sport news Ten years after the Venky's took over at Blackburn - the Rao brothers are ...

By the time Blackburn Rovers arrived in Pune on a promotional tour in October 2011, they were already familiar with the eccentricities of the club's new Indian owners.

Venky's had make their mark on one of the founding members of the Football League and not in a good way.

One incident in particular on that trip, however, demonstrated just how much the Rao family still had to learn about running a football club.

It has been 10 years since the Venky's brothers (above) took over Blackburn Rovers

It has been 10 years since the Venky's brothers (above) took over Blackburn Rovers 

Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer

The takeover has been one of the tumultuous in English football and has included fan protests

The takeover has been one of the tumultuous in English football and has included fan protests

A member of Blackburn's ground staff travelling with the squad noted that the pitch for an exhibition match was too long. He asked for the grass to be cut, reasonably expecting that the blades on the lawnmowers would be lowered accordingly.

The groundsman was shocked to say the least when he returned to find a small army of female employees from Venky's on their hands and knees, sheltered from the searing Indian sun by parasols, meticulously cutting the grass using scissors and rulers.

'He thought it was some kind of joke,' says one insider. 'At that point we really knew we were in trouble.'

Rumours persist to this day about just what Venky's thought they were getting themselves into. Did they really not grasp the concept of relegation? Who knows. 

But 10 years on from the most tumultuous takeover in the history of English football, the Indians have certainly learned some harsh lessons.

The Venky's brothers - Balaji (right) and Venkatesh Rao (left) - have learned some tough lessons

The Venky's brothers - Balaji (right) and Venkatesh Rao (left) - have learned some tough lessons

They are still here though. Still in charge at Ewood Park, still investing. The mad, bad old times are in the past and there is an air of stability around Rovers at last. Some of the club's fans will never accept it, but Blackburn could be far worse off without Venky's.

Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer

Truth is, they probably were from the start. Blackburn's glory days were well behind them 15 years after beating to win the Premier League title with a team bankrolled by benefactor Jack Walker.

It was still a solidly run local club but one that couldn't keep on selling its best players like David Bentley and Roque Santa Cruz to stay afloat. The Walker Trust were keen to sell and new investment was needed.

Step forward Venky's, disrespectfully written off as 'chicken farmers' when in fact the VH (Venkateshwara Hatcheries) Group is a £1.5billion conglomerate whose business interests stretch across Asia and into the pharmaceutical industry.

The Venky's brothers came in after the The Walker Trust - the family business of former popular owner Jack Walker (left) - decided to sell in 2010

The Venky's brothers came in after the The Walker Trust - the family business of former popular owner Jack Walker (left) - decided to sell in 2010

The family – headed by the matriarchal Anuradha Desai (known as Madam) – paid an initial £53m on November 19, 2010 and two days later her brothers Venkatesh and Balaji appeared on the pitch before Rovers played Aston Villa at home.

Venky's have ploughed an additional £140m into Blackburn over the last decade for very little reward, resisting any temptation to sell even though they have not been seen at Ewood for eight years now.

'Never accuse them of not supporting the club financially,' says Blackburn director Robert Coar, the only survivor of the old board. 'But I think they realise they did get some pretty poor advice and made some pretty poor appointments early on.'

Venky's didn't help themselves. They came in vowing to bring back Champions League football to East Lancashire. There was talk of getting a star player like Ronaldinho and a manager like Diego Maradona. Instead they delivered David Goodwillie and Steve Kean.

Venky's promised managers such as Diego Maradona - they ended up with Steve Kean (above)

Venky's promised managers such as Diego Maradona - they ended up with Steve Kean (above)

Venky's believed £5m-a-year would be enough to make it happen, yet within a year the Bank of India stepped in to pay the wages after Barclays refused to extend the club's credit.

Further ridicule was heaped on Venky's after the players appeared in a TV advert for the company's fast food outlets, filmed eating fried chicken in the dressing-room.

But their biggest mistake appeared to be trusting the advice of football marketing agency Kentaro and the Sport Entertainment and Media Group headed by Jerome Anderson.

What happened next is well documented. Venky's swiftly sacked manager Sam Allardyce with the club in 13th place in the Premier League and replaced him with Anderson's man, first-team coach Kean.

The Venky's sacked Sam Allardyce despite the club sitting safely in the top-flight's mid-table

The Venky's sacked Sam Allardyce despite the club sitting safely in the top-flight's mid-table

Team sheets were being sent to Pune for approval and staff summoned for monthly audiences with Mrs Desai in the Indian city 70 miles south-east of Mumbai.

Kean was there instead of training on the Monday before Blackburn faced Survival Sunday in May 2011, results having taken a dramatic turn for the worse since Allardyce's departure.

Blackburn survived but it was only a temporary reprieve. The team that had finished 10th under Allardyce the previous season was slowly disintegrating, replaced by a stream of new players that included Anderson's own son Myles whose CV amounted to two minutes' first-team action for Aberdeen. He never played for Blackburn.

In came Shebby Singh, the TV pundit, former Malaysia international and Venky's global advisor, followed by no fewer than six Portuguese players. It had turned into a total car crash.

Shebby Singh (above) came in as a global advisor to the club and influenced club signings

Shebby Singh (above) came in as a global advisor to the club and influenced club signings 

'Venky's entrusted Jerome Anderson and Shebby. I feel sorry for them, they got taken advantage of,' says one former member of the coaching staff.

'Shebby had crazy meetings with the players. 'Come in lads, sit down, I'm Shebby Singh, I've been a player, listen to me, I'm

read more from dailymail.....

PREV sport news Fans poke fun as Timo Werner accidentally kicks the corner flag during ...
NEXT Sun doping case sequel should be about rules, not frenzied vigilantism mogaznewsen