March 31, 2011

Only fools rush in

Posted by Rebecca Lowe on 31/03/2011

Steve Kean is under increasing pressure at Ewood Park © Getty Images

Given their current predicament, Blackburn Rovers could be seen as a cautionary tale against undue haste. They rushed into sacking a manager, Sam Allardyce, who was doing perfectly well, and then on the back of a couple of victories early in his reign they handed Steve Kean a three-year contract. He may well turn out to be a top manager, but he has no experience as the No. 1 so it was a surprising decision to give him the top job so quickly. That worried a few fans and was probably a bit too rash. As soon as he signed the contract, their results have started to go downhill.

The decision to sack Allardyce in December seemed to come out of nowhere, and if he had stayed you wouldn’t be surprised to see Blackburn in the top half right now. When new owners come in they want to stamp their authority and they get very excited about owning a Premier League club. They want to make a difference and a change straightaway, when perhaps they aren’t particularly familiar with football. I don’t think Venky’s know much about the game. The decision to sack Allardyce was the wrong one and it was taken at the wrong time. They caused themselves unnecessary problems - just look at their league situation now, ahead of Saturday's live game on ESPN, compared to when Allardyce left.

Venky’s have talked about signing players like Ronaldinho and Ruud van Nistelrooy, but stars of that calibre are realistically not going to go to Blackburn. A persistent problem in football, from the top all the way down to the bottom, is that the people in charge of clubs have not played the game, so they tend not to understand a manager’s role. They just see pound signs and commercial opportunities, a chance to sell more shirts, and it is not always of benefit to the man in charge.

At Blackburn, Venky’s don’t seem to understand the game. Will they ever? I’m not so sure. It is a real problem for the Premier League, which is a rich person’s plaything. These are clubs with over a hundred years of tradition and history and they shouldn’t be messed with. They should be treated with much more care than some owners treat clubs.

I feel for Steve Kean, though, because he had to take that job. He obviously had his sights set on a managerial role and he couldn’t turn down an opportunity in the Premier League. But in a relegation fight you need experience, and I don’t think we know enough of Kean to definitively judge whether he can keep Blackburn up. He has impressive coaching credentials but has he got the ability in terms of motivation, in terms of conducting a half-time team talk when they are 1-0 down away from home? Only time will tell over the next few games.

On the evidence of results so far you could infer it is not working. Blackburn are certainly in a tricky position at present and a number of pundits I have spoken to in the past few weeks have all tipped them to go down. I think the club have the right assets to stay up though: the players are just about good enough, although Roque Santa Cruz needs to start putting in some performances to demonstrate why he originally left the club for £17 million.

Given they have players like Christopher Samba, Paul Robinson, Ryan Nelsen and David Dunn, I think Blackburn will prove to be better than three teams this season. The names at Ewood Park don’t exactly roll off the tongue in terms of quality, but they do have individuals with a lot of experience, amongst the playing staff at least.


Posted by Chilee Agunanna on 02/04/2011

I was shocked when Sam Allardyce was sacked. It was one of the most stupid decisions I have ever witnessed in football considering the reasons given for it. I have continued to observed events unfold at Ewood Park and feel no sympathy for the owners whatsoever. As an Arsenal fan, I just wish Arsene Wenger could just poach Christopher Samba for us. That's all I ever wish for whenever I watch a Blackburn game. I wish Sam Allardyce luck in all his future endeavours.

Posted by Devendran Davidas on 02/04/2011

I think venky' should have consult some football expert before they doing any drastic changes...Steve kean is not a right person for Blackburn at the moment..His tactics and approach doesn't seem to work for Blackburn...last win was back in January...Venky's have to react fast to save Blackburn...Venky's..this is not cricket..this is football...

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