Blackburn Rovers’ much-maligned Indian owners Venky’s have used the club’s official website to reiterate that they have no intention of selling their valuable asset. Recent reports in both a local and national newspaper suggested that a Qatari oil giant was interested in purchasing the Lancashire outfit, however Venky’s chairperson Anuradha Desai has strenuously denied the rumours.
Rovers’ loyal fans are unlikely to be happy with that news – the last few days have seen many dreaming about the possibility of their beloved club being owned by a mega-rich Arab sheikh – but the fact that the current owners have yet to even receive a bid suggests that the Qataris were not committed to purchasing in the first place.
Yet there is still a great deal of anger towards Venky’s on fans’ forums and message boards. Many supporters, who have kept an eye on and believed all the takeover speculation, are unhappy to see the Indians still in charge, while others are understandably concerned by how the current owners have run the club since they replaced the Jack Walker Trust around a year ago.
Not only have Venky’s failed to adequately replace former club chairman John Williams, ex managing director Tom Finn and other key members of staff, but their continued support of manager Steve Kean has been irritating a portion of the Ewood Park crowd. Team performances have been steadily improving over the last few weeks, but some supporters believe Kean is not the right man for the job. Those critics have protested against the Scot on a number of occasions already this season and they are now threatening to direct their anger towards the owners.
Despite some of the mistakes that Venky’s have made as owners, it is clear that they are still very much committed to the club. And the poultry giants still have an opportunity to turn their venture into a success. Should the successful business-people appoint someone who is familiar to English football to head the club, then things can still be turned around at Rovers. Taking a more visible, active role in the day-to-day running of the club may also be a good move, particularly for Balaji Rao, who is reported to be the most passionate and enthusiastic member of the family when it comes to football.
One of the fans’ biggest gripes about Venky’s ownership has been about how they have tried to run the club from India. If the Rao family were to spend more time making crucial decisions in England and also attending more matches, then they may just begin to see things take a turn for the better and their relationship with the supporters improve – something which is vitally important if they really are to remain owners of Blackburn Rovers for the foreseeable future.
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