Tag Archives: poultry

Sam Allardyce to sue Steve Kean and Blackburn

Allardyce to sue Kean AND Blackburn over former No 2's foul-mouthed rant

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UPDATED:

23:18 GMT, 15 May 2012

Sam Allardyce is suing his old club Blackburn and their manager Steve Kean over derogatory comments his successor at Ewood Park is alleged to have made about him.

Kean’s future was already under threat when he landed in India for crisis talks with owners Venky’s on Tuesday, but he now faces more problems after disgruntled fans from The BRFC Action Group claimed responsibility for posting a video clip of him on the club’s pre-season trip to Hong Kong last summer.

Speaking to supporters in a bar, Kean appears to make unguarded comments about Allardyce in which he questions the integrity of the man who appointed him as first-team coach at Blackburn.

Scroll down to watch the rant – WARNING EXPLICIT LANGUAGE

Steve Kean

Sam Allardyce

Fall-out: Steve Kean (left) and his former boss Sam Allardyce

ROVERS FANS GRANTED MEETING

The fans' group campaigning for the removal of Blackburn manager Steve Kean have been granted meetings with Government and the Premier League to air their concerns.

The BRFC Action Group have long called for the removal of Kean and claim owners Venky's, the Indian poultry firm, are not fit and proper persons to run the club.

Their campaign has been stepped up since the club were relegated from the Barclays Premier League amid scenes of unrest and protest at Ewood Park last week.

Allardyce instructed his lawyers to sue Kean for slander, and he is taking legal action against Blackburn as well because Kean is an employee who was on club business at the time.

Asked about his relationship with Allardyce since he replaced him as manager in December 2010, Kean is also heard saying: ‘I haven’t spoken to him. He mullered me so I said f*** him.

‘I worked my b***s off for him and then he had a go at me so f*** him.’

The 44-year-old Scot appears to claim the credit for Phil Jones’s emergence from Blackburn’s academy before he was sold to Manchester United for 16.5million last summer, as well as telling the fans that his team would finish in the top half of the table and win the Carling Cup.

Video nasty: Kean was filmed by fans

Video nasty: Kean was filmed by fans

In fact, Blackburn were relegated from the Premier League and could be replaced by Allardyce’s West Ham this weekend.

The release of the video clip appears to have been timed to cause maximum embarrassment for Kean as he arrived in Pune for talks with Venky’s. A petition signed by 5,000 fans calling for him to be sacked has already been sent to the Indian owners.

It also coincided with news that Blackburn MP Jack Straw has helped set up a meeting between The BRFC Action Group and sports minister Hugh Robertson next month, while the Premier League have agreed in principle to hold talks with them.

The former chairman of Blackburn’s neighbours Accrington Stanley claimed yesterday that he is ready to head a consortium of local businessman interested in buying the club if Venky’s are prepared to sell.

Ilyas Khan said: ‘If they were to decide that it’s time for them to move on to a different business venture, I think our consortium is the only one that could turn this into a success for the town.’

Under fire: Fans protest against manager Steve Kean and club owners the Venkys

Under fire: Fans protest against manager Steve Kean and club owners the Venkys

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Martin Samuel: Jack Straw just blows with the wind on Blackburn Rovers

Hypocrite Straw just blows with the wind

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UPDATED:

00:44 GMT, 16 May 2012

Very wisely, the Premier League took one look at Jack Straw’s crowd-pleasing call for an investigation into Venky’s takeover of Blackburn Rovers, and ignored it.

As manager Steve Kean heads to India for another one of his interminable dances with fools, former home secretary Straw, Labour MP for Blackburn, has taken to the airwaves and the opinion pages following the club’s relegation, demanding an inquiry and calling into question the Premier League’s fit-and-proper-person test.

‘At last the back pages of our newspapers have woken up to what is really happening at Blackburn Rovers,’ began Straw’s piece in The Times, as if journalists had not been consistently critical of Blackburn’s new owners, almost from the moment of their arrival, with the sacking of manager Sam Allardyce and the unhealthy influence of Jerome Anderson’s SEM Group.

