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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Head of Venkys gives first interview

Blackburn Rovers` prospective new owner has this morning declared that she wants a nation full of Blackburn Rovers fans in India and the club to aim for the top 4.

Anuradha Desai is one of the clubs potential new head honcho and she gave her first full interview this morning in his first proper state of address.

Murmurs of discontent appeared yesterday amongst the fans of Blackburn Rovers after several rumours and figures were quoted in connection with the VH Group, but the soon to be new lady of Blackburn Rovers spoke to remove any negative feelings about the takeover.

The key things she stressed was the club would be in a safe pair of hands and that Jack Walkers fine work would continue.

Mrs Desai did confirm that an initial 5million would be made available to buy players in January.

Much more was promised however for the summer to ensure that Rovers future would be to battle at the business end of the English Premier League.

The main plan is to turn Lancashire finest into the Indian football team of choice.

Mrs Desai, who is head of VH and Venkys, spoke to the Lancashire Telegraph and said - 'There is a new generation of boys aged between 10 and 17 in India that are football mad but lots of them support Chelsea.

"I believe that at this time we can make the market for football in India grow. Having Indian owners in the Premier League will create a lot of interest here and I think we can try to create a whole nation of Blackburn Rovers fans.

"The takeover has made the front pages of all of the newspapers here. That shows the interest that is there.

"My dream is to make Blackburn Rovers an even bigger brand in India than Venky`s."

When asked about transfer funds, Mrs Desai explained - 'Initially there will be 5million put in, straightaway, to buy players but of course if we have to do more then we will.

"There will then be much more investment and we have devised a spending strategy already for the next three years that will see the manager given significant funds to buy players.

"I am not promising that we will be a top four team but I can promise that we will try and that is what we will aim for.

"We are committed to improving the performance of the team and when the situation is right there will be investment.'

Yesterday, the Economic Times of India was quick to cap the transfer budget at a rather modest 5 million but the soon to be new owner has confirmed that there will be much more than that available... but still aims to run the club prudently.

But Mrs Desai clarified the matter by saying - 'There will be much much more than 5million and we want the fans to know that.

"We are trying to complete the deal as fast as possible because we are very excited about the prospect of owning a Premier League club.

"We will do the best by the fans and also by the club and it is very important to continue the traditions of the club.

"We are going to be good responsible owners and we want to make the club stronger.'

Mrs Desai's brothers Balaji and Venkatesh Rao have been in England completing the 46million deal to buy the club.

Their first proper visit to the club will be for Chelsea's visit to Ewood Park on Saturday and they will drive the passion behind the deal.

Both brothers are known football fans.

Mrs Desi said - 'We are fully committed to Blackburn Rovers. This is not just another investment to us.

'We are fully committed to the success of the club. That is how my family is with every venture we take on.

"We will be taking a very hands-on role in the way that the club is run because we are passionate about making this a big success.

"We are a very traditional company with strong values and we feel that Blackburn Rovers is a perfect fit for us because of its similar history and values."

Mrs Desai also stressed that Jack Walker very much remains a part of the Blackburn legacy and their efforts will continue his work.

Mrs Desai continued - "Our firm was set up by my father and we have built on his success and made the firm even bigger as a family.

"We now want to take those family values forward into the future and ensure the continuing wellbeing of the club.

"We will do our best to see that our fans, both in Blackburn and across the UK and the world, can be proud of the job that we do for them.

"We will be totally committed to do our best to improve Blackburn Rovers and will do whatever it takes to ensure that we can continue the wonderful legacy that Jack Walker and his family have left us.

"My father left a fantastic legacy and I have been able to build on that at Venky's. That is what we are looking at here at Rovers."

Mrs Desai is the chair of Venky`s and the rest of the board is made up of her brothers, the joint managing directors, and her husband Jilendra Desai.

The good lady insisted that her brothers will hands on in their dealings with the club and that they will be 100% committed to the club.

Mrs Desai said: "My brothers will be very much involved in the running of the club. I will be coming over soon with my family.

"Please tell the fans that we are totally committed to them and to the club.

