This isn’t intended as a thorough summary of the meeting, but here’s what I took away from it. This is from memory, not my notes, please consider this my observation and interpretations.
Disappointing window, what happened?
Mowbray disappointed we couldn’t get anyone in. Wasn’t for want of trying. Spoke about the difficulties around this for 25 minutes.
Shocked by wage demands and asking prices.
Won’t break wage structure.
Got close on some deals.
Has to field questions from Venkys as to why he hasn’t bought anyone
You said defenders are coming, while we got some loanees, why do Venky’s seem reluctant to spend on defensive reinforcements, but happy to spend elsewhere?
We’ve changed goalkeeper, brought in Adarabioyo, Lenihan is good enough to get us promoted, loves Nyambe’s attitude and believes he can make a top player. We can’t bring in an entire new defence, doesn’t know what people expect.
Clarified point that it was not a question aimed it Mowbray, it was about long term strategy and a reluctance from the owners, money made available for expensive attackers
We aren’t going to find a centre half who can, pass, tackle, head and read the game – they will be in the premier league. Its an important position, seemed to concede we could do with investing there, but stated it is difficult.
Walton wasn’t a target, fell into our laps at the end of the window. Others fell away. Knows he makes the odd mistake like all keepers, had the option to replace in January.
Are we not going to be back at square one in the summer as loans and contract expire?
Mulgrew has another year (just an inkling, but he didn’t seem overly happy with the Mulgrew situation)
Bell has an option in the clubs favour for another year
Aiming for 2 keepers
Centre halves massively important, would like to work a bit of magic with city and get Adarabioyo on loan again
Budget was around £1.3 million, they can always ask for more
Are defenders and goalkeepers a priority in the summer window?
Why do we have a third kit? We are not Man Utd with faceless fans. It is exploitative.
Waggott Angry – I would never exploit anyone
Grey kit has sold brilliantly
Sold out 2 runs of 3rd kit
Mowbray looked at Slaven Bilic and neither of them could believe we had been allowed to play in those kits as it was difficult to tell the grey and West Broms kit apart.
So many teams in this league play in white, and grey is close to white
Didn’t ever want to have to borrow a kit
Mowbray doesn’t decide who wears what kit
Waggott, the kit men, people from umbro and people from marketing sit down and review kits and decide on them
Might use same 3rd kit next year
Steve, you made a comment, "We couldn't have done more, where is everyone?" How do you think a remark like that is received by supporters, who already feel they have been treated with contempt for a decade?
No disrespect intended – it was meant to be a rallying cry
We fell short of the target (10k target, sold just over 8k season tickets, £325k shortfall)
Went to bat for the fans with the owners to ensure no price hike
Tries to understand economic pressures within the area
Oxford game was an event, not a match. People haven’t been back – not core support as highlighted by them going on the pitch
Scrap the Waggott tax.
Planning around catering
People come to watch the game, not because of pies and Bovril. It’s a barrier. And expoits fans and stops spur of the moment decisions
I don’t see it that way, we have the 1875 membership, that helps limit the cost of category A+ games
Lots of discussion round this – would consider it
Can’t make every game a tenner
Needs signoff from the owners on pricing issues and initiatives
Speaks to people at away games who still wont set foot in Ewood – understands why, hopes to re-engage
The 10k giveaway was a bad one wasn’t it? It can’t have lead to a single sale.
Yes it was a bad idea.
Almost done as an afterthought
Why is their primary use of the electronic advertising boards to promote Venky’s brand? What commercial value does this have to the club?
Not the primary function
Much of the advertising remains unsold so can account for this – it has a value. Same with the Riverside. Answered concisely and well.
If and when we sell advertising, we will see less of the Venky’s logo
Can we move away fans into the lower tier?
Fans forum have been relentless on this issue
Lots of discussion on this – opinions mixed
Marginal gains V loss of atmosphere
Opposition fans can sometimes seem to suck the ball into the net
Looking at getting home fans behind both goals
Refillable glasses and greener options
Sodexo looking into it. Aware of H&S issues
Lack of suitable allergen friendly options, and limited knowledge of catering staff
Disappointing. Will raise with Sodexo.
Improvements to lounges mentioned in the intro.
Over to Cheston – As it stands we are FFP compliant. We don’t have to report this yet, our accounting period is at the end of June so there is time to fix any issues if needs be.
Wasn’t giving anything away or getting into specifics. Almost defensive.
Clarified the three year period FFP relates to
Has there been any talk of a sale/buy back of Ewood?
Waggott interjected: Not at all happy! This has come from the fans forum. I’ve been misinterpreted. We said we were aware of all options available to us and suddenly we are selling Dack and selling Ewood.
Had to field calls from the EFL as this got out and hadn’t been discussed with them
They are aware of the ACV status
So while its not imminent, is it something that may be looked at down the line should we need to remain FFP compliant?
That’s hypothetical at the moment
We’d need to sit down with all stakeholder. There are legal ramifications.
We are a long way off that point.
I’m very concerned about the levels of debt, and the recent losses reported are unsustainable.
