Tag Archives: backers

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B&Q pull out of deal with Football League over title sponsorship

EXCLUSIVE: Football League's attempt to hammer out a deal with B&Q break down

By
Charles Sale

PUBLISHED:

16:25 GMT, 23 April 2013

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UPDATED:

16:34 GMT, 23 April 2013

The Football League have suffered a huge setback after potential new title sponsors B&Q suddenly pulled out of negotiations.

The DIY chain had been expected to sign a three-year contract worth 21m to replace nPower as the backers of all three Football League divisions from the start of next season.

But talks broke down on Monday with the Football League unaware why B&Q, who had previously shown huge enthusiasm for the sponsorship, had changed their mind at the last minute.

No go: B&Q have pulled out of a deal to become the Football League's title sponsors

No go: B&Q have pulled out of a deal to become the Football League's title sponsors

Turning off the lights: NPower's sponsorship of the Football League will come to an end this summer

Turning off the lights: NPower's sponsorship of the Football League will come to an end this summer

Fresh deal: Domino's Pizza are in the mix

Fresh deal: Domino's Pizza are in the mix

The disappointment at the breakdown of the deal is compounded by B&Q, who have stores near numerous Football League clubs, being regarded as such a good fit for a sponsorship that has proved difficult to fill.

But their exit leaves the Football League commercial department having to go back to the companies who had shown interest before attention was turned to finalising the B&Q deal.

One of those companies is restaurant chain Domino's Pizza, who have released a football app and a football sitcom on their Facebook page.

Domino's marketing director Simon Wallis said: 'Football and Pizza are a match made in heaven.'

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had a winning horse at Doncaster

Ferguson's nous extends from the pitch to the racecourse with win in Doncaster

PUBLISHED:

18:39 GMT, 1 March 2013

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UPDATED:

18:39 GMT, 1 March 2013

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was in the winner's enclosure at Doncaster after Empire Levant made a winning start to his career over fences in the 32Red Novices' Chase.

The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old was a 4-5 favourite on his first
appearance since failing to complete a hurdle race at Aintree in late October and was sent straight to the lead by Daryl Jacob.

Winners enclosure: Sir Alex Ferguson (left) with Empire Lavant and jockey Daryl Jacob after their victory at Doncaster

Winners enclosure: Sir Alex Ferguson (left) with Empire Lavant and jockey Daryl Jacob after their victory at Doncaster

Largely jumping quickly and accurately, all appeared to be going well for
favourite-backers until the grey made a real mess of the fifth fence from home, bringing him right back to the rest of the field.

However, he was good and neat at the remaining four fences in the home straight and found enough for pressure to hold off the determined Speed Steed by two and a quarter lengths.

Empire Levant is owned by Ferguson and Ged Mason and carries the colours of Grand National contenders What A Friend and Harry The Viking.

Sharing a joke: Ferguson and Jacob chat after the win

Sharing a joke: Ferguson and Jacob chat after the win

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Harpsy Cord falls at final fence in Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase at Limerick

No laughing matter at Limerick as Harpsy Cord falls at the last having led from the front

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UPDATED:

17:56 GMT, 27 December 2012

There was agony for backers of Harpsy Cord in the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase as, after leading all the way, he crashed out at the final fence when five lengths clear and seemingly having the two mile three-and-a-half furlong race at his mercy.

That left course specialist Jack Absolute (16-1) in front and he had to be kept right up to his work to hold off Tullintain by a length-and-a-quarter and land the 21,000 prize.

It was not what Harpsy Cord deserved as he had jumped brilliantly in the hands of Keith Donoghue but after pecking on landing at the second-last he got in too tight to the final fence to gift victory to the John Walsh-trained nine-year-old in the hands of Brian O'Connell.