Poultry season: Indian chicken giant Venky's have been a disaster as Blackburn owners

Poultry season: Indian chicken giant Venky's have been a disaster at Blackburn

Writing in the Lancashire Telegraph, Straw added: ‘At the heart of the Premier League’s wilful neglect of its responsibilities is its so-called “fit-and-proper-person” test. The test is laughable and almost everyone in the business knows this.

‘I cannot believe that this Indian family poultry business had any idea of the financial and reputational risks they were taking on. Why were they not warned’

Like all politicians, Straw is fully alive to the self-aggrandising moment. He seeks to establish himself as the lone voice of reason with the voters —sorry, fans — while decrying the contribution of others.

If only the Premier League had been as insightful as Jack; if only the media had listened to his words of wisdom and caution. He saw through this from the start. Why did they not heed his warnings To which we ask: what warnings

Want to know what Straw wrote when Venky’s bought Blackburn Want to know how prescient he was or how high the stringent application of a fit-and-proper-person test was on his list of priorities

Unrest: Blackburn fans want Venky's out... but Jack Straw (below) welcomed them at first

Unrest: Rovers fans want Venky's out… but Jack Straw (below) welcomed them

Unrest: Blackburn fans want Venky's out... but Jack Straw welcomed them

This is an extract from his column in the Lancashire Telegraph, published October 28, 2010. ‘Venky’s growth from next to nothing is another story of the explosion of entrepreneurship which is turning India into a global power. Britain was the pioneer in world economic dominance. We exported far more goods than we imported, then used the surplus to invest abroad. India, among others, is now returning the compliment — and we should welcome it.

‘Top-flight soccer was once entirely local. But it’s now global too. If the Venky’s deal for Rovers passes the remaining hurdles, then it will be good news for the club and its loyal fans. And it may have the bonus of encouraging a trend, seeing many more folk of Asian heritage at Ewood Park.’ Although not the owners.

So, far from adopting a cynical or even ambivalent tone, Straw as good as got out the bunting. Now, in order to score cheap political points, he sheds his hands-across-the-ocean shtick, and feigns insight. The hypocrite.

‘The initial response to Venky’s venture has been mixed,’ wrote Jayadipta Gupta, a former columnist in the Indian Express, now executive editor of ESPN Cricinfo, India. ‘The media is cautious, welcoming the possible deal but raising an eyebrow at the 5million transfer budget Venky’s has proposed.

No help from politicians: Beleaguered Blackburn manager Steve Kean took Rovers down last season

No help from politicians: Beleaguered Blackburn manager Steve Kean

‘A more unambiguous response has come from Jack Straw, the former British foreign secretary, who knows a thing or two about the global game.’

Doesn’t he just He knows how it can make him look good, how it affords easy headlines and publicity, and how it moves so fast these days that it is easy to evade consistency of thought from one season to the next.

Mike Hancock, Liberal Democrat MP for Portsmouth South, demanded a similar investigation into the demise of Portsmouth, forgetting that when they won the FA Cup in 2008 with money they didn’t have, he was so suspicious he tabled a parliamentary motion congratulating the club and calling for manager Harry Redknapp to be knighted…

So, one more time for Straw, and all those joining him on this populist charabanc: a fit-and-proper test is not an intelligence test. What is being proposed here — that Venky’s as good as set out their plans for approval before the Premier League — would make their chief executive Richard Scudamore the de facto owner of every club.

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All the league can do is ensure the buyers have the funds for the transaction and are not criminals, and the rest is down to them. Whether they then take the club to the skies, like Sheik Mansour and Manchester City, or into the shallows like Venky’s and Blackburn, is their business: literally.

Nobody gave Mike Ashley’s plans for Newcastle United a prayer at the start of the season, but Alan Pardew made them work, came fifth and was rightly crowned Manager of the Year by the League Managers’ Association.

Many thought Venky’s ideas at Blackburn were wrong from the start, but an owner has to be allowed to make his mistakes, providing he is not engaged in an illegal enterprise.

Take Cardiff City. The club are in desperate need of investment and a buyer has been found in Malaysia: but he wants to change the strip from blue to red.

Suppose the Football League had made him reveal this plan prior to purchase, refused to sanction it and the new owner had walked away. Cardiff’s fans would, rightly, be in uproar. Maybe they would be willing to trade blue for red and financial security.

