Malky’s plansi Sako’s so surei are paying offi Wolves willi for Cardiffi come goodi GAR­NER: I FEAR FOR MY BELOVED ROVERS BUT­LAND’S SET TO KOP BLUES EXIT

The Football League Paper - - TFLP - By Craig Chis­nall

CLUB le­gend Simon Gar­ner fears Black­burn Rovers could be head­ing for fi­nan­cial melt­down and League One af­ter an­other calami­tous week at Ewood Park.

Boss Hen­ning Berg was axed on Thurs­day – along with coaches Eric Black, Iain Brun­skill and Bobby Mimms – af­ter just 57 days and one win in ten matches in charge since re­plac­ing Steve Kean. Rovers are now look­ing for their third man­ager of the cam­paign.

Former As­ton Villa as­sis­tant Kevin MacDon­ald is the front-run­ner to re­place Berg in a head coach role with Ju­dan Ali, a former Ar­se­nal trainee who was re­cently run­ning a com­mu­nity youth pro­gramme in Da­gen­ham, set to be part of his coach­ing staff.

But with civil war break­ing out be­tween man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Derek Shaw and in­flu­en­tial global ad­vi­sor Shebby Singh, who de­nied on Fri­day he had taken train­ing fol­low­ing Berg’s sack­ing, Gar­ner is in­creas­ingly con­cerned his beloved club could be rel­e­gated once again.

“It’s a to­tal and ut­ter farce and be­yond a joke now,” said Gar­ner, who scored 168 goals in a 14-year Rovers ca­reer, and who is a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Rovers Trust, an of­fi­cial sup­port­ers group set up with the aim of wrestling con­trol from the Venky’s.

“Enough really is enough. We were al­ready a laugh­ing stock, ev­ery­one in the game is laugh­ing at us and I really worry what is ahead for this great club.

“They have made dis­as­trous de­ci­sion af­ter dis­as­trous de­ci­sion go­ing all the way back to sack­ing Sam Al­lardyce soon af­ter they took over but what’s gone on this week is a new low.

“I’ve heard all sorts of ru­mours about team in­ter­fer-


ence from this Shebby Singh bloke, so who would even want the job in those cir­cum­stances?

“There’s no lead­er­ship off the pitch and un­til that’s all sorted out how can they ap­point a new man­ager? To sack the en­tire coach­ing staff with­out any­one to re­place them is just ridicu­lous.

“The way the team has been play­ing they are in a real rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle and with a crip­pling wage bill we could go the same way as Portsmouth. It would be a long way back from there.”

And Gar­ner has called on the Venky’s group to stop ig­nor­ing the Rovers Trust’s 12-month re­quest to meet.

The Trust hope to raise enough cap­i­tal to buy the club but Gar­ner ad­mits their plans are on hold un­til their pleas are an­swered.

And with Rovers haem­or­rhag­ing money, thought to be more than £1m a month, Gar­ner in­sists they need to meet sooner rather than later.

“I was de­lighted to get in­volved with the Trust be­cause they’ve got the good of the club at heart and know what the club means to the en­tire town,” added Gar­ner.

“There are some se­ri­ous busi­ness­men in the Trust who have in­vested large amounts in the club in the past but they’ve stopped be­cause of what has been go­ing on.

“The own­ers surely can’t keep prop­ping the club up the way they have for the last two years and what hap­pens when they get fed up? The club is in a mess.

“Crowds are well down, there’s a lot of play­ers earn­ing a lot of money and that spells dis­as­ter to me.

“But for some rea­son they won’t even an­swer our re­quests to meet.We’d prob­a­bly take a part of the club if we could but we can’t do any­thing un­til we meet.

“If we’re not care­ful this club is go­ing to lose a gen­er­a­tion of fans.There are a lot of big clubs in the area and we have to bat­tle for sup­port­ers any­way – why would any­one bring their kids to watch us with the way the club is be­ing run?” ENG­LAND goal­keeper Jack But­land looks to be head­ing for the exit door at Birm­ing­ham with chair­man Peter Pannu ad­mit­ting he will lis­ten to of­fers.

But­land, 19, is among the Cham­pi­onship’s most sought-af­ter goal­keep­ers and, while Pannu re­vealed he turned down a £6m of­fer for him from Southamp­ton in the past, he’s not sure he would be able to do so again.

Liver­pool are re­port­edly in talks with But­land while Pannu sug­gested Ever­ton were among a host of Pre­mier League clubs to have scouted the stop­per this term.

Pannu has con­firmed they would be tempted to cash in on But­land, with high-earn­ers like Nikola Zigic also set to leave in the coming weeks.

And Pannu con­ceded he may have to put his club’s fi­nances first and ac­cept But­land’s sale would be in the in­ter­est of Birm­ing­ham’s fu­ture with Gianni Pal­a­dini’s pro­posed £30m takeover stalling and ad­min­is­tra­tion loom­ing.

Pannu said:“Give me a £15m of­fer for Jack But­land, can I say no?

“I have re­jected £6m from Southamp­ton but I re­jected it when our fi­nances were OK. As the time is tick­ing, I might not be able to re­ject it if I get some­thing sim­i­lar.

“I can’t say we are in a very won­der­ful sit­u­a­tion, I would be ly­ing if I said that. If I al­low this club to go into ad­min­is­tra­tion, I think I will never be able to step foot in Birm­ing­ham.

“I un­der­stand there are talks with Liver­pool. I un­der­stand that Ever­ton might be in­ter­ested. Southamp­ton gave me an of­fer in the past –he is a phe­nom­e­nal player.

“Ziggy is also earn­ing a lot of money here. He’s a very good guy, a gen­tle­man, a gen­tle gi­ant and I have got lots of time for him.

“But I can’t shy away from the fact that we are paying him a lot of money. He re­alises that.There are other play­ers who are earn­ing a lot of money, at least four, five play­ers I’d hope weren’t earn­ing that much.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

PRIZE AS­SET: Jack But­land claims the ball for Birm­ing­ham

LE­GEND: Simon Gar­ner

AD­VI­SOR: Shebby Singh

AXED: Hen­ning Berg

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