Blackburn Rovers' summer of change has already begun. Strap yourselves in, it might be a bumpy ride.

If you thought the first weekend of the off-season might be a quiet one, with players on holiday and recruitment drives in their infancy, you'd be wrong.

Instead, Rovers have knocked over their first domino of the summer, with Gregg Broughton set to leave his role as Director of Football. In truth, the writing has been on the walls since January, even if the public noises have suggested otherwise.

The only real surprise is the timing, though if this change was going to happen, it's better now than in June or July. 

READ MORE: Broughton set to leave Rovers as first summer domino falls

It's unclear how Rovers will frame Broughton's exit. Is it mutual consent, has he been axed? Usually, it's the former, to protect everyone's reputation and any further legal issues.

What is clear is Rovers' board believe there is someone better equipped to lead their 'project'. We'll come to that very word later on.

With Blackburn hurtling towards the bottom three and the McGuire saga fresh in everyone's mind, Broughton played a far less prominent role in the appointment of John Eustace, compared to Jon Dahl Tomasson 18 months previous.

That was the first sign that the board's confidence in Broughton's recommendations might have been waning or that they were planning for life in a different direction. 

As Broughton explained, his role has never been to appoint staff. He makes his recommendations to the board and they act accordingly. But Chief Executive Steve Waggott certainly took the lead with Eustace.

Compared to the extensive, six-week recruitment process to replace Tony Mowbray in the summer of 2022, this appointment looked far different. 

Now, considering it was mid-season and Rovers were metaphorically on fire at the time, that isn't a massive surprise. But, still, it was a first indication of the beginning of the end.

It makes a mockery of the role if you don't empower the person in situ or if the person in situ loses faith in what they're being told. 

It is a role that lives and dies on trust. I think it's fair to say, probably on both sides, that some was lost after the McGuire fiasco. Rovers' board pulled the plug on the initial permanent transfer at the 11th hour and, for the second successive year, the deal fell through due to an administrative error.

How do you reflect on Broughton's time at the club? Well, there are clear upshots to his time at Ewood Park.

Most notably, he got a firm grip on Rovers' contract renewals. Having lost Darragh Lenihan, Joe Rothwell, Ryan Nyambe, and with Ben Brereton Diaz already having one foot out of the door, for nothing before he walked in, it was a massive area for improvement.

Signing Adam Wharton to a five-year deal first in September 2022 after an impressive pre-season was diligent. He then protected that value further with fresh terms at the end of last year, leading to a club-record sale in January.

Likewise, renewing Sam Szmodics' contract at the end of November was important. He was tied down until 2025, with an option, before signing on for an extra season in November. 

That might not sound like rocket science but it certainly wasn't happening before. The number of first-team renewals are in double figures over the last two years, many of which are valued academy graduates.

Rovers had a gun to their head with Ash Phillips but still received more money last summer when he moved to Tottenham Hotspur than they would've if he'd left for a tribunal fee. Jake Batty was another who had significant Premier League interest but opted to stay and sign on.

In terms of recruitment, you'd have to say it's been mixed, with mitigating factors. Broughton's first summer, in 2022, was arguably the most successful, bringing in Szmodics and Dom Hyam. Some, such as Callum Brittain, were already on a recruitment shortlist left from Mowbray's team, but the club captain and top-scorer were both 'Broughton signings', for want of a better term.

Even then, though, there were some duds, with George Hirst and Clinton Mola struggling. But you can't nail every single transfer in a summer and they got more right than wrong.

Things went downhill from there. The Lewis O'Brien fiasco was a disaster that shouldn't happen at any club and the failure to sign a striker in January 2023 went a long way in costing Rovers a play-off place too.

Where I have more sympathy is for the following summer. Rovers went in knowing they'd have to generate a transfer budget. What Broughton didn't expect was that to then be slashed by 20% in mid-June.

Rovers then had a six-week window where they couldn't sign anyone. It put them on the back foot. The head coach, central to the 'project', tried to resign. It was not an environment set up for success, no wonder they went backwards last season.

It's impossible to ignore that few of the summer signings improved the starting line-up. Only Sondre Tronstad and James Hill have been cast-ironed successes, though the jury is out on a few such as Arnor Sigurdsson.

The squad felt younger, less experienced and weaker. Injuries throughout the season then exacerbated the squad's flaws. Boardroom intervention on deals such as the Danny Batth transfer, which would've added much-needed experience and depth, was an issue.

January followed and seven new faces arrived. But out went Lewis Travis and Wharton. All of the additions were either loans or frees, a case of sticking a plaster over the problem with the hope of a root and branch review in the summer after staying up.

Of the team that won 5-1 at Sunderland on Easter Monday, only Tronstad signed for Rovers in the last three windows. That told its story but, equally, you can only work with the resources at your disposal.

Broughton came out and took full responsibility as head of the recruitment team for the O'Brien failures. New procedures were in place but human error saw lightning strike twice with Duncan McGuire.

Personally, I would like to have seen Broughton get the chance to reshape the squad, with, hopefully, some investment this summer. Sadly, he won't get that opportunity.

From my dealings with him, I found him very engaging. He spoke with huge passion, particularly about the academy, and clearly believed in the 'project' to drive Rovers sustainably up the table.

He was open, up front and didn't avoid fronting up the public attention, even when things had gone badly wrong. I think that bought a lot of credit with the fans. There was a willingness to publicly engage with fans, to try and provide clarity, which has been in short supply at Rovers. 

The biggest question is where do Rovers go from here? We are all guessing to a certain extent.

Rovers' 'project' no longer has its original public-facing leaders. Tomasson resigned, Broughton has gone too. What is the plan?

With season ticket information likely to be released this week, Rovers might be minded to try and explain to supporters what they are investing in. 

Will there be a summer budget, given Venky's have been told they can fund the club if they match each point with a personal guarantee, or not?

If there isn't, what is the plan to ensure last season's near-escape doesn't happen again? Can fans expect more turbulence before things smooth out or is the worst over?

Supporters might not like the answers but the least they deserve is some clarity.