Club Focus – Blackburn Rovers – Rovers set to become first Indian-owned Premier League Club

An Asian poultry group will complete the takeover of Blackburn Rovers next month, the club has announced. Rovers have been looking for a buyer for two years now, having been put on sale by the Jack Walker Trust. But after months of speculation, it appears that Blackburn will become the first Indian-owned Premier League club.

The Venky’s poultry company have appeared out of nowhere in their attempt to take control of the club. Rovers supporters were expecting another Indian businessman, Ahsan Ali Syed, to purchase the side, as he has been examining Blackburn’s books and financial situation for some time now, ahead of a proposed bid. In fact, Syed was given a period of exclusivity to decide whether or not he would go ahead with the takeover.

Syed had recently started giving donations out to local organisations, such as his £125,000 contribution to Blackburn Cathedral’s choir group. With such generosity displaying his new-found affection for the town, many expected him to seal the deal and win the keys to Ewood Park.

However, following rumours of unpaid debts in the UK and other allegations, it appears that the Blackburn board have decided against selling the club to Syed. The Western Gulf Advisory owner, who earlier promised to give Sam Allardyce £100m in transfer funds if successful in his bid, seems to have lost support in his long-drawn pursuit of the club.

Meanwhile, Venky’s chairperson Anuradha Desai said: “We expect to be the first Indian company to acquire a Premier League team. We are particularly delighted that the team is Blackburn Rovers, with whom we believe we have many shared values and ambitions.”

Former Rovers player, Kevin Gallacher, feels that a November takeover could be ideal for the club. He said: “It will give things time to settle down and give Sam a chance to sound out players and see who might be interested ahead of the January transfer window.”

Blackburn fans will be cautious until a deal is thrashed out though. After all, there has been much talk about a proposed takeover for some time now, yet nothing has really happened yet and Rovers are still under the same ownership and working within a very meagre transfer budget. Supporters will only be satisfied once the deal is fully completed and Big Sam is given some concrete cash to spend.

Rovers are in need of a quality striker who will score 15-20 goals a season. Allardyce has not hidden his jealousy at teams like Sunderland, who are able to splash out £10m+ on decent strikers and the Rovers boss will no doubt do the same if the funds become available.

However, some Blackburn fans are questioning whether Sam Allardyce is the right man to take them forward in this upcoming new era. A quick glance at supporters’ comments on the local newspaper’s website suggests that some would want a new manager to take the reins, in an attempt to spice up the football at Ewood Park. It remains to be seen whether the new owners appreciate Allardyce’s much-maligned tactical approach to the game, or whether they will seek a replacement to spend their hard earned cash.

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