SAFC v Blackburn: Rovers fan with attitude pulls no punches



When Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers play, you know that if Vinjay* previews the game you get no name but the certainty of some forthright views. Too forthright, he suggests, for some fellow Rovers fans. Read on for a not-so-fond farewell to Big Sam, relief that the new boss is Steve Kean and not Roy Keane, sideswipes at Alan Shearer and Shay Given and concern that video technology may ruin the game’s talking points …

Salut! Sunderland: You have often bemoaned lack of ambition at Blackburn. Will the new broom sweep away that failure and lead Backburn back to top club status?

As you will recall from my previous Q and As I was not exactly a fan of the previous owners. I’m certainly glad that they have been removed at last. They have been nothing less than an absolute disgrace to Jack Walker and they never got the abuse they deserved. As you may have noticed our new owners have been abused by some of our more ignorant fans. They fully intend to spend more than 5 million despite false reports and will bring new global marketing ideas to the club improving an area that has been neglected and regional minded. Our more parochial fans won’t like the sound of that. Getting rid of the previous owners will always have my gratitude. Looking forward to actually seeing some ambition in January for once.


Was the sacking of Big Sam a travesty, long overdue or just part of the restructurirng process?

He was always transitional and the new owners are fully justified in the decision to remove him. Northern image, arrogant personality despite winning nothing and no marketing value as a face for the club. Still his period stabled things after the Ince debacle and he does deserve some level of thanks. He was never good enough for rovers long term though just like Bruce shouldn’t be seen as good enough for Sunderland.


So the new man is the old one’s No 2, for now at any rate, and has got off to a mixed start. Are you surprised the club had no one lined up to replace Allardyce?

Well first of all would rather have Steve Kean than Roy Keane (who as you may recall in my previous interviews is someone I have zero respect for as a manager or human being)

Can’t judge a manager after 2 games. Rovers have had a poor run of games against both West Ham and Stoke City in the past. Our fans can’t blame Kean for that though some will probably try to. As I write this there is still a game to come against WBA. Though they have spent less money than Sunderland they might have ended their yo yo club reputation. The faced Rovers fans are as fickle as you can get. Its time for the players to fall in line (especially the likes of Nelsen and Samba) shame they never had a problem with the previous owners who never spoke to them.

There was speculation about Allardyce being sacked initially after Venkys took over but just as his position seemed secure they pulled the trigger. It is possible that Venkys may have a target in mind who isn’t available until summer. Jack Walker had Tony Parkes in charge for several months in 1997. He was initially waiting for Eriksson who lied to him and later Hodgson. Venkys may not have made a public announcement but it is still possible that they know who they want. A journalist named Alan Nixon (who posts on the BRFCS website) was very impressed by Keans manner moreso than Brian Kidd (not that hard I guess) and the late Ray Harford.

I thought it might be a good idea to give Allardyce until the summer and then sack him but I guarantee I would have lost patience with him in Venkys position. I would have sacked Mourinho for that scoreline at Old Trafford never mind Allardyce. Allardyce has spoken of someone inside the club stabbing him in the back. Kentaro apparently suggested Venkys sack him but give him until the summer. Some fans have accused Kean of being the “mole” so to speak. I highly doubt that to be true.

Personally I think it was the head chef at Brockhall (training ground) who is relieved he no longer has to cater for Allardyce as well as Dunn.

Tonked at Old Trafford. Some good performances at home, describe the season as you’ve seen it so far.

The Old Trafford “performance” was the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever witnessed involving Rovers. Allardyce deserved to be sacked just for that result alone. I hate that club more than anything and I still haven’t forgiven the players for it. I was the happiest I had been in years for about a week after the takeover. Well the players certainly ensured it didn’t last long. Other than that Rovers have been relatively stable. Some would say boring.

What were your minimum and maximum expectations when the season began?”

There was major takeover speculation at the beginning of the season. At one stage it looked like an individual named Ahsan Ali Syed was likely to takeover but any developments were always going to be after August. So I have always based expectation on the january transfer window. I expected the club to be in a stable midtable position at least so hopefully there can now be a european push with the right signings or certainly another top half finish. The FA Cup is more a hope you can’t really predict knockout competitions though. If a shambolic Portsmouth can reach a final though there is certainly hope for Rovers.

