Fans Forum

Rovers Fans’ Forum Meeting Minutes

Friday, 17 March 2023

Minutes of the Blackburn Rovers Fans’ Forum Meeting

Monday 13th March 2023 – 6.30pm

Present – Fans’ Forum 
John Wareing 
Jennifer Lewis 
Peter Bolton 
Mark Hitchen 
Mike Graham 
Alan Birkbeck
Annette Birkbeck
Savio Mathias
Neil Duckworth
Bharat Parmar
Roseanne Silverton
Megan Longworth

Present from BRFC
Steve Waggott
Gregg Broughton
Lynsey Talbot
Paul Fielder
Cath Bishop (observer)

Attending on Zoom
Tris Stock
Steve Birtwell
Kenny Hodkinson
Mushtaq Khan
MG welcomed Roseanne Silverton from Proud Rovers and Megan
Longworth from Her Game Too to the meeting.

1. Apologies for Absence
Terry Crawford
Ray Williamson

2. Matters Arising from the Minutes of the Previous Meeting
9th January 2023
• Buying Disabled Tickets Online
JL stated that she still had issues with buying a disabled matchdayticket online for the front row. PF reported that this had now been sorted with Ticketmaster for season ticket sales but there was still anissue for individual tickets.
 • Sheffield United Ticket Sales
AB stated that there had been a queue of 40 to 50 fans queueing for tickets for the FA Cup quarter final that morning. The ticket office only opened at 9am but online sales had started earlier. Everyone in the queue did get tickets but it should be that all sales methods should start at the same time in that situation.
The 800 tickets left had sold out in about an hour. The club had asked Sheffield United for more and 1,000 extra tickets were printed,delivered and sold by 4.30pm. PF stated that there is a chance of a few more tickets being available and that would be known within 24 hours. 29 coaches had been booked by the club with subsidised tickets and subsidies had also been given to other fan group coaches. Plans were already in place for a semi-final at Wembley should Rovers be successful in the quarter-final.

3. Gregg Broughton – Director of Football
GB stated that he was delighted to join the meeting to discuss his role and recent transfer matters and invited questions from Forum members. MG started by asking why GB had decided to join Blackburn Rovers. GB replied that it was a very easy decision – it was a combination of the club’s history and future potential. Tony Mowbray had left a good playing squad, and a settled management structure and ownership. 

PB asked for an explanation of what had happened in the January transfer window. GB replied that from the outset the club had been planning two new signings with a priority for a striker. The recruitment team had outlined 6 targets and after discussion with Jon Dahl Tomasson this had been reduced to 3 or 4. One of these immediately fell out because of finance. A deal had been done with Brighton for Deniz Undav but at the last minute the player changed his mind.

A total of 25 other players were considered. It became clear that Lewis O’Brien could be available from Nottingham Forest but that would not be clear until the very end of the transfer window. By the last day the club were focused on deals with a striker and Lewis
O’Brien. The club did not complete a deal with the striker and that player did not in the end move from his club. The deal with O’Brien was complicated because of the insertion of an option / obligation to purchase clause. Separately there was a deal for Ethan Brierley to bring him in from Rochdale. The EFL made a very late and tenuous intervention on the option to buy in the O’Brien deal, asking for clarification on the arrangements should the club be relegated to League 2 within 3 years. The club’s lawyers pointed out that this was not required as the clause would only be in effect if the club got promoted to the Premier League and it was therefore impossible to have three relegations in two years.

This led to a delay in completing the paperwork but the EFL were informed just before the deadline at 11pm of the deal. There is then a window that clubs have 15 minutes to submit all the required signed documents. In the opinion of the club this period of time is guidance and does not align to the additional two hours used by the Premier League and one hour for International transfers. 

Papers for Brierley were ready at 11.14pm but there was a short system crash which meant the submission was after 11.15. The O’Brien papers were submitted once signed by all parties but were uploaded outside the 11:15pm guidance deadline.

The club made a technical appeal to the EFL and a Sole Arbitrator that a quick application had been submitted for both players by the 11pm deadline with all signed documents being eventually uploaded on to the system albeit after the 11:15pm guidance window. The club therefore felt both applications should be registered but unfortunately this appeal was unsuccessful as both applications were deemed to be outside the permitted transfer cut off point.

Notwithstanding the circumstances GB accepted that he should take the blame as he was in charge of the process but he did feel that the EFL should shoulder some responsibility especially around the time wasted on adding a non-required clause that put our administrative team under greater pressure than should have been the case. KH respected GB’s willingness to take the blame for the failures. He was concerned that what happened might affect the relationships with other players and their agents in the future.

GB believed that it would not as the club had an excellent reputation in the market, referring to that with Liverpool regarding recent loan deals.GB accepted that there had been some errors in the transfer process. It had been his first experience of a transfer deadline day as the club had done its business before that day for the Summer 2022 window. He was very clear that the processes had been reviewed and this would not happen again.

MH stated that in the past there seemed to be always delays in agreeing budgets for transfers which affected the time and choices available to the club. GB replied that budgets for 2023/24 were already agreed for the Championship and were largely in place should the club gain promotion to the Premier League.

MH asked about the often quoted project and was that from himself or the manager. GB stated that the club had a clear objective to become a sustainable Premier League club. To do that the club needed to be thebest developer of players, both through the Academy and from players brought in. The club needed to be bolder in recruitment than they had been in the past, notably in Summer 2022. JDT had been brought into the club to help deliver that objective.
JL asked which club GB supported. He replied Luton and was hoping that the two clubs did not meet in this year’s play-offs.
Asked who has the final say in signing players GB stated that he would never sign a player that the manger had not supported, although equally it was not just the manager who decided.
SB asked where the club were on selecting targets for the Summer transfer window. GB stated that the recruitment team were currently covering about 100 games a week and producing 150 player reports. Along list of around 2,700 players will be reduced down to lists of 15/20 players for each of 5 key positions and a smaller number for the other positions should sales require replacements. Currently these lists were scheduled to be presented to the manager on 5th April.

GB then asked Forum members to answer two questions about the club.
Which were: -
• What does Blackburn Rovers Football Club stand for? What makes BRFC unique/special/distinctive?
• As a supporter, what does success look like for the club and the town?

Forum members spent some time discussing the questions and gave some feedback on the spot and GB took away some written
contributions. He stated that the same exercise had been done with the players earlier in the day.

4. Fan Led Review Update
MG asked for an update on the Fan Led Review and the document that had been published the previous week. SW and other club leaders had been to Parliament a number of times in this process. The key point for SW was a restructuring of the TV deal – it cannot be right that the 20th club in the Premier League is guaranteed over £100m a season whilst the equivalent figure for the Championship was £4.8m.
Separately, under the recent issue of the Government’s White Paper entitled “A Sustainable Future – Reforming Club Football Governance”, the club was moving to a closer relationship with various fan groups. SW was close to agreeing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Rovers Trust. A new South Asian supporters group was rapidly taking shape. The aim was to move to a small Advisory Group of fans with a potential to move towards a Shadow Board in the future, although this would need the agreement of the club’s owners.

5. Season Tickets & Ticket Bundles
MG asked where the club was in launching the 2023/24 season ticket offer. PF replied that the club had an offer pretty much in place, although it still needed the owners’ final sign off. The launch was expected to happen around Easter. There was some discussion about what Forum members were expecting. There was a lot of consideration of price rises and some encouragement to use the Riverside Stand as a cheaper lead in to recognize the financial pressures that many fans had.
There was further discussion about match day pricing. Currently the club had sold around 200 Final 5 bundles against a target of 500. Whilst the cup quarter final had sold almost 6,000 tickets very quickly the home game with Reading had only sold just under 12,000 tickets with two days to go despite the £10 prices.

6. Burnley Home Game Plans
LT stated that a lot of the planning for the home game with Burnley had been done in January before the game had been postponed until late April. Final plans would be made in due course. As with the game at Burnley there would be no bubble. It was expected that 60/70% of Burnley fans would travel by coach. They will use Car Park B. Any Rovers fans who usually park there will be moved to Car Park F, with anyone concerned about the rough surface offered an alternative. The allocation of tickets for Burnley had yet to confirmed.

7. 2023-24 Replica Kit Supplies
PF stated that he was expecting samples of the 2023/24 replica kits on 22nd March. These kits would be made from recycled plastic bottles. He was hopeful that full supplies would be available by early June but that was dependent on a number of variables outside the club’s control.
The club had for a number of seasons ordered 12,000 kits and that had usually lasted for the full season. This year sales had been so strong that there was now virtually nothing left. There had been little the club could do to get further supplies – had an order been placed in October 2022 the delivery would not have been made until April 2023.
The Forum had encouraged the club to increase the order for next season at the last meeting and PF confirmed that the order had been increased by around 20%.
PF stated that, should the club win Sunday’s quarter final tie there were plans ready for an additional merchandise range for the Wembley semifinal.

8. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
LT stated that it was good to see Roseanne Silverton from Proud Rovers and Megan Longworth from Her Game Too at the meeting. Megan had agreed to make a presentation about Her Game Too at the next Forum
meeting. The EFL were also hosting their #Together campaign throughout the month of March with a view to showcasing all the good work being carried out by Clubs in regard to diversity and inclusion and raising equality awareness.

9. Any Other Business
• PB noted that the traffic arrangements after the game at Stoke had been excellent with cars quickly on to the motorway. There
were still continuing problems around Ewood Park notably at the traffic lights by the motorway. LT stated that traffic control was now the responsibility of Blackburn with Darwen council rather than the police and the council were not in a position to change traffic light sequencing in a similar manner that the police were able to do.
• SM asked whether it would be possible to produce player travel mugs, which PF agreed to look info.

11. Dates of Next Meetings
16/5/23 * Note change of date

Members should contact John Wareing at or 07984 085474 to give their apologies if they cannot attend a meeting.
Any fan who wishes to see an item on the agenda should contact John at least a week in advance of the meeting by email or phone as above.



The above minutes have been sourced from:

Join the discussion about the Fans' Forum on the BRFCS forum here.

Fans Forum

BRFCS Premium Membership Support our independent Rovers content and go ad-free

Latest Articles

    League Table