We talk to former Rovers director Alan Myers about his time at Rovers and his hopes for the club’s future.
The interview was conducted on the 26th/27th July.
Q: What are your thoughts on the summer for Rovers?
Following relegation I really feared for the club, I honestly thought it would be a step too far, financially and emotionally, however I have been really impressed with how the club has got back up, dusted itself down and got on with the business (football wise), this was down to one man and one man only, Tony Mowbray! He went out to India, as have many before him, but came back knowing what he wanted and I believe with the warning that if that didn’t happen he would walk away. He is a committed determined and straightforward guy from what I can see, something which is very much needed at Blackburn Rovers and has been for some time.
Q: What do you think of the business Rovers have done so far?
“If I’m being honest I don’t know many of the players that have been brought in but I trust the management’s judgement and I think he has spread the recruitment around the side which will be crucial. I still think he needs a couple more before the window closes, but I fear maybe a couple will go out in order to make that happen. However, business has been good and done quickly by the manager.”
Q: Who is the player to watch this season?
“I think Bradley Dack comes with the most potential, he sounds like an exciting player but I think if Rovers can hold onto Danny Graham he will score goals for fun in League One and that could be the difference between promotion and not!”
Q: How essential is retaining a Category One academy for Rovers?
“This might sound controversial but I’m not sure it was that essential, not at League 1 level, it costs a lot of money to run a category one academy and with the financial situation at the club I’m not sure it’s the best use of finances. Many clubs run very good academies without category one but I guess it will make the fans feel as though the club is not downgrading too much, Category one, two or three, either way, the most important thing is that you are bringing young talent through, Rovers need this so much now!”
Q: Who is the hot prospect for Rovers?
“In my time at the club Willem Tomlinson really excited me, I’m not sure what has happened since but I feel it’s time for him to come to the fore and he may be a very important player, other than that I think Ryan Nyambe will push on this season.”
Q: Who should be captain for Rovers next season?
“For me, there is only one choice, Elliott Bennett! He showed great performances on the pitch during last season, scored some great goals and led the team both on and off the field in an exemplary manner and also has a rapport with supporters, all the ingredients which make a captain in my opinion”
Q: How do you see Tony Mowbray doing this season and how do you expect our season to pan out?
“If the manager is allowed to do his job, make his own decisions and given time to shape his side, (make no mistake it will not be easy in this league as many think), I believe Tony can get promotion to the Championship without a doubt! I actually think Rovers could lose the first game at Southend but I believe then they will be in the top two at the end of the season, A lot of new players need to gel and that takes time but I think they will soon enough”
Q: How much did you enjoy your time at Rovers and do you have any regrets about your time at Ewood?
“I never have regrets in life, just learned lessons! I like to believe that when I make a decision it’s right at that time, it’s easy with the benefit of hindsight to think a particular decision was wrong but if you feel at the time you’re doing the right thing then you should never regret anything!
I had a fantastic two and a half years at Rovers, the staff and the supporters were magnificent to me, that makes my failure there all the harder to take because both of those sets of people deserve so much better. In my time we had eighth and ninth finishes in the league, two great cup runs (Anfield will stay with me forever) we communicated with the supporters better than at any time during the current ownership and we did some real good business, both with players (most importantly) and commercially at the club! The staff, in particular, have gone through a horrid time over the last few years but they keep getting up and fighting for the club they love and that is a joy to see, I hope relegation doesn’t mean they will suffer as a result.
I made my decision to leave because I could not honestly justify taking the wage if I could not fulfil my role in the way I wanted to and I always said if I felt I was not making decisions which would be good for the club in 10 years time, then I would walk away! It has been financially and emotionally difficult for me to do that but I believe the great institution that is Blackburn Rovers is far more important. I was sent a video recently of Suhail Pasha suggesting I “didn’t do much at the club” and “that was his observations” let me tell you and him, he never had any say whether I stayed or left, he was disrespectful to me at that time and this after I showed hospitality, friendship to both him and his family. I think if he really asked himself the honest question, he would know he didn’t act correctly at that time. That is not the way the owners work, they were always very respectful and polite to me and my family, yes they frustrated me at times but never disrespectful!
I genuinely believe the owners have been let down by many people over the last six years, however that said, the buck stops with them because they own the club, that is a fact of life in any business let alone a football club but without doubt, they have been let down many times.
My biggest disappointment is that it appears I am not welcome back at the club by one or two people who remain there, people I thought I trusted, but I guess you live and learn!
I hope to go back one day and support the team, and the club and mingle amongst the fans, as I have many many friends there, a huge affection for it, its staff and supporters!
The town of Blackburn desperately needs a successful football club, it affects so many things in the daily life of the area.
I wish the club only the very best and Tony Mowbray too, he’s a football man and will have the best interests of the club at heart. Together with people like Dunny, who has a special affection for the club, I hope they can ring fence the training ground and football operation from the distraction of the club off the field, which I think has many challenges, because if they can do that you can have success on that side and the rest will follow.
Running a football club is in many ways very simple, it’s only people who confuse that process and make it complexed.
The supporters should never forget there will always be a Rovers, it’s a great club and will come back!”
RoversChat would like to say a massive thanks to Alan Myers for taking time out to have this interview. We would also like to thank Pete Charnley (@sirpetecharnley on Twitter) for making this interview possible!
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