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Declining Gates - Worrying Times.


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After their exit from two cup competitions within a week, it will be interesting to see whether Rovers can bounce back in the league on Wednesday night against United. It will also be interesting to see whether more fans can be bothered to turn up,this tme, than the 24,348 fans who turned up at Ewood for the Carling Cup Semi Final first leg against United.

The drop in gates this season must be a worrying factor for the club after the way that Mark Hughes has turned the club round in the last 18 months. However for Rovers fans and the town of Blackburn, the more worrying factor should be, is whether the club can retain the services of one of the most talented of young managers on the scene at the moment.

Mark Hughes was recently quoted in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph as saying.

"My ambition is to go as far as I can, and take Blackburn as far as possible."

"We have got some way to go and hopefully we will get there quickly."

"Then we will need major investment to go to the next level."

"The club will have to decide how far they want to go. Chase the best or stay where we are?"

Unfortunately, even if the club's board of directors have major ambitions, without an increase in gate revenue, the club will find it extremely difficult to finance Hughes's ambitions, which could ultimately see the departure of their manager to greener pastures, which ironically could be Wednesday nights opponents.

It must always be appreciated that Rovers are a small town club, however they are the major factor in the global advertising of the town of Blackburn and any decline in the fortunes of the club will also severely affect the fortunes and profile of the town, it's associated businesses and the overall employment within the area. Whilst I can understand that there was a decline in attendances during the latter stages of Souness's reign, when his main objective was premiership survival each season, I wonder has the public of Blackburn and surrounding areas really become that disillusioned. Two cup semi finals since Hughes's appointment plus a current top half league position, surely deserves some recognition from the local population.

If Rovers are to make the step to the next level as Mark Hughes stated, the club will require major investments, but also they need the support of the local population. Any indication of whether the people of Blackburn and surrounding areas really care, can only be reflected in the gate this Wednesday night.

If the club cant get a near capacity gate for a local derby against United then there are worrying times ahead.

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