The Fan's View: Venky's must stop treating Blackburn Rovers like a franchise

The club have proved far better at firing than hiring managers

The process by which some of us come to support the football clubs we do is a strange one. With some, it is a hometown association, others (like me) develop some childish liking for a name, colours or star player and find it sticks, while for still others it is hereditary, passed down the generations like ginger hair colour or a tendency to back trouble as the years go by. But whatever its origins, it produces a peculiar loyalty, quite unlike any other.

All our other attachments, whether it's to "our" newspaper, favourite drink, novelist, holiday location or even partner, have some sort of breaking point. If our newspaper grows tired and tedious, if our holiday venue becomes overdeveloped, if our whisky changes its blend or our partner becomes permanently objectionable, then we switch to something, or someone, else.

Bizarrely, this connection between performance and continued loyalty seems not to apply to the football club to whom we give our allegiance. This may seem an odd thought to a supporter of Arsenal, Manchester United or Chelsea, for whom a bad season is one in which no major trophy is added to the cabinet, but it is not to those of us who follow – unswervingly, if not uncritically – football's spear-carriers. No one knows this better than we Blackburn Rovers supporters, who, of my vintage, have experienced years in the mid-table doldrums of the second tier, the dizzy heights of a Full Members' Cup final triumph, the scarcely credible winning of the Premiership some 18 years ago, and even, in the mid-Seventies, a brief excursion to the old Third Division. Whatever the troughs, however self-inflicted the damage, the sight of the old blue-and-white halves has – like the face of a first love – retained the capacity to stir the blood.

And so, speaking of things being stirred, we come to this season, one in which you would need the fingers of more than one hand to count the number of Blackburn managers, both "permanent" and acting. The club have proved far better at firing than hiring, hence the slalom down the Championship table. You would need to be a fly on the boardroom wall and have access to all emails to know whether the blame lies with the owners, Venky's, or others. But there are two things I suspect. First, that an ownership from the Indian subcontinent was always likely to struggle to get an entirely prejudice-free hearing in some quarters. Second, that Venky's have yet to understand that a major English football club are not A.N. Other franchise, to be managed remotely, and at time capriciously, but a unique entity to which their followers (their market, in other words) are viscerally and permanently attached.

Most of us would still be looking for Blackburn Rovers' results and cheering them on even if they were turning out in the Darwen & District Five-A-Side League. All the more reason, then, for the owners to begin a process of outreach, of talking to, and learning from, their fans, their Trust, and the town to which they ultimately belong. That way, they may show some sign they recognise the true nature of the club they have bought.

David Randall has been a Blackburn Rovers fan for 54 years.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss