Will Blackburn's appointment of an Asian football pundit please fans, or is it another move to just protect their brand in India...
Ladies and gentlemen, for our next act, may I introduce, Shebby Singh!
Formerly an Asian footballer turned TV Pundit for ESPN Star Sports network, Shebby Singh is now working for Venky’s at Blackburn Rovers – some report as the club’s Director of Football, others as their Global Advisor. Either way the fans have already seen right through Venky’s latest farcical move to supposedly get Rovers back where they belong.
In his column for a Singapore newspaper on May 9, under the headline ‘Kean must go’, Singh wrote: “Steve Kean is obviously not the man to lead Blackburn Rovers back to the Premiership. They were tactically naive with a lightweight team that were too easily brushed aside at times. Then, there were a number of players who were past their prime.”
In his first press statement for the club on Wednesday 20 June, a little over a month later, Singh is singing a different song: “Steve Kean will remain Blackburn manager.”
Singh also shockingly stated: “”Steve has been in this sort of situation before in the Championship when he was at Fulham and he got them promoted.”
I think you will find, Mr Singh, it was Jean Tigana who got Fulham promoted!
Singh also said that Kean is under more pressure to get Rovers back to the Premier League that he was to keep Rovers in the Premier League – this seems a rather counterproductive, non-sensical statement to me from a man who is perhaps caught up in the lies and PR spin he is being instructed to communicate.
It is clear to me that Singh, a TV personality for many years, has been appointed to be the spokesperson that Venky’s have been lacking since their takeover of the club. However, it is already clear that Singh will be acting on Venky’s instructions – no matter how stupid it makes him look – and will work to protect Venky’s brand rather than that of Blackburn Rovers. After all, with a famous Asian football TV pundit as the new face of Rovers, I’m sure Venky’s new Asian fans will be pleased.
It won’t please the hard-core, loyal and lifelong fans from the rest of the world though, who are already aware that Singh’s views a month ago were that Kean should go and they have been quick to point out the ‘lies’ Singh has been telling about Kean being responsible for Fulham’s promotion from the Championship. These real fans are already tarnishing Singh with the same brush as fellow ‘yes men’, Kean and Agnew.
Kean’s contract is set to expire in 2013. Is keeping him on another cost-cutting measure to avoid paying him compensation? Are the conspiracy theories that Kean part-owns the club true? Will Singh take over as manager after Kean’s contract expires? Who knows what will happen next!
One thing is for sure though; Singh’s appointment, like every Venky’s decision, has simply gone to further anger fans who rightly want Venky’s to do something for the good of the club rather than their business and brand.
As the circus continues, so will the conspiracy theories over who really owns Rovers, fan group investigations and protests will intensify and with Shebby set to star centre stage in the ring, even more fans will be asking for their money back.