Was there any special activity or inactivity in the transfer market that enthused/ infuriated you?

The wonderful Walkers contributed zero as usual and it certainly did infuriate me. They didn’t manage to sell anyone important at least much to their disappointment no doubt.

Who are the best players you’ve seen in Rovers colours and who should never haven been allowed anywhere near them?

The worst I’ve seen was a goalkeeper called Alan Fettis who seemed to make an error every time he played. One time Rovers were 5-0 up and after the opposition pulled it back to 5-3 there were worries they might equalise with him in goal.

As for best I missed Shearer by a year. Chris Sutton was brilliant in my first season 97-98. As for others people like Hendry, Duff, Jansen (until his accident) and Friedel are on my best player list. I don’t do favouritism though. I wouldn’t put any of the current players on my “best” list and while Robinson is probably better than Friedel now he isn’t Friedel at his peak.


One word each to sum up Alan Shearer, Shay Given, Mickey Gray and El Hadji Diouf

Shearer-Liar

Given-Underachiever

Gray-Average

EH Diouf-Controversial

Don’t think they were very good definitions but I’m not exactly a man of few words. For explanation purposes I call Shearer a liar based on his continued claims that Newcastle were his first choice in 1996. The reality being that Jack Walker would not sell him to Man United who he hated. You know Newcastle fans will believe everything he says.

Give me this season;s top four in order and the bottom three. If Rovers and SAFC appeared in neither list, where will we each finish up?

I didn’t think Blackpool had a chance in hell of avoiding relegation and they still have some way to go. I don’t know really its too unpredictable. As for the title race I’ll be happy with anyone other than Man United winning it.

Is it time to get a life and stop bleating about cheating and accept diving, feigning injury and trying to get opponents booked or sent off? Just another part of the modern game or an evil to be stamped out?

It’s always been part of the game. Would rather retain a bit of controversy though no doubt video replays will ruin many talking points when its brought in as I believe is inevitable.

When was your last great moment as a Rovers fan and do you remember an especially low point?

The last great moment was when the takeover finally happened. Relegation was a low point of course in 1999. Rovers had to beat Man United as things transpired but ultimately managed to go down with a little bit of pride getting a 0-0 draw when some expected a thrashing. Man United certainly weren’t celebrating that result. My lowest point was probably around 2005 when I finally snapped and decided to protest against the walkers. I have a reputation for anger but it is much better to saw how you feel than keep it bottled up. I have handled things better since 2007 onwards (when they finally put the club up for sale) but the scars of last few years haven’t entirely healed. Many older rovers fans may consider the playoff final in 1989 as their worst memory due to absymal refereeing costing the club promotion. Though Jack Walker soon made up for that.


Were you bothered about the Fifa vote on the 2018 World Cup and what is your abiding memory of South Africa 2010?

No I wasn’t particularly bothered since Ewood wouldn’t have hosted any games. Russia makes more sense than Qatar. My abiding memory of South Africa 2010? Probably those stupid instruments however you spell it.

Will you make it to our game? What will be the score?

Probably not think I’ll go to WBA instead with that game coming up soon. I’ll go for a draw not sure what exact score though.


* Vinjay: runs BRFC Attitude, making him our stablemate at footballunited.com

Interview : Colin Randall

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23 thoughts on “SAFC v Blackburn: Rovers fan with attitude pulls no punches”

  1. Well, well. That is neither of us “parochial” then! There are a few Rovers boys around here as well, and I used to think I was the only one in the village! And Burnley! But the banter is always friendly..though keen! We even went up to Ewood in the car together last year, but of course I insisted they walk behind me a few paces as we made our way to Ewood. They thus evaded the giant Police “coaches only” Operation, which is, of course a huge downside to “parochialism”!!!!!

