Turmoil off the pitch but results on it
5 October ~ Feelings of relief among Blackburn Rovers supporters that manager Steve Kean has finally gone are tempered by the chaos surrounding his dismissal, which emphasises just how crazy things have become at the club. Kean “resigned” only after travelling south with the team for the Charlton game at the end of a week when Blackburn’s own global advisor Shebby Singh, supposedly in charge, was quoted as saying that things at Ewood were “getting worse by the day”.
After two years of silence from the owners at least Singh is willing to communicate with fans and the world at large, although there are times when he might be better keeping quiet rather than making some of his stranger statements. There is now at least agreement among most fans that what is most needed is some unity and backing for the team, underlined by queues at the ticket office of those returning after boycotting the Kean regime.
There is still seemingly no logic as to the way in which the club is being run with backroom staff cuts still on-going while £8 million is found to buy Jordan Rhodes. At least a more solid structure has been put in place at Ewood with the appointments of managing director Derek Shaw, operations director Paul Agnew and Karen Silk in finance. There is though no clear indication that this is where control lies and it will only be over the next few months that we get an indication of who is now running the club on a day-to-day basis and whether this is being done in a coherent manner. The headline in the Lancashire Telegraph is Trust us to get this right, but what grounds do supporters have for believing the decision making process will now be based on logic or planning rather than the crazy actions so far carried out under the name of the club’s Indian owners, Venky’s?
With the club in such turmoil it is almost incredible that any sane manager would even consider taking over at Ewood Park but with a decent squad and a team still in a play-off spot, there appears to be plenty of interest in the job. Among a long list of prospective managers daft enough to consider the Blackburn job are allegedly Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Bernd Schuster, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Alan Shearer, while Kean’s assistant Eric Black takes temporary charge under some suspicion he may just be the cheap option the owners are looking for. A poll in the local newspaper reflected a surprising demand for sensible, experienced managers including Ian Holloway and Mick McCarthy rather than some of the supposedly more exciting continental names bandied around in the media.
There are enough good players still at the club to give the team a shot at the play-offs or even promotion but a period of stability is needed to give it the platform from which to build. This can only be achieved by the owners supporting the new structure at Ewood and bringing in a manager able to pull everything together. With Kean gone at least a majority of fans will now direct their energy behind the team when it needs it the most but many still need convincing that Blackburn Rovers is safe in the hands of its current owners. Bruce Wilkinson