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
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.”
PRIZE ASSET: Jack Butland claims the ball for Birmingham
LEGEND: Simon Garner
ADVISOR: Shebby Singh
AXED: Henning Berg