Cardiff’s original colours were chocolate and amber quarters, and they once sported a thick yellow and white stripe in the blue, so who knows If red brought success maybe the fans would learn to love it. Either way, it is not the league’s call. In the end, Cardiff got their man, he floated the idea of change, the fans reacted negatively and he backed down.

There was always the hope Venky’s would see sense, too. Always the hope that they would set a different course from one that ended in relegation. The pain of the supporters is bad enough, however, without the opportunistic Straw pushing the right buttons to advance his own standing.

Welcome wagon, bandwagon, it is all one big ride for our political class.

Gary should be focusing on England

Gary Neville is a strong appointment by England manager Roy Hodgson.

Forget the talk of future England manager, we’ve seen plenty of them, young coaches being groomed for the ascension, from Bryan Robson to David Platt and lately Stuart Pearce. When the England manager leaves, the mood is invariably for regime change, not more of the same, and his staff go with him. Hodgson will have to be quite brilliant for Neville to be regarded as the man for the job in four years’ time.

Right here, right now, though, is a different matter. Neville knows the game, the international territory, is forthright and well respected. Undistracted by club duties, he definitely fits the bill.

For his media employers, however, his appointment is a disaster. Neville may think he can continue writing and talking without pulling his punches, but he can’t. He will soon find there are too many fragile egos around the England squad to have a senior coach out there, telling the truth.

England expects: Gary Neville (right) will have to change his media approach

England expects: Gary Neville (right) will have to change his media approach

On Sky, he will have to think before he speaks, in his newspaper column he will have to defend performances that would previously be analysed ruthlessly. Each word will be picked over for evidence of inconsistency.

In 2006, after England lost in Croatia, Steve McClaren’s assistant Terry Venables mounted a robust defence against the critics in his column in the News of the World. He mentioned that Stewart Downing was so intimidated by his hostile reception during the goalless draw with Macedonia that he was taken out of the firing line in Zagreb. McClaren had earlier said Downing was dropped due to poor form.

In essence, the two explanations were the same — Downing’s form had gone, because he felt under pressure — but this perceived disagreement was seized upon before the next match against Holland, where it dominated the news agenda.

Neville will learn to watch what he says — the last thing a newspaper wants from its columnist.

He is better off making a break because whatever loyalty he feels to his media employers, he will have to prioritise his England position. Indeed, the process has begun already. If it hadn’t, his newspaper or Sky would have broken the story about his new job.

Fair play to the London Games organisers

Canada wanted to own the podium at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, and did. They won a huge amount of medals.

The nation is more sensitive, however, when afforded ownership of some unfortunate by-products of this desire, such as the accidental death of Georgian luge slider Nodar Kumaritashvili, who crashed in practice on a course for which he was wholly unprepared.

Canada had given their own athletes months of training at Olympic facilities, while limiting the time allotted to rivals. Now it is proposed Team GB does the same.

Nobody has ever died from a Nike blow-out at the bend of a 400 metres circuit but, even so, do we never learn The Olympics is not meant to be about establishing a master race. We are not inviting the world to London to crush them like ants.

Barton poses problem for Hughes

How many games should Joey Barton miss next season Nine, at least, possibly 15.

It adds up like this. He gets three for the straight red-card offence against Carlos Tevez, plus one additional for it being his second sending-off of the season; the kick on Sergio Aguero, meanwhile, also constitutes a red card, so three matches, plus two additional for it equating to his third sending-off offence. If the Football Association then regard the contact with Vincent Kompany as a head-butt, that would make three red-card offences and an additional six matches, totalling 15 in all.

Either way, it leaves Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Hughes with a dilemma because it will be very hard to shift a player who might not be available until October, or even December.

It appears he is stuck with Barton until the January transfer window at the earliest. He cannot captain the club, obviously, and considering his actions could have got Rangers relegated, can hardly be given first-team responsibility in a campaign which must amount to more than desperate survival.

Still, many British team leaders are upset at the attitude of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, when insisting on fairness.

Rowing and flatwater canoeing had organised exclusive access to the facilities at Eton Dorney; LOCOG removed it; UK Athletics asked for dedicated access to the Olympic track every Thursday, LOCOG changed that to six afternoons shared with other athletes; the British Olympic Association wanted a specific home team dressing room at every venue: request denied.