  2. Colonel B one more thing in common. I too reside in the West Midlands ( Southern Region ) Bloody exciles!

  3. Thank you indeed, Alan. We have much in common but I am only a whippersnapper – been following Rovers for just over 50 years now. My outlaws are Geordies though and I have watched their antics very, very closely these last few decades. Their support for their club is truly legendary (I dont want to use the phrase “parochial”, it has insult connotations elsewhere), but having said that so is that of Sunderland. It is the boardroom antics at the Toon that have amused me and the early Toonlike moves of the Venkys have not instilled much confidence. However, this is not a product of racism, inertia or a lack of vision, more a palpable fear of it all going belly – up horribly. A “trust everybody but always cut the pack” mentality. There would be no way back for the Rovers. We will never be the “Bank of England” Rokerites of the 1950s. More the “Bank of Toytown”. I admit I do not like being insulted for feeling this way and having fun poked at me by someone with very little mileage or experience.
    Added to the pot, of course, is the very real proportion of Asians in Blackburn. I do not think this is a significant factor in the North East. I myself now live in the West Midlands and travel a lot to watch Rovers. I do believe the West Midlands is way ahead of Lancashire in terms of racial inclusion now but it has not been easy and problems still exist.
    Altruistic owners, multi racial Rovers’ crowds, success on the pitch and whupping Burnley! Now there is a thought for the New Year!
    Good luck to you and Sunderland, a club with heritage and good support and I hope we can play you yearly for many years to come. And Blackpool!

  4. Colonel B No I will not be around but I have been for my team for 60 years as a supporter and have no doubt that the pain I feel is just as much as that you undergo. “When you cut me do I not bleed?”

    It is for that reason I have watched the comings and goings at your club. My outlaws after 20 years became in-laws last Christmas and the club was and for the surviving party is dear to their hearts.

    Love and support sustains clubs, memories are important too but as a supporter of the Bank of England Club cash flow is so vital to viability and in our precarious financial times with overpaid players such as our strikers incapable last week of hitting the target with 33 chances numbers through the turnstiles are vital.

    I am not denigrating your club but having had a privileged view of the finances of some of our bigger clubs I am very much aware of what a fine financial line between survival and disaster our clubs walk. This used to be the sport of the masses, in the north east my grandda and my dad had pocket money for a few FAGS, A BEER AND THE MATCH, EACH WEEK, FOR MUCH OF THEIR LIVES. Now we the fans are being priced out of the game by players greed when they cannot kick a pigs bladder around the ground with any consistency.

    Your Town deserves a big and prosperous club but the old ways are not working. I was not offended by your response but thank you for the apology.

    Sometimes it is the exchange of opposing ideas that stimulates the germ of a new line of thinking. The supposed enmity of the Mackems and the Geordie’s has in the last ten years developed some surprising friendships through these boards

  5. I apologise to Mr. Alan T. Hedley for my outburst, it is just that I have a particular dislike for rudeness and it was not you with the attitude.
    Your comments have validity but I sense you realise the perilous position of the Rovers. If it all goes wrong you will not be around, will you?

  6. What you need to learn Mr. Vinjay is that your points come over far better when you talk in a civilised manner, rather than shout the odds and throw insults. Until you do, you will be be forever denigrating the quality of your arguments and discussion will be meaningless with you as your fellow supporters feel the need to fight fire with fire.
    You mention the 1997 match with Manchester United. Nowhere near the cauldron at Turf Moor in 1977 or the Ewood meeting in 1983. I do not have to quote the opinions of others, I was at all three matches. You should have been there in 1977!!! We had been under the cosh for so many years and Burnley had been flying high! Thats where the whole “No Nay Never” thing started.
    I never said that Sunderland were bigger AND better. Of course they are not better. No one is. But it is a case of “The Emperors New Clothes” that they are bigger. Sunderland is far bigger demographically than Blackburn. Examine the domestic trophy winners in all countries. The city clubs win almost everything.
    I do hope Venkys will be a success and I would love the Asian population of Blackburn to turn out to support in their droves. But so far they have not and one day Venkys will be gone for whatever reason and the club can then only turn back to their parochial fan base, or find another benefactor.
    Examine the fate of Dukla Prague. Huge in Europe during the cold war period because they were backed by the Czech Army. As soon as the Cold War finished and the backing disappeared they had no parochial fan base to call on and they folded overnight. Now I know the whole Soviet thing was a major factor but there are analogies to be drawn. Rovers must not and never neglect us poor parochials.
    As ever, the answer lies somewhere between polemics.

