Blackburn Soapbox: comfort zone for SAFC, danger zone for Rovers

Sunderland 3 Blackburn Rovers 0: a thoroughly satisfactory scoreline as Pete Sixsmith sits in on lessons in finishing from our strikers (somewhat necessary after the zillion misses against Blackpool). Pete lauds a classy performance from Jordan Henderson and warns Rovers of danger ahead before delivering a lesson of his own to SAFC which he earnestly hopes Niall Quinn will see is heeded …

Another year has dawned and with it the realisation that my time on this planet is now approaching its own diamond jubilee. So, a good way to start Year 60 is a win at home against traditionally difficult opponents.

Except they weren’t particularly difficult. They were missing a good goalkeeper, a dominant centre half and anyone with any idea of how to put the ball in the net.

Add to that a new, rookie manager and a minuscule away support and you have a club on the slide. They will do well to stay out of the bottom three come May.

Not that I have any tears to shed over Blackburn Rovers. All eyes were on our lot after a disappointing result on Tuesday. Clearly the best show in town was White Christmas at the Empire, starring a man from Casualty, a man from Billy Elliot and a man from Dallas who wasn’t Larry Hagman.

Our attempts on Tuesday were a little like those of an uncoordinated pantomime horse coupled with those clumsy handymen who attempt to wallpaper the house and who keep on missing the wall with paper and paste.

So, what we needed against Rovers was an early goal and we got two. Great crosses from Elmohamady (“he’s a winger, Steve, not a full back; Oh Yes He Is!!!”) resulted in a deflected shot from Welbeck and a cracking header from Bent to put the game out of Rovers reach.

After that we dominated, but never really convinced. A third goal could have opened the floodgates as Blackburn looked as ragged as Cinderella’s working clothes, but it did not come. They had one chance, when the panto villain Diouf contrived to miss from two yards out, having got round the back off our defence. I blame the North Stand; nobody having shouted to Bardsley “he’s behind you”.

The midfield looked much more creative than Tuesday. Henderson ran and ran and ran and was my man of the match. He was unfortunate with a delightful chip that hit the bar and looked a very good player again. Meyler complemented him with a gritty performance that shows what a strong boy he is after that awful injury last year.

Steed did well and his subtle probing and passing showed us what we missed on Tuesday. He even played 90 minutes without a break, although he must have been exhausted as he ran round the Humpty Dumpty-like Dunn at least twice.

Up front, the two took their goals well and Bent seems to prefer working with the more predictable Welbeck than the rather more enigmatic Gyan. Asamoah took his goal really well and showed what a class act he is. How to fit the three together is a problem that the Brucester has to face.

So, a decent start to 2011 as we sit in a lofty sixth place, which is real progress. This is what we hoped for and we could be a healthy eight points up on the Mags if Bernard and his Pie Eaters have done the business this afternoon. Villa seem to be in the middle of an internal strop so points there on Wednesday night are a distinct possibility.

The crowd was a decent 36,000, higher than that at Anfield. But I think we missed a trick. There was no public transport on Saturday and some fans who travel by bus, rail or Metro may well have found it difficult to get to the ground. Bob Chapman forked out £35 on a taxi to get to the Stadium from Newcastle Central and other southern based fans had to make complex arrangements to get from the railheads to the game.

If we have a New Years Day home game next year, the club may want to think about putting on coaches from Newcastle and Durham stations and from places like South Shields and Chester-le-Street to help fans get to the stadium. It’s actions like that which define how much a club thinks about its fans instead of taking them for granted.

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14 Responses to “Blackburn Soapbox: comfort zone for SAFC, danger zone for Rovers” Subscribe

  1. Jeremy January 2, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Great stuff!

    Their Mr Kean has the look of a man who has been summoned to his boss’s office to get the sack. Blackburn are a rudderless ship. They had Hoillett up front who has all the nice little techniques that they teach academy kids etc but he hasn’t scored a league goal. Olsson the full back is a partial explanation of Elmo’s improved performance. He’s one of the worst defenders that I’ve ever seen in this league. Elmo is certainly no full back and being liberated from that role seemed to do him some good for about 15 minutes in the first half before retreating into his shell again.

    McBardsley had a good game again and so did Ferdinand. Mind you if I was up against Hoillett I’d probably have looked canny.

    They have relegation stamped right through them to me.

  2. Colonel Blink January 2, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    Jeremy, you are right. Rovers DO have relegation stamped through them. There is only one man who can save us, and we have just sacked him.

