Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rebel Rovers fans to set up FC Blackburn

 Source: Lancashire Telegraph

 Exclusive By Chris Gee

 A GROUP of disaffected Blackburn Rovers fans, angry at the direction the club is taking, have revealed plans to form a new football club in the town.

Football Club Blackburn, who have already garnered the nickname the Rovers Radicals, plan to recruit players and management early next year and enter the non-league pyramid in a year’s time.

Financing for the club would come from a fee of £12 per fan, which would give each member an equal voting share in the club.

One of the fans behind FC Blackburn is 21-year-old Tom Keighley, the grandson of former Blackburn Rovers chairman, Derek Keighley, who presided over the club in the 1970s.

Tom said events at the club over the last year, which include the Venky’s takeover, player departures and the loss of figures such as John Williams, meant he and many others will no longer attend Ewood Park.

He said: “We want to provide a club for the people of Blackburn who actually care about the area and the love of the sport.

“It will not be about making money from football and draining resources.

“We believe the reputation which has been built up by years of tradition and great men who had Blackburn Rovers in their heart is in ruin.

“My grandfather was so proud of his association with Rovers and before that Great Harwood Town.

"He was a staunch supporter of the non-league system.

"Our aim is a club run by the fans for the fans.”

Whalley-based Tom, who works in the textiles industry, is an accomplished non-league player himself, having played for Curzon Ashton and Witton Albion.

He said the club was in advanced discussions about joining a league next year and the club’s blue and white-halved kit and leisurewear will be purchased from Nike.

“We will be applying for the North West Counties and the Evo-Stik leagues for the 2012/2013 season,” he said.

“Earlier this week we were in talks with Supporters Direct who are specialists in the field of helping fans build and run their own football clubs.”

The supporters' group behind the club hope to emulate the success of AFC Wimbledon and FC United of Manchester.

Both clubs attract gates in their thousands and have risen up the non-leagues, with the former now members of the Football League.

Another breakaway team, AFC Liverpool, has enjoyed more modest success and are currently in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

Tom said a general meeting would be organised for the new club in August at a venue to be decided.