Sam relishing start of new era

Rovers, playing for the first time since being taken over by Indian

company Venky’s, beat Villa 2-0 at Ewood Park thanks to goals in

either half from Morten Gamst Pedersen. They were watched by

Venkateshwara and Balaji Rao, the directors of Venky’s, who came on

to the pitch to greet the home supporters before kick-off. Prior to

their £23million takeover being completed on Friday, the

Venky’s hierarchy had witnessed Rovers being defeated 2-1 by

Chelsea and 4-2 at Tottenham, and Allardyce was pleased now the

purchase had been finalised that his side could make it a winning

start to the new era. “I’ve met the new owners for the third time,

only briefly,” Allardyce said. “I think it was fair to say they

were well entertained here by the match against Chelsea, when they

came here for the first time before they had actually clinched the

deal. “Last week they watched the Tottenham game and we were well

beaten in the end, but now they have seen us win for the first

time. “Hopefully, like every Blackburn fan, the players and myself,

they will be very happy with the way we have won today and the

performance that was given. “I hope the next time we get to meet,

which I am looking forward to, we can plan the way forward from

here on in.” Venky’s spoke of modest targets after Blackburn

announced they were in discussions with them last month and

Allardyce accepts he will have to spend any transfer funds wisely –

although the manager is hoping the takeover will help him make sure

Rovers’ best players do not leave the club. “What is important is

to talk about the future, the short-term and the long-term – what

the owners have in their mind, and me expressing my desire from a

football point of view about how I think we should progress,”

Allardyce said. “I will be very interested and look forward to

working with them closely in helping this football club to be more

successful under their leadership. “I am excited – I would think a

new owner of a club would only want to take it forward. “This club

has had to live off it’s own steam recently and all it has done in

the last three years or so is sell its major assets. “I think if we

can stop that first and then progress to adding to those major

assets, then the club grows.” Pedersen opened the scoring in

stoppage time at the end of the first half by looping a free-kick

into the net, and struck again in the 66th minute, getting a foot

to Ryan Nelsen’s drive and diverting it home. The Norway midfielder

then had to be substituted after sustaining an injury which

Allardyce indicated did not appear to be a major problem. “We

picked up another injury to Morten which we don’t think is too

serious and Gael Givet was ill at half-time (and also came off),”

Allardyce said. “But the lads who came on did a good job. Overall,

we have more than deserved this victory.” Villa boss Gerard

Houllier was disappointed his team had not dealt with the corner

that led to Pedersen’s second goal, but felt the defeat owed more

to his players’ inability to make the most of their opportunities

to score. “I don’t think we gave a fair account of ourselves,”

Houllier said. “We had a couple of chances in the first half and

when you are away from home, you need to take those chances –

otherwise you can be punished. “We then conceded a goal probably at

the worst moment in the game, in (first-half) added time. “It puts

you in a different position because you know they are then going to

play deeper and more defensive, and deny us space. “The second goal

was just a tactical mistake, so the difference between the two

teams was a free-kick by Pedersen and a corner. “We showed better

initiative and passing afterwards and had we scored, maybe it would

have changed the morale of the team – but of course we didn’t.”