Steve Kean 9th May 2012: "I said a number of weeks ago this is a changing time for the club. We have new owners. I am new into the job, but the club is moving forward and these are exciting times for the club."
And that sums up what we have had to contend with for so long and why this once wonderful football club will spiral further towards oblivion unless sense prevails and the puppet and his masters get out of town. But remember, in Steve's world 18 months is no time at all to be in the job. Bless him, he's probably only just been given his swipecard for the canteen, and it's far too early for him to have been invited into the lottery syndicate. He's got to learn everyone's name first.
On Monday night, the end was largely predictable and the lights went out on our Premier League lives. The fans were magnificent and the chicken had a stormer, but we were never good enough against a Wigan side that thoroughly deserve to stay in the division. They have everything that we used to possess - a well respected manager, a chairman who is football crazy and who has more common sense than Venky’s will ever know, and integrity. Our regime doesn't know the meaning of the word.
Pathetically, Dave Whelan was our spokesman on Monday night rather than our absent owners, who apparently were in 'mourning' due to relegation. He was more upset at our plight than they will ever care to be.
What has deeply frustrated me over the last 48 hours is the number of inquests that have taken place in the national press. In the deep mid-winter, the fans were crying out for their voice to be heard but a combination of Steve Kean's allies in the media and the Rovers PR machine helped to demonise the supporters. The Paul Hunt leaked letter and his subsequent sacking has confirmed that there is little hope now and that the club is lost as we knew it.
Unfortunately there is still a long way to run in the Venky’s/Kean saga and relegation is only the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end for them.
Those of us who were at White Hart Lane on Sunday to witness our once proud football club surrender in the embarassing and pathetic manner that it did, will not forget it in a hurry.
Rovers were a team that needed to take the game to the opposition and gain a positive result in order to have any chance of preserving their Premier League status. We were promised all week that there was a game plan to exploit Tottenham's weaknesses, but we have been given false promises for 18 months from the owners and a manager who have treated the fans with utter contempt. Not a single shot in anger towards the end that we were attacking sums up this horrific season.
In all honesty the supporters who made their way to North London on Sunday deserve a refund. We should also contact Amnesty International to highlight the torture we have endured since the Venkys purchased their 'toy'. Gallows humour was the order of the day for Rovers supporters as they left the ground with the Spurs supporters almost apologetic towards us.
Living in the capital puts you in contact with supporters from a variety of clubs up and down the land. All season they have been manipulated and duped by the London media into believing that Rovers' problems lie at the door of their 'ignorant' and 'thuggish' supporters. After Sunday, opinion has well and truly swung in favour of the fans. 'Embarassing' and 'pathetic' are words that have been used to describe the team's efforts by rival supporters.
Next Monday evening in what surely will be our final Premier League fixture at Ewood for some time, it would be nice to show the watching football world how much we do care. We have the opportunity to 'thank' Venkys for all they have done this season. It is our last chance because after it's all over, the national media will not want to listen sob stories about being swindled and ruined. Rovers' plight will be yesterday's fish and chip paper and be replaced by articles reflecting other Premier League happenings. The press will not care about us as we plot a path across the wasteland of the Championship.
We all know that Steve Kean is Venkys little puppet. His press conferences and post match interviews have become largely irrelevant, due to the deluded nonsence he often utters. So too often his ramblings are interupted with the familiar phrase and default response..."We have gone to Old Trafford, Anfield and Goodison this season and got results.." We know Steve and are very bored of it! Funny you don't discuss the 21 defeats this season...?
It was on a May Bank Hoilday Monday 17 years ago that Ewood experienced one it's greatest nights and atmospheres. Monday 8th May 1995 on the 50th anniversary of VE day will never be forgotten. It would be fantastic if we could try to recreate that sort of atmosphere this coming Monday evening against Wigan and show the regime that enough is enough. Whatever happens, Rovers' fans have to do this in a dignified manner and not allow any nonsense to go on. We cannot give any ammunition to those who have wrongly criticised us all season for being a major contributing factor towards the team's misfortune on the field. You can just imagine the glee on some so-called pundits' faces if this was to happen.
