22 years ago today Uncle Jack took little old Blackburn Rovers to the pinnacle of English football.
Times are hard at the moment but we will rise again and no one can take those wonderful memories of what Jack achieved away from us.
The day started with unconfirmed reports by Indian newspaper Sakal Times that Venky's had premises raided as part of what is reported as an ongoing investigation into unpaid Income Tax.
The ongoing situation was tracked by BRFCS forum members here and then later in the day Pune Kar News reported that 40 premises of Venky’s, at 10 locations across India including Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and others, including offices, farmhouses and residential premises of the company officials, had been raided.
In response, the Venky's AGM was postponed and it's been reported their share price has fallen 5% today.
Tonight has seen the launch of Duncan Miller's campaign as an Independent candidate for Blackburn in the upcoming general election. Duncan launched his campaign with the following message to voters
I am proud to announce my intention to stand as an independent candidate for the Election of Member of Parliament for Blackburn in the upcoming General Election on Thursday 8th June.
Unattached to any political party and the constraints that accompany such an allegiance, it is my desire to campaign on an issue extremely close to my heart and to that of many thousands of Blackburnians. I strongly believe that currently, there is no single bigger issue for the people of our town than the unacceptable plight of our Football Club.
My primary aim is to ensure the future of Blackburn Rovers FC for future generations; we want to see the Club in safe hands and this quite simply means WE NEED VENKY’S OUT!
The problems we have experienced at Rovers – products of a toothless, ineffective governing body, the opportunism of certain self-serving parties and an outdated culture blighted by concerns of corruption – must be urgently addressed. We have been let down by too many for too long and the time for action is here.
Vote to show you are tired of careerist officials, who put self-interest before the real purpose of their roles and the interests of the community they represent.
Vote for action to reform football and to combat the state of emergency at BRFC.
Vote to save Jack Walker’s legacy.
Vote Duncan Miller, vote Venky’s Out.
Despite Blackburn being a labour stronghold, the negative feeling towards towards the owners means he has a decent shot at at least retaining his deposit!
Duncan can be contacted on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/VoteDMiller and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A number of respected twitter sources reported that Mark Venus who was with Tony Mowbray during his time at Coventry City had been at Brockhall everyday over the last week. Venus stepped down from his position as Coventry’s technical director at the end of March. If these reports are true then it could be the first indication that Tony Mowbray plans to remain as Rovers boss. Related to this there has been speculation that David Dunn will move back to working with the Under 23’s.
Earlier this week a number of media reports claimed that Wolverhampton Wanderers were planning to make a £2 million offer for Rovers goalkeeper Jason Steele. Wolves are managed by former Rovers boss Paul Lambert and he will know Steele well from his time at Rovers. Yesterday however, doubt was cast over Lambert’s future at Wolves as reports claimed that he was considering his position due to the power that football agent Jorge Mendes has over transfer policy at the club.
There have been rumours over the last few days that rovers starlet Connor Mahoney has rejected the club’s final contract offer and is set to sign for a unnamed Championship Club within the next few weeks. If these rumours are true then Rovers would be due compensation which would either be mutually agreed with the club that Mahoney moves to or will be set by a tribunal.
Former Rovers boss Sam Allardyce has had his say on the club’s relegation to League 1. Speaking at his current club Crystal Palace pre-match press conference Allardyce said “I was at Blackburn with a well-structured football club and unfortunately since then it’s slid down, and down and down. I think that’s unfortunate and by how the club has been run since I left, sadly. That happens in football, changes are made and sometimes they are not for the best”.
Allardyce was sacked within a month of Venky’s taking over the club added “Blackburn as a football club when I got there was steeped in modern day history because it won the Premier League in 1995 – that’s quite a while ago, but they learned how to live with expectation of who they were. Sadly when Jack Walker died and the millions of pounds he funded the club with stopped, they still managed to find a business plan to continue and stay in the Premier League. That’s very important as a football club that business plan.”
