For a moment, just a moment, there was something for Blackburn Rovers fans to look forward to. Then, as has been the case for over two years now, it was brutally taken away. After a hard fought draw in Saturday's F.A Cup Quarter-Final against Millwall, Sunday's semi-final draw gave them hope of a final appearance after they avoided big guns Manchester City and the winner of Manchester United and Chelsea. A home replay was all the had to get through. As it turned out, things could not have gone worse. Blackburn were never in the game and looked devoid of ideas and confidence. As the despairing crowd of just over 8000 watched on, Millwall caused an upset and emerged from the game with a 1-0 victory and a semi-final date with Wigan at Wembley. The latest in the long line of failures for this once proud football club. Blackburn Rovers were once considered to be a stable, well-run football club who had cemented their place as Premier League regulars despite their modest turnover. That was until two and a half years ago when the club was sold to Poultry firm Venky's, the Indian's having bought the club from the Jack Walker Trust, who had been given the task of finding an owner who could take the club forward and protect the legacy of the iconic owner. Venky's arrived saying all the right things, promising large transfer funds for the Manager and even dared to dream of bringing the club back into the Champions League places within the next three years. Everything pointed to exciting times ahead for Blackburn Rovers and their fans. Things couldn't have been further from the truth. Instead, things began to unravel extremely quickly. Bad decisions were made almost on a daily basis. First, the dismissal of Manager Sam Allardyce, a man who had worked miracles with almost no money for players over his time in charge. This decision was bemusing, although nothing compared to who they chose to replace him. Steve Kean, who had no managerial experience whatsoever, was given the task of fulfilling Venky's ambitions for Rovers. This decision was met with widespread disapproval by fans and pundits alike, many speculating that Venky's had gone for the cheaper option and had taken advice from Kean's agent, Jerome Anderson. Kean proved to be out of his depth from the very outset. Tactically unaware during games and almost fearful of doing something wrong whilst the spotlight was on, Blackburn plummeted down the table. Then John Williams, the long-serving Chairman who had a very high reputation within the game and was the reason behind Blackburn's stability, was let go. This proved to all observing that Venky's were receiving bad advice and had no idea how to run a football club. Things went from bad to worse for Kean and Rovers and barely escaped relegation in the 2010/11 season, surviving on the final day against Wolves. The 2011/12 season didn't start any better and they were rarely out of the bottom 3 for the entire season. Things were extremely heated at Ewood Park for most of the season with fans directing their hatred towards manager Kean, who was clearly inept and uncapable of managing a high profile club. Everyone could see this but Venky's, who inexplicably kept Kean in the job for the entire season and Rovers were inevitably relegated after a lengthy stay in the top division. When Steve Kean received a vote of confidence from the powers that be, the fans were livid. They began lengthy protests before, during and after games. Some decided to vote with their feet and boycott games altogether, with attendances plummeting. Action groups were formed to pressurise Venky's into selling the Club that they had taken into oblivion, these appeals were met with deaf ears. They did spend some money in preparing a squad capable of returning to the Premier League at the first attempt. On paper Rovers were one of the favourites for Promotion without question. Things started well enough, with Rovers occupying a playoff position, things were far from rosy though. Rumours of struggles in the Boardroom as there seemed to be a difference of opinion with what to do with their beleaguered Manager. Fans had made their mind up long ago, and the night before an away game at Charlton, Kean finally relented and resigned. Jubilant celebrations from the fans followed as it was apparent this should have occurred months ago. Whether he jumped or was pushed was irrelevant, Kean lost his power struggle with Golbal Advisor Shebby Singh and was no longer part of the problem. Singh appeared to be the man running the club on behalf of Venky's. The flamboyant former pundit caused some controversy when he attended a question and answer session with Rovers fans prior to Kean's resignation and stated he would be sacked after 3 losses. He also made an ill-advised comment regarding a long serving player Morten Pedersen, labelling him a 'pensioner'. Onlookers now labelled Rovers a comedy club and this comedy had some life left in it yet. Singh had set his sights on a former player to become manager and after a long period of waiting for the decision he appointed Henning Berg, a member of Blackburn's title winning team in 1994/95. Berg had limited success as Manager in his native Norway and fans were sceptical about his appointment while willing to give him a chance. Ten games and 57 days later, it was over for Berg, a poor run of form led to a rash decision to remove the manager in one of the shortest reigns in recent memory. When you consider how long they gave Steve Kean at the helm when things were at a critical stage it seemed mind-blowing that they would go from one extreme to another with Berg. Fans were at their wits end with the Board and Owners. The club once known for being one of the most stable in the country was now on it's knees with no sign of anything changes. Once again, there was a power struggle in regards to their next appointment. The lines had been divided long ago between Shebby Singh, Paul Agnew and Derek Shaw. This time Venky's listened to Shaw and Agnew after some debate and they appointed Blackpool Manager Michael Appleton, himself only having been recently appointed Blackpool Manager. Another strange and random turn of events. Par for the course at Blackburn Rovers. Appleton has gone on record as saying that the foundations of the club have been built on quicksand and there is no quick fix. He couldn't be more right. Previous managers have gone for players with big-salaries and little commitment were brought in for a quick fix and it hasn't paid off. The jury is still out on Appleton with the fans once again divided. Having been a Blackburn Rovers fans for over twenty years I feel that some fans have become familiar with moaning having done it for 30 months now and don't know how to behave any other way. Things aren't good, I fully agree with that. Promotion chances have long gone and Rovers seem to have a serious problem with confidence and creativity, having let arguably their two most creative players leave on loan during the transfer window in Mauro Formica and Ruben Rochina. The club needs stability and people can question Appleton's methods and tactics all they like but what good could possibly come from Rovers giving another Manager the sack after a short period of time? He can only work with what he's got and some players at the club don't look interested in the slightest, happy to take their large pay-packets and go home with little sympathy for the club or the fans. The blame lies squarely with Venky's, who are possibly the most incompetent Owners in the history of English football. They have made every bad decision you could possibly make at the head of a company and if they continue in this vein then there might not be much of a club left for them to sell. They have had bad advice from agents, members of the boardroom and hangers-on and this has been the main cause of their downfall. Not many foreign owners know the full magnitude of what they are taking on when they buy an English Club and this has proved to be the case with Venky's. They are rarely seen at games and when they do decide to take one in they don't stay beyond half-time. They have alienated fans and sponsors alike and the club now finds itself on the brink as they watch on from the comfort of Pune, India. So now, with the F.A Cup dream gone for the foreseeable future, a much graver prospect lies ahead. Blackburn are in terrible form and currently find themselves just 4 points outside the relegation places. What's more concerning is the amount of tricky fixtures they have upcoming. Back-to-back relegation's would be an absolute catastrophe and something the club would struggle to come back from. As unlikely as that may seem, judging by previous experiences at Blackburn, it is a distinct possibility. What that would lead to, I dread to think. Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_
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