Blackburn Rovers chief’s praise for club’s travelling supporters
12:30pm Monday 17th September 2012 in Sport
BLACKBURN Rovers operations director Paul Agnew has paid tribute to the club’s travelling fans – and hopes tomorrow’s home game against Barnsley will start to see an increase in gates at Ewood Park.
Rovers moved to the top of the Championship with a 5-3 win at Bristol City on Saturday and Agnew is keen to acknowledge the role of the supporters in the club’s early season results.
Around 1,200 fans were at Ashton Gate – as were co-owners Balaji and Venkatesh Rao, who saw £8m record signing Jordan Rhodes get off the mark with his first goals for Rovers.
Agnew said: “The fans have backed us in numbers away from home and that is fantastic.
“We had the long trip to Ipswich for the first game and we took more than 1,000, we took 1,400 to Leeds and on Saturday we had 1,200.
“When I started my new role in July I was very clear that we were starting from a position of weakness because we know relegation hurt a lot of people and that it would take a lot for people to come back.
“We said if we could win games and investment we could start to turn people around. I know it’s very early in the season but I think we are starting to see the shoots of that.
“The owners have backed the club.
“It’s very rare for a club to break their transfer record in the Championship but we have done that and it was great to see that already starting to get a return on that with Jordan Rhodes scoring two goals on Saturday in front of the owners. They enjoyed the goals, they were animated when they went in.”
And Agnew hopes an air of optimism will spread to games at Ewood Park, with Rovers hosting Barnsley tomorrow and then entertaining Middlesbrough on Friday. The club’s first two home games of the season, against Hull and Leicester, were watched by crowds of less than 14,000.
“We’ve turned a solid start in to a good start and it could become a great start with these two home games,” he said. “We want it to be back to the days when with the atmosphere teams fear coming away to play us at Ewood Park.
“If it’s fragmented that’s more difficult, but if everyone could unite that would be fantastic.
“We knew the home crowds would be hit, people were saying we would sell 1,500 season tickets but we’re just short of 10,000 now.”