Ask most football fans if theirs is a ‘Big’ club and they will tell you with conviction – of course.
Giants from the North West to the North East, from Yorkshire to the Midlands to London and across the south will point to historic titles, cup glories, bumper crowds or modern TV riches and insist “we are a huge club”.
For many years, Blackburn Rovers and Burnley fans have argued who is the bigger club.
Now the argument has been put to rest once and for all.
An independent survey has been commissioned and carried out by renowned International journalist Nick Harris for the Daily Mail. And the results are amazing.
The survey used no opinions, just hard evidence to determine the answers.
It was worked out by a complex system, to much detail to go into on these pages. But there was six major criteria’s. The survey covers a complete clubs history.
Crowds – Global Fan Base – Trophies – Average League Finish – Player Quality – Income.
And there are certainly contentious findings. Six of the biggest clubs – Wolves, Leeds, Blackburn, Sheffield Wednesday, Bolton, and Notts Forrest – Play outside the top division.
And where did Blackburn Rovers finish in the survey ?. An amazing 17th place. Burnley were in a creditable 26th place.
So job done. No more arguments. Blackburn Rovers are a bigger club than Burnley.
To read the survey in detail and how all the rankings were worked out, featuring, England's top 50 clubs. Visit www.dailymail.co.uk/sport .
Just to wet your appetite Man United were in top position and our local rivals Bolton in 19th.
It makes for a fascinating read.
Financial Fair Play benefits the ‘Big’ clubs. They are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. This was not meant to be.
David Gill (pic above) former Manchester United Chief Executive and now UEFA Executive member, one of the architects of FFP, was asked to name by a group of journalists, just one thing that FFP benefited smaller clubs. He could not think of one, and said he would “go away and think about it”. They are still waiting for his answer.
Manchester City are the latest club to become disillusioned by FFP rules.
City, not a small club by any means, believe financial regulations drafted by UEFA to stop clubs going bust are being used instead to protect the status quo at the top of the game.
Debt – free City were fined £50m and forced to operate under a £49m transfer limit this season after breaching FFP. But rivals United were allowed to spend £150m despite being almost £400m in debt.
City believe the real motive behind clubs like United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in enforcing UEFA to implement regulations was to prevent owners like Cities Sheikh Mansour from investing their wealth in players and wages. FFP rules as good as make it impossible for another team to win the Bundesliga other than Bayern Munich. German clubs fear that the Bundesliga is now uncompetitive. That will happen everywhere eventually. Including the English Championship, Blackburn Rovers for example will be a very small fish financially. The ones with parachute payments and large fan base will dominate the division.
City believe, along with other clubs, that FFP is protecting those few clubs who were already geared up to be successful over many years. It’s the clubs who were already able to generate the most revenue that wanted FFP the most.
City look at it in terms of the established order, including Man United and Chelsea, protecting themselves.
Many football clubs, including Blackburn Rovers, believe in the business world you cannot tell people that they can’t invest their own money in their own companies. So no more Jack Walkers. FFP in effect, prevents successful business men investing in business.
Although everyone understands that there needs to be regulation in football, but just because a club is part of the established order does not mean they should be guaranteed success forever.
If owners such as Venky’s, for example, are prepared to lose £80m over 3 – 4 years that is their business.
Those defending FFP quote the old chestnut ‘look what happened to Portsmouth’.
Due to FFP a lot of clubs are now up for sale – the fun has gone out of owning an English football club. Owners all over the land are open to offers.
It is reported that just about every club in the Midlands are seeking buyers – Aston Villa, Notts Forest, Birmingham City and Wolves amongst them.
Owners have had enough – so have fans. No longer can a ‘ Knight in shining armour’ rescue your club, like Jack Walker at Blackburn or Roman Abramovich at Chelsea. The wind of change may be coming to FFP. Financial Fair Play faces a backlash from some clubs and fans in England and Europe.
Some clubs, Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal, pulled – up the draw bridge before FFP kicked in.
Obviously FFP suits some, it is a reason not to invest in players and wages, such as Newcastle and Burnley for example.
How will this effect Venky’s / Rao family, what are their views on the matter ?.
We will never know – they never tell us anything.
We are still awaiting Mrs Anuradha Desai’s explanation for the sacking of Sam Allardyce in December 2010, and the appointments of ‘advisor’ Jerome Anderson and manager Steve Kean, that lead to an ‘outrageous Premiership heist’ and the ruination of Blackburn Rovers. Hence 12,000 missing fans from Ewood Park and still missing. All due to no explanation from Mrs Anuradha Desai.
Maybe Gary Bowyer could ask her on his trip to India next month !.
The frenzy to get rid of Bowyer (pic above) by some, following our defeat v Brighton has been fuelled by local press negativity and would not solve anything.
Gary Bowyer has laid the foundations for recovery. Now we need to build the walls and put the roof on. It is a long job. There is no quick fix.
Make no mistake, but for Bowyer and his staff backed by Derek Shaw, Rovers would be another Blackpool and could still be if common sense does not prevail.
Wigan and Blackpool look doomed for relegation – it is to Bowyers credit Rovers are not.
He is working under a transfer embargo, mounting debts and on a shoe string budget. And for those who still see Rovers as a ‘Big Club’ - you are deluded.
