can easily end up at teams like Barca or Real, though that would obviously be a step in the wrong direction.

Over and out

Thursday, 28 October 2010

From 10th to fourth, from £5 mill to what is needed

Over the last couple of days we have been (over)fed, with reports of low budgets and no ambition. A £5 million war chest and a 10th - 12th target. In an exclusive interview with the LET though, which I encourage everyone to read by the way (link is at the bottom of the page), Venky's chairwoman Anuradha Desai put all the speculation to rest.

While reading it there were some ups and downs, some cheers and jeers and afterwards it I felt a bit restless about the whole thing. However after a bit of chewing and digesting, I feel 100% sure. This is the right move for Rovers, unless of course as Mikey Delap said in his blog today, "They could be the biggest con artists in the world."

I know a lot of fans will be worried by statements like, we are buying the club to raise people's awareness of Venky's (not in those exact words, but you know what I mean) and we will not be pumping in money, but rather let the investment grow on it's own strengths (again not in those exact words) and this is a business investment. I must admit that I was a bit worried too, but then I thought, with my impeccable business mind, "those are all positives, right?" The conclusion after arguing with myself for about four hours is (drum-roll): I was right!

Here are some reasons why:
Awareness: Who had ever heard of Roman Abramovich before he bought Chelsea? Now people all over the world know him, although mostly it's for ruining football, but who cares! If or when Blackburn regain the tag as one of the big teams, everyone with a slight interest in EPL football will know the name Venky's. It will even serve as a motivator to the new owners to make sure that Blackburn will be a top side, without overspending and therefor jeopardizing the whole operation, for years to come.

Grow on its on strengths: The strengths might not be that obvious right away, but let it sink in for while. The biggest strength, in my opinion, is the fact that Rovers have an average attendance of some 25,000, income from merchandise is very limited and we are among the worst sponsored teams in the league. However Blackburn are one of the least debt ridden clubs in the league and have been able to attract players like Santa Cruz, Robbo, Diouf and Hoilett and Kalinic who certainly weren't short of options.
We already have a pretty good and stable youth system, which is home to some very exiting prospects at the moment. Add to that the young team we have at the moment and the expertise from the alleged 'partner in crime' Kentaro and we have a pretty solid source of income.
Then there is the fact that Rovers are relatively unknown in the big bad world. I'm sorry to say it, but that's the truth. However I'm sure that it will work in our favor, as it means that there is an enormous amount of people that we potentially can 'brainwash'.

Investment: If you were to buy a company, any company, you would look for a company with a potential for growth, one that isn't too expensive, has a good management and isn't in need of major investment. I bring you Blackburn Rovers. It could just as well have been Stoke, Blackpool or some other club, but Blackburn is the only one with recent success. If they were to buy a club like Liverpool or Man Utd, who are ridiculously expensive, debt ridden beyond imagination and limited regarding growth, as they are already known throughout the entire world.

Or you could just be a 'day trader' and buy Pompey.

Over and and out.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The long wait is over (knock on wood)

At last! The long awaited takeover is now looking to be finalized. Venky's have announced that the club has been bought for some £46 million, while they will be taking on a debt of some £15 million. They say that the deal will be made official in 10 days.

Venky's are reported to be working together with Kentaro in bringing in young talented players, introducing them to the league and then selling them on, hopefully with a big profit, making Blackburn a footballing hatchery (did you get it?). Kentaro is also reported to be responsible for negotiating lucrative TV rights, bringing the club to new television heights. Venky's will also be coming with a cash injection, which will be spent on the club's training facilities and the infrastructure as a whole, along with a so called war chest of a whopping £6 million.

It has also been reported that the best chairman in the league, John Williams, will be keeping his job, meaning that Blackburn Rovers will continue to be the best run club in the league, or dare I say the World!? But in all seriousness, I would not trust another man in the chair. JW staying also means that Big Sam will most likely be the manager for the foreseeable future, which also means that there won't be any big shake-ups in either the coaching or playing staff. That being said, I do believe that there will be some changes in the playing staff. As I said yesterday, I truly believe that we'll be seeing some comings and goings.

The players that I expect will be going, are Chimbonda, Roberts, N'Zonzi and possibly Emerton or Nelsen. Of those I must say I would be very sad to see Emo and The Admiral leave. They have both been iconic to Rovers, although Emo has been dodgy for a couple of seasons to say the least, he has been a firm fans favorite for several years. Nelsen has been a fans favorite ever since he joined and he will be for years to come and rightfully so. That being said, I can't say I'll be remembering Chimbo, Roberts or The Zonz for too long. Although N'Zonzi was immense last year, he hasn't played regularly this season due to a lack of professionalism and work rate. He has apparently been unable to keep his feet on the ground, following all the hype and that is not acceptable according to Big Sam.

I must say I can't see many negatives with the takeover, although I was hoping for a bit bigger budget for January. The part of what I've heard about future plans sounds really good, as it will give us a steady stream of exciting talent and hopefully big international fan base along with some big TV revenues in Asia. I must say that for the first time in a long while, I really do feel that the future is bright, it's blue and white!

