Birflatt Boy called often enough for Steve Bruce’s head. Now he’s pushing for Steve Kean to be the next managerial casualty. The Rovers support certainly seems to have turned hostile; David Moyes said he left the Bolton game at half-time in disgust at the abuse aimed in Kean’s direction …

Here at Salut!, although our love affair is always with Sunderland, we are not oblivious to the events at other clubs.

The current situation at Blackburn Rovers has not escaped the attention of contributors, with Pete Sixsmith quite rightly pointing out that Rovers fans deserve a lot better than they are currently being treated to courtesy of Venky’s.

Steve Kean’s situation at Blackburn has presented him with the ultimate career paradox. He is determined to hang on to the manager’s job. The reasons (other than his salary) remain a mystery to all but Kean himself, as there can be no satisfaction in being in charge of a club that is so badly organised and run from the top down.

One gets the impression that the only people at Blackburn are Kean, his assistant and the turnstile operators. The longer he hangs on, the more ridiculous his defiance about winning the fans back and turning round results sounds. Rovers is a fine old club and the fans are worthy of a whole lot better than this.

Steve Kean fails to realise that the longer he holds on to the bridge of this particular sinking ship, there is an ever reducing likelihood that he will get another job in charge somewhere else. He doesn’t look right, he doesn’t sound right and his team loses every week.

Kean was plucked from the obscurity of the Ewood Park backroom to replace the experienced and steady hand of Sam Allardyce. The Rovers fans never took to him, firstly because the decision to sack Big Sam
was so ridiculous, secondly because he was a non-entity and thirdly because they were under no illusions that his appointment would be other than a disaster.

It’s probably not Steve Kean’s fault that he looks like a man who bought his first suit when he was given the manager’s job. It may not be entirely down to him that he seems to have spent every day of his tenure denying that he faces imminent dismissal. He does have to carry the can for his team winning only seven times in 37 games (now 38), as proclaimed by a banner on display during the other night’s home game against local rivals Bolton. It’s difficult to understand why Venky’s should be so keen to dismiss a manager of Allardyce’s calibre and then to offer Kean a new improved contract in November despite being bottom of the league.

As Kevin Gallagher, the former Rovers striker, remarked to the BBC: “I don’t see what they’re coming into it for. To me, they’ve come into football with their eyes wide shut, not open. They don’t understand the game and they don’t understand the people of Blackburn.” Gallagher goes on to describe Kean’s position as “untenable” which with any other football figure in the history of the game would be undeniable. Venky’s seems content for now to preside over this failure and the public implosion of this once proud club.

The Venky boys don’t even turn up at games, preferring to watch via a live feed in India. There have even been calls from the local MP Jack Straw as well as the local paper for Kean to step down. Just to make matters worse, the veteran defender and arguably Rovers’ best player this season Michel Salgado was told to go home and have five days off; the manager couldn’t play him against Bolton,
because an appearance clause in his contract would have triggered an automatic contract renewal.

There are rumours circulating about financial uncertainty with the Rovers finance director Karen Silk denying claims by the Mail on Sunday that the club is heading for financial disaster.

Silk states that “Barclays Bank and Blackburn Rovers have enjoyed a long relationship over many years and are currently in constructive dialogue about how the bank, along with the owners, can support the club for many years to come”.

I’d be extremely concerned about the “constructive dialogue” part if I were a Rovers fan. If all’s well there’s little need for much dialogue. This all sounds, to Birflatt’s ears, like a preamble to things disappearing down the Twyfords Adamant.

When the score went to 0-2 in last night’s game the odds against a pitch invasion must have plummeted. Had it gone to 0-3, then the game, Kean’s reign and a whole lot more could have been over. The protests
by an increasing proportion of Rovers fans has attracted some criticism in the media. What else can the loyal Rovers supporters do?

Their situation is unique in many ways, and they must feel as if their club has been invaded by an occupying enemy force. Blackburn has become the Vichy France of the Premier League with Steve Kean as the
Philippe Pétain of Ewood Park. The Rovers fans wearing the yellow and black protest garb are the Maquisard.

The situation at Blackburn is perilous, and the fans have my genuine sympathy. A proud football club is being completely destroyed from within by the owners and their puppet. Venkys may understand the poultry business but they appear to have no idea how to run a football club. They can only be incredibly stupid or incredibly broke, possibly both. Whatever, the circumstances they should get out of the way and let someone who knows what they are doing take control. If Steve Kean had any respect of even just a modicum of common sense, then he would resign. Every time he opens his mouth he further confirms that he has
neither. Rovers fans deserve better than this.

