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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Rovers fans waiting on authorities

Blackburn FanZoner Gareth Williams believes it is time for the football authorities to step in after another boss bit the dust at Ewood Park.

Last Updated: 23/03/13 at 16:19 Post Comment

Anuradha Desai: Venky's chairperson

Anuradha Desai: Venky's chairperson

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Blackburn are searching for their fourth permanent manager in a season, but it is answers about Venky's ownership fans need, not a new managerial appointment.

The sacking of Michael Appleton came as a surprise to many but to the Ewood faithful it was nothing other than predictable: predictable in that it came without any warning, that it took the wider football world by surprise; predictable that it led to an outpouring of anguish on supporters message boards and radio phone-ins; predictable in the lack of class in how Appleton was informed, that former players and industry figures slammed the actions of Venky's and their global advisor Shebby Singh; and predictable in that there has been nothing but silence from the club and its owners.

For a time, it seemed pantomime villain Singh had been banished following the failure of his managerial choice Henning Berg. Singh had been neither seen nor heard since the turn of the year, with Appleton claiming in February that he had never spoken to the former TV pundit.

We should have known then.

Challenge the club's hierarchy at your peril. In Pune, the plan to replace Appleton was devised. Singh didn't even have the grace to tell Appleton to his face. In typical fashion, Singh left a letter at the training ground informing Appleton and his coaches that their services were no longer required. Class.

That's more than the fans got though. One paragraph on the club's official website was all we got to inform us of the changes - and that came after the national media broke the news.

Rovers fans have been through the mill. They were roundly criticised for the campaign to oust Steve Kean from his position (for what it's worth, I was vocal in my feelings that the campaign was misdirected, that it should have been targeted against the owners, but the owners were invisible and Kean was the only face at the club. Who else was there to target?), have seen their club's stability dismantled and their Premier League status vanish. It could get worse. There are nine games remaining to stay above the drop zone in the Championship. That task will not be an easy one for caretaker manager Gary Bowyer - five of those games are away (we've had more managers than away wins this season) and three are against promotion-chasing sides.

The search will go on for a new manager but no appointment will make a blind bit of difference while chaos reigns behind the scenes.

Rovers fans need answers about Venky's plans for the club - and it is time the footballing authorities took a greater interest.

A great football club, a founder member of the Football League, is being ruined from afar. Former Home Secretary Jack Straw has pressed the Football Association for a response to his concerns about the Venky's regime and Sports Minister Hugh Robertson is reportedly planning to raise the issue in the House of Commons. Rovers fans await action.

The FA and the Football League have a responsibility to protect its members. The Premier League has questions to answer too. Surely the 'Fit & Proper Persons Test' needs revamping and the testing made more stringent if owners such as Venky's can pass the test, take control and then do whatever they like to a football club?

There have been all too many questionable signings and speculation of involvement from certain agents and sports marketing companies.

I will not comment on speculation of any wrongdoing but I know many fans who would take a 10-point deduction and a relegation if it meant getting rid of the current owners. Better to support a well-run club in League One than a shambles of one in the Championship.

Players and managers have come and gone, some fans are refusing to attend games at Ewood until Venky's are out. Others may wish they had done likewise judging by some of the performances this season.

The heart of the football club has been ripped out - and the legacy of Jack Walker, John Williams and others is being destroyed.

The football authorities have a duty to safeguard the club and its supporters. It's time they did something about it. At the very least, they need to bring Venky's to the table to discuss and give guarantees of their future plans.

The Indian owners have certainly not lived up to the promises made when the takeover of the club was complete.

Enough is enough. Rovers fans deserve better. They deserve answers.

You can follow Gareth, aka @CircoW, on Twitter here

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