Henchoz: Venky's have made mess of Blackburn

Indian owners Venky's have left former Premier League champions Blackburn Rovers in a mess and should have sacked beleaguered manager Steve Kean last season to avoid relegation, former defender Stephane Henchoz said.

Kean and Venky's have been under a wave of attack from unhappy supporters for over a year with frustrations accelerated by the 1995 champions relegation from the Premier League in May after a lack of investment and dismal run of form.

Despite the frequent protests at Ewood Park, Indian poultry firm Venky's chose to stick by Kean to get them promotion from the Championship and backed him by spending a club record eight million pounds on Scotland striker Jordan Rhodes.

But after four wins and two draws, Kean's future was again widely discussed in British media this week with his sacking appearing imminent following their 2-1 home loss to Middlesbrough on Friday.

"I think that this club, Blackburn Rovers have been in a mess since Venky's took over. I think the biggest problem is Venky's," Henchoz told Reuters in an interview in Singapore on Thursday.

"I think Blackburn Rovers is a good club and I think Venky's have just messed it up.

"When you see with Kean everyday [headlines like], 'is he going to be manager tomorrow?' and for what, 20 months? it is the same old story, you cannot carry on the way it is at the moment."

Attendances have halved to just over 13,000 since Blackburn's relegation, despite their bright start to the new season.

Former Malaysia international Shebby Singh, who was appointed director of football in the close season, said this week that falling crowd numbers were hitting the clubs finances and described the situation after seven games as 'not very pleasant.'

Singh, known throughout Asia as an outspoken television pundit, has already been forced to make a public apology after criticising Kean and experienced winger Morten Gamst Pedersen in a fan meeting.

BIGGEST PROBLEM

Despite the latest wave of speculation, Kean is expected to remain in charge for Saturday's match against Charlton Athletic, another former Premier League club, but Henchoz believes it is a situation that should have been dealt with months ago.

"Before they were relegated they should have replaced Kean, for some reason, which is very strange, they always supported him. With this outcome, they are relegated," said the former Swiss international who ended his second stint with the club in 2008.

"And now, start a new season, they are doing well, doing ok, and all of a sudden they are speaking again about sacking him so I don't really see the consistency in the way they are running the place."

Venky's bought Blackburn for 23 million pounds in November 2010 and talked of bringing former Barcelona playmaker Ronaldinho and ex England captain David Beckham to Ewood Park.

Neither move materialised and the club removed popular manager Sam Allardyce shortly after and have been ridiculed for a number of their decisions since by unhappy fans.

Henchoz, who after a spell coaching the club's under-18s side is now working with Swiss second division team FC Wohlen, said that despite the criticism, Venky's should stay and fix the mess.

"They took over the club they need to bring back the club to the Premier League where it was when they took over," said Henchoz, who also had a successful spell at Liverpool.

"Obviously the way they are managing the whole situation it wont be easy to get back to the Premier League like that. They don't have experience in football, they don't know the game and that is their biggest problem.

"When you don't know the game or what you are doing obviously you need somebody who can advise you wisely and obviously they don't really have that."


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