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Indian dream turns sour as Blackburn are relegated from Premier League

May 7, 2012 -- Updated 2203 GMT (0603 HKT)
Steve Kean's Blackburn were relegated from the English Premier League on a rainy night at Ewood Park
Steve Kean's Blackburn were relegated from the English Premier League on a rainy night at Ewood Park
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Blackburn Rovers are relegated from the English Premier League
  • Rovers lose 1-0 at home to Wigan Athletic, who secured their top flight status
  • The match was dominated by protests by Blackburn's fans against club's owners
  • Many blame Indian firm Venky's and manager Steve Kean for their relegation

(CNN) -- Their Indian owners once talked about pushing Blackburn Rovers into the elite tier of the English Premier League but just 18 months after their takeover, poultry giants Venky's are contemplating relegation.

Monday's 1-0 home defeat to Wigan Athletic condemned the former Premier League champions to the second tier amid angry scenes at their Ewood Park home.

The club's Scottish manager Steve Kean, who has been subjected to abuse by supporters all season, had to be escorted from the pitch by police as a group of fans invaded the playing surface.

After the game Kean insisted he was the man to restore Blackburn's status, telling the match broadcaster: "We're absolutely devastated. The players are numb inside the dressing room.

"We felt as though we'd done a very good job tonight. It's a massive setback but we'll be back to fight another day.

"What we have to do is regroup. We have to add some established players and we have to look to keep as many of the players together as possible."

Rovers' relegation marked a stark contrast to the bright optimism that greeted their takeover back in November 2010 by Venky's, the first Indian owners of a Premier League club.

The players are numb inside the dressing room. It's a massive setback but we'll be back to fight another day
Steve Kean, Blackburn Rovers manager

Back then, they talked of finishing in the top four in the division, and linked themselves with high-profile players like Brazil's World Cup-winning attacker Ronaldinho.

But after modest spending and a turbulent season, which also saw their manager banned for drink driving, a late goal from Wigan's Paraguayan defender Antolin Alcaraz sealed their fate.

Upon the final whistle, a group of fans took to the pitch as Kean was bundled off the field by security staff and a handful of police. Others in the stands chanted: "We want Venky's out."

Blackburn won their only Premier League title in 1995 but have failed to challenge since. They were relegated in 1999 but bounced back under former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness two years later.

As for Wigan, victory secured their Premier League status and confounded a legion of critics who had written them off as doomed after they lost eight matches in a row at the start of the season.

But a recent run of six wins in eight games, which has seen them beat Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle, has cemented their place in the top flight for another year.

Meanwhile in France, Montpellier reclaimed their position at the top of the Ligue 1 from big-spending Paris Saint-Germain after a 2-0 victory at Stade Rennes.

A strike from Senegal striker Souleymane Camara was added to by an own goal from Benoit Costil, as Montpellier moved three points clear of PSG with two games remaining.

Lille kept up their faint hopes of retaining their crown with a 3-0 win over Caen. Tulio De Melo's double ensured they ended the evening five points behind Montpellier and two behind PSG.

Bordeaux, 2009 champions, won 4-2 at AJ Auxerre, helped by two goals from Yoan Gouffran while Sébastien Roudet's goal secured a 1-0 win for Sochaux at home to AS Nancy Lorraine.

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