Middlesbrough

Blackburn Rovers Now: What Chance Change?

Steve Kean’s resignation from Blackburn yesterday has no doubt been met by euphoric scenes amongst the majority of Rovers supporters.  After what seems like an eternity, the Blackburn fans have finally got their wish. 

Steve Kean is out. Blackburn supporters have made no secret of their desire to see Kean quit as manager but from the outside, it is easy to feel sorry for him.

He has been fighting a continuous battle to win over the supporters, but ultimately it was a battle he was always destined to lose.  Last weekend’s home defeat by Middlesbrough, Blackburn’s first of the season, was greeted by the usual high levels of “Kean out” protests before, during and after the match, a tough climate for anyone to work in.

Yet his record at Blackburn suggests that, in today’s footballing environment, he outstayed his welcome at Ewood Park.  That defeat by Middlesbrough saw Kean’s job come under the microscope as speculation that the owners had finally lost patience mounted.

After having chats with the controversial Venky’s throughout the week, Kean, who resigned on Friday, released a statement saying that he has been “forced to resign as manager of Blackburn Rovers football club with immediate effect due to my position as team manage becoming untenable.”  Steve Kean was under pressure from the outset following the surprise dismissal of Sam Allardyce in December 2010.  Although Allardyce wasn’t liked amongst all sections of the Blackburn crowd, his ability to produce results on a consistent basis ensured that Blackburn were in the relative comfort of mid table in the Premier League.

Allardyce’s departure, and Kean’s subsequent arrival coincided with a downturn of results that saw Blackburn edge perilously close to the relegation zone.  Only a thrilling final day victory over Wolves confirmed Blackburn’s Premier League survival, but the warning signs were already in place that Kean was struggling to manage in the top flight, and the voices of discontent began to grow louder as Kean stayed on as manager for the following season.

The 2011-2012 season proved a disaster for Blackburn as they were relegated to the Championship for the first time in 12 years.  An opening day home defeat to Wolves paved the way for a season of struggle, and despite a famous win at Old Trafford, Blackburn never looked like surviving and their fate was decided in the penultimate weekend of the season.  The “Kean out” protests grew steadily louder and more vociferous  as defeat followed defeat, including one particularly nasty night in January as Blackburn lost at home to Bolton.

Yet even relegation wasn’t enough to see the Venky’s opt for a change of management and Kean stayed on, vowing for an instant return to the top flight.  Blackburn actually made a far more promising start to the Championship season than many had anticipated, and coupled with the £8 million signing of Jordan Rhodes from Huddersfield, that promise of an immediate return to the Premier League seemed a real possibility.  But that journey will now be made without Steve Kean at the helm.

In truth, Kean did himself little favours when he was initially appointed manager.  Brash statements such as saying that he expects Blackburn to be playing Champions League football within five years were delusional at best, and seem laughable now.

Yet he wasn’t helped by the irrational Venky’s, who wanted to sign players such as Ronaldinho whilst in a relegation dogfight.  Kean’s departure brings an end a bizarre chapter at Ewood Park full of protests and anger, but Blackburn need to think carefully about their next appointment as they bid for Premier League football once more.

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