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

13 Responses to “Birflatt Boy: go, Steve, go. But he means Blackburn this time” Subscribe

  1. Dave Riding December 23, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    Excellent post- shows a greater understanding of the situation than any of the national media outlets have. Rovers have had many bad managers – Kidd, Harford, Ince – none of them received anything like this amount of vitriol, nor did the local media or MP get involved in previous times of crisis. Rovers fans are not militant reactionaries, they just know that everything is wrong at the club from the top down.

    The manner in which Kean got the job in the first place is suspect, with the influence of Kentaro and Jerome Anderson thought to be key. Our agents fees have quadrupled despite a slew of mediocrity arriving to replace decent footballers like Phil and Jermaine Jones, Emerton and now Salgado. Venky’s have got rid of our chief executive and chairman and have not replaced them. How could any business, let alone a football club, survive this organisational chaos?

    The media need to pull their heads out and realise that this is not a typical situation of an unpopular manager getting bad results. Kean is just the figurehead of a group of people who are taking a stable club to the brink – relegation to the Championship is not the end-point of this situation, it’s just the beginning.

    If it can happen to Rovers it can happen to any club. Rovers fans can see their club being destroyed by a group of people who have no long term interest in it’s future. THAT’S why you are seeing huge protests at every game.

    If this can happen to Rovers it can happen to any club. The media and other managers need to stop having a go at fans who understand this is an unprecedented time, and who are trying to ensure the survival of their town’s team.

  2. glen mullan December 23, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    Great article, its nice to see other clubs supporters understanding exactly how we all feel

  3. Ian_Safc December 23, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    I feel sorry for the Blackburn fans. Such a great club with a fine (recent) history of actually winning the Premier league.

    It gets me though how any club can make a healthy profit these days. Sunderland have posted grand losses and so have Man City etc. Losses like these are unsustainable unless a wealthy backer continues to prop things up by pouring in cash. For a lot of clubs, the money’s going to run dry and we’ll all end up like Portsmouth.
    A business like Man Utd are sustainable only because of their huge fan base worldwide. Other teams don’t have that.

  4. Adam Rovers Fan December 23, 2011 at 3:10 am #

    I’m a Blackburn season ticket holder and I have to say your article sums up the whole sorry situation perfectly. What has exaserbated the frustration for many Rovers fans – myself included – has been the lack of understanding shown by the media and others within the game, such as Moyes and the other managers. The implication has been that Rovers fans should sit in silence and watch their club ‘do a Portsmouth’, as if that’s all we’re really entitled to as a small town club.
    Kean is an arrogant, ignorant man and a God-awful manager, and the criticism levelled at him is 100% justified. Any other employer in any sector would sack an employee whose professional performance was so measurably bad – unless there was something seriously dodgy going on. I think the answer as to why Kean is still in position lies in that last statement.

  5. A.PROTESTER December 23, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    i’m so pleased with this article , we , as Rovers fans have been vilified for the treatment Kean has received in the press , by the LMA and by Managers and Players alike, but what about the treatment WE have received from Venky’s and their stooge ?? we have been lied to time and time again , we have been ignored , we have been humiliated , as a protester i can guarantee you i do not enjoy doing it , but needs must , we have gone from one of the best run clubs in the country operating on a shoe-string budget punching way above our weight to a joke. its nice to read another fan of another club see’s it the correct way, as the song goes ” we want our Rovers back”

  6. Bill Taylor December 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Well said, BB! A bit of empathy goes a long way, as evidenced by this response. The Premiership would be a better place if there were a little more of this. To A. Protester I would say that a club suffering hard times is only a joke to rival fans who are secretly afraid of finding themselves in the same position. It’s no joke to its own supporters. Been there, done that!

  7. Jeremy December 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    The frightening thing about this is the speed with which irreperable damage can be done to an established top flight club, from which in the best case might take years to recover from.

    The media and the LMA refuse to face or tell the truth. What do they expect supporters to do? Do they expect them to chant Kean’s name, sit politely while game after game is lost. The LMA would still be saying Kean deserved more time if he led Rovers to successive relegations to the brink of the conference. They would be blaming a bad series of injuries and a lack of transfer funds. Venkys display the worst characteristics of foreign ownership. Like Kevin Gallagher I am bewildered about their motivation, but it worries me that our football heritage is being destroyed like this. Is there, I wonder anything that fellow supporters can do to help Rovers fans in their protest? This could happen to any club at any time and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I’m sure there are countless supporters of other clubs who share your concerns. Our fans were criticised for the “abuse” (Steve Bruce’s words and not mine), of a failing manager. It’s ok for fans to have a voice it seems, just so long as that voice is not heard.

  8. Neil December 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    I thank you for such a constructive understanding at what is happening at Blackburn Rovers. This club one of the founder memebers of the football league and well respected by many supporters. Our club is on the brink!. The fans are watching there beloved club being taken apart by greed from within fronted by one of the most unprofesional rude arrogant persons (our Manager) who referes to supporters at deluded doughnuts!!. WE ALL KNOW THAT A SYSTAMATIC RAPE OF OUR CLUB IS TAKING PLACE and the powers that be within the premier league and LMA stand idily by whilst one of there own to suck the life out of the club and fans. Fans from all clubs should help us where they can we need to stop this now …..YOU COULD BE NEXT!!