  3. Bill Taylor January 2, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    And when Steve Bruce, aka the Demon King, looks out into the audience and asks, “What do you think of it so far?” let no one answer, “Rubbish!”
    Moving Welbeck into the position he’s most suited to play in has transformed his game and scoring record. Could the same happen with Elmomahady? He had a good 15 minutes this time; maybe he’ll manage 30 next time.
    What price West Ham? Flash in the pan or are they finally turning the corner? I’m still very dubious myself.

  4. Dan Clough January 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    We were shocking. Again. Could do with a manager. And the amount of fans who turned up was disappointing, the amount who sang even more so, especially as we had 1,500 at WBA on Tuesday!

    Good result for Sunderland. Good luck for the rest of the season.

    Dan – The Rovers Return

    Blackburn Rovers – RIP. Cause of death – Venky’s.

  5. Michael January 2, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Your comments about Blackburn missing so many player made me think about the many times over the last forty five years when I would tremble with fear if Gary Rowell or Shaun Elliot were injured. But we are a different kettle of fish now and Bruce has a squad that can cope with injuries and suspensions. I am impressed with the manger’s policy of buying at least two or three players who can do a job in at least two positions. Take a bow Fredinand, Bardsley and Onuhoa . I am therefore a bit surprised that he bought Gyan. As good as he is, like Bent and Welbeck, he can only play up front. Surely for £13 million we could a have bought a goal scoring midfielder who could play off a loan striker if and when unavailabilty forced us to play 4 -5 -1. perhaps however the manager was looking at the longer trem when Welbeck returns to Old Trafford and the more versatile Campbell is fit. What ever the case I am not going to complain. Sixth in the league will do me.

  6. Jeremy January 2, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    I think that it’s a real shame Colonel. Last season Rovers had the look of a well established side. Confident and difficult to break down. That was all down to Big Sam and nobody else. Out goes Sam and in ucomes a bloke that nobody knows and all of a sudden you look like you did under Ince! It’s nothing short of criminal really what these buffoons have done to your club.

    It was without doubt our easiest three points of the season so far. It’s going to be a long cold winter judging by yesterdays display and it’s a pity when you were heading in the right direction under Sam. I really don’t understand what the Venky lot thought they were going to achieve. I feel for your fans but not these idiots.

  7. Colonel Blink January 3, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Jeremy, thanks for that. And this all would happen during a season when the line between survival and relegation has never been so fine! Hope to meet you boys again next year, but I am not counting my chickens……

  8. Jeremy January 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    Colonel Blimp said “but I am not counting my chickens……”

    Yes, best leave that to the Venkys.

  9. Jeremy January 3, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    Apparently the new owners are considering renaming Ewood Park, “Venky’s Stadium.”

  10. Jeremy January 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    I just spotted this in the Sunderland Echo. I wonder what the Blackburn lads make of this nonsense from their boss?

  11. Dan Clough January 4, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    The man’s an idiot. We were humiliated. Again. And will be over and over until the end of the season with that clown in charge.

  12. Jeremy January 4, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Dan. I feel for you lads I really do. It’s an Ashleyesque situation that’s developed for you down there. I can’t see Kean lasting until the end of the season to be honest. Was he responsible for sticking the knife into Sam do you reckon? It’s hard to imagine what they thought they’d achieve with him at the helm.

  13. Dan Clough January 4, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    He’s in for the duration mate. They’re going to offer him a contract extension for next two or three years. They want a yes man who looks after the team while they deal with all transfer policy. We’ve bought a one way ticket to oblivion.
    Not sure he stuck the knife in but he didn’t hang about after they got shut.

  14. Jeremy January 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    The hallmarks between the Venkys and Ashley are remarkable. They thought that they were getting a yes man with Hughton who would do what he was told. Maybe he was, but he left with his head held high.

    If these buffoons think that they will compete successfully in this league by being in charge of football matters then they are naive or stupid or both. It’s a real tragedy and it worries me that there are owners that would sell to irresponsible new owners like this shower. It’s a growing concern for all clubs and only good fortune for all of us that it isn’t us (yet!). It’s a tragedy that a proper proud northern club like yours is being used as a rich bloke’s toy in this way. There really needs to be some sort of suitability testing for prospective owners which actually means something other than ticking a box. This is sadly the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot of money to be made from football and more than ever in the current times. This is one of the worst actions by owners since Archer took over Brighton many years ago with the sole intention of knocking down the Golsdstone Ground to build a Retail Park. It makes by blood boil to be honest with you.

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