Playing Chicken with Blackburn

Big Sam's request for funds likely on the back burner

It looks likely that another Premier League team will fall into foreign hands.  Indian poultry giant Venky’s has offered up a 46 million pound bid for Blackburn Rovers… but it remains to be seen whether new owners are the answer to the team’s woes.

Blackburn sits just inside the relegation zone, and even though they put up a valiant effort against Chelsea on the weekend, Jason Roberts’ wayward effort in the match’s dying minutes seems indicative of the team’s bigger problem: scoring.  Rovers have just nine goals in 10 games, and have only scored more than one goal in just one of those matches.

“Big deal”, you say, “That’s just Big Sam tactics.”  But if you are going to play tight and deep, hoping to catch the opposition on the counter-attack, you want someone in your line-up who can do that.

A quick look at the roster doesn’t inspire offensive confidence.  El-Hadji Diouf is an over-rated menace, plain and simple.  Elder statesman David Dunn’s resurgent season seems to be moving further and further in the rear view. Man City reject Mwaruwari doesn’t seem to relish his role as a super-sub, and Kalinic hasn’t replicated the goal scoring prowess he showed in the Croatian leagues.

Not to worry, though.  New Indian owners are coming to save the day, no? Not so fast.  The Venky’s bid may come under a legal threat from back on the subcontinent. And even if the deal goes through, Blackburn fans shouldn’t expect the funds promised by former bidder Ali Syed, who said he’d offer up 100 million pounds for new players.

What they can expect is a name change to Ewood Park (Venky’s Park? Sounds like a university bar…). They can also expect some heavy marketing campaigns: Blackburn has one of the highest populations of Indian/Pakistani expats in the U.K…. a perfect fit for the Indian poultry giant.

Blackburn Rovers were once the proto-Chelsea… the first example of a rich owner purchasing a Premier League team and essentially buying a title.  But the days of the team acquiring an Alan Shearer-calibre player are long gone.  Reports are that Big Sam will only be given 5-6 million pounds once the Venky’s deal goes through.  But how much money will they be willing to invest if Blackburn do the drop?

Chicken scratch.

Brent Lanthier

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