FEW issues surrounding football are debated without Gordon Taylor, the Professional Footballers’ Association passionately committed chief executive, making one of his constructive contributions.
His 30-year-old involvement with the players’ union, among the most turbulent in English football history, has been characterised by a fierce determination to do right by the players and a flair for negotiation that has enabled him to take on the role of trouble-shooter in many of the disputes that might have otherwise wrecked the game.
But if Taylor was granted one wish today, it would be for the spin cycle of frustration, disillusionment and anger surrounding the club he supports to end.
Once Taylor had a touch of Blackburn in his life as a rampaging winger at Ewood in the late 1970s and that enduring passion has never left him.
Taylor admits the rapid decline of the club closest to his Ribble Valley home has left him feeling devastated.
“Like many thousands of fans I’m bewildered at what’s happening, it is like the owners have a death wish for Blackburn Rovers,” said Taylor.
“I feel a great deal of loyalty towards Blackburn, but all this chaos and disruption at Ewood is very upsetting.
“Blackburn’s always had a very proud name, well run and a respected club throughout England, but nothing that has happened since Blackburn Rovers were sold to the new owners makes any sense.
“Too many good people were allowed to leave the club, not because of a lack of ability or what they had to offer, but seemingly for the sake of change and those decisions have proved catastrophic ones.
“Blackburn Rovers has become a prime example of how not to run a football club.”
Blackburn were comfortably placed in the Premier League when Sam Allardyce was sacked in December 2010, and a month later former boss Steve Kean was handed a three-year contract.
“The owners, seemingly, have dismissed the very formula you need for success in football and nearly every move they’ve made has accelerated Blackburn’s demise,” added Taylor.
“Allardyce’s sacking, for example, was absolutely baffling.
“Then, seeing John Williams and Tom Finn leave was a tragedy for Blackburn because they were such good football men.
“They had a great ability to communicate and that was probably the most bewildering decision of all.
“What on earth the late Jack Walker would think I really don’t know.
“Jack was a wonderful guy, Blackburn’s greatest fan, and he gave the club he loved a magic carpet ride to the Premier League title.
“It would break his heart to see them in this mess.”
Owners Venky’s have endured a torrent of criticism since Michael Appleton’s sacking after just 67 days in charge.
Angry League Managers’ Association chief Richard Bevan described that decision as ‘nonsense’ while David Dunn, Blackburn’s long serving midfielder, admitted that the first team squad had been left stunned by his removal, the third Ewood Park managerial casualty this season.
But while Blackburn’s global advisor Shebby Singh this week insisted that Venky’s remain committed to Rovers Taylor, like many supporters, remains sceptical.
“Sacking Michael Appleton was an embarrassing decision,” said Taylor.
“What the supporters need is a serious statement of intent from the owners, outlining their plans for the next few years.
“Nobody is saying anything and that’s fundamentally wrong for a club that plays such a significant role in the town.
“The fans, who are the lifeblood of Blackburn, need to hear from them because there’s no transparency.
“Do the owners really want to see Blackburn going forward?
“Without a clear direction and little or no respect shown to the supporters I really fear for Blackburn’s future.
“I don’t want to see Blackburn become another Portsmouth, but they desperately need stability.”
Taylor, who made nearly 100 appearances for Rovers, added: “The supporters are desperate for something positive to cling on to and that lack of trust and disillusionment in the owners is certainly reflected in the attendances at Ewood.
“Only 8,000 saw the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Millwall and if anything reflected the demise of Blackburn that attendance did.
“What is happening at Blackburn has left a black cloud hanging over the town and the fans don’t deserve that.”