Over and out!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Lets get this blog up to date

I know I'm a bit ahead of schedule, but it's just so exciting!

So far this season has been rather turbulent to say the least. In the pre-season Rovers were linked with just about every man on earth taller than 6'2" and every other striker in the game. Then there were about 500 possible new owners, of which half were mentioned by name and each one richer and more exciting than the other. The friendly games were a bit shaky and after a very promising start to the EPL, we're now 17th in the league and some fans are already screaming for Big Sam's head.

First off, let's take a look at the linked players that actually made it to Ewood Park - Benjani... (do let me know if I missed anyone). We were linked with so many strikers, that after a while, I just stopped listening to the transfer talk altogether. Out of all the players that were linked, I only remember a handful and most of them I only remember because I didn't like 'em. The only striker I was really excited about, was a crying North Korean called Jong Tae-se. Rumor even had it, that he had been at Brockhall. He had a work rate unlike anyone else at the WC (hihi) and on top of that he had bags of skills. Then there were the likes of Jò, Benjani, two fellows playing for Portsmouth, Marc Janko, Zigic and even Matt Derbyshire who Big Sam had sold just twelve months earlier. The list goes on for miles, but basically I didn't care all that much. OK, I'll admit I was a little excited about having Matty back, but then again we got... oh, that's right we got Benjani who I have never held in any high regards. Then we got Mame Biram Diouf on loan, which might not be that bad, when considering he's our leading goalscorer after playing a couple of games and a few of days ago we signed French midfielder Herold Goulon.

Following the insane number of linked players, were all the bidders for our beloved club. I distinctly remember a Blackburn fan who was interested about a year ago, but after that there have been a gazillion Asian based groups, looking to get their hands on our club. First, I think, was some unknown Indian whose name escapes me at the moment, then there was self proclaimed billionaire Ahsan Ali Syed, then some Australian groups and now, in what looks more and more like our new owners, Indian based chicken company V.H. Group together with football media giant Kentaro. The deal is even said to be closed within 10 days, but more on that note tomorrow.

The friendlies offered little optimism to the fans, with four wins, two draws and four losses. However, Rovers were on a three match unbeaten run, when the first game of the EPL started on the 14th of August at 15:00. Big Sam emerged as victor, but Rovers were given little credit, as Everton were missing some midfield Spaniard I think. That was followed by a rather dubious loss against Birmingham, a win against Norwich and a loss against Arsenal. A draw against high flying Man City meant that the sky was the limit amongst some fans. However it has all gone down hill from there, with the only victory in two months being against Blackpool. The last time our Rovers put on the shirts, they were swiped of the field, by a nervous, lackluster Liverpool side. The next few games are against Chelsea, Wigan, Newcastle, Tottenham, Villa and Man Utd, which realistically can only give us about four points.

Now I know that reading this, you might get the impression that I want Big Sam out sooner rather than later, but nothing could be further from the truth. If anyone knows how to grind out results on scarce resources it's Big Sam. Although boring and over mathematical in his approach, he is the right man for job. Let's wait and see what he does with money between his fingers and what he will spend it on and then let's judge him. Although he has been in the papers today, stating that there will be no spending in January, I firmly believe that we will see one or three players coming and going. If there's anything that we know Big Sam is good at, besides the grinding thing, it's manipulating both the press, other clubs and players. I am convinced that this is nothing but an attempt to cover up the fact that he already has his targets earmarked.

Over and out

Here we go!

As this is my first blog dedicated purely to Blackburn Rovers, I would like start by to telling you about my relationship with the greatest club on Earth.

At the happy/ignorant age of seven, I learned that there was a thing called the Premier League. Like in most other countries, all my friends started following the likes of Man Utd, Liverpool and Newcastle. I just followed my closest friend and called myself a Man Utd fan. However, I never felt a real connection with the Red Devils, so naturally I didn't care all that much if they won or lost.

When I was nine-years-young, some random boy had started a Fareose Blackburn "fan club" and in exchange for 100 DKr/month (around £10), I got a thin newsletter. For an entire year, it was mainly about Per Frandsen, as he is Danish and us being Faroese, are proud of those Danes who make it in international football.

After two years of meaningless "newsletters", the so called fan club was terminated, due to lack of interest. I, however, continued to follow The Pride of Lancashire and will to my dying day! There's only one thing that I know I will be true to to my dying day and that's Blackburn Rovers Football Club!

Like most other fans, I have my favorite players and managers. But since I only started following Rovers in 96-97, my favorites aren't the same as the usual fans of my age.
My favorite players are in a tie - Matt Jansen and Colin Hendry. The skills of Jansen and the work rate and no-bullshit approach of Hendry, resemble everything that I want in my team. Though I must say that Savage, Friedel and (drumroll) Mokoena, are right up there as well. My favorite manager is Graeme Souness. Although the team was utter rubbish when he left, he got us back to the EPL, won us our most recent trophy and brought in players such as Tugay, Friedel and Gamst.

And with this, I leave you for today and will return tomorrow, with my take on the action in the recent weeks and the proposed V. H. Group/Kentaro takeover.