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[Archived] Punching Above Our Weight


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I was going to add this to the Vinjay thread, but decided to try airing it on its own

Leaving the Walkers stuff aside, Vinjay's point that fans have been brainwashed into having low expectations is well argued and has some validity.

I like Vinjay's asserion that there have been three Blackburn Rovers's in the last 25 years: Old (no-hope) Rovers, Jack (expect everything) Rovers, and Post-Jack (???) Rovers, and that they are all very different. I would add 'Very Old Rovers' pre aboliiton of maximum wage.

What remains from Very Old Rovers is most of the trophy room and the reconstructed Boardroom. The only tangible element of Old Rovers that remains is the Riverside (and even that is an embarrassment), so I think it is worthy of debate why some of the mindset of Old Rovers seems to live on today, and how valid or significant that is as a part of our DNA going forwards.

The world has changed since Jack was funding our dreams, and I don't see why we should expect to drift slowly back to Old Rovers. Small town does not mean small club any more. Hardly any of our revenue comes from the town, and none of the players live in it, so one of the many changes has been the divorcing of club location and performance. If we are 'punching above our weight', then how come 'Boro, Pompey, Wigan, Fulham, Reading and Notlob are all above us? While European football has created a gulf between the top four and everyone else, the fact is that the Sky money, and the influx of monied owners seems to have greatly democratised positions 5-20.

That there are many clubs located in bigger places below us in the league does not mean we are punching above our weight, it means that punching power now has much less to do with weight and more to do with cash influxes fro Sky/Owners. We have had 16 years of Sky money and been gifted a magnificent infrastructure denied to clubs who stayed where Old Rovers were. We could not have had a better time to spend 14 years in the top flight. Poor old Coventry spent 30 years in it, but at the wrong time.

I for one would like to hear from our real owners how they see the strategy for Post-Jack Rovers, because 'but for us you'll be back to Old Rovers' is both unaspirational and patently untrue.

Edited by Exiled in Toronto
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In that case...what should Rovers fans expect? Sixth last year, enjoying a European run, excellent manager and good players do keep coming. We brought in a Champions League winner in the summer and, in Roberts, a regular starter in the Premiership. It's meant as a serious question: do Rovers fans expect too little or too much?

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The most we can expect is to do well in both cup's and if we get into europe do well in that. You can't expect a club with the lack of resources we have to be up there with the big boys. Should a big investor come in that would change and i have no doubt that all premiership clubs in the future will have a big investor.

The question would be will rovers get one, fight with the remains of jack's empire or will we be left to drift slowly down the table?

I hope we can fight back keeping the walkers involved but i we don't have the vast amounts of cash, so it's up to the manager. Thank god we have a damn good one!

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I posted this in the Vinjay thread but it probably bears repeating:

When was the last time a club who attract a gate of sub 30k reached the top four? That would be us then. When we won it and were backed in the range of tens of millions by Jack. Next best? Ipswich came fifth in 2001. They were relegated a year later. Next best after that? Us again in 2003 and 2006 when we finished sixth.

The only club I can think of who manage to compete despite having a massive disadvantage in terms of crowds is Monaco. And they have fantastically wealthy supporters.

On anysort of rational basis we are massively punching above our weight, along with the likesof Bolton and Fulham, any other conclusion is ridiculous. Our task is to build on that, which we seem to be doing a sterling job of, but we are always hamstung- small support means less revenue and less ability to draw top names to us. Which is why our achievements are so impressive.

I do not advocate pessimism, but I think it is important to realistically appreciate the disadvantages we face.

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As much as i hate Vinjay's rants his passion cannot be ignored, i second wakefieldrawls idea, Vinjay for BRISA.

We are punching above our weight as a club at the moment and it cannot carry on like this because sooner or later we will come unstuck as other clubs get more and more wealthy due to rich foreign investment. With our gates ever decreasing and merchandising not being enough to survive on we need to be doing well or the club could find itself working its way down the level of which Notts Forrest find themselves today in 10/15years time.

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As much as i hate Vinjay's rants his passion cannot be ignored, i second wakefieldrawls idea, Vinjay for BRISA.

