Fowl play as Rovers' chickens come home to roost

Blackburn's Indian owners suffered blanket criticism across the English press on Tuesday after the club's 11-year stay in the Premier League ended in relegation.

The much-maligned 18-month reign of poultry farmers Venky's was dealt a hammer blow on Monday as Rovers exit from the world's most lucrative league was confirmed with a 1-0 home loss to Wigan.

Rovers fans protested against the club's manager and owners throughout an ill-tempered occasion at Ewood Park, with manager Steve Kean needing to be escorted from the pitch by a bodyguard at the end of the match.

"What a mess. What a shame to watch the fabric of a fine club unravelling in front of your eyes," The Times chief football correspondent Oliver Kay noted, reflecting on a club that had been "mishandled, mistreated and mismanaged".

"Not all the blame can be laid at Venky's door, but all Blackburn's ills can be traced back to them," Kay added, citing the controversial decision to axe manager Sam Allardyce soon after their 2010 takeover as well as excessive cuts to the club's overall wage bill.

Meanwhile The Daily Mail said Rovers fans were right to feel "misled and betrayed" by the club's ownership.

"The ranks of players have been reduced, despite assurances to the contrary, and promises of a golden future have not been kept," the paper's chief sports writer Martin Samuel wrote.

"Kean out, Venky's out, and now Blackburn Rovers are out too," he added. "Out of their depth, out of their class, and at last, out of the Premier League."

Meanwhile the Daily Mirror warned that the expected exodus of Rovers key players this season could mean the 1995 Premier League champions will face a protracted exile from the top-flight.

"When last relegated from the Premier League in May 1999, it took the former champions just two years to regroup and return," the paper commented.

"But the mismanagement of Venky's means it could be a long wait before they do so this time, with an exodus of players now inevitable."

The Daily Telegraph were similarly scathing, noting how Venky's had failed to deliver on early promises to make significant funds available to bolster the playing staff.

"If there is a blueprint for how not to run a football club, it will surely come embossed with the Venky's logo," the paper noted.

"When they arrived at the club, assorted spokespersons talked of investing substantial sums in the team and funding a return to European football.

"But within a month, they sacked manager Sam Allardyce with the club lying in 13th position in the Premier League and replaced him with Kean, a managerial rookie with no experience of the job at any level."

The paper's correspondent also ridiculed Blackburn's lofty goals of delivering Champions League football to Ewood Park within four years.

"Instead of Real Madrid and Barcelona, it will be Bristol City and Brighton on the fixture list next season," it added.

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