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Blackburn Rovers may pay the ultimate price

Friday 5th April 2013
Foreign ownership in English football is commonplace nowadays. In November 2010, chicken and poultry company Venky's purchased a 99.9% stake in Blackburn Rovers. It didn't come cheap either. The cost of the takeover was £23m, added to the £20m of the club's debt they have taken on. No-one doubted that the Indian owners meant well, but it hasn't been a fairy tale. Is this yet another example of owners underestimating the task of running a football club? Since relegation, they have sacked three managers. Hardly creating a stable environment are they?

It is funny to think that just 15 years ago, Blackburn Rovers lifted the Premiership crown. With Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton firing the goals, they were a force to be reckoned with. Fast forward to today, and they are staring down the barrel of a gun, flirting with relegation to the third tier of English football. The last time that happened was 1979-80. That season they were runners-up and gained promotion straight back to the old second division (now the Championship). They currently sit 19th on 49 points, the same amount as third from bottom Huddersfield. Proof, if any was ever needed, that sacking manager after manager does not work.

Steve Kean

The unpopular Scot took Rovers down last season, but he spoke of his determination to get them back up. Then, with the club sitting pretty in third place, he resigned, claiming his position was “untenable” and that he felt like he was “forced out”. It was, in truth, the same as a sacking. Blackburn fans had their wish granted, despite the clubs impressive start to life in the Championship.

Henning Berg

On 31 October 2012, Ewood Park hero Berg was appointed manager on a three year deal. This came despite his quote that "There are no real managers with credibility who would accept a job like that”, while doing punditry on Norwegian TV.

Things didn't go according to plan. In his ten games as manager, Berg won only once, with three draws and six defeats. With Rovers sliding down the table, Berg was sacked on 27 December, after just 57 days in the hot seat.

Gary Bowyer

Following Berg's sacking, coach Bowyer took charge of the team. He led the side to a four game unbeaten run, before they appointed their next full time boss.

Michael Appleton

On 11 January 2013, Blackpool boss Michael Appleton was unveiled as the new manager, the clubs fourth of the season. With his last two managerial positions being at Portsmouth and Blackpool, both places where lavish spending is a thing of the past, many observers were of the opinion that Blackburn were so keen to bring Appleton in as they wanted a manager who could work with little or no transfer kitty.

But as we have come to expect from Blackburn's owners, after winning just four of his fifteen games at the helm, a knee-jerk reaction was taken. They sacked him. Not many had sympathy for Appleton, after all, this is the man who was rescued from his Pompey nightmare by Blackpool, only to walk out on them 67 days later when something that appeared better came calling. He left Rovers lumbered in 18th place.

Gary Bowyer

Back for his second spell as a caretaker boss, or so we thought. On the 19 March, Blackburn announced that Bowyer would be in charge of the team until the end of the season. Was this the cheap option? Or was this to stop them becoming a laughing stock? Too late for that. Did they not have a long term choice? Maybe Bowyer was their long term choice? Did anyone want the job? All these questions will be answered eventually, but not soon enough for Rovers fans. Going down to League One would be an absolute disaster, a disaster that would need experienced footballing heads at the top to pull themselves out of… Blackburn haven't got that!

By Rob Wildey


Rob Wildey

Total articles: 27

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