Photograph of Ewood Park taken through football net

Newsletter - April 2024

7 members of the ‘We Are The Rovers’ (WATR) Supporters Trust Board met with representatives of Blackburn Rovers on the evening of 27 March.
April 3, 2024

These are the notes agreed by both BRFC and WATR.

The meeting was called to enable the Club to brief us on financial matters, the Football Governance Bill, and 2024/25 Season Ticket pricing structures.

We discussed the owners funding of the Club and the impact of the Indian civil court cases.  It was confirmed that the Owners could fund the Club without future impediment from the Indian courts or the Indian Enforcement Directorate on the basis the Owners match every £ of funding with a personal financial guarantee.  

Steve Waggott (SW) confirmed that he had not needed to request any more funding at this stage above the £11 million operational funding now received and the commercial / sponsorship agreement monies of £3.5 million paid by the Owners to the club in 2023 but if required it would be forthcoming.

SW also confirmed that none of the Indian High Court costs are a liability to be met by the Club.  SW further confirmed that no approaches had been made to him to buy the Club.

A lengthy discussion took place on The Football Governance Bill and an offer was made to WATR to assist with joint lobbying of local MPs.  SW stated he was keen to keep developing fan engagement and the Football Supporters Association had been supportive of the Memorandum of Understanding in place at Rovers and the progress being made by us and some other clubs.  Both the Club and WATR are keen to develop the partnership further with the involvement of other legitimate supporter organisations being invited by WATR.

A key issue with the Bill is the need for an effective Independent Football Regulator; Steve Waggott confirmed that he wanted to see a Regulator with statutory powers to sort out non-compliance in addition to the advocacy route; WATR have a similar opinion.  

The timetable of the Bill was also discussed, and the joint view was that it was vital for the EFL not to rush into a poor deal with the Premier League over the redistribution of finances throughout the pyramid but rather to wait until the Premier League was under external pressure from the introduction of a Regulator with powers to enforce the much needed change to a fairer distribution model.

SW made a presentation on the Profit and Sustainability model in which he illustrated the financial framework around how club finances fit in to the current model.  Clearly, Rovers, and many other similar Clubs, face the challenge of ensuring competitiveness when faced with parachute payment to relegated clubs. There is also the imbalance of the levels of income generated compared to city clubs with larger fan bases and a more vibrant local economy.  WATR felt there is a need to move away from clubs accumulating debt to one where owners are putting in equity.

Further discussion took place on structuring Season Tickets prices for the forthcoming season.  WATR were provided with a document with some of the Club’s initial thoughts and draft proposals.  WATR would further consider the ideas and add their own as soon as possible.  WATR stressed the need for an entry level offer to encourage new ST holders; this could be for a section of the Riverside Stand or other appropriate areas of Ewood Park on a limited numbers basis to encourage take up.  Both parties were keen to develop ‘Fan Takeover’ games next season and discussed the possibility of three such events with these being at: pre-season; Christmas; and Easter.

Discussion also took place on Heritage matters with WATR keen to play an active role and help develop the agenda for the Rovers 150th Anniversary culminating in November 2025.  SW confirmed he would be setting up a working group on the 150th Anniversary and he was keen to have WATR’s active involvement.

Steve Waggott confirmed that John Eustace has confirmed he is very happy to be keynote speaker / attendee at the WATR Annual General Meeting on the evening of the 26th June.  The AGM will be taking place at the Rovers Senior Training Centre in the Indoor Hall.

Steve Waggott

Chief Executive Officer

Mike Graham

Chair of ‘We Are The Rovers’ Supporters Trust

 Photograph of Ewood Park taken through football net

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