The Venky's Reign of Error: The Strange Case of Steve Kean
Why the "Strange Case of Steve Kean"? What I hope to highlight on this page is the way in which the corporate mainstream dinosaur media attacked those Rovers fans that were left with no other recourse but to protest against Steve Kean, the Venkys and football Agents and how that same corporate mainstream dinosaur media often conflated those fans that protested with those fans that did not.
I also hope to highlight the staunch defence of Steve Kean and the broadcasting media platform that he and his agent were provided with whilst that very same media used its power to ridicule and incite hatred towards Rovers' fans, whether they were protesters or not.
The protesting Rovers fans, those that continue to boycott or those that simply refuse to go quietly into the night have not only been sneered at, mimicked, mocked and treated with dismissive disdain from without - but also from within - The Enemy Within.
While the protesters put their names, faces and bodies on the line, gutless cowards like these below policed the narrative and drove the passion from the slopes of Ewood Park.
It is important to understand that a significant and extremely vociferous minority of Rovers fans have never
protested in any organised or spontaneous way, indeed many were and still are extremely hostile to any form of protest or criticism of Steve Kean or the Venkys and will
robustly defend the Venkys and censor discussion where ever possible. They follow the fan blame fallacy narrative of the corporate media. This may seem utterly incomprehensible to
many outside of the club and its fan base - but it is the truth.
Those non protesting Rovers fans that were and still are hostile to the protesting fans and who continue to violently react to any criticism of the Venkys and who continue to blame fellow fans for Steve Kean's mismanagement of the team, transfer folly and the way in which he used an obliging media to smear the clubs own fans are largely seen as tin foil hat wearing cranks by the majority of Rovers' loyal support. Their thieving of the moral high ground along with their seemingly unfettered arrogant assumptions about who is and who is not a "proper fan" continue well into 2015. Yet even though their views are often seen as 'flaky', they are still a dominant voice on internet discussion forums.
During Steve Kean’s mismanagement this foolishness reached its ugly nadir with Kean and Venky supporters typically posting threats and attacks on the weak , ineffective, bland, disinteresting, uninformative, boring, woeful, flaccid and impotent Lancashire Telegraph’s discussion forum and other internet sites.
Throughout the protest campaigns of the 2011-2012 season, they physically assaulted protesters; threatened to report individuals to the police; attempted to have contributors banned, blocked and deleted from internet discussion forums; questioned the mental health of those that were opposed to the new Blackburn Rovers regime and engaged in slander - going as far in some cases (as i shall discuss later) of accusing protesters or anyone that did not support Steve Kean, Jerome Anderson and the Venky's of racism and sexism.
When things took a turn for the worse at Blackburn Rovers, they chose to use the internet as a soap box platform for their views on whatever it was they felt they needed to tell the world via the World Wide Web about those that they considered were not, "proper fans" (again, this will be discussed later).
Organised attempts to censor the opinions of any one who dared to disagree with their views were a common feature; having the temerity to accuse those in favour of the protests as being undemocratic and opposed to free speech. My own view is that those people who cherish free speech like to practice it and one way of practicing this most cherished form of democracy is to protest - and not to censor opposing views.
It is little wonder that the Venkys engaged in fascistic behaviour when they banned banners criticizing them at Ewood Park or when they instructed Gerald Jackson, the main anchor at Radio Rovers to turn the volume up through the stadium loud speakers to drown out protesting Rovers fans who had gathered after a game against Tottenham Hotspurs in the Blackburn End to protest; this particular incident which was ignored by the national media has to be the most sickening act of contempt ever displayed towards football fans in the history of the game anywhere in the world.
It is my own opinion that many of those Rovers fans who initially agreed with this type of moral elasticity were Nuevoriche SKY TV SPORTS era fans; those that were not on the terraces of Ewood Park during the dark days of the 1970's and 1980's on a wet Wednesday night against Doncaster with crowds of 9,000 or less.
These people hate the working man's game, they hate the football of the terraces and the chanting and cheering that went with it. Instead they prefer soulless plastic stadiums with bubblegum pop music blaring out before the game, after the game and during the game when players score. They love names on shirts, seats and politely clapping the players - players who run off to celebrate on their own in front of the cameras - sometimes pointing to the name on their shirt rather than turning and running in field to celebrate with their team mates, maybe even the ones that helped create the goal.
They have a false sense of consciousness and feel that they have more in common with millionaire footballers and corporate club owners than their next door neighbours or a 'certain type' of fan. They like to take photo's with their mobile phones and behave like tourists. They're a new breed of fan for a new breed of footballer and a new breed of football where tackling has almost been outlawed, players dive and pundits excuse it as "contact was made" and rename "cheating" and "diving" as "simulation" so it doesn't sound as bad. They are fan-consumers. The footballing equivalent of 'mall-rats'.
