Opinion

What Brought The End For Gregg

Monday, 13 May 2024
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His appointment signalled the dawn of a new era, his departure lends to the feeling that Rovers are back to square one yet again. Another piece in the Rovers puzzle has been removed as Gregg Broughton leaves his director of football role, a month shy of two years in the job.

Broughton’s name will likely just become the latest in a long line to have come and gone under Venky’s stewardship of the club, a footnote in the ongoing bid to address on-field matters.

There was at least the makings of a plan drawn up, but whether a lack of commitment from all sides, a(nother) change of direction, or simply costly mistakes that couldn’t be overlooked, the end has been nigh for some time.

Full disclosure: I enjoyed the limited time I had in Gregg’s company. I found him willing to engage, open and knowledgeable.

I did have reservations upon his appointment about his lack of exposure to some of the things he would be tasked with at Rovers, alongside the ability he’d be afforded to implement the infrastructure changes he would want. But his Academy background did lend itself to the route Rovers were going down, and seemed a good fit.

It was perhaps the notion of the role Broughton was given, rather than his capacity to do it, that I was most in favour of, and there are irrefutable red flags throughout his tenure to question the latter. Equally, there were no shortage of road-blocks which affected the capacity to do the job in the way he would have wished, and I, like many others, reserve great sympathy for that. In truth, the writing has been on the wall since the start of the year.

Having shouldered responsibility for the Lewis O’Brien saga of January 2023, accepting that the buck stopped with him on recruitment, there was an uncomfortable repeat exactly 12 months out. Tensions were high as Jon Dahl Tomasson went on the offensive, the head coach’s position becoming untenable and subsequent departure confirmed.

As uncertainty over Tomasson’s future was ended, that of Broughton and club secretary Ian Silvester certainly weren’t.

Though from the moment negotiations over Tomasson’s replacement were led by chief executive Steve Waggott, it felt his position had been undermined. Broughton could point to the intervention he made, seemingly for the better, in Rovers’ managerial search of 2022 when appointing Jon Dahl Tomasson, and a similar profile manager would likely have been his main targets this time around.

He would likely have never wanted more time and a wider search for a successor, though Waggott’s view was clearly the ship needed steadying quickly and in came John Eustace on a deal through to 2026.

If one of the main responsibilities of his job (appointing a manager) had been taken away from him, whilst failing to address another (the glaring deficiencies within the playing squad), the writing was on the wall. I maintain a sympathy for Broughton, for the challenges and obstacles he was up against, whilst having a fear of what the future landscape may look like.

Does this now signal an end of ‘the project’ before its effect would ever likely have been felt?

Will this be seen as an opportunity to scale back the behind-the-scenes operation?

Will any potential replacement have the ability to address the long-standing issues surrounding governance and recruitment?

What isn’t without question is this adds to yet more change during a period of increased uncertainty surrounding the club.

The botched Duncan McGuire deal ultimately didn’t cost Rovers their place in the Championship, but the fallout is still being felt, with now two key personnel at the club having departed. With football knowledge at the club at a premium, Rovers have lost a smart mind in Broughton.

Having seen the issues created by Rovers’ lax approach to contract renewals, he had sought to address that, and while much of the credit goes towards the Wharton family and representatives for the handling of Adam’s departure from Ewood Park, Broughton too played his part to help Rovers get the best fee possible.

Football regulations and agent pressure were against him in Ash Phillips’ situation, but there was at least a resolution that had some benefit to the club.

With Thomas Kaminski too moving on, the transfer income banked during Broughton’s tenure has been the best in the post-Premier League era, so that objective was clearly ticked.

Yet there is clearly a divide over Rovers’ future direction, and Broughton too will likely leave with the same feeling as Tomasson, that the project he was brought in to oversee is no longer.


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