Indian Takeover at Blackburn : Can the Rovers Dream of European Football ?

Kaustav BoseCorrespondent INovember 21, 2010

The stars for the "Blue and Whites"
The stars for the "Blue and Whites"Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Venky’s Chicken, an Indian based firm, has taken over the Blackburn Rovers for roughly £23m. Although the news may not be breaking news anymore and even viewed skeptically by few, there are a few reasons to believe that if a few things falls to place , Blackburn Rovers may really be at a profit from this takeover in the long run.

When I say long run, it is purely from the footballing front. The Rovers may have won the Premier League way back in 1995 following their marvelous turn-around as they surfaced from second tier English football just three years earlier, the dream run soon turned to gloom. In 1999, even being the second richest club in all-England Blackburn Rovers became relegated. Thus, setting an unnerving precedent.

For those very familiar with the Premier League or World club football as such, should be very well aware that the best way to earn success in today’s football comes only after a  good expenditure on the squad, i.e., buying the best of talents from around the world. However, Blackburn have already failed to capitalize in that process for too long.

There may have many a reason for the debacle like poor decisions in the transfer market, inept managerial aptitude shown by Roy Hodgson etc.

Although, a takeover by the Venky’s may not be as promising to make Blackburn one of the richest football club’s in England, what the takeover can ensure is a lot of promise and should Blackburn be able to avoid relegation this season, there is no reason why after the fair play rules come into effect in three to four years time, Blackburn Rovers will not be a able to challenge for the sixth or seventh spot in the Premier League .

Here I have enlisted a few areas where both the Venky's & Blackburn Rovers will need to cash upon to improve their grip of the mid-table or even dream of challenging the best of the Top 7 in the league.

1.)    Tap the unexplored markets

One of the basic needs for Blackburn Rovers is to improve the squad. However, with a severely constrained budget and no apparent attraction of playing European Football, the Rovers have to get down to very smart scouting techniques. All they could buy would be two types of players.

The first type will be the fallen stars , which is relatively  famous players  but in considered to be past their prime or else they have to settle for young players who are talented but in-experienced. Loaning in players may also be an attractive option.

Players like Mame Birame Diouf could be surplus to Manchester United’s requirements for a few years and it is players like those that Blackburn will have to cash upon and even consider the loan with an option to buy.

Sam Allardyce will need to show in some really good scouting skills which Roy Hodgson didn’t in his earlier spell at the club. Exploring into untapped markets like Asia (Japan & Korea mainly)  & other lesser known European or even American and African may also be a very viable option.

Sam Allardyce or Big Sam as he is known,  had stated that talent-wise he is no less than even the highly respected Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger. Well , its time  to show whether he really matches Wenger in eagle-eyed scouting! Especially with the fair play rules imminent, Big Sam should be able to plan for the coming 4-5 years in accordance then.

All in all the entire process has to be very exhaustive and football marketing firm, Kentaro and player-agent partner Sports Entertainment and Media Group, who are in charge at Blackburn have a massive task  ahead of them.

2) Believe : If RCD Espanyol Can, Why Can't Blackburn?

Espanyol are a unique Spanish Football club. Just like last season, even in this season so far Espanyol have earned the maximum value from the goals they have scored .

Espanyol ended the last season in the much respected La Liga at the 11th spot (a more realistic target for Blackburn at the moment) scoring only 29 goals. The lowest no. goals as compared to any team in the La Liga . Even the relegated teams like Xerez, Tenerife and Vallaloid scored 37,40 and 38 goals respectively.

Even this season , Espanyol have so far scored only nine goals this season and have obtained a flattering 19 points from that which sees them sitting pretty at the sixth position in the La Liga (a position that Blackburn would want to get to sometime soon!)

Even Athletic Bilbao, which has scored 20 goals, are sitting below them at the moment with 16 points whereas Malaga with 15 goals are fighting off relegation and last year’s European place holders Getafe are 11th with the 15 goals count!

The key to Espanyol’s success has been the solid defensive display which has ensured that they rarely give away the advantage once they have earned a goal advantage. 

Ewood Park is already a fortress of sorts for Blackburn Rovers and the physical aspect of football gives them some advantage when it comes to getting into feisty battles just like a few others like Stoke and Bolton.

However, they still need to get the best of even slender advantages like 1-0, because they just don’t have the arsenal to play attractive football and thump opponents as of now.

Blackburn must be realistic  as of now and Espanyol’s philosophy suits them fine but will they be able to match, well , at least they can try knowing  that it is possible!

3)  Venky’s must exploit the Indian market for revenues to build the team

Although easier said than done , India as a country has immense potential when it comes to finding a market to sell and Blackburn Rovers under Venky’s will have a great opportunity to go about in a big way if they want to.

Even Anuradha Desai, the matriarch of the family of the takeover agreed that they are looking to build a global brand in this manner and what better way to start catching attention than promoting the sport home and the brand abroad.

Mrs. Desai’s brothers Balaji and Venkateswara are also known to be football fans and the family have spent money on India internationals. So the spending may just come in, even if it doesn’t come in just now. (However, the new owners have already stated today that they are in the market for a striker!)

India is a country where another popular sport, cricket is considered as big as a religion and inspite of how the dipping the trend may be in Indian football, only in the 1960-70’s India ranked higher than the now regular World cup participants Japan and South Korea and there  is still a huge craze for the game in many counters.

Every year many a group of youngsters from India’s most famous club’s East Bengal and Mohun Bagan come to famous European academies at Arsenal or travel to Barca for friendlies or training! Even weakened  squads of Bayern Munich (actually one of the squads also had Oliver Kahn, Van Bommel and Ze Roberto) have come to India to packed stadiums!

Although Bayern Munich is a completely different proposition , the interest is certainly there  and  if properly harnessed there are huge revenues to be generated all of which could only be great for a club of Blackburn’s stature, especially if you consider that the Indian population is at least a few times that of the entire United Kingdom!

All said it must said that Venky's have a mamoth task ahead of them if they are really serious about taking the Blackburn Rovers brand and making it large . The only way of achieving it .."Arte Et Labore". (By Skill & Hard Work!).