Another line of attack is to say that those concerned about the clubs future are "living in the past". This is not true and this is an egregious argument. What has happened at Blackburn Rovers since the Venkys bought the club is not something that happened in the past. It continues to happen. It is happening in the present continuous, it is happening now - not in the past - and when the Venkys are but a distant memory we should continue to remember their time at the club, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana.
Another line of attack is to accuse Rovers fans who would rather see the Venkys leave the club of "racism". This is a powerful accusation. In the modern era, racism has become - at least on the surface - a completely unacceptable ideology not only in society but also in football. In football we have seen "Give Racism the Red Card" campaigns so in the context of football, it's racist past and various anti-racism campaigns coupled with changing societal attitudes - this is an extremely powerful accusation. Those smearing people with this word only serve to hollow out such an important word to the point of rendering it almost meaningless. Unfortunately this tactic is used as a weapon of first resort, with no apparent concern as to whether it is true or not - the sole intention being to cause as much damage as possible and close down discussion.
There is even a name for it: Godwin's Law (or Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies). This is an Internet adage asserting that, "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches" — that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism.
Promulgated by American attorney and author Mike Godwin in 1990, Godwin's Law originally referred, specifically, to Usenet newsgroup discussions. It is now applied to any threaded online discussion, such as Internet forums, chat rooms and blog comment threads, as well as to speeches, articles and other rhetoric.
In 2012, "Godwin's Law" became an entry in the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Yet it is one of those obscene ironies that those defending the Venkys are the people who could really be accused of racism. Those who crticise the Venkys are holding the Venkys up to scrutiny. They are applying the same high standards to them as they would any one else. They expect nothing less nor nothing more; in other words, they are treating the Venkys as equals, as the same.
Those defending the Venkys are not doing that. They appear to be giving the Venkys a 'free pass' precisely because they are brown people; precisely because they are from India. It's almost as if the pro-Venkys supporters are saying, "Look, they're brown people from India. They were bound to make mistakes. Give them a break. You cannot accept the same standards from them as from white Anglo-Saxons from northern Europe or north America."
Those who support the Venkys are not holding the Venkys up to scrutiny. They are not applying the same high standards to them as they would any one else. In other words, they are not treating the Venkys as equals and they are not treating them as the same. That is racism. That is soft racism and that also has a name: the racism of lower expectations.
Another criticism is to blame the Walker Family for selling the club to the Venkys in the first place. This is at least some sort of tacit acknowledgement that the Venkys are not doing a very good job. However, it is a false dichotomy and an extremely odd line of 'logic'. Blackburn Rovers Football Club was in perfect working order when the Venkys bought it. The Walker Family cannot be held to account for the decisions made by the Venkys after the Venkys bought the club. After the Venkys bought the club they owned - not the Walkers. They decided what to do with it - not the Walkers. That's what buying buying something and owning means.
If i sold a mobile phone to some one which had hitherto been in perfect working condition and the new owner then proceeded to mistreat the phone and neglect it to the point that it it no longer functioned properly, as the phone is no longer my responsibility, i cannot be held to account for the mistreatment and neglect of the phone. It no longer belongs to me. I sold it to some one.
Perhaps the most insipid form of criticism of those opposed to the Venkys by those
who support the Venkys is to constantly refer to them as "ex fans", "not proper fans", "trolls" and "Burnley fans" etc. Yet i never hear or read any comments by those opposed
to the Venkys that those who continue to support the Venkys as "ex fans", "not proper fans", "trolls" and "Burnley fans"
etc. It would be very easy to do so as those that are pro-Venkys are supporting owners that have dismantled the club from the inside out
- The Venkys are widely regarded as the worst owners in the clubs history as they have presided over a string of failed managers, the loss of key players and an exodus of the professional and
highly regarded team of footballing men who ran the club as an extremely efficient operation making it one of the best run clubs in world football. Head of stadium security and the head
groundsman have not been spared the cull either.
The pro Venkys fans at worst are referred to as "Happy-Clappers" which at at least has the virtue of being light hearted and funny. The anti Venkys section of fans never resort to personal abuse or questioning the validity of another fans loyalties, yet this is one of the most consistent threads that runs through many of the pro Venkys tactics. They constantly conflate being against the Venkys as being against the club; "Get behind the club", "Start supporting the team", "Stop wanting the manager to fail", "Stop booing the team when they win", "Stop booing the team when they score" - are just some of the ridiculous nonsense statements that are consistently said and written. And they are lies. All of them. Booing the team when they win? Booing when they score? This is taking the dark art of propaganda to a whole new level of rhetoric and fantasy. Or just bullshit.