In the aftermath of relegation there have been a number of developments over the last 24 hours.
Rovers director of football Paul Senior resigned yesterday. The reason for his resignation was not disclosed.
A statement allegedly written by the owners (which also bears striking similarities to one that was released in 2014) was published on the official website. The statement described relegation as a “temporary setback”, “shared the hurt of fans”, backed manager Tony Mowbray and vowed to turn things around. The statement did not contain any commitments about providing financial support to the manager.
Rovers player of the year Derrick Williams told the official website that the club was not able to recover from the poor start to the season "We shot ourselves in the foot too many times during the season so it is just gutting really. "I think our form lately shows that we are a much better team and we should be higher. But at the start of the season we just weren't good enough. "It was our fault, you can't expect other teams to pull us out, you have to do it yourselves and we didn't do that."
There is has been plenty of reaction from both Rovers and none Rovers fans to the club getting relegated to League 1:
Lancashire Telegraph on Fans Reactions: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/15270524.Communicate__invest_or_go_call_to_Venkys_from_politicians_and_fans_after_Blackburn_Rovers_are_relegated_to_League_One/
Excellent piece on the Blue Eyed Boy blog: https://blueyedboy.wordpress.com/2017/05/07/grotesque-the-frightening-and-not-so-wonderful-world-of-rovers-fall/
Another excellent piece on The Marple Leaf Blog: http://www.themarpleleaf.co.uk/2017/05/the-precise-moment-when-i-realised-my.html
Selected Twitter reaction from Rovers fans: https://www.footballfancast.com/social-media/twitter/blackburn-fans-distraught-as-they-suffer-relegation-to-league-one
A (bitter) Burnley Fan Perspective: http://www.uptheclarets.com/me-and-blackburn-rovers
Twitter Reaction from Bolton Fans: https://www.footballfancast.com/social-media/twitter/bolton-fans-taunt-local-rivals-blackburn-as-they-suffer-relegation
In the immediate aftermath of relegation to League 1, Rovers manager Tony Mowbray cast doubt on whether he would remain at the club. At his after match press conference Mowbray said ““I will have some talks in the next week or two with the people who matter at this football club,”
“Whether the journey for me continues or not. Let’s see. If it does, I can only see it being really strong if we can keep the right players.
“We will see how the summer goes.”
Rovers dropped into League 1 after a dramatic last day of the season. Despite winning 3-1 at Brentford, wins for Forest and Birmingham saw Rovers relegated on goal difference. Reports have suggested that key decisions about staff both on the playing and none playing side will be made over the next couple of weeks as the club faces up to playing in the third tier of English football for the first time in 37 years.
Ahead of the season finale at Brentford, Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has said that his squad will be “fully ready and prepared for Brentford”. Rovers head into the final match of the season facing a final day relegation battle with Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City.
Talking to the Lancashire Telegraph Mowbray said “We will be fully ready and prepared for Brentford, We are at least taking it to the last day. The worst case scenario on Saturday was that we lost, everyone else won, and it was finished, it would have been a terrible week. We now have this week to really build it up, get the players at their peak and maximum fitness, mentality and quality and really build up to this game as a cup final.”
Brentford’s recent home form has been very good having win their last 4 homes games which included impressive wins against Derby (4-0) and play off hopeful Leeds (2-0). Mowbray knows that even a victory might not be enough but he wants his team to win and put the pressure on their relegation rivals “If we go to Brentford and win, it might not be enough, but we have to put that doubt in everyone’s mind.
“I believe quite strongly in this group of players and that we can go there and make life really difficult for a team who are strong at home.
“But recently we have won at Nottingham Forest, been to Wolves and drew 0-0, so we will go to Brentford looking to keep things tight, nick a goal, and hopefully win the match.”
Rovers announced yesterday that they had sold out of their initial 1600 allocation for the game. The game will kick on at 12pm on Sunday and will be televised live on Sky Sports Mix.