Former EPL champion Blackburn plunges into 3rd tier

Posted May 08, 2017

Rovers dropped down into the third tier of English football for the first time since 1980 on Sunday as wins for Birmingham and Nottingham Forest rendered their own victory over Brentford redundant.

Venky's bought Blackburn for 46 million pounds (then $73 million) in November 2010, but its time in charge has been chaotic from the moment the new owners chose to fire Sam Allardyce as manager after just a month. They've fallen so far that not only have they been relegated, they're headed to the third tier - a first for a former EPL champion. Sacking Sam Allardyce not long after assuming control was a taster of things to come - since then, it has been a sorry decline, first from the Premier League in 2012 and continuing with their fall from the Championship at the end of this season.

I was really surprised that night that there was so many Rovers fans because I was coming into the club on the acceptance that there was a lot of unrest and disenchantment and disconnect with the fans and the team and the ownership.

"Ideally, we'll start this journey with it being as low as this club gets", Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray said, "and move forward".

Lasse Vibe pulled one back for Brentford in the second half, before Craig Conway's penalty restored Blackburn's two-goal lead.

With Birmingham only leading 1-0 against Bristol City at Ashton Gate, a goal for the Robins would have sent Blues down instead of Blackburn - but Harry Redknapp's side held on.

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Che Adams scored the only goal at Ashton Gate and Redknapp, who signed a short-term deal to replace Gianfranco Zola, said: "I don't need to be chasing work".

"I'll have a chat and see what their (Birmingham owners) ambitions are. We must play Thursday (against Celta Vigo) and then we go again against Tottenham, but we can not go with everything against Tottenham", the United manager said.

Rafael Benitez and his Newcastle side did what they had to do in beating Barnsley 3-0 but it took a howler from Brighton goalkeeper David Stockdale to ensure they returned to the Premier League as champions.

Forest, the European champion in 1979 and '80, beat Ipswich 3-0 to stay in the Championship.

Reading will now take on Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday face Huddersfield Town in the playoffs for that final promotion berth.