Going... Harpsy Cord clips the final fence at the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Steeplechase

Going… Harpsy Cord clips the final fence at the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Steeplechase

Going... Harpsy Cord clips the final fence at the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Steeplechase

Going... Donoghue is sent flying over the top of Harpsy Cord as he fails to regain his footing

Going… Donoghue is sent flying over the top of Harpsy Cord as he fails to regain his footing

Going... Donoghue is sent flying over the top of Harpsy Cord as he fails to regain his footing

Gone: Both horse and jockey (who were OK after the fall) hit the deck and kiss goodbye to their hopes of winning

Gone: Both horse and jockey (who were OK after the fall) hit the deck and kiss goodbye to their hopes of winning

Gone: Both horse and jockey (who were OK after the fall) hit the deck and kiss goodbye to their hopes of winning

Walsh said: 'That's his eighth win and his sixth around here so it's definitely a case of horses for courses.

'Today was the plan and you can't beat a bit of luck!'

The Earl of Harrington Memorial Maiden Hunters Chase will also live long in the memory for the wrong reasons after the attritional conditions resulted in 13 of the 16 runners failing to complete the course.

The race was won by 11-2 chance Goonyella who slogged through mud best of all to come home a distance clear of Survival, with Thetalkisover (pictured) the only other finisher back in third. The win provided a welcome fillip for trainer Tom Dreaper who had been so luckless earlier in the afternoon with Harpsy Cord.

Conditions took their toll on John Gleeson-trained Thetalkisover who refused to jump the final fence at the first time of asking but finally consented to clamber over and take third place despite being exhausted.

Third time lucky: Thetalkinisover initially refused to jump the final fence in the Hunters Steeplechase

Third time lucky: Thetalkinisover initially refused to jump the final fence in the Hunters Steeplechase

Third time lucky: Thetalkinisover initially refused to jump the final fence in the Hunters Steeplechase

Third time lucky: Thetalkinisover initially refused to jump the final fence in the Hunters Steeplechase

Third time lucky: Thetalkinisover initially refused to jump the final fence in the Hunters Steeplechase

Katie Walsh was feared to have suffered a shoulder injury when Pocketfullapennies came down at the seventh-last but later tweeted she was 'fine just sore!!'.

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Joseph O"Brien holds his nerve as Camelot chases historic Triple Crown in St Ledger

O'Brien holds his nerve as Camelot chases historic Triple Crown in St Ledger

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UPDATED:

17:35 GMT, 14 September 2012

He is the boy who took on a man's job, defying the old adage in spectacular fashion, and who now stands on the verge of history.

Jockey Joseph O'Brien appears devoid
of nerves ahead riding 2-5 favourite Camelot against eight opponents in
Saturday's Ladbrokes St Leger.

That's the advantage of having 19-years-old's perspective, untainted by the creeping fear of failure.

Favourite: Camelot ridden by jockey Joseph O'Brien

Favourite: Camelot ridden by jockey Joseph O'Brien

Securing the Triple Crown would ensure O'Brien's name is as entwined with his mount as that of legendary Lester Piggott is with Nijinsky, the last horse to achieve the feat 42 years ago.

Success would also make O'Brien the youngest winner of the world's oldest Classic since 18-year-old Samuel Day was successful on Mango in 1837 and offer further vindication of his father, trainer Aidan O'Brien, to make him the No 1 jockey at his Ballydoyle stable.

The wisdom handing the massive responsibility to the youngster was questioned. This job of riding for Europe's biggest stable and its Coolmore Sud backers has chewed up and spat out top riders like Jamie Spencer, Mick Kinane and Johnny Murtagh.

But while there have been minor setbacks, Joseph has landed a remarkable 10 group one races since last year's Leger meeting.

Kinane, who landed 2001 Leger for O'Brien on Milan, said: 'It's probably a bit easier because Aidan is his father and they have formed a good team. He has had support which some of us wouldn't have had at certain times when things started to go wrong and you are left a bit isolated.

'It's a good family environment which is important but he seems to have a good racing brain tactically. He knows it's a pressure cooker job and he's handles it well.' There was never much doubt O'Brien, who attended Rockwell College near Cashel in Co Tipperary, would be a jockey.

He said: 'Dad always said never let school interfere with my education. I passed my exams but I never liked school. When I was in there all I ever wanted to do was ride on the gallops.

'I played a bit of hurling, soccer and rugby but I didn't last long playing rugby. I was on the wing but I was thrown about a bit.

