If the name does not sound familiar, that is understandable – Ali’s footballing CV is sketchy at best - but there are reports that he is set for a permanent role at Rovers and could even become the club's next manager.
Blackburn Rovers global advisor Shebby Singh denied any such appointment had been made, but confirmed that Ali was a "guest of the club".
The stand-out detail on Ali's record is perhaps that he played a role in a Bollywood film in 2007 entitled Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, the story of a football team of south Asian players in London. Box Office India described the movie as ‘below average’.
On the footballing side, there is considerably less to support Ali taking a coaching role. The 39-year-old Londoner was once on the books as a youngster at Arsenal, but was released before being contracted. Requests for trials at other clubs, the Independent reports, were fruitless.
He picked an Under-15 India team for a summer festival at Arsenal, a tournament which the team won, but just three years ago he was still working for a team by the name of Accrington Stanley Bowles, a ‘QPR internet supporters’ club’ plying their trade in the fifth tier of the London Sunday Sportsman’s League.
In a 2011 interview with the Daily Mirror he was reported as working through his FA coaching badges, and harbouring dreams of breaking new ground in management.
“I’m now taking my badges, thanks to the help of the FA," he said, "and my goal is to become the first British Asian Premier League manager."
Kevin MacDonald, a former coach at Aston Villa who had a brief stint as caretaker manager, is the favourite to land the Rovers job after Henning Berg was sacked after just 10 games in charge of the Championship club.
But Ali has been offered a place in the coaching set-up even before the manager is appointed, and is expected to be involved in team selection for the weekend’s trip to Barnsley.
Fans have backed the removal of Berg, but sounded caution over the next appointment.
“To be honest I’m surprised they’ve made such a swift decision, but it is the correct one,” said Wayne Wild, co-chairman of supporters’ group Rovers Trust, who said he would like to see Hughes return.
“His appointment itself was just another strange decision. They [Venky’s] purposely went after an ex-player. It was all about trying to win over the fans when really it was just another cheap option.
“When you think we’ve hit rock-bottom we manage to dig a little further. This club has become a national joke.”
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