Revealed: From boardroom split to player revolt, the inside story of crisis engulfing Blackburn
Senior players revolt after poor start to season
Derek Shaw wants controversial Shebby Singh out
Club no closer to naming successor to Henning Berg
09:07 GMT, 31 December 2012
Crisis club Blackburn are in greater disarray than ever after being rocked by a bitter boardroom split and a growing revolt among senior players.
Managing director Derek Shaw flew to India at the weekend to try and convince the club’s owners Venky’s to end the farcical reign of their global advisor Shebby Singh.
Former Preston chairman Shaw, an experienced football administrator, has become increasingly frustrated at being marginalised by Singh and has brought matters to a head by confronting the owners over it.
Controversial: Blackburn's global advisor Shebby Singh is under pressure
While Shaw fights his own personal battle, and tries to oust the controversial Singh, Venky’s are facing just as big a problem trying to quell mounting unrest in a disillusioned dressing room.
Several senior players were reluctant to drop into the Championship, after last season’s relegation, but relented after Singh urged them to give it until Christmas for the club to demonstrate their ambition about trying to bounce straight back.
Most feel that, far from seeing
evidence of Singh’s predicted revival, Blackburn have continued to
decline after the shambolic handling of appointing a successor to Steve
The mood was not
helped by the presence of untried Asian coach Judan Ali at their
training ground at the end of last week, and several are now ready to
jump ship and seek a move in the January transfer window.
Though Singh denied Ali was about to
become part of the coaching team at Ewood Park, the continuing fiasco of
the management set-up at Blackburn, a contentious issue that has been
allowed to tear the club apart ever since Sam Allardyce was sacked, has
caused ructions at board level and in the dressing room.
Protest: Blackburn fans make a point
When the vilified Kean finally decided he’d had enough earlier this season, Shaw is understood to have favoured a move for Blackpool boss Ian Holloway but was overruled by Singh, who bizarrely went for Henning Berg, despite the former Blackburn defender being sacked for almost relegating Lillestrom.
That was the last straw for Shaw and
prompted his trip to India for showdown talks with Venky’s, while
Blackburn’s players have been just as dismayed by the ensuing decline in
fortunes that prompted Singh to acknowledge his folly and axe Berg
after just 10 games in charge.
With little sign of the
desperately-needed managerial know-how being recruited, other than
suggestions that one-time Aston Villa caretaker-boss Kevin MacDonald
might be added to the coaching staff, several disaffected players are
now ready to push for a move in the next few weeks.
Singh appeared on BBC Radio
FiveLive’s 606 phone-in on Saturday night and flew into a rage after
being quizzed about his input on the training pitch.
Co-presenter Darren Fletcher asked if
he had taken training on Friday, and it clearly touched a nerve, as
Singh shouted down the line:
‘Oh come on, give me a break. How stupid is that Surely no-one believes
that. I did not take training yesterday. That is really stupid for
anyone to even think that.
‘That is downright stupidity to even
suggest that. I was at the training ground because of my
responsibilities, but on the pitch, I have no involvement whatsoever.
Listen to me, I did not take training.’
Singh appeared to confirm that he was at loggerheads with Shaw and also took the rap for the disastrous appointment of Berg.
Asked to define his role, he said: ‘It
is difficult to explain when it is not a conventional title, but I am
pretty much trying to put the club back on a proper footing. I am
fighting enemies from inside and outside the club. Inside every club,
you find that not everyone is fighting the same cause. Individuals have
their own agenda. This is common everywhere you go.
Over and out: Blackburn sacked Henning Berg after ten matches in charge
‘I make the decisions, with the owners’ blessing and endorsement. It upsets a lot of people, but unfortunately that’s the way it is. The final decision about appointing Henning Berg was mine, but results were very poor and performances were not the best. A decision had to be made on how long you can put up with that.
‘You always think you have made the right decision, but it doesn’t always work out. I do not agree that 57 days was not long enough. It was 10 games. To me, 10 games is a lifetime. I got it wrong on that one. I will hold my hands up and say that, but it is not the end of the world. We still have to soldier on, and the team can still progress.’
Singh attempted to clarify the situation over Ali, saying: ‘I had a chat with him nine weeks ago, and he was interested in visiting the club to see how things were done. He came here to observe training and how the club functioned. Every coach wants to know that as part of their education.
'The timing (of his visit) was not right, unfortunately, but he is a friend. We enjoy talking about football, but it was not the plan that he would be part of the coaching set-up, and I don’t know why people think there is something happening.’