WHAT an unnecessary waste.

While Rovers were slipping to another defeat on Monday night, the one man capable of uniting the whole club was left rooting for his side from his living room.

John Williams' January departure as chairman of Rovers has gone by relatively unnoticed in the outside world, after the initial furore.

But make no mistake allowing his absence will go down as one of Venky's biggest mistakes.

The sight of Williams' flat cap in the directors box at Ewood was a comforting sight for all who knew him; the players, the staff and even the supporters.

This is a man who enjoyed a 14-year Rovers love story and who helped guide the club to one of the most remarkable sustained periods of success in the club's history, against a increasingly tough financial back drop.

Williams was the man who appealed for calm in times of crisis - and there were many - and who had more than a minor influence on the inner workings around the Brockhall training ground.

You could be assured, he would have been having more than a few words with management and players over the last few weeks, seeing if there was anything he could say to help bring around a change in fortunes.

He may have been regarded as a nuisance at times by previous managers but none of them would argue his output was not invaluable.

Rovers of course still have some great men behind the scenes at the club.

The likes of managing director Tom Finn have played just as big a role as Williams over the years in their own way.

But Williams was the public face. He was the one listened to and the one who cleverly got the fans behind the club at times of crisis, without fail.

Fair enough, officially John left the club of his own accord but there was no way he would have gone had he felt he still had a role to play.

Ironically, despite the new owners seeing Williams as disposable, this is the time the club need him more than ever.

Allardyce's December sacking will go down in history as one of biggest ever Premier League gaffes if relegation does happen in May.

But those who know the club well will know Williams' departure was perhaps even more costly.