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The Journalist

Writer: Mikey Delap Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday October 28 2010

Time: 9:33AM

Your Comments

Wow that clears a few things up...
Mikey Delap
Hopefully this will help calm people down who are already worried before they have even got their foot in the door. Did people really think they would take Venky's over Syeds hundreds of millions if it wasn't in the best interests of the club? I for one will be patient. I just hope Sam bites his tongue and gets a striker in Jan despite his hatred for the mid season window.
fransavarese
there is no word in the english language that describes how good this is
LHrover
Sounds like the right move to me. I know some would rather we had 50 million to blow on over priced players immediately but we don't want to end up like Portsmouth on the brink of collapse.
ITSALLROVER
If you have good scouts then you dont need 50 million. We paid 6 million for Kalinic who needed a season to get used to the premiership. Manure paid 1 million more for Hernandez who despite being smaller and weaker has taken off like a rocket and already scored more than all our strikers this season
del
Mrs Desai sounds very level headed and realistic. We have to trust the club hierarchy to sell to an organisation that has our best interests at heart. I like how she seems to value the traditions of the club and Jack Walker's legacy. I for one, am looking forward with a fair degree of optimism to what should be an interesting future under Venky's. Hopefully their ownership will also encourage more of the local Asian population to associate with the club and boost attendances, even though the vast majority are Muslims. We are fortunate that we can now see some light at the end of the tunnel, following a period of stagnation under the reluctant ownership of the Walker Trust.
onlyonetugay
All papertalk at the moment, I'll wait and see, still not convinced when I see the colour of their money in the transfer market, season ticket and match day prices staying pretty much the same then I will be a little less sceptical.
Rover_since74
They have back tracked on what they have said, however like us they read papers, They have already showed their inexperience of football by declaring our transfer budget for January to the rest of the world, Not overly impressed with them and feel we have made the biggest mistake yet
glen9mullan
i like the grounded expectation and realistic approach...but i would strongly oppose selling name right to Ewood Park. It's always gonna be Ewood Park.
DommyWalker
Even if they sold t though wouldn't we just all call it Ewood Park anyway?
Mikey Delap
Matter of principle - Ewood park is our home
FreidelNo.1
Ewood Park will still be our home and we'll the fans, will always refer to it as 'Ewood' Premier League football is all about money. We were lucky that we had someone as unique as 'Uncle Jack'. He was responsible for us massively overachieving for a small town club and I think many supporters are spoilt by that success. Let's face it, in recent years we haven't been able to compete with the likes of Stoke, Sunderland or Birmingham in the transfer market. It's only because of Big Sams tactical awareness that we finished 10th last season. A miraculous achievement looking at our resources. We have to get real. If the new owners can get us to 10th on a regular basis I'll be more than happy. Compete with Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal..........? What's our support? 19,000 season tickets at an average of 200 each. We don't know how lucky we are to be in the premier league !!!!
onlyonetugay
In Indan cities Football IS big !! You will see youngsters wearing the club shirts of Chelsea, ManU etc. The reason that football (and the EPL) is getting more & more popular is because we get matches live on ESPN & STAR Sports at no extra cost, it comes in our cable package which costs 300 rupees (4 pounds) a month. Not just EPL, but other European Leagues too. So the popularity of Football can only grow, though it will never become as popular as Cricket unless we (India) produce a great football team.
ZeeNut
4 a month?! Flipping heck bargain!!!
Mikey Delap
You're telling me !! 3 live EPL matches on ESPN , 2 on Star Sports every Saturday, then EPL Super Sunday Live on ESPN on Sundays. Besides the other leagues (Italian, German etc) on the competitor channels. This all comes under one "bouquet" of approx 200 channels that come to Indian cable homes. There are a variety of reasons as to why the rates are so low, but net-net we are indeed fortunate here in India. PS: Mrs Desai is i think right about the Chelsea support. I myself am a Chelsea supporter. I will of course start keeping an eye on you guys because of the Indian ownership. Venky's are big here in their business, let's see if they have similar success with your club. If i recall correctly, i have probably owned Venky's stock (shares) at some time in my investment career. But poultry/meat companies have historically got low discounting on our Indian stock exchanges (because a good number Hindu's / Jain's are particular on this aspect, note : I am Catholic) . But gradually this is changing & with increased chicken onsumption among Hindu's too, these stocks are begining to have their day in the sun :-)
ZeeNut
 

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