We are punching above our weight as a club at the moment and it cannot carry on like this because sooner or later we will come unstuck as other clubs get more and more wealthy due to rich foreign investment. With our gates ever decreasing and merchandising not being enough to survive on we need to be doing well or the club could find itself working its way down the level of which Notts Forrest find themselves today in 10/15years time.

Grrrr.............. "Punching above our weight" I despise this phrase which John Williams came out with some years ago to excuse below par performances.

We are not "punching above our weight". We are exactly where we deserve to be at this moment in time (i.e. sweating after four poor performances and straight defeats)

We only got to the Premiership (twice) due to the benevolence of one man, who also put a superb infrastructure in place. Thanks to that for all but two of the Premiership years we've been buoyed by large amounts of TV money plus the added bonus of the Trust Fund. Weights don't come into it. Could someone please explain why we should possibly not be stronger than the promoted sides every year?

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Nowt wrong with the phrase Rev really. It's quite true, if ti is put in terms of size of the town, fan base and potential for support it's very true. Look at some of the heavy hitters or more "fashionable" teams we finished above. We should be stronger than most promoted sides but we perhaps are fortunate to be stronger than some of the more established sides. It's a good phrase, sorry you don't like it, not being sarcy either.

Let's do Spurs tomorrow, have my doubts though.

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Leaving the Walkers stuff aside, Vinjay's point that fans have been brainwashed into having low expectations is well argued and has some validity.

I would tend to agree that fans have been brainwashed, however they have been brainwashed, due to the success of the 90's, for higher expectations.

If Jack Walker hadnt bailed Rovers out in the late 80's and then pumped his wealth into the club what expectations would the fans have now. ?

How many people would have taken an interest in Rovers if it hadnt been for the success of the 90's?

We have lived the dream, that very few supporters have experienced, we no longer have the same financial backing of a supporter who was prepared to dip into his wallet to fullfill his dream.

What we do have is a chairman and board of directors, who manage the finances of the club to their best abilities, without taking the club into administration. The club now has to run as a business, it does not have a man at the helm who was prepared to throw his last penny into the club that he loved.

We can no longer afford a lambouguini, we have to make do with a mini. What we however do have is a good pit team, that are able to fine tune that mini and a team leader who knows where to pick up the spare parts and has enough tactical awareness to know how to beat the lambourguini.

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Could someone please explain why we should possibly not be stronger than the promoted sides every year?

We should be of course but there is usually at least one of the promoted clubs that manages to stay up. Last year WHam and Wigan did and even finished in the top half. The future is down to management and this does ebb and flow with most clubs. Get a good manager and we do not have enough potential to keep him, get a bad manager who blows our meagre transfer funds and we will go down.

Our problems will start (and end imo :( ) when we are relegated again and our Sky wealth dries up and we find ourselves once again in the real world!

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We should be of course but there is usually at least one of the promoted clubs that manages to stay up. Last year WHam and Wigan did and even finished in the top half. The future is down to management and this does ebb and flow with most clubs. Get a good manager and we do not have enough potential to keep him, get a bad manager who blows our meagre transfer funds and we will go down.

Our problems will start (and end imo :( ) when we are relegated again and our Sky wealth dries up and we find ourselves once again in the real world!

I find myself ageeing with you TND, in regards to relegation. Having been isolated from the success, for the most part, in the Walker period I apreciate every moment we spend in the prem, even if we are struggling. I too fear that our next relegation will lead to a rapid decline in our clubs fortunes, A la Forest, Leeds, Coventry, Derby etc etc.

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I've always thought one relegation would kill us, but look at North End and Burnley: no money and doing well.

Wait a minute, that's not the whole story now is it. They may be doing well now but look at the years and years (decades) of struggling in the lower echelons since their fall from grace.

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It seems that a lot of people never expect us to win the Premiership again. What a sad idea.

All we need to win the Premiership is consistency. We know how well the team can play, in best form they can and have beaten Chelsea and the Mancs.

If they can compete like that week in week out then the title would be in reach.

Edited by neekoy
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Just out of interest, has anyone ever met vinjay anywhere?

To answer the question,

Rovers are achieving remarkable results considering the resources the club has available. To have a team good enough to be in the UEFA and I would say, be expected to be top half of the Prem is tribute to excellent management on and off the pitch.

