Blackburn get new ownership as Rovers look forward to future

The waiting is over. Blackburn Rovers has finally been sold. The Lancashire side have been desperate to find new owners over the last few years and there has been heavy interest in the club since the summer. Fortunately, Indian poultry giants Venky’s have finally sealed the deal and Blackburn supporters can now look forward to a brighter future for the Premier League football club.

Blues boss Sam Allardyce hinted that the deal was on the verge of completion in his pre-match press conference ahead of Rovers game against Villa on Sunday. Sure enough, just a few hours later, a club statement confirmed that the deal had been done. It read: “The Board of Blackburn Rovers Football and Athletic plc (BRF&A) today announces the sale by BRFC Investments Limited (a company indirectly wholly owned by the Jack Walker 1987 Settlement) of its 99.9% shareholding in BRF&A to Venky’s London Limited, a newly formed company owned by the Rao family of India for a sum (including contingent consideration payable) of £23 million or 17.17 pence per share.”

Venky’s were not the only group interested in purchasing Rovers. Ahsan Ali Syed was the frontrunner to buy the club a few weeks ago, but there were some doubts over his financial situation. But, when Venky’s came into the running a few weeks ago, it seemed almost inevitable that they would eventually win the race to complete the takeover as their interest appeared to be more serious.

The group want to tap into the Indian and Asian markets and believe that they can turn India into a nation of Rovers fans. Although they are only prepared to give Sam Allardyce a transfer kitty of £5m in the upcoming transfer window, many fans believe that any amount of money is better than none at all. Indeed, Rovers did not spend a penny during the summer, but now they can look forward to better times ahead.

Anuradha J Desai, the Chairperson of Venky’s, said:“We are delighted, proud and humbled to be associated with Blackburn Rovers, a team with whom we share many values and ambitions. Going forward we plan to focus on leveraging the global influence in establishing Blackburn Rovers as a truly global brand. We will absolutely respect the Jack Walker legacy and will be actively supporting the organisation to ensure that Blackburn Rovers remains one of the best run Clubs within the Premier League. We are particularly pleased that the deal has the full support of the Walker Trust, the Chairman and the management team who will of course remain in place with our full support. Blackburn Rovers is an historic institution that has won the Premier League and we want the fans to embrace us so that we are able to do our best in the interests of the Club.”

John Williams, Chairman of BRF&A said: “The successful conclusion of the deal is clearly a significant event in the history of the Club. It represents the end of the remarkable Walker era, which saw Rovers projected to the top of the football pyramid. In the 10 years since Jack’s death the Board and Trustees together have managed to build on Jack’s legacy and preside over the Club’s longest term in the top flight since 1936.”

The terms of the sale should also satisfy fans and many of them have been negotiated in order to protect the future of the club. These include that the statue of Jack Walker outside Ewood Park will be kept in a good state of repair and will not be moved to a different location and that the name of the Jack Walker stand will remain. Assurances have also been given about future transfer investment as well as maintaining the reasonable ticketing policy.

Early indications reveal that fans are split on the sale. Some believe that the club should not have been sold to foreigners, whereas others are delighted by the fact that Venky’s will invest in the club – which means that for the first time in years, Rovers may be able to buy players without having to sell. Doubts will inevitably remain until some solid, visible investment is actually made, but with the takeover now concluded after several months of various negotiations between different parties, the future will seem a lot brighter at Ewood Park.

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