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Need For Caution With Blackburn Rovers Takeover

Gael Givet Celebrates Scoring 1st Goal with team mates Blackburn Rovers 2010/11 Aston Villa V Blackburn Rovers 22/09/10 The Carling Cup 3rd Round Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
Blackburn Rovers look set to become the latest Premier League club to be snapped up by foreign investors. Indian group Venky’s are hopeful of completing a takeover of the club by November, a move which will see the first Indian owners of a Premier League club.

While the announcement is sure to course excitement amongst Rovers fans, the statement made by Venky’s chairperson Anuradha J Desai should make them urge on the side of caution. He said: “We expect to be the first Indian company to acquire a Premier League team. We are particularly delighted that the team is Blackburn Rovers, with whom we believe we have many shared values and ambitions.”

It is the word “acquire” that sets alarm bells ringing for me. Blackburn fans will see this purely as an investment, and while the club will fall in to foreign hands, they will be adamant that the general ethos of the club remains the same. Another perhaps worrying figure is Venky’s total turnover of £440 million, which is hardly ground-breaking compared with other Premier League owners.

Football clubs are not like other businesses. It is virtually impossible to succeed at a club with purely financial motives. If the Indian group don’t realise this, then it is guaranteed that they will be looking for a way out before long.

The warning signs are there. Fans of Liverpool and Portsmouth will be the first to tell you that takeovers don’t always bring the good times that Manchester City and Chelsea are experiencing, and even if they do bring some joy for fans, there is always the question of sustainability.

Take Portsmouth for example, who in 2008 were paying astronomical wages after Alexandre Gaydamak’s millions were invested in to the club. Pompey would go on to win the FA Cup that year, but soon after, the man who had bank-rolled the clubs success wanted out, leaving Portsmouth in a dire financial situation.

Just last week Portsmouth were fighting liquidation a direct impact of Gaydamak’s withdrawal, and while it appears they have managed to fight off the threat of closure, it will surely act as a warning to every club around to make sure whoever invests in the club is the right person, and has the right motives.

Yes the Premier League will make investors go through all the due diligence tests, but there really does need to be greater control to ensure no more cowboys are allowed to invest in something which ultimately can be the most important thing in people’s lives.

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  1. bob marley

    October 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Would you believe it, the Venky’s group is based out of Pune in India ……….that my hometown……….cool.

  2. PompeyFan

    October 26, 2010 at 6:19 am


    How much debt do you have?
    Are you making a profit or loss?

    Just so you know, in the last 6 months we have made a profit of £300k.

    Play Up Pompey!

  3. maggi

    October 26, 2010 at 5:48 am

    Anuradha J Desai is a woman… just so you know

  4. Roversider

    October 26, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Certainly a challenging time for Rovers but the comparisons to Pompey don’t quite hold the same fear for me. Our ground needs no investment, our academy and training facilities are top class and the people selling the club have been outstanding custodians for the last 20 years.

    Pompey need a new ground, training facilities and had a string of dubious owners.

    Risky yes, but the club will continue whoever the owner is.

  5. moodonthepitch

    October 26, 2010 at 5:19 am

    As a Rovers supporter I certainly share some your concerns, but for the record, “Venky’s chairperson Anuradha J Desai” is a woman. In other words, “He” didn’t say anything.

    Also, The Lancashire Telegraph is reporting that total turnover was £1bn for 2009-2010. I know different numbers got tossed about in these kinds of situations, but I there’s quite a spread in figures here.

    I realize EPL Talk is not the “cream of the crop” when it comes to journalism, but please do a bit more research in the future so all of us who enjoy the site can have some faith in the facts we’re presented.

    Thank you,


  6. PompeyFan

    October 26, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Great article and one which all Pompey fans would agree with!

    I saw on BBC Sport this morning that Blackburn would be taken over by Venkys. I immediately look for the companies website ( which immediately gave me a bad impression of them.

    Sorry Blackburn fans, but from the research I have done on these people you will be going the same way as us, but not in the 2 years we did it, probably around 6 months you will be in financial trouble.

    Play Up Pompey!

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