Match attendances alone, scream out the decline that has taken place. Gates of 13,000 or thereabouts will not get Rovers within the needed parameters of FFP. Ewood is virtually over 50% empty every Championship game. That is Mrs Anuradha Desai’s fault, in my opinion, but that is another subject for another day.
Bowyer is our Manager, and it is not going to change. No one of any higher calibre would want the job. It is a poisoned ‘Chalice’. Get real.
I was at the Brighton game, my seat 149 row 1, just behind Bowyer. He was incandescent with rage and frustration. He cares.
The performance was dreadful. Probably the worst since the days of the awful Kean, the hapless Berg and the clueless Appleton. But we are not that good, certainly not a top 6 side. Why should we be, what do people expect. We have no money – no quality players – a transfer embargo. And Venky’s of London hinting at Armageddon if promotion back to the Premiership gravy train is not achieved by 2016.
We have owners who do not talk to us. It is all left to Bowyer. It is a mess. Bowyer is trying to sort it out.
This continued criticism of him and certain players trying to ‘punch above their weight’ does no good at all.
If this time next season things have got worse than that will be the time for a change.
The Rao family (pic above) had hoped against hope that Rovers would return to the Premiership after this season. And give the club an immediate influx of £150m of incoming revenue.
The club needs one season, just one, in the Premiership to solve the financial crisis.
£150m plus parachute payments of £93m for possible relegation, would solve the financial crisis, and stop the banks foreclosing on the club.
Barclays Bank have Ewood Park and all the clubs property assets, as security, taken out in November 2011, against massive losses and overdraft facilities.
Only Venky’s business reputation and private assets are keeping the club afloat through their good relationship with the Bank of India.
In order to clear Rovers £80m loss and rising, and comply with FFP regulations Rovers need a massive cash injection that promotion to the Premiership would give them.
An alternative now being considered by the Rao family is for Venky’s to become not only the clubs owners but also official sponsors.
Many things, including shirt sponsorship and the controversial renaming of Ewood Park to Venky’s Stadium would be paramount in the sponsorship. A £80m / £100m sponsorship deal over a three / five year period would make Rovers solvent, and well within FFP regulations.
Similar schemes have been undertaken at Manchester City and Arsenal. Although their revenue streams are much much greater than Rovers.
Home support is of a growing concern. The club cannot be sustained on present gates of around 13,000, with Ewood Park half empty.
Only Mrs Anuradha Desai can solve that one, by apologising to the stay away fans for completely ignoring them with her arrogance when they pleaded for the awful Kean to be sacked.
How the Venky’s chickens have “Come Home To Roost”.
Football’s rich list, as published by accountants Deloitte, this week. Show ALL 20 Premierships clubs from England’s top flight last season, amongst the world’s richest 40 clubs.
And so it would have been for Blackburn Rovers had Mrs Desai not sacked Sam Allardyce on 13th December 2010.
Allegedly on the advice of her ‘advisor’ and football agent Jerome Anderson.
Anderson allegedly even scripted the statement Mrs Desai gave to Sky TV Sports News the following day.
And I quote. “We have sacked Sam Allardyce for the future good of the club. “ We should be in the Premiership top 4 and playing in Europe. “We do not play entertaining football, and I like to be entertained”. And all this from a woman who had never watched a Premiership game in her life or even set foot on an English football ground. Amazing. Draw your own conclusions.
At the time of Allardyce’s sacking Rovers were mid table in the Premiership and 5 points off the top 5. Possibly the highest position in football Rovers will attain for generations to come.
Five short years later Rovers are a mid-table second tier side. £80m in debt. Fallen foul of FFP. Under a transfer embargo. And to all accounts – BUST.
Mrs Desai should revisit her statement of December 2010 and apologise profusely to all Rovers supporters, and the townsfolk of Blackburn, for completely ruining their football club.
She should while she is at it also apologise to Allardyce. Not to mention the departed Chief Executive Tom Finn and Chairman John Williams, for completely ruining all their good work over the years. Whilst allowing Anderson to allegedly plunder the club with the help of the awful Kean.
Then and only then can we even start to move forward.
Had she kept her nerve with Allardyce, Rovers would still be a Premiership club. Allardyce may have moved on by now, but he would have left Rovers in the Premiership. Big Sam does not do relegation.
It has been rumoured, by former players, Keith Andrews being one of them, that Venky’s didn’t even know Rovers could be relegated. They thought they had bought a franchise – similar to the Indian Cricket Premier League. UNBELEIVABLE.
It was well known in English football circles. That the ‘Big Pay Day’ from Sky TV to the Premier League was coming. Hence the panic to stay in it or get into it.
Did Anderson not brief the new owners of this – OBVIOUSLY NOT.
The case for suing Andersons SEM agency for Millions and Millions of pounds is over whelming.
Venky’s must employ the best of International Solicitors. Why oh why do they not pursue Anderson through the courts ?.
Alleged mis-appropriation of funds, alleged mis-leading advice, alleged mis-management, alleged malpractice, alleged fraud and deception. Who knows ? I haven’t a clue - but I am sure there is a solicitor who will.
What is Mrs Desai afraid of ? Maybe the cost of proceedings. But they have lost enough money already so what the hell. Maybe not a strong enough case. Maybe Anderson has not a case to answer. Or maybe she and her brothers are totally embarrassed at being taken for ‘Mugs’ ?.
Just look at those twenty English Premiership Clubs now flourishing Mrs Desai – yours could have been one of them.