The soap opera that is Blackburn Rovers took another unexpected twist this week with the announcement that former player Henning Berg has been appointed as the clubs new manager. In typical farcical fashion, the Venkys have stumbled along unconvincingly over the past month in their search for a new manager following Steve Kean’s walk out at the end of September.
Without an official man at the helm, Blackburn have felt the consequences, slipping from the promotion places down to mid table obscurity, before back to back wins last week lifted the club back into the top six of The Championship. Still, however, they remain in a worse position league-wise now than they were prior to Steve Kean’s departure, and the fans have once again been left frustrated with their owners for the seemingly over-relaxed approach in searching for a new manager.
Many names have been thrown into the hat over the past month, from the usual contenders such as Mick McCarthy and Harry Redknapp to the more unorthodox such as Billy McKinlay, another former player. News that the Venky’s were approaching Fulham for McKinlay was met with such negativity amongst Blackburn fans that a protest and boycott was threatened should he have been appointed as the new boss. Eventually, that scenario was avoided as Fulham rejected any such approaches.
However, after weeks of speculation, Blackburn have finally appointed Henning Berg as the new manager, a choice that is certainly something of a gamble. With more traditional names out there available for work, Blackburn always appeared keen to appoint a former player and the likes of Tim Sherwood and Alan Shearer were both heavily linked to the vacant managerial position, but this policy may yet backfire.
Henning Berg may have vast experience at playing in England, but he will need time and the correct resources to adapt to management in England. His managerial history to date spans seven years, but is exclusively limited to Norway, following three year spells at both Lyn and Lillestrom. He enjoyed a successful maiden season in management, guiding Lyn to a strong third place finish in Norway’s top division, but he never really progressed at Lillestrom, and was sacked just over a year ago after a run of claiming just a solitary point from eight matches.
After the turbulent and ultimately unsuccessful era of Steve Kean, Blackburn fans will be forgiven for wanting a period of far greater stability at the club that coincides with a concerted promotion push. Considering what Blackburn fans have had to endure over the past couple of seasons, their club deserves a stroke of luck, and they will be hoping that Henning Berg can be the man to oversee an instant return back to the Premier League. But the appointment is unquestionably a gamble, especially when you consider that safer options were available.