This has its seeds in the season Rovers were relegated. On Saturday 3rd December 2011 during a Rovers v Swansea City match, Yakubu scored a fantastic first goal to give Rovers the lead. The game ended in a 4-2 victory, in which Yakubu scored four times to lift Rovers off the bottom of the Premier League table, with Kean having presided over just six top-flight wins in the 34 games he has been in charge. With Rovers fans celebrating Yakubu's opening goal, Yakubu ran over to celebrate with Steve Kean on the touchline at which point a minority of Rovers fans booed and this was picked up by the TV mic's and promptly lied about in the broadcasting and publishing media by hacks looking to shift a few newspapers and boost viewing and listening figures as the Rovers fans greeting Yakubu's goal with booing when Rovers scored rather than cheering.
The fact that the pro Venkys section of supporters continue with this poisonous fan blame fallacy speaks volumes about their cowardice and lack of respect, understanding and reverence for Blackburn Rovers long and proud history, its heritage, its soul and the fabric of the club.
Instead, they live in the moment, shifting excitedly on their seats, waiting for the thrill of a goal. That's all that matters. Not the looming FFP transfer embargo, not the gutting of the club which led to Williams and his team who were at the top of their game - and who had maintained Rovers position at the top of English football for the best part of two decades against all the odds with a club that was widely regarded within the game as a professional, sleek and tightly run operation - to leave. Venkys now run Blackburn Rovers Football Club like a corner shop. It's just one of their portfolios.
The fact of the matter is that the pro Venkys section of supporters present themselves as the voice of reason, rationality and moderation but the truth is that they are extreme, cannot tolerate any form of dissent and so slander, smear and lie in order to defend their indefensible position. They present themselves as a flock of sheep but in reality they are a pack of wolves.
Rovers were seen as a 'class act' they are now seen as a 'laughing chicken stock'; having once been associated with professionalism, respect - and jealous hatred.
Clubs like Blackburn Rovers are the soul of English football, the mere name Blackburn Rovers resonates with history and tradition; sadly, any morality left at this once proud club comes solely from the tribal loyalty of those ardent fans who refuse to acquiesce to the slanderous media narrative or vitrioloc abuse from so-called fellow (Happy-Clapper) supporters who believe the Venkys are victims.
These fans of Blackburn Rovers possess non of the polyester passion or synthetic support of the likes of Manchester United or Cheslea, nor the boil-in-the-bag bravado of Burnley.
This, in the words of former Real Madrid ace Michel Salgado, "Is a historic football club."
But football history books will also show that the proud heritage of one of the finest and grandest names in world football ended at the point the Venky's walked into Ewood Park.
There are many strange quirks to this tale. Perhaps - although predictably - the most shameful aspect of this whole affair has been the reaction of the national media towards the fans of Blackburn Rovers and in particular, those that sought protest as the only way of making their voices heard.
Obscurantist reactionary lazy 'journalism' within the corporate publishing and broadcasting media meant that many hacks were simply incapable of comprehending, or caring, about the plight of this great football club.
Either that, or for reasons only known to them, they were in complete denial as to how far the corporate back slapping rot had seeped into their souls since the fall of Blackburn Rovers began; the truth, it would appear, is only an option for serious, progressive thinking people rather than the hopelessly muddled reading of things within the gutter media that has constantly been peddled these past three years.
Journalist after journalist, article after article, news paper after news paper, television and radio pundit one after the other stood patiently in line - voices and faces riddled with hatred - and blamed Rovers' protesting fans and Rovers' fans in general for the very problems foisted upon them by Steve Kean, Jerome Anderson and the Venky's; a cancerous media narrative that blamed the fans and in particular the protesters for the state of the club and them for the team's poor performances and bad results.
I will never forget the likes of Robbie Savage and in particular, Jason Roberts along with their BBC Radio 5 Live lackeys, laying in to Rovers fans that phoned the 606 Radio Phone-In show to make serious and well articulated points about the state of the club; Roberts in particular would shout down the line at any Rovers fan that did not humbly accept anything Jason Roberts or any of his multi-millionaire pals had to say.
