A comprehensive survey of Blackburn Rovers season ticket intentions for the 2016-17 season has revealed massive discontentment with the current owners of the club.
The Rovers Trust, the official supporters trust for Blackburn Rovers, canvassed its members to discover the extent of financial support by fans in the first season without Premiership parachute payments since relegation in 2012.
The club announced season ticket prices and sales last week and will be hoping to match or do better than the 10,000 sold last season.
But 40% of current Rovers season ticket holders have told the Trust they do not intend to renew their season ticket next season.
Out of 1,238 respondents, 48% were current Rovers season ticket holders; 73% of the remaining respondents were previous season ticket holders, so almost all the fans who took part in the survey are open to buying season tickets.
The survey went on to ask fans if their intentions would change should the owners of Blackburn Rovers accept an offer to sell outright or sell a significant share of the club.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Rovers fans, who are partners at Seneca, the independent investment management and corporate advisory business, had informally approached the Venkys to begin talks that could lead to a change in the ownership structure at Ewood Park.
The Rovers Trust board backed Seneca’s approach as an opportunity to implement operational control and put an experienced football management structure into the club.
The Trust believes this is the best way to bring operating costs under much-needed control and ensure the majority of any new capital is invested in the playing squad rather than funding previous or ongoing losses.
In the survey, 90% of respondents said they would either renew their current Rovers season ticket or consider buying one if the Seneca bid were accepted by the Rao family, owners of Blackburn Rovers.
And a further 75% said they would, in principle, be prepared to contribute financially to a share purchase if the Rovers Trust was to seek a shareholding in any new structure.
If share benefits were attached to long term commitment then 75% of respondents said they would be happy to purchase five year season tickets – a massive show of long-term faith in a club owned and run by fellow Rovers fans, in which the Rovers Trust would seek a significant role.
The questionnaire also asked if, under a new ownership structure, fans would be prepared to financially commit to the club over and above a season ticket, in the form of exclusive members lounges or business sponsorship.
55% support the concept of private members lounges and 26% would be prepared to sponsor the club through their business.
“There is a clear message that a significant number of Blackburn Rovers supporters want regime change and many are making an unequivocal statement to the owners that they are no longer prepared to put money into the club.
“If the owners continue with their refusal to communicate meaningfully with fans, it’s not just Rovers season ticket sales that suffer. Additional match day revenues will fall, merchandise sales will plummet.
“Football, above any other industry, feeds on the relationship between club and supporters. If you break this, you are left with nothing.
“The Rovers Trust continues to seek communication and dialogue with the owners of Blackburn Rovers, who have made no attempts to make contact with the trust since they took over the club.
“Fans rightly feel alienated from their club right now, but are sending out a message that they will wholeheartedly support new owners.”