Blackburn manager Steve Kean says he and Venky's are around for the long term

 

Blackburn manager Steve Kean insists he and owners Venky's are staying long term while mystery surrounds the position of deputy chief executive Paul Hunt.

Kean is unwilling to comment on widespread reports that Hunt has been sacked while nobody in the club's press department is able to confirm or deny the rumours.

Speculation over Hunt's position comes a day after a letter he wrote to Venky's last December calling for Kean's removal surfaced in the media.

Hunt also warned of growing financial difficulties and the danger of relegation from the Premier League, which came to pass with defeat by Wigan on Monday.

It is unknown whether he received a reply but few of the recommendations to improve the club in his 2,500-word letter were acted upon.

Kean, at a press conference to preview Sunday's game against Chelsea, said: "I am aware of the speculation but I can't, at this moment, confirm it.

"That is all I want to say on that matter. I just want to talk about the Chelsea game."

Venky's, the Indian poultry giants, have proved hugely unpopular owners since their takeover of the club in November 2010 while Kean has been the subject of vitriolic fans' abuse all season.

That reached a nadir as relegation was confirmed but Kean, appointed by Venky's after the sacking of Sam Allardyce, has vowed to fight on.

The Scot said: "It is very simple. The owners are here for the long term, I am here for the long term.

"We are now taking one step backwards to push forward. I am confident we can get there.

"We have the basis of a good young side, we just have to add more experience.

"I said a number of weeks ago, it is a changing time for the club.

"We have got new owners and I still think I am new into the job.

"Moving forward, I think it is going to be an exciting time for the club.

"We have taken a massive step back but we have to make sure we get back at the first time of asking.

"The owners are not going anywhere, I'm not going anywhere."

When asked if Venky's are the right owners for the club, Kean said: "100%."

Hunt's letter, whilst not being directly critical, amounted to a damning indictment of the regime under Pune-based Venky's.

In it he also called for greater executive power to make decisions on the owners' behalf and for more communication with and visits from officials in India.

Its contents, and the club's now apparent inability to confirm whether Hunt is still in position, highlight the feeling of distance between Ewood Park and Pune.

It often seems the only regular line of communication between the club and owners is through Kean, who says he has already held in-depth discussions with them over the make-up of next year's squad.

Kean said: "They are the same as myself and the players, they are devastated. We are very numb.

"We have taken a step backwards but we have to prepare a squad and the process has already started.

"I have spoken at great lengths with the owners and now we have to start building a squad to hit the ground running and make sure it is one step backwards to take two forward, and we come back at the first time of asking.

"That is the only objective now we can work on."

Despite his regular contact with Venky's, Kean insists he can only comment on on-field matters.

He said: "From my point of view, I can only come up and face you every pre-match or every post-match.

"I know we have got many people employed at Ewood to put out different statements on different subjects.

"I will never shirk away from any responsibility but I am not a financial director, I am not a chief executive or a marketing director.

"I have been on radio shows and football forums on official websites and I have never not answered a football question.

"The other parts of the club should be answered by the heads of those departments."

Kean also deflected questions on the barracking he received throughout Monday's tortuous loss and the clear hatred towards him from supporters.

He said: "Most of the time, at home, the fans were more supportive.

"They are disappointed, the same as everyone. We are all disappointed we are not going to be in the league but we gave it a really good go."

When asked if fans deserved an apology for Rovers' sorry season, he said: "You would have to ask each individual fan.

"When I met the fans in and around this village [Brockhall, location of Rovers' training base], all they do is say we are with you and we support you.

"I don't get anybody coming up to me and saying they deserve an apology."

Click here to read the letter in full.

PA

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