THE group director of Blackburn Rovers’ main sponsor has accused the club of a lack of leadership after calling for owners Venky’s to start communicating with supporters.
Wayne Wild, group director of the WEC Group, in Darwen, has told the Lancashire Telegraph of his frustrations that he has received no direct contact from Venky’s, despite writing a letter of concern to them six weeks ago.
Mr Wild, a Rovers fan for more than 30 years, admits he feels as though WEC are not being valued as clients and fears the negative publicity surrounding the club is having a direct impact on the company.
WEC, an engineering and fabrication company, is the main sponsor of the Darwen End stand and also have corporate hospitality at Ewood Park, with two tables in the Premier Suite, four directors box tickets, four stand tickets and a private box.
Mr Wild has been in contact with commercial manager Simon Williams for more than a month but, despite receiving a late offer on Friday of a meeting with the owners in London on Sunday, he is still waiting to have direct contact with Venky’s.
Mr Wild, said: “I don’t want to be treated like god, because we are not.
"We are a corporate sponsor and the owners have the authority and right to do what they see fit with the club.
“I don’t think they understand the issues it is causing, though.
"Blackburn Rovers Football Club is the heart and soul of the town.
"It has been for ever and certainly since they were in the Premier League.
“It creates employment for the town, the indirect business of people travelling to the games, and the sponsorship.
“I just feel if I can’t get a reply - as the only paying corporate sponsor - that underlines the frustrations that general supporters are having, because there is no direct contact.
“We feel not valued. As well as the business side I have offered to mediate between the fans and the owners.
"I feel there is a growing gap between the two. Maybe if they could talk to me, I could relay that message to the fans.”
In his letter to Venky’s chairman Mrs Desai, Mr Wild said the ‘current Ewood experience is not of a corporate entertainment environment’.
He expresses his concern about the disappearance of the old management structure, with most of the old board of directors having now left the club without replacements, and believes the uncertainty around the club is causing fans to turn on each other.
“One of my key issues is the lack of leadership at the top,” he said.
“I have no-one to contact. Steve Kean is reporting direct to the owners. It should be going through a board of directors.
“There is nobody there. I am having to go to the commercial department who then go to a representative of the owners.
"In terms of the running of the club on a day to day basis there is nobody there.
“Blackburn Rovers was a model of how to run a football club.
"The model was worked on over a number of years and that has systematically been wiped out over a short period.
“If they are not interested in talking to anyone the gulf will get wider.
"We need them to agree to say when they are going to put a solid management team here in Blackburn.
“It is not about the position of the team. It is the whole structure of the club.
"There is no leadership from the top down and fans are turning on fans.”
Mr Wild, whose WEC Group are in their fourth season of sponsoring Blackburn Rovers, has urged Venky’s to start communicating with supporters and insists that is needed before they have the unreserved support of the fans.
“I am willing to act as a mediator between the two,” said Mr Wild.
“I don’t agree with everything the protesters have been doing.
"I can understand it but I don’t agree with it all. They are just trying to get something done.
“If my key customer had sent an official letter in, I would have replied immediately. Six weeks down the line I have no form of official reply.
“What I am trying to achieve? I am trying to request some form of communication.
"If it is direct to me, then I can pass that back to the fans.
“Being a supporter is hard enough to take but paying for the privilege of sponsorship to be linked to this is both embarrassing and damaging to our company name and brand.”