  9. Plan B December 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Adam – we know how you feel, we got (some) similiar treatment surrounding our desire to see the back of Steve Bruce. Salut is one of the best sites around for standing up to the mass media, and in particular their sycophantic in-house game. Reading yours and Neil’s comments make me think you need to start directing your protests and chants at venky’s rather than Kean though, this may change the media attitude and help to get fans of other clubs involved. Good luck.

  10. Birflatt Boy December 23, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    The LMA and the individual voices of the likes of Allardyce, Moyes, Redknapp, Ferguson etc can easily be “toned out” of any reasonable conversation regarding football management, because they are nothing but self serving. Plan B’s point is one worth heeding because Kean is simply a puppet for the owner, regardless of quite how obsequious and unendearing he may be.

    This problem happens to be Blackburn’s problem at the moment, but it could so equally be anyone’s problem. There are no checks and balances to prevent clubs being taken over by asset strippers and incompetents. This is a matter which all fans should be united on, as the health and stature of our clubs is at risk to negligent ownership. Personally, I am a little surprised that there hasn’t been a rallying cry to fans of other clubs.

    When Brighton and Hove Albion were in trouble a few years back a particular game was chosen for fans from other clubs to wear their colours to show opposition to what was happening. Why don’t you do the same at Rovers? This is a simple idea that would easily catch on.

  11. John Penman December 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    It is a similar siuation to what we were experiencing a few weeks ago when the LMA were scathing towards our fans for us daring to suggest that Mr Bruce was not up to the job.

    We realised that due to 3 home wins this calendar year after spending piles of money Bruce had to go and were not shy in letting our Directors know about it. We knew when Keane had reached the end of his managerial tether and Sbragia after that. The fans know these things.

    The Blackburn fans are going through the same and are perfectly entitled to voice their concerns against a Manager who is quite clearly not up to the job.

    The fact that he allegedly stabbed Allerdyce in the back to get the job makes him rather dislikeable.Would be interesting to know the facts about that.

    Some of the claptrap spouted not only by the LMA but certain areas of the media regarding our treatment of Bruce was rather irritating to say the least.These people pay nothing to watch games, we pay substantial amounts over a season.

  12. Birflatt Boy December 23, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    John Penman said “The fans know these things.”

    That is absolutely correct, and examples of fans being unreasonably, outlandish and unnecessarily rude are very difficult to find in England. The problem these days is in large part down to how football has become driven by celebrity, and no longer talent or performance. Self serving managers and their association (LMA) perpetuate the closed shop management merry go round with the same names appearing as the most likely candidates every time one of them is sacked (in grossly unfair circumstances according to them). Curbishley, Allardyce, etc etc The list remains the same no matter how bad they’ve performed in their last job. They see football matches rather like a concert. goals scored are irrelevant, and you the fans don’t complain. They just turn up for the next date on the concert tour and the cast are immune from not only criticism, but are also entitled to outrageous defence by the club regardless it seems of how vile or criminal their actions may turn out to be (Liverpool and Chelsea stand up). The huge and obscene amounts of money which pour into the game from TV revenues have clouded how football is really funded. The clubs seem to forget that it’s fundamentally the same people that cough up at the turnstles every week. Clubs almost regard the paying spectator almost as an irrelevance and even a nuisance when they have the temerity to criticise the dismal performance of their manager or owners,as is the case with Blackburn.

    It is gratifying to see the distinction so proudly made by the protesters “!00% Rover, O% Kean & Venkys.” This is important. The club is the spirit, the history and tradition and years spent supporting the club through thick and thin. For years before the Venkys skinned a chicken or could locate Blackburn on a map. We can be sure that Kean will return to the anonymity from which he emerged. Fans of any persuasion with a genuine love of the game will hope that his disappearance will take place quickly and without further fuss. The only thing more embarrassing than him is the pathetic defence of him by the LMA and the likes of Moyes and co. You’d expect them to have a little more self respect than to associate with him.

  13. Jeremy December 26, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/blackburn-rovers/8976976/Blackburn-Rovers-manager-Steve-Kean-boosted-by-the-backing-of-Kenny-Dalglish-and-Sir-Alex-Ferguson.html

    More guff about support from Dalglish now. What a load of complete codswallop. Talk about self interest! Blackburn have got both Liverpool and Man Utd coming soon. The last thing either of them want is to be on the receiving end of a Hawthorn Effect from a new manager coming in. If either of them went on a run that was a third as bad as Kean’s then they would have been shown the door a long time since, and they both well know it.

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