General Blackburn Rovers Supporters Meeting Held at Ewood WMC – 5Th October 2016
A meeting was called for supporters, who would like to take part in the organising of initiatives to keep the daily momentum going on multiple fronts, regarding the ownership of Blackburn Rovers. The meeting was an informal meeting and was chaired by Steve Mack, a supporter and season ticket holder for over 50 years.
1. Steve Mack opened the meeting, and made an open call for those present to get off their chest any thoughts or issues they may have with one another. He explained this meeting was about all supporters regardless of previous issues, to find a way to move forward and work together.
2. The “1875” Protest was discussed, as was the releasing of two press releases to the press. Representatives from the Ewood Blues, BRFCAG and Rovers Trust, were a little disappointed that a press release had been released 24 hours before they was due to release one themselves. This highlighted the need for better communication between all individuals/Groups to prevent, duplication or resources being wasted.
3. A marketing Video is to be produced for the “1875” Protest, which Alan Birdbeck kindly agreed to take part in and this will be filmed in time for the Wolverhampton Wanderers fixture and will be released VIA a YouTube channel and will be presented to the press, with a press release in the days leading up to the fixture.
4. Matt McDonough has been working on an “I am Boycotting Video”. The aim of this video, is to show the number of empty seats for the forthcoming Wolverhampton Wanderers fixture, which is scheduled to be shown by SKY TV. This idea has been marketed for a couple of weeks. Matt is asking any supporter who is boycotting games due to the Venky’s ownership to send a quick video to: firstname.lastname@example.org , at present he has received quite a few videos, but needs at least another 20. Everyone was urged to share this through any means possible to get this video completed. This video will also be released via the YouTube channel and press release will be circulated to the media, upon its release.
5. A wall close to the ground has been donated, for a mural to be painted. Glen Mullan has held discussions with an artist, who has gone away to put some idea’s together. Idea’s from all supporters are also welcome, to deliver a message regarding the ownership of Blackburn Rovers. Glen stated, he is awaiting a price from the artist, but the wall would take around two days to paint. Glen also stated the artist was confident if the funds are in place, that he could have the wall painted, prior to the Wolverhampton Wanderers match. Alan Birdbeck was to liaise with the owner of the wall, to keep them in the picture. The price quoted including the design is £1,120.00 with the design fee of £150.00 paid up front.
6. Paul Keogh of the BRFCAG disclosed the content of the 10,000 Leaflets which they have had printed to aid the organised protest for the next three home fixtures, which includes whistles and of course the “1875” Protest. Getting the leaflets distributed on the day of the Ipswich game was discussed and a list of volunteers from the room was produced to meet up on the day of the game to hand these out to the supporters attending that fixture. Other people interested in handing these leaflets out can contact Paul at : email@example.com
7. Glen Mullan’s blog was discussed and its content. It was unanimously agreed that although the blog details some very important information, it’s not reaching out to the whole supporter base that don’t use the internet or social media. A few idea’s from fanzines, CD’s, and email shots where discussed, but no formal plan has yet been agreed, as this will come down to what is cost effective. The blogs would also require proof reading and re-writing in parts, so they are easier to read.
8. WAR was discussed and the previous open supporters meeting. The general consensus within the room is things had gone very quiet and pressure had eased since the meeting. Paul Keogh (BRFCAG) and Mark Ashworth (Rovers Trust) said things were happening in the background through all entities and WAR was just an umbrella name. They stated every group is still doing what it’s always done, and they share information at every opportunity. Of the people in the room, it was made clear this meeting was not a breakaway group, but a group of supporters who want to pull all resources together to aid any initiative. It was felt, a banner to work under was not needed, and groups can continue to be groups, and non group supporters can continue to be non group supporters, however the need for everyone to be on the same page, respect one another’s views, including those who wish not to partake in any protest must be paramount for things to move forward.
9. Some supporters in the 16-21 bracket attended the meeting and felt proposed protest were far too luke warm, for people their age. They said they and many of the people they attend games with, wanted more direct action which would cause far more disruption and create more of frenzy, than protest which are easily contained by the club. Other supporters from other generations shared this view, stating organised protests are predictable and we needed to think more outside of the box. Other teams who have protested in recent years, where offered as examples of things which have been done, which has created far more headlines. It was reiterated the importance of what the target of these protest where. It was important that any protest hit the bull’s-eye and was not used as a statistic, as previously done during the Kean Era, with the famous “1% Line”, which was brought out after previous protest struggled to get 1000 participants.
10. Credible alternatives were discussed, although the general consensus was a large section of supporters would like Venkys to sell the club, it was also recognised without a credible back up plan/replacement, which all supporters can get behind, including the non-protesting section, it could create more damage if they pull the plug and the back-up is not in place. They will be discussed in the further meetings to be arranged.
11. Targeting Venky’s in India through their other industries, was discussed at length. Hitting them in the pocket through non football related industries, was a market which to date has not been attempted. With quite a lot of Indian press now on side, it was felt that visual protest in India could be achieved, through good networking.
12. The BRFC Action Group announced a fighting fund, hours before the meeting. The need for funds were discussed, but will need to be re-addressed at a further meeting to prevent duplication of fighting funds appearing everywhere.
13. Communication was used as a key ingredient throughout the evening, it was important that everyone who wanted to help should not be excluded from doing so. It was also important that supporters refrained from creating animosity between each other, if they did not agree with something as it was not helping the greater cause.
14. Everyone was of the opinion that the cause could not be allowed to go cold and all resources are good resources if you utilise them.
15. The need to reach out to the wider audience was high on the agenda, as there was still a large element in the supporter base, confused what people are actually protesting about? People like routine and don’t like that routine being upset, Its vital no one feels excluded, or obliged to take part in any action which may occur. Market research is vital, as is not learning from past experiences to take a balanced approach.
16. It was suggested that teams needed to be made up to deal with individual things, instead of one group of people trying to organise protest, meetings, investigations, articles etc. The focus in this meeting was trying to make the up-coming protest work, however the bigger picture needs a lot more co-ordination and for information and knowledge to be readily shared, with the supporter base being updated on a regular basis.
The meeting was closed, and a follow up meeting is planned with a date TBC