When I went to sign Jack Walker’s book of condolance at Ewood, the comment a few lines above mine was “Thanks for the memories without you they would only have been dreams”, and I really do think I’m lucky to have been a Rovers fan during the Walker years, even before Jack died, we knew those days were over. Until very recently Blackburn have been a club run by butchers, market stall owners and other local, small time business men. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the clubs fortunes took an upturn when our current chairman, John Williams, took over from Robert Coar.
I’ve been trying to work out if I think the current takeover rumors are a good thing or not. I’ve started to think about why any investor would want to buy Rovers, after all, there IS only one Jack Walker, people don’t buy clubs just for the love of it, you buy clubs to make money, so how do you make money out of a football club?
Rovers are a club who always struggle for fans, even when we were Champions and playing in the Champions League or UEFA Cup we never really filled our stadium week in week out, only against the big teams. Which would be a problem for any potential buyer, as increased gates & revenue are one road to making money out of a club. You can’t even bank on expanding your fan base overseas without having massive success on the pitch. I wonder how many of the Malaysian & Japanese fans I used to talk to on the Rovers mailing list in ’94/’95 are still Rovers fans now?
A few chairmen have tried to cash in on a clubs non-playing assets, ie the ground and training facilities, and while it might have the desired effect from their point of view by getting their money back on buying the club, it decimates the club and leaves it ruined. Thankfully takeovers of this sort are few and far between, and I really hope the trustees wouldn’t entertain a takeover of this type.
That only really leaves increasing the perceived value of the club by bringing success, and to do that you have to spend some money.