'I've been around horses since I can remember. I was quite young when we came to Ballydoyle but remember Galileo. Istabraq was a great horse but Camelot is up with the best of them. 'I've seen all the videos of Nijinsky and Lester Piggott but if Camelot could emulate him it would be unbelievable. 'There no such thing as a certainty in racing but Camelot has the form going into the race. He is a Guineas and Derby winner.

'He'll be hard to beat but over a mile and six, you never know until you go and do it. It's that extra two furlongs. It does not sound much but it is a long, long way and a lot further than he's run before.'

The ticking time bomb behind Joseph's career is physiological.

Can a wafer-thin six-footer remain a Flat jockey long-term despite a strict regime meaning he is currently winning this battle.

He added: 'I can do 8st 12lb if I really have to but I try keep it at 9st. If you try to kill yourself all year, you are not going to last. You'd fry your own head if you were in the sauna every day of the week.

'I would like to ride over jumps but it's very tough when you see the likes of Ruby (Walsh) and AP (McCoy) and the injuries they have. They are the best ever but it is a long way down the road.

'Adrenaline kicks ins. You never feel tired in a race no matter how bad you feel before when you are wasting but when you get to ride a horse like Camelot it is all worth it.

'He's a jockeys dream. It comes very naturally to him. He comes alive in your hands. He's not like any other horse I have ridden – he is very special'

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Charles Sale: Great Britain warned after Butland Twitter blunder

GB warned after Butland blunder

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UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 31 July 2012

Both Team GB football squads were
reminded by officials about the Olympic regulations around commercial
promotion on Twitter following goalkeeper Jack Butland breaching the
rules.

The 19-year-old posted, 'Love my GB
Beats by Dre', having been given the headphones like some other Team GB
athletes as part of an ambush marketing campaign by the company owned by
American rapper Dr Dre.

Warning: GB keeper Jack Butland

Warning: GB keeper Jack Butland

The Sports Agenda story about the headphones being worn by competitors across some GB sports resulted in investigations by the BOA and the IOC, who zealously protect Rule 40 of the Olympic charter forbidding athletes to endorse commercial backers during the Games.

The IOC left it to the BOA to make the first move and they have contacted all the team leaders of their sports to stress the importance of protecting the official sponsors.

A Team GB football spokesman described Butland's tweet, which has been deleted, as an 'innocent mistake which will not be repeated'.

Coe's inside story
Inside story: Lord Coe

Inside story: Lord Coe

The most definitive inside account of the London Olympics will not be available until November 8, when Hodder & Stoughton publish Lord Coe's official autobiography, Running My Life. A number of chapters are reserved for the London 2012 chairman to write about the events of this fortnight. It won't be until the autumn either before London 2012 disclose detailed information about their ticketing distribution, which has been one of the most sensitive subjects of the Games. LOCOG have promised to give the London Assembly a breakdown of the percentages of tickets sold to every sector for every sport.

Hunt delivers

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's knowledge of sport doesn't extend much past the referee training he did to find out more about football. Yet Hunt has taken to giving regular updates of Team GB's medal chances whenever a media opportunity presents itself. A DCMS spokeswoman said: 'Jeremy is a cheerleader for the team and is being asked a range of questions about a Games he has Government responsibility for delivering.'

Paula still a poster girl
Britain's Paula Radcliffe

Nike have reacted to their long-time client Paula Radcliffe (above) pulling out
of the Olympic marathon through injury by running a digital billboard
poster campaign – which wouldn't have been allowed if she had remained
in Team GB. However, the message – 'Legends run forever' – would work a
lot better if Radcliffe was competing.

Written off

It isn't the best of timing for the Australian Olympic team – with their head-to-head clashes against Team GB set to be a feature of the upcoming cycling and rowing finals – to be written off by their own ANZ bank. The bank research analysis claims the strength of the Aussie dollar against the pound will lead to the Australians being less focused on training and more likely to go shopping in Oxford Street. The report read: 'Athletes might be expected to forgo training in the lead-up to their events in favour of using the powerful Australian dollar to enjoy the fruits of overseas travel.'

Best laid plans

Many believe architect Rod Sheard should have designed an Olympic Stadium with ownership by a Premier League football club in mind from the start. Yet Sheard, who says, 'Let's work out the legacy first and then adjust it', won't be complaining. His firm Populous have been appointed by the London Legacy Development Corporation to handle the Olympic Stadium transition design in any case.

