I am writing this open letter to be read on Venky’s Facebook page and posting it via Vital Football Rovers due to posting limitations on Facebook (length of text) in the hopes that somebody from Venky’s will read this letter. A am a every day Blackburn Rovers fan who has been following the football club for 21 years now (I am 26 years of age) and would like to think I have a fairly decent idea of how the club is run, should be run, realistic expectations and do’s and do-nots for the sake of the clubs future.
My opinions on pressing matters are as follows:
1) If anything has been proved in Premier League football over the years, it is that 5-10 games can relegate a club under an inexperienced manager. Look at Alan Shearer’s reign at Newcastle United and Sammy Lee’s dreadful reign as Bolton manager (Bolton survived by the skin of their teeth) as two instances on this unnecessarily risky strategy.
We just can’t give Steve Kean the time to prove himself. We need an experienced manager in NOW. Or at least very soon! In 5 to 10 games Blackburn could be essentially relegated. Yes we have many games remaining this season. Normally you could highlight games as being winnable and losable, but the simple fact is we are experiencing one of the most compacted and difficult to predict Premier League in its history. One week Chelsea can be beating teams left right and center, the next Chelsea might be being beaten by a ‘considered’ relegation favourite in West Brom or Wigan. This just highlights how important EVERY SINGLE game is and how we cannot afford to entrust ‘test games’ to a coach/manager without managerial experience.
2) If Rovers get relegated, you will no longer have your Barclays Premier League asset. Television money’s will be greatly reduced, attendances will reduce, your target market in India will lose interest in supporting Blackburn Rovers when they can support more a more stable club who is looked at more favourably in the media due to that stability (something we don’t currently have) and it will be a struggle to get back into the Barclays Premier League in the coming seasons with the depth of our current squad. Taking into account their wages, pending contract expiries and yes even expenditure of clubs in the Championship which is comparable to our own.
3) I recently read a comment from Mrs Desai, in which she said she expected a 5th place finish? If she expects this, this season. Then you are just plain WRONG. It won’t happen. That’s coming from a die-hard Blackburn Rovers supporter! With the quality and depth of our ‘current’ squad. We were happy with finishing 10th last season as it was the first time in a great many years, we had stayed away from the relegation zone. Anything above 10th with our current caretaker, and squad is UNREALISTIC
Even under Mark Hughes, one of the best managers this club has seen in recent years and a much stronger team. We struggled to finish in European qualification places (6th-8th). This was when the Premier League was a lot easier league to play in, allot less money was spent by certain clubs, and our manager at the time had reasonable if not spectacular funds to spend on improving his squad. The likes of David Bentley, Roque Santa Cruz and Stephen Warnock come to mind!
4) If your train of thought is that Sam Allardyce was such a bad manager that a 10th place finish as was last season was a poor result then you need to think again? As I have already said, with our current squad. We would do well to finish 10th-12th place. SIGNIFICANT investment in the playing squad from an experienced manager needs to be undertaken if any hopes of a 7th-8th place finish are expected. Without a large investment in the squad. We are talking £50miillion, any hopes of a top 6 finish is beyond UNREALISTIC. If not crazy from a business point of view!
5) ‘The managerial situation’. Upon reviewing current candidates out there. I have come to the conclusion that an experienced manager needs to be employed sooner rather then later. Ideally a manager needs to be appointed before the beginning of the transfer window January 1st 2011. I would also add that any potential candidates need to be informed beforehand, that he might be employed by the club to organise A) A list of players currently playing for Rovers he would like to keep, B) A list of players currently playing for Rovers he would like to sell/release, C) A list of players elsewhere he would like to sign for the club, D) Time to gel with yourself ‘the owners’, the fans’, the players and organise a working staff to work below him at the club. This process can take significant time. Any potential manager needs time to realise a formation and structure for the playing squad and organise the future path that any potential arrangement of players will need. As well as make plans for progression in the long-term. Be it a progressive plan over the next 3 years to reach stages of improvement or an immediate impact on the Premier League.
