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Blackburn bought by Indians


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From the BBC:

Rao family buy Blackburn Rovers from Jack Walker Trust

Blackburn have been bought by the Rao family in a £43m deal to become the first Indian-owned Premier League club.

The new owners acquired Rovers' shares for £23m with a debt of about £20m also taken on, BBC Sport understands.

A trust set up by the late former owner Jack Walker to own the club has sold its 99.9% holding to the newly-formed company Venky's London Limited.

"The Blackburn board has completed all necessary processes outlined in our rule book," said the Premier League.

Trust chairman Paul Egerton-Vernon said: "We're very pleased to be passing on the Rovers to the Rao family."

The Venky's brand was initially founded in India as a poultry firm.

Egerton-Vernon continued: "We have been impressed with their enthusiasm and their plans and ideas for investment as well as their wish to preserve the legacy of Jack Walker."

Venky's chairman Anuradha J Desai said the company was "delighted, proud and humbled to be associated with Blackburn Rovers"

He added: "We will absolutely respect the Jack Walker legacy and will be actively supporting the organisation to ensure that Blackburn Rovers remains one of the best-run clubs within the Premier League.

"We are particularly pleased that the deal has the full support of the Walker Trust, the chairman and the management team, who will of course remain in place with our full support."

The new owners believe their experience in India means they will be able to open a huge new market for the Lancashire outfit.

Venky's director Balaji Rao said the firm intends to "exploit our in-depth knowledge of the Indian market in particular, and beyond that, the whole of Asia" to develop the club's fan base.

However, manager Sam Allardyce has urged the fans to temper expectations, saying: " He said: "You've got to keep to the reality.

"We all know we have been short of a bit of investment in the last few years.

"Since the trust has tried to sell the club they haven't been willing to fund the sort of transfers needed to keep the club improving.

"[but] people will go off mentioning we're after Torres or Drogba and in terms of investment, rather than huge sums of money, it will be relatively moderate.

"We will improve the squad but we will have to be diligent in our research to get the right player and spend the money wisely."

According to its website Venky's was established in 1976, mainly to produce chicks for the Indian poultry market, before diversifying into other areas including nutritional health products for humans, pet food and other healthcare products.

The Jack Walker Trust put Blackburn up for sale two years ago in the hope of attracting buyers willing to invest.

Blackburn are 14th in the Premier League, only two points above the relegation places after picking up four victories in 13 games.

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It's only a little joke mate. Cowboys and Indians?

However, I realise fully that in these politically correct times it should be: Cowpersons and American Natives who are in no way related to the peoples of the Indian sub-continent.

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They want to change the name of the ground to the Masala Zone

Or even the Venky’s Stadium the name of another sponsor. Unfortunately this time it isn't a joke.

From the Express:

FANS CRY FOUL AT RENAMING EWOOD

ONE of the first acts of Blackburn’s new Indian owners has been to announce plans to rip up 120 years of history by renaming Ewood Park.

Pune-based poultry firm Venky’s completed a £43million takeover on Friday from the trust fund of former owner Jack Walker. And two brothers from the controlling family, Balaji and Venkatesh Rao, were at yesterday’s game against Aston Villa. In India, company chairwoman Anuradha Desai has been outlining radical plans for the club’s new image.

“We need to improve the brand Blackburn Rovers,†she said. “The management thus far has done a good job but has not been proactive enough. We are looking to change that.

“Arsenal named their stadium The Emirates after their main sponsors. Ours could be called the Venky’s Stadium or could adopt the name of another sponsor.â€

Originally called Ewood Bridge, the stadium was renamed Ewood Park in 1882 and Blackburn have been tenants since 1890.

But club legend Bryan Douglas said: “It would be very difficult for diehard fans, like me, to accept.â€

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It's only a little joke mate. Cowboys and Indians?

However, I realise fully that in these politically correct times it should be: Cowpersons and American Natives who are in no way related to the peoples of the Indian sub-continent.

You mean Native Americans.

or

First Nations Peoples or Aboriginals in Canada.

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