    Up The Rovers! From Blackburn!!

  7. Malcolm Sam Hamman was the front man at Wimbledon while Nejd Hamman was the brother behind the scenes controlling the money. I went to school in Raynes Park so I knew Wimbledon and the environs very well. Nejd Hamman’s first job in Saudi Arabia was working for my father and when I knew they were looking for a new ground I discovered that the local council cared nothing for the club and were completely unwilling to countenance any move from Plough Lane.

    To modernise the club they had to develop the ground and use the money to relocate. Sadly the Hammans were wedded to the concept of a Dublin relocation for a long while because I had identified a site in Tolworth, a short drive down the dual carriageway A3 from Wimbledon and right net door to Tolworth station just down the line from Wimbledon station.

    It would have given the club some of the best transport communications of any club in Britain but they rejected it. I was involved in the Palace redevelopment, was on the periphery of the Wolves redevelopment. tried hard with Brighton and Oxford United and put together 12 acres of Islington which became part of the Emirates development for Arsenal

    All I can say as a property man Wimbledon threw away a magnificent opportunity to hold the club together and have one of the best quality sites in the country for fans to get to.

  8. The hatred towards Man United was as hostile as anything I’ve ever witnessed from a Rovers crowd. Even parochial people have backed me up saying they will never forget the boos Man United received at Ewood in the 90’s. One report for the 1997 ewood clash described the crowd reception as “shuddering hostility” and rovers struggled that season. So much for nonsense suggestions that rovers fans suddenly stopped hating them after 1995.

    It was not directed at Burnley at all. If anything Rovers fans did everything they could to distance themselves from Burnley’s very existence. As they didn’t matter then why on earth should they matter now? Local journalists like Peter White (LT reporter for 25 years) called Man United the club that Rovers fans hated.

    Shame Alan Thedley isn’t a Rovers fan seems to have the right mentality.

    I’m not being disrespectful to Blackpool. They have surpassed all expectations thus far and that deserves credit. However unless they are in the top flight long term Blackpool like the rest of lancashire should be seen as a catchment area for Blackburn Rovers. Man United are the biggest threat to local support not the other lancashire clubs (which does not include greater manchester)

  9. Malcolm, I am sure that the vast majority of football fans are behind the notion of Wimbledon rising up in their own backyard again and going on to trounce Franchise F.C. M. K. Dons.
    That Blackburn Rovers F.C. turn into a similar “franchise” type of club is a concern to many Rovers’ supporters. WHY an Indian magnate would want to take over a small northern town English club is beyond me. Vinjay and Alan Thedley seem to love telling others how to spend their money. Venkys are here to use Rovers as a vehicle..to promote their brand and to promote Asian football(ers). It could be a convenient marriage, but should the plan fail or Venkys lose interest then Rovers will have to turn back to the “parochial” and “small minded” and “ignorant” roots of the town. For me, I would love to see many more Asian faces in the Rovers’ crowd. Why there are not, I suspect, is a function of a sense of exclusivity which only Social Science can explain.
    By the way, Mr. Vinjay, you suggest hypocrisy in that Rovers’ fans used to sing “We only hate Man. United”. Have you taken this literally? Us “ignorant” “parochial” Rovers’ fans were quite simply directing that ditty down the road towards Turf Moor. Telling them they no longer mattered! No Nay Never and all that! Can’t you work it out? That was “parochiality” par excellence, and perhaps we are not as “ignorant” as you would have us.
    And, I am sorry, Alan Thedley, if you do not like my attitude. But you yourself, like this Vinjay character, are a total irrelevance. I and others like me will follow Rovers come what may. You know, the Rovers from Blackburn.

  10. I’m not keen on the MK Dons Colonel though I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate them. I dislike the fact the franchise was allowed to continue and I’m looking forward to the day AFC Wimbledon can put one over on them – not too far in the future I’d wager!

    When I lived in SW London as a student in the early 70s I went along to Plough Lane and they were still in the Southern League. Pub on the corner of the ground – Youngs as I recall so even the beer was OK. I saw them play Leeds at Selhurst Park in the FA Cup in 74?