MY PREFERENCE/SUGGESTION FOR MANAGER:
– Martin O’Neill – A manager of exceptional talent in highlighting extraordinary players, getting the best out of players and solid successful football
– Owen Coyle – Has put together a very impressive team in a very short amount of time. Was a success at Burnley until he departed for Bolton boasting an impressive victory record in both the Barclays Premier League and football Championship? Also a football manager for the future and exactly the kind of manager you could build a long-term future around at the club
– Martin Jol – A very experienced and successful manager. Looking at his win percentage in England, Germany and Holland, he is exactly the sort of manager who would take this club forward to the next stage!
– David Moyes – Has done a fantastic job at building a strong Everton team over the years and boasts a very high success rate
– Guus Hiddink – Has been an outside bet at most bookmakers, but if you are serious about your top 5 ambitions then bring in a manager who has the experience and attitude to take us there. Boasts an excellent record at ALL levels of management varying a 40%-65% success record at the clubs he manages.
PEOPLE WE SHOULD NOT APPROACH:
– Diego Maradona – If you wish to keep the English fans interest. Then Diego Maradona should not be considered. His ‘hand of God’ in the World Cup has not been forgotten and his appointment would leave English fans estranged from the club
– Glenn Hoddle – As a disabled football supporter I have hated this man ever since comments he made some years back. If he was appointed Rovers manager, I as would several other disabled Rovers fans that I know would be majorly disappointed
– Alan Shearer, Steve Kean, any other person without coaching badges or management experience. As I have already said above. As a club in the Premier League, we cannot afford to entrust 6-12 games to a manager who has no experience. Yes I am sure Steve Kean comes across as a person with a good footballing brain and confidence. But history proves this kind of blind optimism is a fatal method.
– Chris Hughton – Whilst his record at Championship Level was very good. He is still unproven at Premier League level. This would be too great a risk.
John Williams has been a hero of the fans of Blackburn Rovers football club over the years. His departure would signal the end or at the very least hostile attitude from the fans to you the new owners.
Over the last few weeks ‘us’, the Fans, have been relatively poorly kept up to date on recent events at the club. This is part and parcel why the shock as to Sam Allardyce sacking came to us as such a huge shock. Blackburn Rovers have always been a family based community club. Regular updates with the fans via RoversPlayer and official club channels are preferred to English media outlets such as ‘The Sun’ newspaper and phone-call interviews to radio channels. A direct relationship with the clubs fans need to be built before we can get behind you and support. Posting an article about your latest fast-food outlet in India being built before you have even given an interview to RoversPlayer is not the way to do it. As in all manners of life. ‘Trust is earned, not expected’. Earn our trust, and you will have our full support. Continue in the same path with unexpected sackings, negative unanswered rumours and a lack of general information and owner-fan communication and you will loose the support of the every day fan!
The Manager – As I have said above a new manager needs to be brought in. Consistency at the club needs to be adopted. The sort of consistency at a football club will not be had until a new permanent manager is brought in. If Steve Kean is left in charge for the next 2-3 months, consistency with the fans and the club will not exist. This element can have a very negative effect on the natural flow of a season. Do you want us consistently in the top 10, or consistently fighting relegation? Yes mistakes can be made in making an appointment to soon. But not making an appointment soon enough can also have a devastating effect on a football club and its season.
Plans for The Future: – Of course we all want to see the football club do well. Especially under your ownership. But the simple fact is you have left the every day football fan, and staff playing and non-playing very uncertain about the future.
This uncertainty needs resolving sooner rather then later. Only then can plans for the future be made.
I know it is very unlikely that anybody from Venky’s will read this message. But I know for my own sake as a Blackburn Rovers fan. It makes things allot easier when you put it all down in paper and consider your effort done and made.
I of course would appreciate a reply if possible.
Always a Blackburn Rovers fan.
An Open Letter To Venkys