Carry on tweeting

With the focus on whether Team GB athletes should be on Twitter during the Games in the fall-out from the vile message sent to Tom Daley and Butland's error, it's ironic BOA chef de mission Andy Hunt is such a prolific tweeter. But Hunt, whose postings have caused plenty of amusement, believes social media is a vital resource for promoting the BOA and will carry on tweeting, saying: 'I try to be very careful.' The BOA leave it to each sport to decide on their social media policy, with the water polo girls deciding to come off Twitter and the hockey squads only tweeting at designated times.

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Benfica v Chelsea big match dossier: Andre Villas-Boas exit answers Jorge Jesus" prayers

Benfica v Chelsea big match dossier: AVB exit answers Jesus' prayers

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UPDATED:

22:58 GMT, 26 March 2012

The sacking of Andre Villas-Boas may have saved Chelsea’s Euro campaign but Benfica coach Jorge Jesus cannot have been sad to see him leave. Last season, AVB’s Porto beat Jesus to the title by 21 points, winning home (5-0) and away (2-1), and knocked their fierce rivals out of the Portuguese Cup and Super Cup.

Sad to see him go: Benfica's manager Jorge Jesus says he was disappointed to hear of Andre Villas-Boas' sacking

Sad to see him go: Benfica's manager Jorge Jesus says he was disappointed to hear of Andre Villas-Boas' sacking

So did Roberto phone a friend

Di Matteo was cagey when asked if he had been in touch with Villas-Boas for info on Chelsea’s quarter-final opponents or, indeed, if any help had been volunteered by the recently axed manager. Di Matteo’s research did, however, include a chat with Luciano Spalletti, whose Zenit St Petersburg team were beaten by Benfica in the last round.

Taking a call: Did Roberto Di Matteo phone AVB for tips on Benfica

Taking a call: Did Roberto Di Matteo phone AVB for tips on Benfica

Blues' trip to the light fantastic

Chelsea have taken the lead in all four away games in Europe this season but have won none of them. Benfica, meanwhile, have won 18 of 21 games in the Estadio da Luz this season and are 10 unbeaten in European home games. ‘The atmosphere will be similar to Napoli,’ said Di Matteo. ‘It will be very intimidating and the intensity will be high. They play a pressing game.’

Gaitan deal set to pay dividends

Nicolas Gaitan has the scouts beating a path to Benfica. Signed for 7.5m from Boca Juniors in 2010, he is partly owned by the Espirito Santo Financial Group, the main backers of the Benfica Stars Fund, set up to help the debt-laden club sign players, usually from South America. ESFG retain a share in the players, trusting values will soar if they succeed. Such arrangements are not allowed in England.

Hot property: Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan has been watched by a number of scouts

Hot property: Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan has been watched by a number of scouts

Ex-Trotter Rod is no plonker

After Jack Wilshere and Daniel Sturridge, another starlet flourishing after life in Bolton is 21-year-old striker Rodrigo, who has established himself in the Benfica team, scoring eight in 17 League games this season. He is one of nine South Americans in Benfica’s likely team, although the Brazil-born starlet has represented Spain since Under-19 level.

Top Trotter: Rodrigo Lima benefited from his time at the Reebok Stadium

Top Trotter: Rodrigo Lima benefited from his time at the Reebok Stadium

Friday the 13th could be lucky

Chelsea will enquire about the possibility of moving the FA Cup semi-final forward from Sunday, April 15 to Friday night if they beat Benfica. In the last four of the Champions League, the Blues would play either Barcelona or AC Milan, three days after their Wembley date against Spurs or Bolton. Liverpool’s semi-final against Everton or Sunderland will be played on Saturday April 14. The request is not expected to be successful.

Chelsea seeking national help

More clubs around Europe have moved their domestic games forward in preparation for big European ties this season. APOEL, Napoli, Milan and Benfica have all benefited. Interim boss Di Matteo (right) confirmed the club’s intention to pursue the idea and said: ‘It doesn’t help English teams in the Champions League. Benfica played Friday night, so did Napoli (ahead of the Chelsea game). Their leagues try to give them a lot of help and the best possible advantage. We are engaged on this matter.’