    It’s amazing to think that after we moved to the SoL they were still a Premiership Club and are now heading back towards the league. MK Dons – you can keep ’em.

    As for Blackburn – had a great Boxing Day there a few years back and I used to go out with a lass from Cherry Tree. 2-0 to us this year.

  11. It may be a Rovers matter but he started it on these boards Colonel. It’s certainly livened thing up for us Mackems. I wonder if he’s one of the Venky crowd?

  12. And Blackpool!! Good luck this year. You and Mr. Holloway are a breath of fresh air. It may be hard surviving amongst all those “superior” clubs though.

  13. And while I am on, why does this Sunderland site remind us of their 9-1 win over the Geordies? Are they in their turn being “parochial”? What you do in the arrogance of your ignorance, Vinjay, is to ignore over 100 years of football as the preserve of the British working class.
    Sorry, Sunderland, this is an internal Rovers’ matter. Please do not class this Vinjay as a typical Rovers’ boy. We would respect your “parochiality” if you dislike NUFC. Which is great for me as the Missus is a Toon girl, like all her family. Rovers have whipped them wicked these last few years!!!!

  14. Well Mr. Vinjay..your debating style and intellect is such that you decide yourself what the other is saying and doing and then decry those views and actions. Where is your evidence that I have decried the Venky’s? You have none. You are nothing but a messageboard lunatic as characterised by Private Eye magazine. Your last post exposes you as a little embarrassing and intellectually challenged with your own parochial, single issue ranting.
    Shakespeare summed you up…”It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.
    Dont tell me what to think, you self styled global intellectual. That is Nazism!!! And you know what happened to Nazis!! Little old “parochial” England!
    UP THE ROVERS!!!

  15. I have over the last forty years or so spent a great deal of time with family members from Blackburn, visiting the Town a number of times a year and watching a number of games with my wife’s relatives.

    Colonel Blink’s attitude is not one to which I subscribe and although Vinjays theme may not be a popular one throughout the footballing world, the racial undercurrents in the town cannot be hidden by holy water, or those who consider community attitudes are a pigment of one’s imagination. The character of Blackburn as a town for the former ethnic residents has changed beyond all recognition and the resentment towards such changes particularly amongst the elderly is evident for all to see, unless of course they are self deceivers.

    Now before you become fully convinced that this is a racist attack it is not, it is a recognition of a changing social structure which affects not just the foods available in the supermarket but the entire marketing strategy of a club which has been neglected and allowed to falling to decline by a vision-less collection of Blimp characters hanging on to memories of former glories expecting a miraculous resurgence of interest from a declining market of supporters.

    The true future of Blackburn lies in ATTRACTING support from the majority of residents in the area and that entails world marketing to raise other sources of finance. Although not a supporter of Blackburn I have been advocating verbally and in print a transfer of ownership to one of India’s rising multimillionaire magnates for the last two years. I have to say in my opinion however it needed a more affluent incumbent than they have achieved.

    The club has to address its pathetic support base compared to its potential and it cannot be too long before we see world class Asian footballers becoming folk hero’s for the locals. Regular cash flow is as important as a fairy godmother approach.

    For me Vinjay is speaking from the heart with an honest and realistic approach and I hope for the sake of football in the area they are able to get away from the parochialism of considering the world revolves around Burnley and Accrington Stanley.

  16. I think that this lad it talking a lot of twaddle to be frank!

    He says that Big Sam was “transitional.” Well tranisitional to what exactly? A transitional appointment to complete anonymity. Steve Kean? Well who he? Nobody has heard of him. Assistant to Chris Coleman at Coventry. Ooh we are impressed! It sounds to me like you’ve swallowed the party line from the chicken factory bosses son.

    His comparisons to Blackpool’s heritage, tradition and history is nothing short of an insult. His memories must got back all the way to last night’s supper! He talks about a lack of respect and then shows none.

  17. Above post emphasises Rovers fans complete lack of respect for Jack Walker and what I’ve had to put up with. Complete opposite of the man who they supposedly hold in such high regard.