Very convenient; blame the fans and particularly the protesting fans and their behaviour for the plight of the club and that means that no one then has to look at the real problems - the corporate greed that has ruined English football; the appalling record of Steve Kean as manager of Blackburn Rovers; the atrocious arrogance shown towards the Blackburn Rovers supporters by Venky's; the role of so-called 'super Agent' Jerome Anderson at the club; the signing of Jerome Anderson's son, Myles Anderson (on Premier League wages and who never played a single game for Blackburn Rovers - at any level); the role of SEM and Kentaro in the sale and acquisition of Blackburn Rovers players; the disgraceful treatment and subsequent sale of Rovers players and staff who spoke out against Kean such as Rovers courageous defender Ryan Nelson or club CEO Paul Hunt; the freezing out of Rovers player Míchel Salgado by being omitted from the squad as his contract stated that the player was entitled to a new deal if he played nine more games in the season... the list goes on.
Instead, according to the national media, Blackburn Rovers' problems are the responsibility of the personal individual choices and lack of moral fiber of the Blackburn Rovers supporters themselves.
The gutter media clearly believe that Rovers' current ranking is only fitting; matched by a town in decline and what they see as its "mediocre" sized fan-base. To these gutter snipes, Division One is a realistic and sustainable place for an unfashionable, unpopular "small" club like Blackburn Rovers.
The problem here is that the media and jealous neutrals probably believe or want to believe that Jack Walker is to blame; for providing the club with what they feel is un-earned riches and a false sense of achievement. However, there is no ''false'' sense of achievement at all, just a ''real'' sense of achievement at what was and still is the greatest sporting triumph in the history of English football.
"THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF THE MODERN ERA." Martin Samuel, January 2013.
One also gets the feeling that the gutter press smugly blames the Walker Familiy Trust for Rovers' demise due to them not properly vetting Venkys as new buyers whilst whipping the rug from under BRFC and dropping Rovers like a hot potato. They do this whilst gleefully rubbing the fans’ noses in the dirt, smarmily reminding us that the party is over, relegation is inevitable and to just deal with it and move on.
This is done whilst sniggering down their sleeves that Rovers' fans will always have their 1994-1995 Premier League Champions sticker book to reminisce over - and that if there was to be a proper investigation into SEM, Jerome Anderson, Kentaro, Kean, Kean’s cronies and the Venky’s etc - it won't change anything - we the media aren't interested - we don't like Blackburn Rovers - and never have.
As far as the gutter press is concerned, the protests (which they lambasted) haven't worked; instead they've made the club even more un-popular.
A bit like Manchester City and Chelsea then or how about the protestors at Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United, Newcastle United or Arsenal or the appalling spoilt behaviour of Chelsea and Arsenal fans towards Bentiz or Wenger? Let us not forget the 'conversation' had by Arsenal as to whether to form a 'Guard of Honour' for the visiting Champions Manchester United or the disgraceful treatment of former Arsenal player Robin Van Persie when he returned with Manchester United with a Premier League Champions medal in his back pocket. The very fact that this 'conversation' was taking place in the first instance was appalling. Instead, these fans are spoken to in hushed irreverent tones by worshipful pundits and journalists eager to sanctify their every word, thought and deed.
Jack Walker had nothing to do with Rovers decline. He undeniably put the foundations in place in order for the club to progress - and revolusionise English football in the process -but the club had been in the top flight longer without his money than it had been with it; though greatly accepted and extremely useful, the Walker Family Trust had minimal financial input; a fraction of what the current mismanagement of Blackburn Rovers has cost Venkys thus far.
The situation in which Blackburn Rovers now find themselves selves has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with either the size of the town and the clubs popularity - "fashionability" even less - have any of these snobbish journalists ever been to Manchester City’s Moss Side or Tottenham Hotspurs’ Harringay or West Ham United’s Bethnal Green and Bow etc.?
On a historical note, since the media seem to have selectively decided that the current position of Blackburn Rovers is to be our rightful place - whatever that means - virtually every football club originates from "unfashionable" working-class towns, cities or districts thereof.
Whether the southern gutter press like it or not, Blackburn Rovers Football Club had become a Premier League club and was respected within the game for being one of the best run clubs in the country.
None of these triple figured salaried journalist parasite pundits who watch games for free on all expenses paid trips and who were engaging in this hateful smearing of the town, its people or the clubs fans will have ever lived in a town like Blackburn; engaged in the kind of employment and daily struggles that the people of Blackburn do in order to earn a living; tried dealing with the kind of long term unemployment and deprivation that can often blight communities such as those in Lancastrian mill towns like Blackburn; been unable to attend a game through lack of finances or have ever met any of the people that they were so intensely waging war on; instead they chose to demonize and sub-humanize them.
And that was the subtext here. This is class war being waged on the fans a northern football club in Lancashire's former industrial heartland; a stereotyping and hatred of working-class people fermented by university educated journalists, most of whom are from the same middle-class background and hopelessly out of touch with ordinary life.