‘All these little nooks and crannies of home advantage haven’t existed,’ says Dave Brailsford, performance director of British Cycling. ‘This is now the Fair Play Games.’

As opposed to what For there is another name for the little nooks and crannies, another term for owning the podium, or limiting access, certainly to the point where it becomes dangerous, as happened in Vancouver. It’s called cheating.

Athletes do not see it that way, because highly competitive people rationalise unsporting behaviour to water down its motivations. So when British Cycling requested that no foreign competitors be allowed access to the velodrome until it was necessary — LOCOG ignored them and held an international test event in February — they did not perceive what they were seeking as unjust, merely clever.

As long as it does not contravene regulations, all is fair in love and war. And that’s the nub of it. Sport isn’t war.

It’s a demonstration of ability and skill, not some patriotic flexing of muscle. Do it fairly, or don’t bother. This is the Olympic Games, not Moscow’s May Day parade.

Time's up for Carlos and Mario

The board meeting to discuss the immediate future at Manchester City was held the day after the title was won, and before the open-top bus parade. If the fate of Carlos Tevez had not already been sealed it probably has now.

Enjoy it while it lasts: Carlos Tevez (right) will surely get the boot from City

Enjoy it while it lasts: Carlos Tevez (right) will surely get the boot from City

City’s last public celebration was partly overshadowed by the absence of Mario Balotelli, this one slightly soured when Tevez held up a placard with the message ‘RIP Fergie’. It was given to him by a fan, and was a reference to Sir Alex Ferguson’s comment that City would not overtake Manchester United ‘in my lifetime’, then there are language-barrier issues, it was only a joke and, well, you know, the usual.

The problem City will be addressing is why always them And the inescapable conclusion is that, to progress with necessary stability, they need to make Tevez and Balotelli an issue for another club now.

RVP could spoil Arsene's summer holiday

Arsene Wenger is predicting, as always, a very quiet summer at Arsenal. Having already secured German striker Lukas Podolski, he says economic recession plus the Premier League restriction on squad numbers and the return of Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby means there will be little transfer activity.

Wenger had a similarly quiet summer last year, one recalls, followed by a very noisy early autumn when he ran around like a man with his trousers on fire bidding for every player in sight because Arsenal were in crisis and had conceded eight goals to Manchester United.

Hot property: Europe's top clubs will be chasing Robin van Persie this summer

Hot property: Europe's top clubs will be chasing Robin van Persie this summer

Robin van Persie has the capacity to disturb the peace this year, too. He wasn’t speaking like a man minded to stay after Sunday’s win over West Bromwich Albion, and Arsenal cannot afford to waste another close season with speculation.

The club are preparing a substantial wage offer and Wenger needs to know his captain’s intentions early, because if he loses Van Persie late, in the manner of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, he will prove impossible to replace adequately.

There is a difference between a nice bit of quiet and the gentle noise of tumbleweed blowing through.

Blackburn Rovers crisis: Venky"s deny sale talk

We won't chicken out! Venky's deny Rovers sale and claim they're in it for long haul

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UPDATED:

15:23 GMT, 10 May 2012

Blackburn's co-owner has insisted the club is not for sale despite their relegation from the Premier League.

Venkatesh Rao says Indian poultry giants Venky's are with Blackburn for the long-term.

He also insisted deputy chief executive Paul Hunt has left the club as a cost-cutting measure rather than being sacked over a leaked letter.

It never rains, but it pours: Rovers are facing up to a bleak future

It never rains, but it pours: Rovers are facing up to a bleak future

Asked if Venky's wanted to keep Blackburn in the long-term, Rao told the Times of India: “Yes, it is a company of ours and there is nothing whatsoever in [the speculation]. These allegations are not correct.

Hunt's letter to the owners in December, which was leaked earlier this week, asked them to sack manager Steve Kean and spend more money on new signings. It was confirmed today Hunt had left the club.

Rao said: 'It is not sacking because of that. Some staff have to go to bring the budget down, it is nothing to do with it (the letter).'

Rao admitted he expected criticism from fans in the wake of relegation, but that they had a right to do so.

'We were relegated so naturally they are going to do that,' he said. 'We have to come out of this situation, that's the most important thing. The fans have the right to do what they want.

'It's bound to happen when someone loses that somebody criticises. We have to come out of this situation. Nobody is to be blamed.'

