Sun, Jan 02, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Powwow allayed fears over Rovers’ future, Nelsen says

AP, WELLINGTON

Blackburn Rovers defender Ryan Nelsen has had his fears over the club’s future allayed after a meeting at which its owners spelled out their vision to senior players.

Nelsen had been strongly critical of the decision of the owners, Indian poultry industry giant Venky’s Group, to sack manager Sam Allardyce and complained the players were being kept in the dark over the club’s future, but Nelsen told the Christchurch Press newspaper yesterday that senior players had held a “refreshing” meeting with the owners and he felt their plans for the club were exciting.

Nelsen also said he was ready to return the captaincy to fellow defender Christopher Samba as soon as new manager Steve Kean felt comfortable working with the Congolese international, who threatened to leave the club in the wake of Allardyce’s sacking.

“It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, but our owners really have a vision in terms of how they see the club and they want to take it. It’s very exciting,” Nelsen said. “They didn’t have Sam [Allardyce] in their vision, he’s paid the price through no fault of his own, but it could be really exciting for Blackburn.”

Nelsen said the owners indicated they would bring in new players during this month’s transfer window and more during the summer break.

He said the meeting with the owners had reassured players about the club’s direction.

“I think the players needed to know something and the owners wanted to let them know what they see Blackburn being. It’s really refreshing,” Nelsen said.

The New Zealand international captained Blackburn from 2005, before stepping down last year in favor of Samba.

Kean reinstated Nelsen as captain when Samba spoke out over the sacking of Allardyce, saying he was prepared to leave Blackburn if he received a suitable offer. Kean said Samba would not be captain until he was totally committed to the club.

Nelsen said the briefing by the owners would help add “some clarity” which could result in Samba staying at Blackburn. He said he would be happy to return the captaincy to his fellow defender.

“I will definitely give it back to Chris when the manager feels he’s got his head right and [he] is right behind Blackburn 100 percent,” Nelsen said.

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