Avoiding Blackburn Rovers At All Costs

Matt Stanger is a Blackburn fan, but after 18 months of Venkys driving the club into the ground he's decided enough is enough. He won't pay to support the regime any more...

Last Updated: 14/08/12 at 16:30 Post Comment

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To sum up the current shambles at Blackburn Rovers, in June they were the only club in England's top four divisions not to have season tickets on sale.

Fans were ringing the switchboard, desperate for another nine months of madness and mayhem, but were politely told that no-one could confirm when the new packages would be available.

Thankfully, tickets are now on sale, and for very reasonable prices - adults can watch all 23 Championship home games from as little as £259. Bargain.

However, despite affordability, I'll be keeping my money in my pocket, tucked safely between the shiny Alan Shearer sticker from 1995 that I like to carry around and that 'lucky' condom I never had the chance to use before it expired last month. I must remember to throw that away.

Despite being asked by several friends if I'll be heading to Rovers' first home game (a glamour match against Hull), the events of pre-season have only reaffirmed my decision to avoid Ewood Park at all costs until significant positive change is made.

In the short-term, like most Blackburn supporters, I'd like to see the back of failed manager Steve Kean, who has won just 17 of 66 matches in charge.

Owners are harder to shake (supposedly), but unless Venkys get to grips with the challenges they are facing, there are many fans they will never be able to bring back on side, if indeed there is any hope for them at all.

To those on the outside, it may seem Blackburn are making strides this summer in their bid to return to the Premier League at the first attempt. Danny Murphy, Leon Best and Dickson Etuhu all appear to represent excellent business in the transfer market, while Nuno Gomes, now 36, is arguably a gamble worth taking.

However, if you consider the contracts that have been handed to these players, you'll realise that Blackburn, a club that used to pride itself on shrewd management under former chairman John Williams, is still heading in a downward spiral, with more nightmares on the horizon.

Murphy is reportedly on wages of £50,000 a week, Best brings in approximately £40,000 (which looks even more foolish now he has been ruled out through injury for six months) while Etuhu, a 30-year-old deemed surplus to requirements by Fulham, has been awarded a four-year contract. All three might be great buys for a Championship side - and just what we need at the moment - but as a fan I also care about the future of the club. We're all aware of Portsmouth's well-documented struggles with players earning ridiculous sums on long contracts - what if Blackburn don't win promotion?

In addition, where's the logic in spending significant amounts of money now, having already suffered relegation, and not in January, when there was still a chance of survival? For the record, the only additions in the winter transfer window were Bradley Orr on a free, and the hapless Anthony Modeste on loan.

Perhaps the significant element of risk would be more acceptable if the fans' foremost wishes were granted and Kean was removed from his position. It seems odd to equip a manager who has offered nothing to suggest he can achieve promotion with expensive players bought to achieve just that.

The fans have never mattered in this new era under Venkys though, despite all the PR guff they have peddled, and this has been compounded by recent reports that anyone chanting "Kean Out" this season faces ejection from the stadium.

The club are worried, much too late, that they are losing customers and as a result I've received automated phone calls from both Murphy and David Dunn encouraging me to buy into the phony positivity embodied by new director of football Shebby Singh.

But I won't be going, and I'd urge other Blackburn fans to do the same. The reasons for optimism are about as strong as Singh's backbone, as he was forced to apologise for hurting Kean's feelings when he said the manager would be sacked for losing three games in a row.

Singh said his comments were meant in "jest", but that isn't how it came across at the fans forum and there is nothing funny about the club's plight.

After 18 months of being ignored by the owners, it's now time for fans to vote with their feet. The issue is simple - don't pay to support a regime that will only continue to bring the club to its knees.

Matt Stanger - he moans about Blackburn on Twitter.

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