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Why those Blackburn Rovers Supporters taking a hammering in the press deserve sympathy, not savagery

STEVE Kean. what a brave, brave man. A candidate for manager of the season, according to Paul Wilson of the Guardian in an article pencilled on the 21st March after a 2-0 win over a tired Sunderland side had given Blackburn Rovers a fighting chance of avoiding the perilous trapdoor into the Championship.

Forget the 13 wins, 14 draws and 31 defeats in Kean’s Premier League record, the man is a hero. He has had to put up with some of the worst vitriol ever experienced by a manager. Personal abuse such as chants of ‘KEAN OUT!’ and a plane overflying Ewood Park bearing the message ‘STEVE KEAN OUT!’ against Chelsea in November. Those unpleasant supporters of a small club in a working class Northern town who are completely insignificant to the London-dominated media have brought nothing but shame to their club and shame to English football! Wanting a change of manager is now akin to insulting somebody and their family. Quick, let’s get that update in the Oxford English Dictionary!

Of course, if your sarcasm detector is effective enough, we can proceed with the facts. One of which I have already mentioned. Kean’s record. When Rovers sacked Sam Allardyce in December 2010, the club was in 13th place, but with a very solid home record. They were rarely beaten on their Ewood turf under the current West Ham boss.

Steve Kean is not solely to blame for Blackburn’s disastrous relegation though. He is a symptom of a deep malaise that has stricken the club and the people of the town who hold it close to their heart since Indian poultry firm Venky’s decided to purchase it from the family of the late Jack Walker.

Venky’s arrived talking a good game, but as of now all they have delivered is outrage, relegation and an even tighter wage budget than what had existed under their predecessors, when it was run by John Williams- prudently, but with an excellent business model, as not only Allardyce but also Mark Hughes and Graeme Souness delivered top 10 finishes on a limited transfer kitty. The latter even delivered a League Cup success. Given Rovers’ resources, Williams and the owners had gained the adknowledgement and respect of any sensible football fanatic, no matter what colours they align themselves with, for the way they had run a family club sensibly as well as remain competitive on the pitch.

Indeed when Rovers last dropped from the top flight in 1999, there was no anger towards anyone, just bonafide sadness, which stemmed from the man who owned it at the time, Jack Walker. The fans knew how much it meant to him, and they cried with him. There was no anger, there were no protests and unlike this season there were no complaints emanating from Jack Straw MP and the Lancashire Telegraph during that bumpy period for Blackburn Rovers Football Club.

But now? Venky’s never make appearances at Ewood Park. They talked about reaching the Champions’ League in four seasons. They talked about acquiring Brazilian legend Ronaldinho. But what has actually happened? They dealt with an agent, Jerome Anderson, who possibly helped broker their takeover and advised them on football matters. The list of accusations aimed in his direction stands as follows:

1 Sacking of Sam Allardyce: Departed despite a respectable record. Most casual observers, well I certainly thought at the time, might have imagined he would be replaced by a big-name manager to coincide with the bold statements of Champions’ League and Ronaldinho. Eyebrows raised in the main.

2 Appointment of Steve Kean: Steve Kean is Anderson’s client. He was the number three in charge of Rovers to Allardyce, with Neil McDonald as his right-hand man. What is commonplace when a football manager is dismissed is that the assistant takes caretaker responsibilities. Allardyce even recommended McDonald should be in charge of first-team affairs. However Venky’s, advised by Anderson on football matters, put his man in the Blackburn Rovers hot seat.

3 Signing of Jerome Anderson’s son Myles: Myles Anderson was struggling to get a game for Aberdeen. Yet in the transfer window of January 2011, Rovers bizarrely take a punt on him. It is a transfer that hovers under the radar in a month where the British record fee was smashed by £35m and £50m deals elsewhere.

4 Being in charge of transfers: ultimately it is a squad that has largely been put together by Anderson that has been relegated from the Premier League. Not only did the signing of his son make no sense, but the majority of signings brought in with the exception of Yakubu have failed spectacularly. Why was Bradley Orr released by a relegation rival in Queen’s Park Rangers? It could not have been done with aiding Blackburn’s own survival chances in mind could it? Non-Anderson signings like Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelsen have departed and others such as Michel Salgado have been frozen out, apparently due to a clause which entitles him to an unaffordable new contract, or so we are led to believe.

Venky’s, Jerome Anderson and Steve Kean all share the responsibility for Blackburn’s relegation. Yet some continue to blame the fans for having the NERVE to protest. I spotted a tweet from a Swansea City supporting female on Twitter last night talking about how vile the supporters have been all season. What, for having the club’s best interests at heart by trying to smoke out the poison that has engulfed it from top to bottom? I simply could not be bothered asking what she did when Tony Petty was running the Swans into the ground. I assume she kept quiet then, or was it OK because it was her own club infected with parasitic power people?

God bless the Rovers fans for standing up and fighting against evil. As a Tranmere die-hard,  I can talk about my own club’s hierarchy. Our owner is OK. He is not brilliant, and he wants out with a high asking price. But he does, in my eyes, have the club’s best interests at heart. If a bunch of parasites like Venky’s got their hands on TRFC, I would be there outside Prenton Park making my voice heard. Blackburn brothers, I am firmly in your corner and I hope that a sale can occur as soon as possible to prevent the death of a historic, proud institution- a genuine way of life for the peaceful people of its town.

Good luck boys and girls.