Ex footballers employed by the London media would also spit at their working-class roots. Alan Brazil, Talk Sport radio's early morning shock-jock staunchly defended Steve Kean, claiming that Blackburn Rovers football club was "...nothing before Jack Walker..." really? A club that has been the catalysts for so much revolutionary change throughout the history of the game from the 1880's to the 1990's and this is the honest opinion of an ex-professional footballer paid an immense amount of money to provide a professional analysis on football to a national audience and his knowledge of Blackburn Rovers only goes as far back as 1991?
Or how about the Rovers fan who phoned Talk Sport to bitterly complain about all things Blackburn Rovers since the disastrous ‘reign of error’ by the Venky’s began?
Presenter Jason Cundy was having none of it, he proceeded to lambaste the caller and all Rovers supporters in general, saying “they have got what they deserved following the shameful", in his opinion, "treatment of Steve Kean... Rovers supporters deserve nothing less than relegation to Division One."
Cundy went on to express his great delight in Rovers’ predicament by further saying "they are an embarrassment to English Football and at this rate will probably end up in non-league Football" and "it would serve them right”
This use of desperate, irrelevant reasoning without acknowledging the real world shows that the media will remain in a state of denial for some time to come.
Rovers' fans have been listening to this pitiful self serving tripe from those at the Burnley end of the M65 for decades.
The trouble with pipsqueaks like Jason Cundy is that they have never forgiven Blackburn Rovers for winning The Premier League in 1995; but that is something they can never take away from us.
These were the same gutter snipes that at one point were calling for Steve Kean to be named Manager of the Year; ironic that not a single one of them once put his name forward for the then vacant Scotland managers job or any Premier League manager's vacancy since he resigned at Blackburn Rovers.
And so Rovers fans that did not protest and those fans that did protest have become an object of fear and ridicule, criminalised and dismissed in the media as feckless and ignorant; an over privileged spoilt swathe of uneducated football fans that are the left behind rump of the Jack Walker era.
This is very much in tune with the current zeitgeist; the unemployed are blamed for unemployment, those in receipt of state benefits are to blame for the latest crisis in capitalism - in other words, the weakest and poorest are blamed for the problems created by the richest and strongest. The rich, the powerful, governments and their lackeys in the media do this all the time.
Therefore it has become acceptable to sneer at, ridicule and even incite hatred against the protesting Rovers' supporters and Rovers' supporters in general. It has also not been unusual to hear so-called 'neutral' fans jam national radio phone-in show switchboards, fulminating with bile, expressing their heartfelt desire to see Blackburn Rovers football club relegated and drop through the divisions and even for this grand old football club to go bankrupt and out of existence.
The police inevitably got involved with several assaults on Rovers supporters reported at Ewood Park and the Reebok Stadium. Anyone who can remember the policing at football grounds in the 70's and 80's will remember this kind of policing all too well. The police then, like now, generally behave like bullies and sadists who hand out beatings and kickings and are not ashamed of it. Many argue that nothing has really changed since the 70's and 80's and that like all bullies, the police are cowards who operate at a ratio of several police to one victim. These men without souls join the police to bully and get away with it and will not drink in town and city centre pubs when off duty incase they are recognised out of uniform, yet they strut their beats with truncheons and padded uniforms and when they come to the end of their shifts, there are always plenty of other bullies and cowards waiting to replace them.
Oddly, a common refrain by some Rovers fans who wanted the Venky’s out of the club was to compare the new owners of Blackburn Rovers and their attempts at censorship with an Eastern European Communist regime. However, the Venky's, Venkatesh and Balaji Rao, Anuradha Desai, SEM, Kentaro, Jerome Anderson, Steve Kean and Kean's cronies are not Communists - they are Capitalists - and would not be out of place sitting at the same table as those who have brought the world to the brink of economic collapse.
Despite the toxic dynamic of the Venky's, Kean and the hateful national media's de-humanization of the town, it's people, the club and its fans - those opposed to the decaying parasitic business venture of the Venky's, SEM and Kentaro - have provided a dignified and united front, standing in solidarity on the protest lines, forming numerous groups and constructing web pages in a David and Goliath attempt to counter the corporate media's disinformation and smear campaign against the ferociously loyal Blackburn Rovers supporters.
There will be differences of opinion regarding protest tactics - as well as the stewardship and direction of the club.
Open debate, constructive discussion and adult exchanges of sensible opinions are welcome.
Slander, smearing, physical assaults, hate campaigns, censorship and media class warfare are not.