Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Blackburn Rovers fan beats Lib Dems

Duncan Miller, Photo: Duncan Miller/Facebook

A Blackburn Rovers fan has outscored the Liberal Democrats after he staged an election campaign to oust the owners of the beleaguered club.

Independent candidate Duncan Miller, 34, ran on a Venky's Out ticket in the Blackburn constituency and secured 875 votes - a long distance behind Labour which held the seat, but enough to nudge Lib Dem candidate Irfan Ahmed into fourth and last spot with just 709 votes.

Rovers slipped out of the Premier League, which they won in the 1994/95 season, less than two years after Indian poultry firm Venky's bought the Lancashire club in 2010.

Saddled with debts of more than £106 million, the club was relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2016/17 season to the third tier of English football, League One, where they have not played for 37 years.

Following the poll result, a "quite pleased" Mr Miller said:

We operate in a two-party state basically, at the moment, so it was nice to beat an established political party.

I had no aspirations of winning. However I think it's shown a clear message that Venky's aren't wanted at our football club.

We have achieved everything I wanted to and more. We have got the word out there, we have had some great publicity and we have had backing not just locally but from all over the world.

– Duncan Miller

Action was needed not to just get rid of Venky's, he said, but to stop "toxic ownership" of football clubs across the country.

There is a massive appetite among football fans for this type of political action. Who knows what is going to happen in the future?

I think while we have these issues they don't look like they are going away any time soon so we have got to keep fighting it as football supporters. United together, doing what we can to right these wrongs.

– Duncan Miller

Asked what was the central message of his General Election campaign, he replied:

Venky's have taken one of the best run football clubs in the country, who regularly competed with top teams in the Premier League, had forays into Europe, one of the most historic, successful clubs in English football, and we have been absolutely devastated.

And it's not just on the pitch, it's the effect on the town and the local businesses. We are seeing pubs, cafes and shops around the ground closing at an alarming rate.

I really think that the fortunes of the club are mirrored with what is going on in the town. The town has the potential to be such a big, vibrant part of people's lives. The football club exactly the same, but at the moment it's toxic and it's something that is absolutely heartbreaking to a lot of people.

It's not just about complaining we are now in the third tier, it's much more than that. We are in unsustainable levels of debt and this decline shows no sign of stopping.

– Duncan Miller

More on this story