Thursday, 23 February 2012

The BRSIT. Proof that someone, somewhere is doing something

For far too long now we've had a football club that has been mistreat in every way you can think possible. Financially, structurally and morally Blackburn Rovers have been on a steep spiral down the metaphorical footballing gutter and for their part the footballing authorities have largely stood by and done the square root of a number less than one.

Of course, there is no proper evidence to suggest that anything illegal has taken place but Blackburn Rovers is an organisation who the Premier League and FA governing bodies are responsible for and the means they have implemented to make sure one of footballs' oldest clubs is treat with care have been about as much use as the "fit and proper persons test".

Something needs to change because if the current modus operandi over on planet Venky's continues then the damage caused will all be inflicted on the future of our football club whilst our Indian owners can remove themselves from this theatre of conflict with only small scratches to show for their troubles.

Step forward the Blackburn Rovers Supporters Investment Trust, or the BRSIT for short.

The BRSIT is a supporters group led by Darwen End sponsor and commercial partner of the club Wayne Wild which is set up with the idea of giving the football club back to the community. It is a financial operation devised and modified by Swedish financial expert and Rovers fan Daniel Grabko.

The plan is to build up funds by issuing shares to the fan base at £1,000 a pop and to sell (initially) 10,000 of them.

The idea behind the thinking is that any other group who buys Rovers in the future may have similar motives to that of the self serving Venky's and that fan ownership, which actually happens at clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, most of the teams in Germany and the mighty Ebbsfleet, would ensure that the club is ran without the primary goal of making a profit.

A romantic idea and one that should be supported, but not one without problems and potentially massive obstacles.

For starters, the current inhabitants and controllers of the club for some unknown reason aren't keen on selling. Despite the masses of loss, debt problems and slump in on-pitch fortunes during their tenure they still want to keep hold of their "baby". They've proven to most keen observers that they are unethical in their practices and the breaker of promises but still they refuse to sell.

Recent reports have even suggested that the Rao family have ignored attempted contact from potential buyers, which suggests an arrogance of the highest order.

Furthermore the plan to raise the type of money needed to make the Investment Trust active looks an uphill struggle... £1,000 each from that many people looks a big ask for an area that traditionally has a low/middling income range and from a town with a population that just about exceeds 100,000.

Add into this that the investment plan itself is reliant on the club being relegated for the plan to become viable and the odds look stacked against the idea.

Having said all that the BRSIT deserves 100% backing and support because it is allowing the fans to at least imagine a future free of despair and turmoil - a future that edges ever closer to a reality with each passing month under the failed ownership of Venky's.

Yes, it may very well fall flat on it's backside but at least someone, somewhere is going out on a limb and trying to do something to save something that we all love.

And that deserves the highest level of respect.


  1. Ironic that we're asked to support a plan whose success is dependant on relegation - that really is positive. If we'd supported the manager and players throughout the season ( instead of the last few games ) we wouldn't be in this mess.

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  2. We wouldn't be in this mess if we'd supported the manager and players? I'm sorry but I disagree with you here. We wouldn't be in the mess if the Walkers sold the club to Venky's. Another is the FA and the Premier League seeing them as "Fit and proper" - God knows how they passed that. But it's our idiotic and ignorant owners the club has who got us in this mess.

    I'm all for BRIST!! VENKY'S OUT!!

  3. Yes, the reason "we're in this mess" is ENTIRELY due to the owners, their lack of significant investment and their choice of manager. In the world of commerce, repeat business and brand loyalty does not come from underperformance and underdelivery. Most companies either change their product range or they go bust.

    Venky's do not deserve blind loyalty. Venky's must go. In a normal world, Rovers would be in a position to recruit a new manager now that things have gone horrendously wrong. But this is not a normal world and it is significant that senior managers do not want to come to Rovers when the club is run so badly. The owners' parsimonious style and self-evident incompetence means that no senior manager in his right mind would want to work there.

    The fault lies entirely with Venky's. Kean is doing the best he can but frankly he's a coach, not a manager. Fans will happily support the team in this environment but support alone will not win football matches - we need clean sheets, attacking options beyond just one striker, and players who are prepared to commit to the cause. Supporters cannot be blamed for woeful tactics which have lead to a depressing goal difference total and an inability to keep a clean sheet (witness two goals conceded versus QPR when the team had full support from the crowd).

    In terms of BRIST, I'm not in favour of supporter organisations running clubs as ultimately they have no money. We all know that owning and investing in football clubs as a business is a mug's game. Which is why the club should never have been sold to a business which cannot afford to invest.

    Sadly, what the club needs now is Jack Walker. Someone passionate about the club, who is willing to invest heavily, and is prepared to accept losses along the way in pursuit of "the dream". I'm not sure how many multi-millionaires still live in Blackburn which is why it is so important to retain Premiership status: other bidders will not be attracted to a lame duck (or should I say lame chicken?).

    Kean won't be sacked now (or moved downstairs even). We must wait and see what the season brings but I am not optimistic. Even after two coffees on a bright spring day...

    Venky's have sown the wind and now they must reap the whirlwind.