    Not superior to Blackpool? What nonsense. They have one season in the top flight that does not make them even remotely an equal to Blackburn Rovers. Sunderland are not in any way shape or form a bigger or better club than Blackburn Rovers.

    Couldn’t care less about Man United? Well Jack Walker hated them but you only give a toss about him when you protest against ambitious owners. Don’t pretend you suddenly give a damn about what he would have wanted (and I’m sure he would be glad of some ambition at last)

  18. Once again the irrelevance of this immature Vinjay character shines through. What does he mean by the “likes” of Blackpool? Are Rovers of a different ilk then? Are we in some way superior to them? Of course not! In fact, it is an achievement for us to even play in the same division as Sunderland. The size of this club dwarfs Rovers. Since 1962 with Jimmy Hill et al the football league has been an economic league.
    We are here soley down to Jack Walker and his economic legacy. How many times did we try and ultimately fail to get to the top flight before Jack Walker? It was a fairy tale that we won the bloody thing!!!!!!!! Venky’s would not want to know us if we were a championship club. Hence, they themselves are a latter day product of Uncle Jack.
    Most supporters of English football clubs outside of the top 4 or 5 dislike Manchester United et al for what they are. Huge and very successful. It is the individual identity of each club which is the heartbeat of the club and all our clubs are rooted in the towns and cities from which they sprung. Hence Rovers hate Burnley, Wolves hate WBA, Sunderland hate Newcastle, Arsenal hate Spurs and Telford hate Shrewsbury ad nauseam. (MK Dons a notable exception).
    I personally recall the Burnley “No Nay Never” taunts of the early 1970s when we slid down the league. It was great to nick the song and ram it down their throats.
    Manchester United supporters look down on all of us. I could not care less about them or their club. Plastic fans, most of them.
    It was the “parochiality” (sic) of a little northern town called Blackburn which smashed the public school dominance of the public schools in 1883, in the shape of The Olympic.
    Long Live Parochiality! Long Live The Partisans! Up Venkys! Up Rovers!

  19. Blackburn Rovers are an established premier league club and have maintained stability (no thanks to the previous owners) for the last several seasons. Now going into January with more financial backing than the club has had for some time. So I can’t see rovers suffering a colossal drop in form.

    Blackpool could easily collapse in the second part of the season as other promoted clubs have in recent years. Hull, burnley, etc. At the moment they may well be just a “flash in the pan.”

    I fully expect Rovers to finish above the likes of Blackpool.

  20. Blackpool have 25 points from 17 games and are sitting in 8th spot, one ahead of Blackburn, who have 25 points from 20 games. And Vinjays says it’s BlackPOOL who “still have some way to go….”

  21. Yes well maybe next time you decide to protest against our owners (undeserved and ignorant as I said) you could desist from using Jack’s name as a form of protest. Its bizarre how the parochial brigade suddenly give a damn about Jack when evil venkys dare show some ambition yet they have been the ones who have let him down most of all. Those fans have made a total mockery of “thinking big.” Their motto is more “think burnley” to the point of obsession. Yes that’s what Jack had in mind when he talked about the “new blackburn rovers” isn’t it?

    Not that long ago by the way that Rovers fans chanted “we only hate Man Utd” which makes you hypocrites as well as ignorant and parochial.

    Jack Straw views on blackburn rovers are no more relevant than other rovers fans. Wouldn’t bother wasting time asking him. Armfield with his background is different and you did well to get him with your blackpool preview.

  22. Col Blink: maybe next season, I will be inundated with offers by warm, witty or wise Rovers fans gagging to do the previews! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jack Straw rediscovered the gift of courteousness and answered my repeated invitations (anything from a polite No Thank You to a Yes Please would do).

  23. This guy loves to try to humiliate his fellow Rovers’ supporters with the tags “ignorant” and “parochial”. He tells us we should hate Manchester United rather than Burnley, as this is in line with Jack Walker’s mantra “Think big”.
    He is the type of guy who revels in controversy, probably because he leads a singularly boring and unsuccessful life and has no talent himself. His is no more than a shallow , single issue philosophy centred around a hatred of Manchester United.
    Now, Sunderland fans. Would you like some pompous character telling you to hate Manchester United rather than Newcastle United? Because that is “thinking big”?

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