The owners are committed. They can’t do any more. We are very tightly audited, and the accounts cause no concern. They have made guarantees to continue funding, no reason to expect any change any time soon.
Desai made a promise to "absolutely respect Jack Walker's legacy." As we approach the Venky's 10 year anniversary, what is your assessment of her delivery on that promise?
Waggott not happy
We are working with the trust on securing a heritage grant. This club has great history and needs to be celebrated more.
We’ve maintained the statue.
Disappointing turnout for a well publicised plea to clean the grave, which Waggott was one of only 10 people to attend.
He is all about respect. Part of his ethos. All employees have to subscribe to it.
If anyone feels he has disrespected them, please approach him. They can take it offline.
I think the disrespect to Jack’s legacy is more around how the we have gone from being the model example of how to run a town club, took us to the top of the pile, and we’ve had a decade of decline and never got near promotion in that time.
Can’t comment on what went on before I got here
Humble people etc etc
We want to get promoted and so do the owners
There was a great deal of understanding around this. Rob Coar and Lynsey Talbot had both been looking at fitting tributes and been in touch with the Parkes family.
Bayes did a good job of explaining Tony’s current condition. He has recorded his acceptance speech for the next hall of fame class already.
Tony will be at the game tomorrow, and I wouldn’t be surprised if something was announced then.
Happily there seems to be a real willingness for the club to do what ever they can for Tony.
After the meeting
Spoke to Waggott – he was amiable and professional, and as always appeared open to discussion.
Stated that a lot of the questions were aimed at Venky’s and they weren’t there to answer.
Mentioned links with HSH (see previous posts of Venky’s welcome or not thread)
Knows of the three and their links. Understands why this would be a concern. Isn’t a fan of agents. Won’t go above a 5% agents fee and has lost out on deals because of this stance. Always pays them last and prioritises local contractors, PAYE, HMRC etc. Has been pulled up about it in audits but will continue to keep them as last priority. Mentioned a couple of particularly bad agents and deals.
If and when the time comes to replace Mowbray (the way he worded it was ‘If Tony comes to me and tells me he’s had enough’) he will go to market, do his due diligence, and get the best man for the job.
I pointed out it wasn’t his integrity or judgement I was questioning.
Ultimately they are the owners, I’m doing what I can to make this club successful.
Spoke about the attendance issue
We spoke at length last time about this too. Mentioned the podcast I did with @Herbie6590 on here, and how positive I was after that. There are a small number of fans reluctantly not attending because of Venkys, a bigger number not attending due to league position and falling out of the habit, and a massive number of potential fans who see football as a TV or streaming experience. Its difficult and there is no magic formula.
He is aware of a guy on Facebook who has started his own streaming service where he charges people to watch Rovers games.
Spoke about Venkys
I said their long term view is unclear. There seemed to be a lot of understanding about what had gone on before. He asked if I thought there was anyone still there from those times before he arrived who I was concerned about. I said yes. He asked me to elaborate. I said obviously people like Lynsey Talbot and Rob Coar were fine and part of the furniture... and then there was Pasha. All he really said about Pasha was “I certainly wouldn’t call Suhail a low level employee.” And something along the lines of ‘He is the owners man and long term business advisor’.
He keeps trying to get them to come to a game. I was in the minority of one in the small group of fans involved in this chat who thought this was a bad idea.
He mentioned that they were reluctant since they get pelted with a snowball, everyone acknowledged the fanbase had softened. There would be some negativity displayed towards them, but they (me included) would likely be shouted down.
I said I didn’t feel they were humble. Waggott said they he had told them “They don’t need to turn up in helicopters or a convey of Rolls Royce’s, just a Mercedes 7 seater with blacked out windows, just come in quietly and watch the game.“
Balajio’s son is football mad. He will be the one signing the cheques one day. They want to get him along and involved. He’s the one at Reading Uni.
Other bits and pieces that came up
Heritage project sounds great – he wants people to get involved
Chapman walks around with a hang dog look on his face. Doesn’t want to play for the u23’s… “Well, if Danny Graham can play for the U23’s you bloody well can!” We could do with that pace he brings. Its his head that’s stopping him.
We raved about Nyambe and Travis a bit
Brereton hasn’t worked out as we’d have liked
It would be great to get promoted even just for a season. He’d want to invest in the infrastructure, get a hotel or something at the back of the Riverside – do something exciting with it, not increase the size. Safe standing a possibility
From my point of view, I really want to be able to distinguish between them and the club, and Venky’s. I recognise my refusal to buy a ticket is futile. It harms my enjoyment more than its intended target. When I didn’t go the criticism was ‘You aren’t supporting the team’, when I take up the offer of free tickets it’s ‘You aren’t supporting the club’. I don’t like doing either, despite what you may think @Paul Mani My intention is to buy a season ticket again and sit with my family and friends, providing there aren’t any idiotic decisions taken in the coming weeks. In my opinion Waggott and Mowbray are likeable, committed and honest. I think they have the best of intentions, and that’s not something I’ve been able to say about some of their predecessors. So yeah, I need to make that small commitment.
Plenty of positives to take away, but plenty will remain unanswered as long as Venky’s remain remote. These meetings aren’t fit for purpose.