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Rangers bid deadline arrives

D-Day for crisis club Rangers as deadline for takeover bids arrives

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UPDATED:

08:13 GMT, 16 March 2012

Rangers will have a better idea of the prospects of moving the club out of administration on Friday when the deadline for indicative bids closes.

Only two parties had publicly declared their hand on the eve of the deadline, which was set by administrators Duff and Phelps.

One of the bidders, Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy, has declared himself a reluctant runner and the financial backers of the other bid, Ticketus, were involved in a court dispute with Duff and Phelps on Thursday.

Reluctant: Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy is a bidder

Reluctant: Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy is a bidder

Double glazing tycoon Kennedy, a Hibernian fan, has held talks with manager Ally McCoist and former manager Graeme Souness, his friend, but he claims his interest is only out of a sense of duty rather than desire to be Rangers owner.

Kennedy said: 'I hope to get something in by Friday purely as a fallback for the administrators, should the other bids fall over or not be acceptable.

'If I am going to be in a position where they ask me to press on with it, then I want to know more about it.

'The administrators will be looking to get the best possible deal, that is their duty.'

Kennedy would be happy to concede to Paul Murray, whose fan-backed Blue Knights consortium have been planning a bid since the start of the process.

Option: Paul Murray (right) is fronting the other bid

Option: Paul Murray (right) is fronting the other bid

The initial capital will come from
Ticketus, whose 24.4million cash injection allowed Craig Whyte to pay
off the club's bank debt and thus complete his takeover in May last
year.

Ticketus yesterday faced Duff and Phelps in the Court of Session where they insisted they had a legally binding agreement with Rangers, with the administrators looking for direction from the judge after arguing the deal would deter bidders.

Duff and Phelps have previously revealed interest from America and the far east.

Meanwhile Rangers can start preparing for an SFA hearing on March 29 after being charged with five offences on top of their non-payment of gate receipts to William Hill Scottish Cup opponents Dundee United.

The cases will be heard by an SFA judicial panel, who will also decide on two alleged rule breaches by Whyte.

The club and Whyte have both been hit with two identical charges – disrepute and acting improperly.

What next Friday could be the start of the end of Rangers' troubles

What next Friday could be the start of the end of Rangers' troubles

The Scottish champions have also been hit with two charges over the SFA's rules regarding fit and proper officials – Whyte did not declare his previous disqualification as a director.

Rangers could also face action over rule 14(g), which states that membership may be suspended or terminated, or a fine may be issued, where a club suffers or is subject to an insolvency event.

The club also face a Scottish Premier League inquiry over alleged non-disclosure of payments to players before Whyte took over.

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Cheltenham Festival live: Day two

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL LIVE: All the action as it happens on day two of the greatest show on turf

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UPDATED:

11:43 GMT, 14 March 2012

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY TWO

Follow Racemail's Marcus Townend on Twitter

Sam Turner's top tips for Tuesday

Guide to the Queen Mother Champion Chase

The fashion stakes are raised as the girls come out to play on Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.20) is the big race today with defending champion Sizing Europe the heavy favourite.

Well bring you the winners as soon as they pass the post plus all the latest action as it happens and the best pictures from Prestbury Park.

Hurricane Fly was beaten by a rampant Rock On Ruby yesterday in the Champion Hurdle but Sprinter Sacre and Quevega came in for favourite backers.

Stick with Sportsmail to find out how the drama unfolds today.

**Full coverage from 1pm***

Bumper crowds: Punters poured in to Cheltenham on Tuesday and huge numbers are expected again today

Bumper crowds: Punters poured in to Cheltenham on Tuesday and huge numbers are expected again today

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Paul Murray reveals backers for Rangers" Blue Knights

Murray reveals Blue Knights backers he hopes will save crisis club Rangers

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UPDATED:

12:25 GMT, 12 March 2012

Former Rangers director Paul Murray has revealed some of the backers who are involved in his Blue Knights consortium and explained his reasons behind collaborating with Ticketus.

Motoring tycoon Douglas Park was among those who have expressed interest in his group, along with two London-based businessmen – fund manager John Bennett of the Henderson Group and property adviser Scott Murdoch of CWM.

