'Crazy' Venky's: Salgado blows lid on Blackburn malaise
Former Spain full-back Michel Salgado has revealed the exact reasons behind his acrimonious exit from Blackburn Rovers, while launching a withering attack on the club’s controversial owners.
Much has changed at Ewood Park since Salgado's release in January 2012, with the club swapping mid-table security in the Premier League for a relegation dog fight in the Championship.
The onset of Blackburn's on-field woes can be traced back to the day the club were taken over by Indian poultry company Venky’s in November 2010.
The promise of a bright and successful future for the club, has proved anything but; suffering relegation at the end of their first full season in charge whilst overseeing a succession of managerial changes.
Four bosses have come and gone in that period including three this season alone. The constant upheaval has affected results on the pitch too, with Blackburn currently occupying a place in the bottom three of England's second-tier with just six games remaining.
It is a situation that Salgado admits “saddens” him and he would like nothing more than to see his former club return to the Premier League. However that, he believes, will remain nothing more than a dream with the current owners at the helm.
“The only thing I have to say about it (Blackburn’s situation) is that it is outrageous,” Salgado told reporters at his unveiling as the Director of Football for Dubai Sports City.
“I speak to a lot of fans and from my point of view it’s very sad to see this amazing, historic club in this situation; facing a relegation battle in the Championship, when just two years ago they finished tenth in the Premier League with a promising group of players.
“I hope something happens where there are huge changes and Blackburn return to the Premier League. But the problem will not be fixed in a short time because so many changes have to be made.
“Blackburn’s situation really saddens me,” the 37-year-old added. “I loved my time at Blackburn, apart from the last six months, which had nothing to do with me or football.”
The final six months Salgado refers to are when he was omitted from the squad after just 13 games of the season having started nine of those. Due to a clause in his contract, Salgado would have been eligible for an extension had he featured a further nine times that season, but in an attempt to cut costs, the Blackburn owners decided he no longer had a part to play.
It was a far cry from the promises of glory and European football Venky’s had pledged to deliver upon first receiving the keys to Ewood Park.
“To be honest, when they first arrived at Blackburn it was really exciting times,” recalls Salgado, who joined Rovers in 2009 after a decade with Real Madrid.
“All they spoke about was developing something really good for the future of the club. But everything changed in the space of two months; there were so many players in and out, the manager (Sam Allardyce) was replaced (by Steve Kean) and so many strange things began to happen at the club.”
Shedding light on his own demise at Blackburn, Salgado explained: “I remember my situation, along with three of four other guys; it was the game before Swansea in December.
“Suddenly on the Thursday before the game I got a call from the club saying they wanted to talk to me. I was playing all the games and was a key part of the club so from that day I couldn’t find an explanation as to why I was removed from the team.
“The squad was then almost totally dissembled and then you know the rest; Blackburn were relegated and everything is getting worse.”
He added: “I cannot understand why it has happened to a club like this when everything was running really well; the facilities, the fans, the history, the stadium - they have everything.”
Focus on job at hand
Venky’s came under renewed criticism on Tuesday when they summoned caretaker manager Gary Bowyer to India for talks, resulting in him missing two days of training in a critical stage of the season.
And the episode has enraged Salgado, who believes it is just the latest bad decision made by the owners which have helped put the club in the perilous position they find themselves in.
“I’m not surprised because the things that are happening are totally outside of football,” Salgado said. “The decisions are made in a different way to any other club in the world in terms of football.
“When you are playing for your life, like they are now in this relegation fight, they need to stick together, train more than ever, and prepare better than ever for the games. But instead of that, the manager is in Pune instead of being on the training ground.
“The decision makers should be heading over to England to talk to the manager so as not to disrupt the match preparations. It’s crazy and outrageous everything that has happened.”