Venky's promise Blackburn overhaul after relegation

NEW DELHI Fri May 11, 2012 10:06am IST

Blackburn Rover's coach Steve Kean (R) reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Wigan Athletic in Blackburn, northern England May 7, 2012. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Blackburn Rover's coach Steve Kean (R) reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Wigan Athletic in Blackburn, northern England May 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Nigel Roddis

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Blackburn Rovers will instigate a number of changes in the coming months as they plan to fight their way back into the Premier League at the first attempt, the club's unpopular Indian owners Venky's said.

Since the poultry giant's $37 million takeover in November 2010, the club have struggled on the pitch, leading to regular fan protests as the 1995 Premier League champions failed to stave off the drop to the Championship.

Blackburn's relegation was confirmed with a 1-0 home defeat by Wigan Athletic on Monday but B Balaji Rao, a director and member of the family that owns Venky's, is confident the club will quickly return to the elite group.

"We were certainly not expecting to be relegated. It was the saddest bit of news for me since my mother passed away," Rao told Times of India newspaper on Friday.

"But we will bounce back within a year. There will be lots of changes in the near future. We will bring in changes within the next month," he said.

"In the last month, we have made the club debt-free."

Rao, however, declined to comment on manager Steve Kean's future, the newspaper said.

He reiterated the club was not up for sale and said most players were willing to help lead the club back into the top flight.

"We cannot hold back players. Those who want to leave may do so. But let me tell you, 80 percent of the players want to stay," he said.

"We are here for the long haul. We have absolutely no intentions of selling the club... our entire family has fallen in love with the club. We cannot sell it."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien)

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