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  1. Rtid

    8 May, 2012 at 21:30

    Thumbs up for this brilliant luck to both rovers next season

  2. Jack Willows

    8 May, 2012 at 21:45

    I can only complement you on this great article. Not only this, I cannot defend Steve Kean enough, throughout the whole season he was bombarded with unfair criticism, and as a manager he got on with his job, didnt resign and did the best that he could’ve with sadly a “Championship” squad.


  3. Jerry Fielden

    8 May, 2012 at 21:49

    Really appreciate your support. I have followed rovers through thick and thin but have never been as low as this. This is a systematic rape of a proud old club venkys-fit and proper-well done the FA. As for Kean sympathisers, I wonder how many other clubs will be clamouring to take him on. He is doing a fine job of cutting costs which I would suggest is why Venkys think he is “brilliant”. His incompetance is staggering, how any one can see him as some sort of victim is incomprehensable. Add his arrogance into the mix and you have a town united in their hatred of this greedy, unprincipled chancer. We have been taken down as opposed to any normal relegation. My huge fear is that Venkys will stick with their lap dog and that we could be facing a similar scenario next season. Rover and out!

  4. Bob

    8 May, 2012 at 22:03

    Thank-you. Whilst the perceptions of the unaffected come a remote second to getting this cancer out of our club, it is always reassuring to know that there are real football fans out there that get it and for that I thank you sincerely.

  5. French Rover

    8 May, 2012 at 22:49

    Well said and written with truth and passion. A sound article froma fellow football fan (not a Blackburn Rover but a Tranmere one) that sums up the situation at Ewood perfectly. The smoke and mirrors wall that Venkys and Kean and Anderson set-up around the club to cloud their despicable goings-on is only now starting to fall down and reveal the truth of this very sad episode in the history of our great little club.

  6. Mr Carbon

    8 May, 2012 at 23:06

    Thank you for doing your research.

    After the current mob of owners have finished milking the club it will be the fans that are left to pick up the pieces.
    It is the fans that are the soul of any football club, players and owners come and go, fans are there for the duration of their lives.

  7. eddio

    9 May, 2012 at 13:05

    Praise the Lord! Someone who actually understands and many more disciples of the truth!
    There is more sense written on these pages than has been my misfortune to read in the previous 18 months of ‘coverage’ in the national and local press and web pages.
    Be strong Brothers, for we will return, stronger and wiser.

  8. Jem

    9 May, 2012 at 13:55

    I am a big one for giving managers more time. Of sympathising with how tragic it is that a few disgruntled fans and a short patch of poor form can see a knee-jerk reaction and a manager out the door. But this has been seriously weird.

    Eighteen months ago there were two baffling managerial changes made with similar reasons given and both equally confusing. In Blackburn, Allardyce was sacked despite being a reliably mid-table sort of a chap who would ensure a safe if not dramatically successful future for the Rovers. And in Newcastle, Chris Hughton’s blossoming managerial career was rather brutally pruned by Mike Ashley who kicked out the promotion winner for Alan Pardew, who’s often seen as being a reliably mid-table sort of a chap who would ensure a safe if not dramatically successful future for the Toon Army.

    You see where I’m going here.

    Both clubs released statements talking about loyal service, wishing the best to the departed manager to backing a new candidate who matched their visions for the club. A year and a half later and the destinies of the two clubs could barely be more divergent.

    The case for sacking Kean was and still is compelling. The results on the pitch are one thing – they’ve not been good enough and the relegation is the testament to that – but they aren’t backed up by some obvious signs of longer term planning.

    If Kean had cleared out all the players over the age of 30, bought young and played a youthful, inexperienced team to blood them; Blackburn would have gone down fighting but with a clear image of playing the long game and developing a team for the future. If Blackburn’s transfer purse strings were being held tightly but with major investment in the academy, the training facilities and the stadium; it would have shown a serious intent to modernise the club and move forward.

    As a Southampton fan, I’m aware that the latter option can look a lot like dropping two divisions and going into administration – a couple of years down the line and we’re passing Blackburn in the other direction.

    But Kean and Venky’s tenure at Blackburn has shown none of that. For any followers of Rovers, hope was the first transfer out of Blackburn under Steve Kean and Venky’s and for that their supporters definitely deserve our sympathy.

  9. Mike

    9 May, 2012 at 16:02

    Spot on, both the Venky’s and Steve Keane are out of their
    depth and Rovers and their fans are the real victims!
    This is one case when IGNORANCE is NOT BLISS.

  10. Clinton

    9 May, 2012 at 16:40

    If people actually took a look a steve keans tactics, team selections, transfer dealings and outragously hypocritical media statements, he´d take the majority of the blame.
    Venkys might be poison, but steve kean breathes nuclear waste in comparison.

  11. Golazo

    10 May, 2012 at 17:04


  12. Marty

    10 May, 2012 at 17:09

    Wow…finally, an article which is not seen through the eyes of hypocrisy.

    Venky`s and Kean are ripping the heart out of Blackburn Rovers yet it is the supporters that are getting blamed.

    The whole reaction against Rovers fans from fans of other teams just shows how nasty, tribal and hypocritical the average football fan is in England. Rather than being able to pull together to help a club under attack, they instead chose to attempt to get one over on the Rovers fans and make themselves feel superior.

    The main problem in English football isn`t the owners…it´s the many fans of each club who can´t look past their own pathetic need to look down on others, but instead to laught at them in their misery.

    When other clubs get ripped apart, they shouldn`t expect any help or understanding. Too many English football “fans” are incapable of putting aside club loyalty.

    Football ain`t what it used to be.

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