After all the recent troubles at Blackburn Rovers, the club and it’s fans have found themselves the subjects of much media attention. Their criticism of Steve Kean has been derided by people who wouldn’t normally give the club a second thought, and suddenly everyone is a judge of Blackburn’s “owners”, manager, and now it’s fans too. This criticism and apparent lack of understanding amongst the mainstream media, has lead to a group of Blackburn fans publishing this united statement.
Whilst some of the abuse Steve Kean has been getting has been uncalled for, there is no doubt that if the club wants to move forward there needs to be changes. Actually, forget about moving forward. The club needs changes to stop it careering backwards.
These changes would inevitably include a change of manager, but as previously discussed, the main problem at the club is Venky’s. The statement released by the fans repeatedly emphasises the modest expectations of a club whose success was built by the local community, for the local community. In an area of the country where attendances can suffer quickly if a community loses it’s links with the club, the Blackburn community/fans now worry that these links are starting to fray, and don’t want them to be permanently severed. An excerpt from the statement reads:
“Bigger clubs than ours have been relegated from the Premier League before and indeed we have suffered that particular fate before, but that is not our issue here. Our club is not only in jeopardy of losing its Premier League status, it is in danger of disappearing into oblivion under the stewardship of an absent and reckless owner whose public front is a manager who shows little sign of possessing the acumen to manage a team at the highest level and who has singlehandedly managed to drive a wedge between club and fans that has never before been witnessed at our football club, where a perfectly well-functioning community is being systematically dismantled before our very eyes.”
At a club where fan’s access to the team and club matters, and where ticket prices are at a realistic enough level to accommodate even the lowest of salaries – unlike many overpriced money grabbing teams in this country – the prospect of losing their club worries, upsets, and even frightens the fans. This worry that the club might be at the top of a slippery slope might make the casual onlookers criticising the supporters think twice next time they put forward an opinion on the subject.
The local community aspect was further reinforced when fans attended a Chorley FC match in the Northern Premier League, rather than attend their FA Cup tie at Newcastle. Chorley are a club in need of all the help they can get after suffering financial problems of late, and it’s telling that Blackburn Rovers fans have helped the club out by attending games on more than one occasion.
It’s a welcome gesture for Chorley that the Blackburn fans are doing this, but whilst watching these games 7 levels down from Blackburn’s current Premier League status, the worrying thoughts of club decline may have been brought even closer to home.