However, at current prices, the Walker Trust injection averaging £6m a year is equivalent to about a 10,000 boost to the gate and I think most people would expect a club averaging 30,000 attendances to be in the Premiership- a factor worth considering if we ever get relegated. Be under no doubt that Preston and the dingles would claim the top two places in the fizzydrinks league this season if they were to receive a £6m boost each before 1 January.

Next season, when the Sky money increase kicks in, the Rovers will be even less dependent on diminishing gates and the Walker Trust largesse. The key of course is to stay in the Prem- long term injuries to Brad, Sav and Benni and could endanger that.

Finally, if you take population, affluence and proximity to other football clubs as benchmarks for where to situate a football club, of the 92 clubs in the Prem/Football League, there are probably less than 10 in a worse location than Blackburn Rovers.

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Rovers are achieving remarkable results considering the resources the club has available. To have a team good enough to be in the UEFA and I would say, be expected to be top half of the Prem is tribute to excellent management on and off the pitch.

Not sure I totally agree with that. By my very rough reckoning, since Jack came in we've had $50m from him on players, $50m on infrastructure, at least $100m from Sky, probably $60m on corporate (thanks to the infrastructure), $50m in gate money and, using your rule of thumb, $35m from the Trust. (excuse my $ signs, I mean pounds but don't have the key) A cumulative income of at least $350 million spread over 14 years. In that time, Bumley would have had not even a quarter of that, so I don't see that excellent financial management is the sole reason we are where we are. Feel free to correct my estimates if you think they are out of whack.

Next season, when the Sky money increase kicks in, the Rovers will be even less dependent on diminishing gates and the Walker Trust largesse. The key of course is to stay in the Prem- long term injuries to Brad, Sav and Benni and could endanger that.

Agreed. I think Rev's point is that a summer investment of minus $1m is unnecessarily threatening our status

Finally, if you take population, affluence and proximity to other football clubs as benchmarks for where to situate a football club, of the 92 clubs in the Prem/Football League, there are probably less than 10 in a worse location than Blackburn Rovers.

That's one way of looking at it. The counter argument is Lancashire is a football hotbed where a much greater % of the population have the bug as opposed to, say, Cheltenham or Milton Keynes.

Overall though, it seems that we have two very different perspectives on Rovers underlying status after 14 years of Sky-dominated footy. I think it is out-dated to see us as barely deserving of our lofty position when so much of our income is not gate related and we have been gifted a fantastic infrastructure. I don't think Green Bay Packer fans see themselves as being one bad season away from the Winsconsin and District Sunday League. Size doesn't really matter much outside the top 4, and with Liverpool imploding and Arsenal in transition, 4th or even 3rd are up for grabs this year. Pompey are third, and good for them, but I don't see why that couldn't have been us.

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However, at current prices, the Walker Trust injection averaging £6m a year is equivalent to about a 10,000 boost to the gate

In hard cash terms the Trust are currently injecting 3m a year into the club not 6m. This has been the case for quite a few seasons now and was originally intended to equate to a full stadium when attendances were averaging 24-25000 under Souness.

As gates have dropped the injection from the Trust has remained constant at the same 3m. Not a criticism, just an observation of fact.

If you're talking about overall investment being greater than 3m p.a. due to concessions such as loans being written off etc then that probably bumps the figure up substantially but it's difficult to put a precise value on that..

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Rubbish- all you need to do is read the accounts and it says it in black and white!

The club was advanced another £3m loan more-or-less interest free last year over and above the usual £3m subvention and the previous loans extended since Jack's death of £14m were converted into additional paid up share capital.

So 3+3=6

14 divided by 4 years comes to 3.5 per year discretionary funding.

The Walker Trust has put in 3 x 5 = 15 (from the fund established for Rovers by Jack) + 14 + the new loan of 3 last year making a grand total of £32 millions in the five years since Jack died.

32 divided by 5 is 6.4.

Coming back to this summer, Rovers were not lacking in ambition in their transfer targets- number 1 target is playing regularly for Barca for goodness sake. Bellamy took a £20K per week pay cut to join his childhood heros' subs bench. The club brought in four new forwards, two of whom are Champs League regulars, plus the captain of the Dutch national side.

Now we are after Beckham!

And the club is being accused of ambition by a town which cannot get of its backside to go and support it.