One of the most effective and spontaneous aspects of the protests this seson was in the last home game against Norwich when all four sides of the ground (even those in the Upper Jack Walker) joined in with a rendition of "We want Venky's Out". At 2-0 up, this sent out a massive message to everyone watching.
Like most Rovers fans, I could stomach relegation if it was a consequence of a natural decline in fortunes despite honest endeavours to prevent it. That's what frustrates and hurts the supporters so much. Next season, supporters and their families who have followed the club for generations will choose not to renew their season ticket. For many, apart from their loved ones, Rovers is the most important thing in their life. They will stop coming, not as a result of relegation as the national media will have us believe, but because the Rovers they once cherished and everything it stood for has disintegrated.
April 16, 2012
With the exception of a two year sabbatical around the turn of the Millennium, Rovers' 20 year adventure in the top flight of English football is almost at an end. We've had great fun along the way with far more ups than downs and memories to last a lifetime, which Venkys, Steve Kean and the Rovers' PR machine can never take away from us. But following the latest debacle of this nonsense of a season the reality is that we will be starting a new chapter of the club's history in a different division next season. I guess the fans' were right after all...
Just as day turns into night, it was inevitable that Steve Kean would big up our chances of survival after the shambles of Swansea. The master tactician reckons that two wins and a draw from the remaining four games will be enough to survive, but can anyone see this happening given current form and internal strife at the club?
April 4, 2012
Rovers were eventually undone at Ewood on Monday night by two strikes of the cane from a United side who look destined to claim their 20th title. In the process, Rovers were pushed into the deep end and submerged with a frantic fight for survival which lying ahead.
For 80 minutes Rovers held the visitors and if it wasn't for the brilliance of De Gea we may have been looking at a different league table this morning. Rovers battled and pressurised United, however they rarely moved out of first gear and the sloth like Scholes was able to dictate the pace of the game to suit his team’s needs. Sadly for Rovers, it was the substitution of the flame haired veteran which changed the course of the game and gave United the one commodity that they had been lacking throughout which was pace.
March 22, 2012
The Rovers renaissance has certainly caught the imagination of the national press in recent days. This week's back pages and sport editorials have been awash with opinions and views on Steve Kean and the 'miracle' he has overseen at Ewood. Although Kean does deserve a degree of credit for the turnaround, the a revival in fortunes has coincided with the appointment of Eric Black as assistant manager. Whatever the former Aberdeen striker has brought to the table, it appears to be having an effect.
In the past few weeks, common sense seems to have taken over and team selections, tactics and substitutions have all reaped rewards. As an attacking unit, the team has looked confident and assured and in Yakubu and Hoilett, we have two players on top of their game who can create changes and score goals. The yongsters also deserve credit and ironically since the sale of Samba, the defence looks as settled as it has done all season. Pedersen and N'zonzi's contribution in the centre of midfield should not be underestimated too.
It is highly likely given the form of the sides below Rovers that 33 points may well signal safety even though QPR has just staged the kind of comeback against Liverpool which may energise them into a recovery. Certainly a win for Rovers at the Reebok on Saturday will go a mighty long way to preserving top tier football. Thankfully, Fabrice Muamba appears to be making a remarkable recovery following the frightful scenes we witnessed at White Heart Lane last weekend and Bolton feel the time is right to take to the field again. Let's hope he continues to make good progress after his terrible ordeal.
Rovers appear to be winning the battle to retain their Premier League status and this has been helped by the 'freak events' of the side keeping two clean sheets in successive games and winning back to back games. The club has now got more than a fighting chance of staying up, something that was inconceivable in the bleak mid-Winter. Those who care about the club realise that the fundamental and deep rooted problems have not gone away just because of two positive results on the pitch. The Venkys are still around and there is nothing to suggest that the culture of the club will change next season.
