Following on from our meetings at the Premier League, F.A and Parliament, a swift meeting at the Football League in Preston Followed.
Of all the meetings we attended, this was by far the biggest waste of time. Eyes rolling, Yawns and a total disinterested panel faced us. They must all have learnt a default answer as part of the interviewing process at the football league, as they kept saying “We have inherited this problem, please see the Premier League”. After hearing this for a good hour it was plain obvious we was wasting our time.
Mark Fish, Phil Thompson and I walked out of that meeting and stood outside the Football League headquarters for a good hour wondering, what our next step was? We was very deflated and I personally felt we had failed, all the authorities were blaming one another, whilst none wanted to take the case any further unless we produced the ultimate open and shut case.
I did try to force a mistake from the Rao’s and SEM Kentaro, by speaking with the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, and saying on record we would publish our own findings, if the authorities did not step up to the plate. Looking back I regret that statement, I have received so much grief for it ever since. It’s not that we wouldn’t release information, it was more of a case of, we had released it to the press and none would run with the story, which is a slightly different angle. You need to remember, the only proper communication with those responsible for the down fall of Blackburn Rovers was via the Press. Whilst many things we were told, had zero paper trail and witnesses stated they would only speak at a public enquiry.
A couple of weeks after the meetings with the authorities, I received a telephone call from none other than “Jerome Anderson”. The call lasted 1hr 9 Minutes, as he gave the finest Oscar performance. I recorded the call, which I later released via an overseas contact. Some have listened to it, but I’m sure many of you have not. At some point I will try and get it out again.
He harped on for ages, how his son, Myles, had been targeted by supporters, and how he was a father. He asked me to search my conscience as one father to another? I remember thinking “Err Most would not know Miles if they passed him in the street. Let alone give him the type of abuse which had him considering packing in playing football”. Once thing which really stood out for me, during this call, was he kept referring to Rovers as “WE”, Which is a strange way to put something across, which you are denying having any involvement with. He re-lived the SKY Sports interview, playing the same tune of how he had worked for free, how his life had been destroyed by us nasty Rover supporters, and how his life’s work had only been positive for football. In fairness to him, he sounded close to tears. However this call was more about the pressure mounting, the fear of people finding out the truth, and him digging to see what I actually knew?
What he managed to achieve, was to give me my second wind and suddenly the energy to carry on, which was a far cry from just two weeks earlier, when I thought all was lost. This guy was rattled, the net was closing and he knew it, he even asked if I could ask all the Rovers supporters, to show some compassion towards Miles, like I was the Pied Piper, and I could get on a soap box, make a statement and everyone would suddenly feel the need to think about “Rainbows and Unicorns”. The call ended and I took a few days to take on board the content of the call.
Mark Fish called me, and said that he was trying to arrange a meeting with the newly appointed Global Adviser, Shebby Singh. This was a meeting which we all agreed needed to happen, given the news Paul Agnew and Derek Shaw were the new Director’s at Rovers, That was like saying “Wallace and Gromit” Had taken over the reins.
I couldn’t get it out of my head how a poor PR guy in Agnew, had suddenly wormed his way into a Director’s position. He had totally undermined every Director previously under the Rao’s reign and always seemed to be the most powerful man on the Ewood Pay roll, ahead of even Steve Kean. His appointment stunk, as did the arrival of his mate Derek Shaw.
Mark got the meeting set up with Singh pretty promptly, which surprised me. Not because Mark got it set up, as he was great at getting meetings organised, but because Singh agreed to it, without much persuasion. The day of the meeting came and Andy Woods, Phil Thompson, Mark and I were all scheduled to meet with Singh. Mark got an email an hour before from Singh, who was under the impression he was only meeting Mark. At that point we thought the meeting would be pulled, but in fairness to Singh, he agreed to meet us all.
We went up to the board room, and there standing there was this guy, who was bouncing around like he had just found his Easter Eggs in his mums wardrobe. After introducing one another, although he knew all our names, we sat down and started to discuss the last 12 months and what his role was going to be. I remember asking him why we are signing the likes of “Murphy and Gomes” Who was nearly as old as me. He went on, about him being a student of the game and how his bosses (The Raos) had given him free reign to make all decisions, as he saw fit at Ewood Park. He stated it would take time for him to access, the current Manager etc. He claimed we needed to be patient.
After discussing the unexciting transfers in, I said to him
GM – Why don’t you sign someone like Jordan Rhodes?
SS- Who is this Jordan Rhodes?
GM – He plays for Huddersfield and has been scoring goals for fun
SS – What country is Huddersfield?
GM – This country, he will get us 20 goals plus, is the right age and will excite supporters.
SS – Let me investigate.
We walked out of that meeting, Mark and I went over the McDonalds. Over a brew, we both decided this guy, was that open, he was key to whatever happens next. What we did not know at this time, was he would be key to putting together many of the missing pieces. It was decided, we would have to get in close, and probably alienate many of the people who supported us, but to find the truth, we were never going to find it, unless we understood more about what was going on with Kean, Agnew, Shaw and SEM. Looking back, we got major grief, but as this Blog unfolds, you may perhaps understand why we took the approach we did.
A few days after the Singh meeting Rovers played Fleetwood away in a pre-season friendly and Leon Best got injured. I was barely home from the game and my Phone went.
It was Shebby Singh, He said, “Glen I have asked Huddersfield for Rhodes but they not accept £1 Million”. I was astounded, and replied “No they won’t, they will want a lot more and will hold out as long as they can”. Shebby said calmly “Ok I keep Trying”. He called me a number of times over the coming weeks, regarding Rhodes, telling me about bids, how they wanted more and more. I recall him phoning me one Sunday and saying “Glen who else? They won’t take £4.5 Million for Rhodes”. I was actually quite tired and said jokingly “I don’t know, try Marouane Chamakh”. You could obviously see the shock in my face when I picked up the Monday addition of the Lancashire Telegraph and saw, “Rovers Launch Bid for Chamakh”. I called Singh and told him I was joking about Chamakh and he needed to keep trying for Rhodes, he said “Okay we will go back for Rhodes” (MAJOR FACEPALM MOMENT)
Then the day came, I received a call from Singh who said “Glen, We have agreed £8 Million for Rhodes, if he does not score, I come for your house, your car and your furniture”. The rest is history, the deal was done.
Do I feel annoyed about this? Yes looking back, the club spending that type of money on a player on a supporters say so, just tells you how poorly run this club is. The saga, also now opened up more questions, who was actually pulling the strings now? Was this deal done, to try and get me to disappear quietly as I knew the BRFC Action Group was becoming a major issue, to those who were profiting from Rovers on a daily basis? Was Singh part of SEM? Was he carrying out the wishes of the owners? Was he carrying out the wishes of the Directors? Who was he actually working for?
There was only one way we was going to find out, and that was put it to the test. Mark and I discussed at Length, at ways to rock the boat, within the club to force errors. We decided the old cross-fire trick needed to come into play, we needed, Shaw, Agnew and Kean, to be at War with Singh, which in itself would create a monster dilemma for the Owners, if Singh was really their man? You are probably reading this and thinking, “This guy has read too many comics and watched too many movies?”
I can assure you; this is really how this story started to unfold!
In my next Blog, I will cover more Singh revelations as the Battle of the Boardroom began