Murray said: 'There are still discussions taking place with a number of other individuals and, over the next few days, they too will become known to the Rangers supporters.

Information: Paul Murray (right) revealed some of the Blue Knight consortium's backers

Information: Paul Murray (right) revealed some of the Blue Knight consortium's backers

'The make-up of the group is not final but it is beginning to become clearer,' he told the Daily Record.

'As I have said before, there is room for anyone else who wishes to step forward. We need individuals with money and ideas who can help move Rangers forward.'

The decision of Murray and fans to combine with Ticketus was something of a surprise given the firm's association with Craig Whyte's takeover.

Their 24.4million cash injection for the rights to sell season tickets was used by Whyte to pay off the 18million bank debt he had pledged to settle himself.

The firm's entitlement to those tickets could yet be the subject of a legal battle. Sources close to Ticketus insist they have sound legal advice from Scottish and English lawyers saying their contract is valid, however the club's administrators are thought to have a different view.

Hope: Fans are hoping for a quick resolution

Hope: Fans are hoping for a quick resolution

However, Murray argued that Ticketus, as the largest stakeholder in the club, have a 'complete alignment of interest' with his group to see Rangers survive and prosper.

He added: 'There are two parties involved as creditors – HMRC and Ticketus – and the last thing the club needs right now is any kind of long legal battle.

'If we can move forward with Ticketus we can proceed in the best interests of the club. That would mean Ticketus would not be involved in any CVA agreement that we hope to reach with HMRC.'

Murray revealed that Ticketus would back his group's cash offer and provide working capital until they completed a fans' share issue.

Time limit: The administrators have set a deadline of Friday for 'first indicative' bids

Time limit: The administrators have set a deadline of Friday for 'first indicative' bids

They would also restructure the original deal with Rangers to provide more favourable repayment terms and would not own shares in the club.

Murray also insisted he was not on an 'ego trip' after joint administrator Paul Clark said they wanted to see people who have been doing a lot of talking 'put their money where their mouth is'.

Clark revealed there were potential bidders from the Far East and America and further meetings are planned with interested parties this week.

Administrators Duff and Phelps have set Friday as the deadline for first indicative bids, which must include 'absolute proof of funding'.

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Blackburn fans will hold 24 hour protest against Venky"s

Blackburn fans to take drastic 24-hour protest action against Venky's

Blackburn Rovers fans will undertake an astonishing 24-hour demonstration outside Ewood Park from Friday, in protest against owners Venky's.

The organisers have called off their truce with the club which began on December 3, and will resume their action more vehemently than ever.

The fans' group had halted their protests in a temporary peace deal, but say the club have not kept their promise to hold a meeting to discuss their concerns.

Resumed: Action against the owners and manager has resumed

Resumed: Action against the owners and manager has resumed

Day: Blackburn fans will protest for an entire day

Day: Blackburn fans will protest for an entire day

Little support: Steve Kean has few backers at Ewood Park

Little support: Steve Kean has few backers at Ewood Park

A statement from the fans' group said: 'Despite organisers arranging no protest for the last seven matches the club has failed to deliver on the promises and pledges they made.

'This protest will be aimed at Venky's, the legal owners of Blackburn Rovers football club.'

There will also be a protest march to Ewood Park ahead of the match against Fulham on Saturday.

Organisers Glen Mullan and Simon Littler recently released a statement which read:

'The aim of the protests, as from the start, will be about the removal of Steve Kean as first-team manager, Venky's as owners of the club and now the removal of the board of directors.

'The intensity of the protest will increase substantially.

'As Blackburn Rovers fans we have no choice but to try to ensure we preserve the legacy left by the late Jack Walker.

'While we appreciate that this era is in the past, the failure by Venky's and the current board of directors to build on his legacy leaves fans with very little if anything to cling on to.'

Saga: Blackburn are embroiled in a relegation scrap

Saga: Blackburn are embroiled in a relegation scrap

Since calling off the protests in December Blackburn have been knocked out of the FA Cup and suffered defeats to Stoke, Bolton, West Brom and Sunderland.

Although they achieved a creditable victory over Manchester United and a draw with Liverpool, the fans are understandably unhappy with the club's current league position.