There has also been some who have been quick to say"told you so" and to make outlandish suggestions that Steve Kean should receive the Manager of the Year award if he keeps Rovers up. Once again the ignorance of the some elements of the media beggars belief. Kean would deserved a certain amount of praise for keeping the club up,but it should not be forgotten who got us into the mess in the first place. I also get the impression that Rovers and Steve Kean will be the default response to all those who may air on the side of caution when a manager is on the brink and the Chairman is threatening to pull the trigger.
The club today announced that season ticket prices will be frozen until the end of April. This move should be welcomed but it will be interesting to see how many will take up the offer not necessarily making a decision by what division the club may be playing in but whether they are too exhausted and washed out from witnessing season 2011-12.
Well done to the Youth team who will take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of the Youth Cup Semi at Turf Moor next week after tonight's events against the old foes at Ewood.
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March 7, 2012
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish reckons his side were "bullied" by Rovers in the 2nd half of the encounter at Ewood on Saturday. Whether this was the case is open to conjecture but McLeish’s comments have to be welcomed as it seems like an eternity since an opposition manager has given Rovers credit for getting amongst his team and imposing themselves on them.
Ewood during the mid 'noughties' was a place to avoid if you happened to be an over paid, underperforming prima donna who might be suffering a slight twinge to a hamstring or a few sniffles. Managers such as Wenger and Benitez prepared for a trip to Ewood with trepidation and in the days leading up to the visit to 'hell' were prepared to play mind games with referees warning of the consequences of being soft towards the 'bully boys'. Rovers need many more 2nd half performances like against Villa on Saturday to stay in this division.
February 27, 2012
As many Rovers fans are well aware, last week marked the 10th anniversary of one of the best days the club has enjoyed in modern history. The League Cup triumph over Spurs in Cardiff was as much unexpected as it was celebrated and for many Rovers fans the day itself is up there with the triumphs of Wembley 92 and Anfield 95. At that time, there was a real feeling of unity between the manager Graham Souness, the team and the supporters and despite being in relegation zone, there was a sense that the club was in safe hands and heading in the right direction.
February 6, 2012
After last week's 4-3 defeat at Accrington Stanley, Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler suggested that his playing staff should make a contribution to the supporters travel costs following a dismal performance in Lancashire. If being defeated by the odd goal in seven generates such a response, then the Rovers supporters who braved the elements at the Emirates should be entitled to an all expenses paid luxury break to the Caribbean!
It was not just the scoreline that Rovers should be ashamed of but the manner in which the side capitulated and allowed an out of form Arsenal to dictate proceedings with such ease without playing particularly well. Too many Rovers players made fundamental errors time and again which were exploited by Arsenal's creative players and finished off by their goalscoring generals. Rovers lacked leadership on and off the pitch and without the imposing presence of their former skipper, Arsenal were allowed to dominate as they pleased. Not since Old Trafford, 14 months ago has a Rovers side capitulated in this way and we all know what action the Venkys took after that one. Something tells me that history will not repeat itself!
January 18, 2012
I guess it has been just another ordinary week in the life of Rovers supporters everywhere. For starters we all had our tissues at the ready for a tear jerking, 'Oscar winning' performance on Sky Sports News from Jerome Anderson. Then there was the 24 hour protest which was followed by a magnificent main course served up against Fulham.
January 3, 2012
A Happy New Year to Rovers fans everywhere. Unfortunately 2012 has begun in a similar fashion to that which epitomised the vast majority of 2011. Monday's defeat against Stoke was a crushing blow considering that the club had achieved the unthinkable over the Christmas period in getting results at both Anfield and Old Trafford.
Those who witnessed the bizarre yet brilliant afternoon at Old Trafford will remember it for a long time. The small band of Rovers fans were magnificent in their support for the team and appreciative of the efforts of the players in yellow jerseys. Those who had played like ghosts for the previous five months looked like decent footballers.