Last season saw Blackburn Rovers' recent slide in fortunes under the Venky’s continued, as the team saw a string of managerial changes, and just about managed to avoid being relegated for the second year in succession.
Discontent amongst the fans is at an all-time high, with attendances at the stadium steadily going down.
With the interaction of the owners with the club’s followers being close to negligible, Rishi Sikka, a 23 year old from London and a life-long Blackburn Rovers fan, has released a documentary, titled ‘Venky’s – The Fall of Blackburn Rovers’
Speaking to Goal, the 23 year old revealed why and when he decided to work on this particular project. He stated, “The idea for the documentary came about after watching Blackburn v Bolton on television, where the Blackburn team were putting in a dire performance and the fans were really venting their anger toward the manager (Steve Kean) that day. I couldn't quite get my head around some of the anger I could see on the fans' faces.”
“I left it a week or two. Then I gave a local Blackburn newspaper a call and I think I kept one of the journalists on the phone for about 45 minutes asking him every question I could think of about Venky's since they had taken over at Blackburn Rovers. I then researched a little into the protests which were on-going at the time, and once it was confirmed that we had been relegated from the Premier League, I found I had a documentary on my hands,” Sikka added.
The main focus in the documentary is the 'The Steve Kean era', where the first big Venky’s mistakes are detailed. The project goes on to show how these initial mistakes were further compounded in the long-term.
The documentary stars ex-players such as Derek Fazackerley, Simon Garner and Chief executive of PFA, Gordon Taylor. Sikka speaks to local MP's and councils who reveal about the complete breakdown in communication between the owners and the community linked to the club.
When quizzed regarding whether he tried making contact with the owners before releasing the documentary, the 23 year old revealed, “I had a 15 minute meeting with Balaji and Venkatesh Rao last August. I was told that they were interested in being interviewed to give their side prior to the meeting. However when I met Balaji, there was nothing in his voice that suggested he was merely interested in anything I had I say.”
“He asked me to 'stopp digging up old graves'. I'm not sure what he meant by this, did he mean the previous 18 months of events at the club which had been left unanswered? After that meeting, I didn't speak to anyone at the Venky's until about 1 month ago. One of Venky's senior advisors told me in no uncertain terms that the Rao Family was unhappy with the title of the documentary. They believed it was false and one-sided,” he continued.
“I have asked them on many, many occasions to participate and said that I would even travel to India. However, on every occasion they have refused and now they tell me that they believe it is one-sided. They ended the phone call by saying that the Rao family do not care at all, about what happens with the documentary and I could ‘do with it what you want'. I think in this sentence alone, their ignorance and naivety is personified,” Sikka added.
The obvious thing that can be found from this documentary is that the Blackburn community is hurt. They are hurt that they are not heard by the Venky's and that close community members such as ex-chairman John Williams have been torn away from the club with no explanation. The fans are hurt with the constant decline that their club is taking whilst the Venky's continue to operate from India.
You can watch the documentary by clicking here.
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