Blackburn fans were right about Venky’s and Kean all along
For 18 months, their football club has been run into the ground and they have had to pay for the privilege of watching it happen. No one listened when they said that it would end in tears, no one believed them when they said their manager was hopelessly out of his depth. Then when relegation finally came, people said they were disgraceful for getting all upset about it. Who’d be a Blackburn Rovers fan?
Venky’s have treated those supporters in much the same way that they treat their chickens. They’ve kept them in the dark, ignored their clucking protestations and doomed them to a messy end. Let me count the ways they failed. Their first error was employing an agent, Jerome Anderson, to advise on football matters. Experienced manager Sam Allardyce was quickly sacked, allegedly for not being enthusiastic enough about Anderson’s clients. He was replaced by a rookie, someone who was far more enthusiastic about Anderson’s clients, mainly because he himself was one of them. And Steve Kean wasn’t the only horse from the Anderson stable to get a run-out. John Jensen arrived to take up the assistant manager job. On merit, I’m sure. The problem with getting an agent to look after recruitment is that the more cynically minded might suggest that vested interests were at work. Fortunately, Anderson emphatically allayed those fears by signing… erm… his own son, Myles. He still hasn’t played a single game.
Venky’s have been a disaster. From their space cadet ambition of finishing “fourth or fifth”, as if there wasn’t much difference between the two, to their bold claim that, “if we need to spend £5million, we’ll spend £5million” they have turned the club into a laughing stock. But the giggles ended abruptly last December when Barclays were forced to order them to deposit double that amount into their account just to cover the wage bill. It’s one thing not to invest; it’s another to barely cover costs. And then there’s the rumour, well-placed and multi-sourced, that they were unaware of the concept of relegation. It might not be true, but it’s a measure of their incompetence that you can’t be sure.
The much-maligned Kean, as I said here at Christmas, isn’t the biggest problem at Blackburn, but he isn’t very far down the list. He has won just 13 league games in 18 months. Wigan have won six since the end of March. Kean appears to live on a different existential plane to the rest of us, some kind of pink-clouded nirvana of rainbows and sugarplums, Ronaldinho and impending Champions League football. The fact that he hasn’t immediately cleared his desk and walked away to think about what he’s done is staggering. What would constitute resignation form in Kean’s world?
Sure, his dignity under fire was commendable, and there can be no justification for the death threats and promises of physical violence that he received, but he would have had a far quieter life if he was actually any good at his job. His selections have been confusing, his tactics have been worse and the sight of his imperilled players failing to muster a shot of any kind against Tottenham last weekend will live long in the memory for Blackburn fans.
Those fans, of course, realised all of this long ago. You can blame them for focusing their firepower on Kean instead of Venky’s, but given that the owners hardly ever turned up to a game, they’d have had to shout pretty loud for them to notice. They’ve been blamed for protesting during matches and not supporting their team, but what were they supposed to do? Don the face paints, hold a party in the top tier, link hands, sing “Kumbaya” and then throw a tantrum when everyone had gone? What would have been the point of that? They’re livid and they’ve got every right to show their fury.
Manchester United fans can sow discontent with green and gold scarves and everyone applauds. Liverpool fans can shout “get out of our club” at their ruinous owners and chant for the return of Kenny Dalglish and everyone salutes their pluck. But when Blackburn supporters rage and roar against the usurpers who seek to annihilate their football club, they’re a disgrace? There are double standards at work here.
Venky’s are a shambles, a plague of stupidity visited upon a team that needed to box clever. The Premier League are a disgrace for allowing yet another club to be savaged by morons. The hapless Kean should never have been given the job in the first place, let alone been allowed to keep it for 18 months. Of all the parties involved, the supporters are the only ones who are innocent. They don’t deserve our contempt. They deserve our sympathy.
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