There is no doubt that it has been a torrid couple of years for Blackburn Rovers fans under the ownership of the Venky’s. The issues began before they were relegated from the Premier League five-years ago in 2012 and the club has continued its dramatic decline since.
Blackburn are now preparing for next season in League One after being relegated from The Championship on the final day of last season. They have not played their football in England’s third division since the 1979/80 season, showing how far they have fallen in recent times. However, there are now many reasons to believe that they could make an immediate return to The Championship next season.
A huge gulf in quality
It has been proven in recent years that there is a significant gulf in quality between The Championship and League One. There are many examples of this being proved to be the case over recent seasons.
For example, Bolton Wanderers were relegated in the 2015/16 season after a torrid campaign which saw them finish rock bottom in 24th place in The Championship. However, they enjoyed a successful season last time out and achieved automatic promotion from League One at the first attempt.
Millwall are another example, they finished in the play-offs in League One two consecutive years following their relegation and finally won promotion at Wembley this time around.
However, once promoted from League One, many teams often struggle to establish themselves in The Championship.
Both Wigan Athletic and Rotherham United were relegated this season having only experienced four seasons in the second tier combined. Of course, there are teams who contradict this theory such as Barnsley and Burton Albion who enjoyed superb campaigns last time out but how long can they keep it up for?
Whittingham will be a top player in League One
The ability to lure Cardiff City midfielder Peter Whittingham to Ewood Park this summer has been seen as a huge coup by many. The 32-year-old was out of contract at The Cardiff City Stadium and had been offered a new deal but opted to take the drop down to League One in search of first team football.
Whittingham will certainly add a host of experience and quality to Rovers next season. He made 457 appearances for Cardiff during his time there and will now be eager to take on this new challenge.
He has been described as the ultimate professional by a number of managers throughout his career and it is this sort of character that is badly needed if Blackburn are to make a real challenge for promotion next season. He also possesses outstanding quality and should be one of the standout players in the third tier.
A host of other exciting new signings
As well as the impressive addition of Whittingham, Rovers have also added plenty more quality players to their squad. The likes of Ben Gladwin, Richard Smallwood and Bradley Dack have also made the switch from Queens Park Rangers, Rotherham United and Gillingham respectively.
The addition of 23-year-old playmaker, Dack, is the signing which will excite Rovers fans the most. The midfielder has signed a three-year deal with the club following a £750,000 move from Gillingham. His best season came in 2015/16 when he scored 15 times in all competitions which saw him named League One Player of the Year.
Despite the fact he did not enjoy the same level of success last season, Blackburn still feel he has a lot to offer at this level and was worth going in for. If he had repeated the same feats as he had in the previous season, there is no doubt that he would have been set for a move to The Championship this summer.
Should he fire Rovers to promotion next season then his value will most certainly increase dramatically but they will be hoping that Dack continues his development at the club for many years to come.
Tony Mowbray in the dugout
Rovers know that they have an experienced manager at the helm in Tony Mowbray. The 53-year-old has been manager of Ipswich Town, Hibernian, West Bromwich Albion, Celtic, Middlesbrough and Coventry City so has a wealth of knowledge on the game.
Mowbray was appointed manager of the club with just 15 games to go in The Championship last season when Rovers were already in a perilous situation. However, he managed to get the whole squad working together and did a remarkable job considering the circumstances.
He has a 33.33%-win percentage as manager so far but this included a superb run in the last six or seven games which saw Rovers fighting for their Championship status right up until the final day of the season. He even led Rovers to a 3-1 win away at Brentford in their last game but it was still not enough to ensure safety.
There is no doubt that Mowbray is the right man to lead Rovers back to the Championship and after the end to last season, he deserves the opportunity to do so.