by Liam McConville
Just under a year ago, I wrote a piece where I reflected on Blackburn’s slow trudge towards relegation from the Premier League. In the aforementioned article, I criticised certain Blackburn fans for going too far in their protests and some of the vitriol thrown at the hapless Steve Kean. Very rarely have I ever been more wrong.
I wasn’t alone in these feelings. Many more esteemed writers than me spoke of their displeasure of what the fans were doing at Ewood Park. Some articles even touted Steve Kean as a potential candidate for manager of the season before the eventual demise.
You see the problem is when I wrote that original piece, I didn’t get it. I still don’t really get it. Hopefully I’ll never, ever truly get it. For me to truly understand what it must be to be a Blackburn Rovers fan at the moment would be for me to see the club I support been ripped apart. The Venkys, English football’s equivalent of the Dementors, are sucking the soul out of a great club until it is just a shrunken lifeless corpse, leaving barely a trace of what it once was. I didn’t understand how this must feel and why protests of such ferocity were sadly necessary. The real regret is that, the anger of the fans didn’t force the Venkys to sell up.
Shady links to agents (specifically the quite contemptible Jerome Anderson) and the frankly ludicrous Shebby Singh spouting nonsense has defined the Ewood Park hierarchy of late. The motives of the Venkys are quite unclear. Perhaps they just want the attention and publicity they are getting. However if ever there was a case to test the theory that all press is good press, it would be this.
Blackburn currently sits in 18th place in the Championship, dangerously teetering on the brink of successive relegations that would have been unthinkable just two and a half years ago. Michael Appleton has been sacked after just fifteen games, with Gary Bowyer left with the unenviable task of trying to keep the sinking ship afloat.
Last week, I was listening to 5 Live, where updates of Blackburn and Burnley were coming in. There was much laughter to be had as not for the first time a chicken was released onto the pitch. Sadly a bit of gallows humour is probably the best way to keep Rovers’ fans sane at the moment.
The Catch-22 situation that Blackburn fans are currently experiencing must be very depressing. Any sort of success for Blackburn on the pitch is likely to lead to the continuation of the turmoil off the pitch. But how can you want your side to lose? Ultimately the only way to resuscitate the club is to remove the cancerous Venkys. If strife on the pitch is the only way this can happen, then sadly this may be a price that many are willing to pay.
The last two years must have been truly demoralising for Blackburn fans. They were the victims portrayed as the villains. Chastised for standing up and speaking out against those who were dismantling something that they love. The cowboy owners to end all cowboy owners remain at the club, carrying on their merry path of destruction. The sooner they leave the better. Then and only then can Blackburn Rovers become a football club once more, instead of the astonishing circus it is now.