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We are not "punching above our weight". We are exactly where we deserve to be at this moment in time (i.e. sweating after four poor performances and straight defeats)

Four poor performances? We hammered Bolton. Did well against United considering how rampant they've been. Warranted a draw against West Ham in my books (And my west ham fan friend's books).

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Rubbish- all you need to do is read the accounts and it says it in black and white!

The club was advanced another £3m loan more-or-less interest free last year over and above the usual £3m subvention and the previous loans extended since Jack's death of £14m were converted into additional paid up share capital.

So 3+3=6

14 divided by 4 years comes to 3.5 per year discretionary funding.

The Walker Trust has put in 3 x 5 = 15 (from the fund established for Rovers by Jack) + 14 + the new loan of 3 last year making a grand total of £32 millions in the five years since Jack died.

32 divided by 5 is 6.4.

Coming back to this summer, Rovers were not lacking in ambition in their transfer targets- number 1 target is playing regularly for Barca for goodness sake. Bellamy took a £20K per week pay cut to join his childhood heros' subs bench. The club brought in four new forwards, two of whom are Champs League regulars, plus the captain of the Dutch national side.

Now we are after Beckham!

And the club is being accused of ambition by a town which cannot get of its backside to go and support it.

Very well done philipl, outstanding.

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Very well done philipl, outstanding.

So I see that West Ham, that footballing superpower, have been sold for 85 million while we are worth bobbins, since we are punching above our weight.

WHU attract crowds of 35,000 and, let's be generous here, assume they rake in double per seat than we do from our skint supporters, that gives them an extra 6 million in gate money over a season. Since we have finished above them in 10 out of the last 14 seasons, our extra Sky money should make up, say, half of that difference.

So it would appear that WHU make, give or take, 3 million more than us, not counting our Trust Fund money. Hmmmm....I hope the Icelandic biscuit baron knows that it'll take him 28 years to get his money back versus taking over our over-achieving small club for nowt, which is what most on here seem to think we're worth. Because we're punching above our weight.

Or maybe he's planning to knock down the Boleyn Ground to build a meag-shopping centre or a new biscuit factory. But since it's located in the East London equivalent of Audley Range, perhaps not.

And the club is being accused of ambition by a town which cannot get of its backside to go and support it.

And the hard-up locals are being attacked by a wealthy expat, typing his condemnations as he watches the blood-red sun sink slowly over the distant hills of Gozo...

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EIT your point collapses because of the value of the land he's getting - which is 5 mins from a tube station, 20 mins from the - commercially massive and still growing - Docklands, 25 from the Square Mile, and 10 minutes from the biggest urban regeneration project in Europe (Olympics).

It won't take many flats on that land to double the £108 million the acquisition has cost (your 85 ignores the current debt) - no doubt there will be some cash for players too. But there's still no risk to his investment because the land is worth so much.

Then there's part two - the finances for the Olympics have already gone ~2 billion north of what was initially planned. Give it 6 more years and they will be begging a Premier League club to move into the main stadium and claw some cash back over the longer term.

By which time if all has gone to plan, the Ammers will be playing regularly in Europe and will need a bigger home - it already sells out now!

So the fans won't resist a move 10 mins north into something bigger. The man from Iceland has got himself a bargain.

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EIT your point collapses because of the value of the land he's getting - which is 5 mins from a tube station, 20 mins from the - commercially massive and still growing - Docklands, 25 from the Square Mile, and 10 minutes from the biggest urban regeneration project in Europe (Olympics).

It won't take many flats on that land to double the £108 million the acquisition has cost (your 85 ignores the current debt) - no doubt there will be some cash for players too. But there's still no risk to his investment because the land is worth so much.

Then there's part two - the finances for the Olympics have already gone ~2 billion north of what was initially planned. Give it 6 more years and they will be begging a Premier League club to move into the main stadium and claw some cash back over the longer term.

By which time if all has gone to plan, the Ammers will be playing regularly in Europe and will need a bigger home - it already sells out now!

So the fans won't resist a move 10 mins north into something bigger. The man from Iceland has got himself a bargain.

Maybe your right. But I assume you have been there - do you really think city types will stump up 200 million to live or work in the middle of one of the most blighted areas of the country? I thought I was in a 3rd world country when I first went. Maybe its changed since '95. Anyhoo - irrespective of the real estate angle, I refuse to accept the view that Rovers are a basket case for external investment

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