Thursday, August 23, 2012
Empty seats at Ewood Park
I didn't go much last season - three times in fact - I managed more than that in 1988-1989 when I lived in Australia from September. Last season's stayaway wasn't a boycott as such, partly it was because of the toxic atmosphere that the angry fans had created, but frankly, I just wasn't enjoying it anymore. Now, it's more straightforward. I refuse to give the club a penny of my money while Venky's are in charge.
I'm not a glory hunter, who will only go to Premier League games. My first season as a regular was 1977-1978 and Rovers were a mid-table Second Division side with an average crowd of about 7,000. We were in the same division as Blackpool, Burnley and Bolton. Preston were in the division below. I chose this. I made a conscious decision to support a local team instead of Manchester United, Leeds or Liverpool. All the good times were a bonus, an unexpected gift from a rich fan who helped this club do great things. Without him, well, we'd be in the Second Division, on a level with the rest of our Lancashire rivals. So no, I'm a realist and I'm not a spoilt child, but what the Venky's are doing is as poor a job at running down an institution as football has ever seen.
There is hardly anything worth saying on the subject, because there is nothing they can do to change my mind. Even if they do things which on the surface seem like good moves.
Signing new players It may well be that by chucking a few quid at the squad that Venky's believe they can get back up. Some of the signings seem OK, but my heart and head says they have absolutely no chance. Steve Kean's record speaks for itself.
Communicating better The connection to the fans was lost a long time ago, gimmicks and stunts have backfired, I have never rated Paul Agnew either as a PR man, or anyway capable of running the club. This new director of football, Shebby Singh, came across as a bumbling buffoon on TalkSport. The reaction from the manager that his comments at a Fan's Forum were "disruptive" was further evidence of how manipulative Kean is with the media and how he engineers every situation for his advantage. Always the victim, never his fault.
Colin Hendry The recruitment of Colin Hendry as a coach is far more complex than a hero returning, in fact it's as tangled as Hendry's financial affairs.
Winning games Last night was the first home game of the season. And it had the lowest crowd since 1993 when Ewood was a building site. I had no excuse for not going, and I missed being there and I was glad they won, in fact, I hope they win all the matches at Ewood. If anything I'm quite looking forward to an away game soon - though I couldn't possibly take this moral high ground and go to the next one - MK Dons away!
Sacking Steve Kean This seems unlikely, but it is their ace card. The fans have worked themselves up into a frenzy on this issue and his sacking would make them happy, but he's not the problem. I want them to go, and take him with them.
Lack of performance on the pitch hasn't persuaded Venky's to give it all up, but lack of corporate, sponsor and commercial support will hit them where it hurts. That, and the sight of all those empty seats.