Venky's have continued to stand by
Kean as manager and the Rovers boss has said he does not know what
savings he will have to make on the playing staff.

Staying put: The Venky's have vowed to remain at Ewood park, despite continued protests from fans

Staying put: The Venky's have vowed to remain at Ewood park, despite continued protests from fans

Staying put: The Venky's have vowed to remain at Ewood park, despite continued protests from fans

Kean said: 'I don't know to what extent we will have to cut costs. The budget is still be agreed. That will be a process that happens as quickly as possible.

'I think what we have got to do is assemble a squad and keep the players we can keep. Certainly the young players that are coming through, there is going to be lots of interest because they have done so well.

'We have established players like Paul Robinson and Morten Pedersen that have only played at a high level. I don't know if there will be other interest, but in conversation with them they are just as devastated as everyone else.

'I have spoken at great length with the owners and that will continue over the next six or seven days. The only objective for the owners and myself is to build a squad, it is as simple as that.'

Meanwhile the Premier League have dismissed an MP's calls for an investigation into Venky's takeover of Blackburn and say they are confident the club will remain financially sustainable despite relegation.

Jack Straw, MP for Blackburn, has accused the Premier League of 'a wilful neglect of its responsibilities' and called for an investigation into how the Indian poultry giants were persuaded to buy the club.

What next Rovers could lose some of their best players

What next Rovers could lose some of their best players

What next Rovers could lose some of their best players

The Premier League say their 'owners' and directors' test' and financial rules work to ensure that clubs remain sustainable but cannot ensure 'competency'.

Blackburn today confirmed that deputy chief executive Paul Hunt has left the club following the furore over a leaked letter.

The letter from Hunt to Venky's was written in December and stated he wanted them to sack manager Steve Kean. The owners have stood by Kean however, despite Rovers being relegated on Monday.

Straw wrote in the Lancashire Telegraph: 'At the heart of the Premier League's wilful neglect of its responsibilities is its so-called 'fit and proper person' test (forerunner of the owners' and directors' test).

'The test is laughable and almost everyone in the business knows this. It allows no period of probation for new owners, no assessment of their managerial competence, no disclosure of the insidious role of agents.

'The Premier League must now mount a full investigation into what business model Venky's thought they were buying and how much money has been made by those who sold them this model.

'I cannot believe that this Indian family poultry business had any idea of the financial and reputational risks they were taking on. Why were they not warned'

Blackburn fan reckons chicken prank has delivered message to Steve Kean

Plucky Blackburn fan reckons chicken prank has sent perfect message to Kean and Venky's

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UPDATED:

12:28 GMT, 8 May 2012

The Blackburn fan who released a chicken at Ewood Park claims he has delivered a clear message to the club's under-fire owners.

Anthony Taylor, 23, let the bird loose on the pitch during Monday night's defeat to Wigan as Rovers were relegated to the Championship.

Clucky devil: The chicken invaded the pitch at Ewood Park after Anthony Taylor smuggled it into the stadium

Clucky devil: The chicken invaded the pitch at Ewood Park after Anthony Taylor smuggled it into the stadium

Me and my bird: Rovers fan Anthony Taylor

Me and my bird: Rovers fan Anthony Taylor

Taylor draped the chicken in a flag with the world 'out' on it as the season came to a miserable end for manager Steve Kean and the club's Indian poultry tycoon owners Venky's.

Taylor said: 'They should both go and Kean is responsible for gutting the team of all the quality players, like defender Chris Samba.

'It wasn't a protest and I did it for a laugh but there is no doubt now that they will get the message that Venkys are not welcome anymore at Ewood Park and Kean should go too.

'You can't help but laugh at it, especially when people like Chris Moyles are talking about it on the radio.'

Taylor, from Rossendale, 20 minutes from Blackburn, put his plan into action with a practice run in the pub before the game.

He added: 'We had the pub in stitches with the run-through in the Rose and Crown but there is a serious side to all of this. Our team is going down and something needs to change.'

Play was held up in the seventh minute of Tuesday night's match after Taylor released the chicken from under his jacket.

Wigan keeper Ali Al-Habsi grabbed the bird when it went into his goal.

