After the ridiculous and badly timed sacking of Sam Allardyce, fans and pundits alike will wonder were the Lancashire club will go from here. As Chris Hughton had, before being sacked by Newcastle, Allardyce can boast a good record so far this year and for that matter so far in his career. Apart from a dodgy spell at Newcastle, Allardyce is one of the top English managers in the game and can boast the fact that he is being courted as a potential future England manager after Fabio Cappelo steps down after the Euro in 2012.
13th currently in the table, Allardyce admitted himself that his club could and would achieve more, and he has shown this season that his team are capable of good results such as wins against Wolves, Aston Villa and away to Newcastle. He was happy with back-to-back home wins without conceding a goal, these results had seen Blackburn move up to 8th place. After the acquisition of the club by Indian owners, Allardyce was promised more funds from them. Blackburn seemed on course to becoming a club that could maybe clime out of mid-table mediocrity. A raw, direct style mixed with the comprehensive talents of Gamst Pedersen, Ryan Nelsen, Nikola Kalinic and David Dunn. Blackburn were notoriously hard to break down and would attack from counter attacks and/or set pieces. Not especially pretty football but effective.
These reasons make the sacking of a rather popular figure seem not only unjustified but irrational. Allardyce was able to create a team that played decent football, that relied on heigh and physical presence but would challenge and be difficult to break down. He achieved all this on a minimal budget. He managed these feats at both Blackburn and Bolton. When the sniff of extra funds came looming who could blame Allardyce to try and get in on this and strengthen up his squad. Instead he has been put down and this will have more repercussions than one might think.
Firstly, as noted before Allardyce coped with a minimal budget and a side which needed much reform. The reform was undertaken successfully and Blackburn grew and rose in the table. Allardyce had a presence and a reputation that made him one of the most popular manager in English football. He had influence on the board and would always plead for fresh funds to continue his quite success.
A big question now is who is going to replace him? There are many candidates for an established top flight club such as Blackburn but so far I fear that these candidates will not be up to the job. Martin Jol, formerly of Ajax and Tottenham, Martin O’Neill, the late Aston Villa manager, Alan Shearer and most surprisingly, the Argentinian icon, Diego Maradona.
There are several reason for which neither of these managers would have the qualifications or necessary skills to produce at Blackburn. Martin Jol did not excel in England as Tottenham boss which was a fairly easy club to manage. He was also used to a bigger budget and will be unable to cope with the minimal amount of money that the Blackburn board will be able to provide. Martin O’Neill left for a reason of apparent lack of funds even though owner Randy Learner had given him substantial funds. It is possible to deduce that O’Neill wasted or at the very least did not use his funds to good ends. The future manager of Blackburn must be able to find bargains but also find players he is sure will make an impact. Alan Shearer, great player that he was, does not convince as being able to rule over Blackburn well. This was clearly demonstrated when he was in charge of Newcastle. Finally to come to Diego Maradona. As World Cup manager he was jovial and smiling until being destroyed by Germany 4-0, Messi did not shine and Maradona was unable to assemble a squad able to reach the finals, the elements were all there but he was unable to put them together. Maradona is likely to complain about the weather in the Lancashire region, it is very unlike the sunny country of Argentina. His excessive, if not gross manner on the pitch is unlikely to appeal to the Blackburn fans. Funding for him would be a problem as well, he is not yet adept enough to be able to search out talented bargains. A difficult relationship with the board and owners would ensue and Maradona’s strong character and personality would not bode well with the players.
The list of mangers so far proposed are inadequate in my opinion. These are names that are thrown out for the moment, probably without proper thought. Blackburn need to find a sensible, English manager who can work with a small budget. Why not Chris Hughton, recently sacked from Newcastle? At the moment, and for the next few games I believe Blackburn can keep up a decent run and manage without a manager for a while. They are self-sufficient and can continue to do well. They must forget about their recent 2-1 loss against Bolton and rise up again with displays such as the ones against Wolves and Aston Villa. Get this ridiculous problem of managers sorted and Blackburn can continue to be an established Premier League club. Do the opposite and aggravate the situation and Blackburn will spin uncontrollably into a downwards spiral of oblivion, ending probably in the misery of relegation.