We print below an open letter sent to BRFC Owners on Monday 10th May.
At the end of another disappointing Season we find our Club is at least ‘treading water’. But our Owners are invisible, said to be ‘humble and committed’, but have not been to Ewood since they attended the Queen’s visit to Blackburn 7 long years ago.
We hope the letter is respectful and the right tone. However, the Europe-wide facts point to a profit-led, US-model that would not have any place or role for the Rovers – never mind the Swindons, Charltons or Coventry City clubs and other mis-managed clubs. Comments and support are welcome.
An Open Letter to the Desai Family, Owners of Blackburn Rovers Football Club
To: The Owners of Blackburn Rovers – 10th May 2021
This is an Open Letter from the Rovers Trust. The Trust is a transparent membership body with the sole aim of protecting the assets, heritage, and future of our Football Club.
Firstly, can we express our concern, sympathy, and support for the ongoing COVID emergency in Maharashtra Province and the whole of India.
Amidst the global pandemic, another less important, but serious sequence of events has taken place:
- The disruption to English football caused by the pandemic
- Poorly laid out plans to develop the Brockhall Training Centre, and then the arrogant intentions of PL Clubs to form a European Super League behind our backs and excluding BRFC for ever
The last 10 years has seen a gradual but confusing decline in the fortunes of BRFC, despite large infusions of money from Venkys London Limited, mainly from the Desai family and VH Group. To get promoted back to the Premier League, successful Clubs are always well-run, professionally managed, and coordinated from top to bottom. Once again, this season has ended in disappointment with the team severely underachieving on the field. Since our relegation, we have never made the top 6, and on one embarrassing occasion were relegated to the third tier – a scenario that was unthinkable prior to your takeover.
The confusing structure and convoluted decision-making process that appears to be in place continues to be a cause for concern and frustration. In the last decade, we have seen:
- A lack of transparency and an apparent lack of Lancashire-based board meetings
- No clear strategy with a number of bewildering decisions
- No attendance at Ewood Park by the owners in 6 years
- Slowness of decision-making, indicative of weak communication, and unclear financial management responsibilities.
The Football Industry is unlike any other sector in the British economy, or the Hospitality/Entertainment Sector. The Rovers Trust is a body of largely professional supporters, and while we do not claim expertise in this industry, we are totally and emotionally attached to OUR Club. We could never support another, and the last 10 years has turned many of our members away from football, rather than transferring to a more telegenic team. This is now a trend that is evident across the wider fanbase.
With the Trust identifying a period of significant change, we will maintain our support and pursuit of the following commitments in relation to the wider national picture:
- Protection of the English football pyramid and the ethos of competition
- Fairer financial distribution throughout the pyramid
- A cap to prevent increasingly untenable player wage levels
- Independent Regulation of Football Club ownership and management
- National adoption of the “50+1” ownership model for Football Clubs, with 2 Independent Directors on Club Boards.
We remain active members of the Football Supporters Association (FSA). Additionally, we will be fully co-operating with the British Government’s “Fan Led Review of Football”, headed by Tracy Crouch, MP, who we have already consulted with in her previous role as Minister Of Sport.
The aim of raising all this in an open letter is not to ‘protest’ but to promote moves to ensure that Rovers fans are not turned off their Club, and instead feel not only engaged at a local level, but also have their fears alleviated after the sudden crisis caused by VH Group decisions. We would be grateful for your observations raised in this letter and welcome an opportunity to meet in a suitably safe location at your earliest convenience. As it is an Open Letter, the Rovers Trust reserves the right to circulate the contents more widely.
Chair of Rovers Trust, on behalf of the Trust Board and its Members.