Rovers owners Venky's, the chicken farming giants, have been targeted by protests for most of the season while fans have continually called for Kean to leave the club.

Richard Heaton, a friend of Taylor, said: 'Blackburn are my local team so I show support for them and Venkys are ruing the club. They have done enough damage and it’s time for them to go.'

Antolin Alcaraz scored the only goal of the game as Wigan made sure they will be playing top-flight football next season at the expense of their opponents.

Seeing the funny side: Blackburn striker Yakubu and Wigan keeper Ali Al-Habsi

Seeing the funny side: Blackburn striker Yakubu and Wigan keeper Ali Al-Habsi

Venky"s deny Blackburn sale reports

Venky's deny chickening out of Blackburn and looking to sell if relegation comes

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UPDATED:

10:34 GMT, 30 April 2012


Protest: A Blackburn fan wearing a chicken mask taking part in a march against Venky's on Saturday

Protest: A Blackburn fan wearing a chicken mask taking part in a march against Venky's on Saturday

Venky's have denied they are planning to sell Blackburn Rovers.

Steve Kean's side are staring relegation in the face after a dismal season but the Indian poultry giants insist they will not quit the club should they go down.

Investment bankers Goldman Sachs were reported to have been instructed to broker a deal with potential buyers but Rovers director Vineeth Rao dismissed the claims.

'It is not true, none of that. We have no plans to sell Blackburn Rovers, none at all,' Rao told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph.

'Even if the club got relegated, which is not in our thoughts, we are not planning to sell.'

You're fried: Blackburn look doomed to relegation after Sunday's defeat at Spurs

You're fried: Blackburn look doomed to relegation after Sunday's defeat at Spurs

Blackburn's season hit a new low on Sunday when they were beaten 2-0 at Tottenham without managing a single shot on or off target.

Rovers sit 19th in the Premier League table, three points from safety with just two games to go this term.

Venky"s confirm they won"t walk away from doomed Blackburn

It”s not Rover yet! Venky”s confirm they won”t walk away from doomed Blackburn

Venky”s insist they will continue to fund Blackburn Rovers even if the club are relegated from the Barclays Premier League after it posted an annual pre-tax loss of 18.6m.

The loss – for the year ending June 30, 2011 – compares to only 1.9m for the previous year, while net debt rose from 21m to 26.3m.

Rovers made a loss of 4.8m before player trading, which incurred a further loss of 13.8m.

Staying put: Blackburn Rovers

Staying put: Blackburn Rovers” Venky”s owners Balagi Rao and Venkatesh Rao

Net transfer fees of 8.7m were due after the end of the financial year and were not included in the latest balance sheet.

A statement wsaid Blackburn would require ‘significant funding’ in the short term but that Indian poultry firm Venky’s, owned by Balagi Rao and Venkatesh Rao, had confirmed that they will provide that even if Steve Kean”s team are relegated from to the Championship.

The statement also confirmed that a number of players have clauses that would lead to significant reductions in their salary if Rovers went down.

Blackburn are currently rock bottom of the Premier League on just 11 points with manager Kean under continuous pressure from fans to step down.

“As part of the directors’ assessment of going concern they have prepared detailed cash flow forecasts for 18 months to the end of June 2013,” the statement said.

“These forecasts indicate that the company will require significant funding in addition to the current facilities available to the club.

Under pressure: Blackburn boss Steve Kean is feeling the strain at Ewood Park

Under pressure: Blackburn boss Steve Kean is feeling the strain at Ewood Park

“The amount of additional funding required will be dependent on the net proceeds of any player trading and availability of bank facilities.

“In view of this the directors have received confirmation from the ultimate parent company (Venkateshwara Hatcheries Pvt Ltd) that it has sufficient funds and is willing to provide such additional financing as may be required.

“The company is currently operating within its facilities provided by Barclays, which are due for renewal on June 30, 2012.

“The directors have started discussions with Barclays regarding the renewal of these facilities when they expire and based on these discussions the directors are optimistic these facilities will renewed on acceptable terms and conditions.”

Turnover dropped narrowly from 57.8m to 57.6m with wage and salaries increasing from 47.4m to 49.9m, leading to the wage to turnover ratio increasing from 82 per cent to 86.6 per cent – although that was still short of the figure of 90.6 per cent two years ago.