August 24, 2010
Apologies first to those of you who pointed out a slip of the keyboard in my last article.Don't panic... Corporal Jones, our heroic youngster has not aquired the pseudonyn Christopher or at least I don't think he has. Let's just say that I am currently on holiday and I may have gone slightly delirious after spending many hours on a sweltering beach! Rest assured Chris will revert back to the usual Phil from here on in.
I sympathise with those of you who get frustrated with sudden unauthorised name changes. It is not so long ago that Blackburn Rovers were frequently referred to as Blackpool Rovers by many journalists up and down the country. The times have obviously changed with the arrival of our Lancashire cousins in the top flight.
With being in foreign climbs, I was only able to catch the briefest of highlights form our game at St. Andrews on Saturday, but it was enough to show that we were desparately unlucky to lose the game and had enough chances to have comfortably made it a 100% start to the campaign. Ben Foster had one of those games that you hope your side is not involved in.
Tonight, Rovers entertain Delia's canaries in the Carling or League Cup(whichever takes your fancy) and I hope we send out a strong team in a competition that can provide a realistic glimmer of silverware. Norwich are a decent side and and will need watching.
I will be back next week after my break to review the Arsenal game and to look ahead to a busy September with the possible twist of new owners to boot.
August 17, 2010
We learnt a few things from watching Saturday's curtain raiser against 'The Toffees'. The 4-4-2 system maybe consigned to the history books once and for all and in Nico Kalinic, we have a target man who will create chances out of nothing. I don't think it is fair that the Rovers goal was heralded as the result of an error by Tim Howard, it should have been credited to Kalinic as a result of his industry. We also understood that Chris Jones is equally at home man marking in midfield as he is a tower of strength at the back. We also learnt that pre season friendlies are just that and results leading up to the big kick off should be disregarded.
Diouf (Junior) looks capable of providing a spark that was sometimes missing in the last campaign. Big Sam and Sir Alex are firm friends and I am sure that the United chief will not have sent us a duff Diouf. It could turn out to be a very mutually beneficial transaction.
That fickle mistress which is the transfer window is soon to turn its back on the League and close its doors until January and one piece of buisness which will have interested Rovers fans is Matty Derbyshire's loan move to Birmingham. Immensely popular in the Greek capital after his exploits in the Cup Final, Matt has since struggled to find fitness and form. Indded it was muted that he may find himself back home at Ewood. That was before the takeover talk that has intrigued all fans of the club.
It appears that the club is in a state of flux and an influential buyer prepared to invest a huge sum of money is on the brink of taking control. This would be the third Rovers revolution following John Lewis's and the late great Jack Walker's investment in the club. Many of us remember where we where when we heard the news of Walker taking control in January 1991. The excitement which followed reached fever pitch with the constant stories of who the club was going to sign appearing on a daily basis. We had never seen the like before. At least this time( if it does materalise) most of us will be prepared for the rollercoaster ride ahead.
August 10, 2010
Ben Foster's withdrawl from the England squad has presented an unlikely call up for the Rovers 4th choice keeper Frankie Fielding. Fielding has yet to make a senior appearance for Blackburn but has been part of the Under 21 squad in recent times. He has been on loan at Rochdale in the past season. His call up comes just 24 hours after Paul Robinson decided to retire from International football.
In my article yesterday, I suggested that Robinson's decision could be a premature one given that the keeping position is currently in a state of flux. Maybe this latest twist provides further ammunition to those who believed Robinson still had a role to play with the national side.
Fielding's call up could be the forerunner for future invitations to English born youngsters who may not have experienced life in the Premier League. Until the new regulations regarding home grown players establishes itself, the England manager maybe left with no alternative than to pick players who have not kicked a ball in anger in the top flight.
August 9, 2010
There have been mixed responses to Paul Robinson's decision to quit International football. Some pundits believe the decision was inevitable given that the keeper had failed to figure in Fabio Capello's plans and that Joe Hart and Robert Green were further up the pecking order. However, some have questioned the timing of the decision given Robinson's recall to the squad for the friendly against Hungary on Wednesday.
Whether or not Robinson has been waiting for his opportunity to let Capello know of his frustrations, remains to be seen. What is clear is that Robinson was desparately unlucky to be left out of the World Cup squad. I am not suggesting he should have been given the gloves outright, but his performances last season certainly merited a place on the plane as the keeper was a major factor in the Rovers revivial during the final few months of the season. I can totally understand his frustrations but has Robinson been too hasty with his decision given that he has now forced his way into the squad? History may suggest he has been.
August 4, 2010
Finally it seems that the media silence regarding Rovers possible takeover is being slowly lifted as it has emerged this morning that an Indian tycoon, Ashan Ali Syed, has targeted Rovers. Various media outlets report that Ali Syed, Head of the investment company Western Gulf Advisory, has promised to clear the club's Â£20 million debt and invest Â£300 million to sustain the club over a long period of time.
Supporters will welcome this news, regardless of whether a deal is done or not. The lack of information and transfer activity this summer has frustrated many but Chairman John Williams is a shrewd and competent negotiator and has always looked after the best interests of the club. Some supporters believe that the club is so well run with incredibly generous season ticket prices, that they are quite happy keeping the status quo as long as Rovers keep their head above water.
There is some merit in this argument. Rovers have not always enjoyed a 'love in' with their own fans, but recently with a much improved PR department, supporters are appreciating the efforts made off the field by the club. There is a togtherness at Ewood. There may be disagreements regarding Allardyce's tactics, but most fans are realistic to know that the side has been punching above its' weight for some time and have backed the players with their vocal support.
The club have in turn recognised the part played by the locals and have offered the 2nd lowest priced season tickets in the entire country. An obvious concern is if a new regime takes over then prices will increase, as has been the case at other clubs in a similar situation. I am sure John Williams will take this into account when entering in any negotiations.
The protracted takeover talks have meant a quieter than usual summer at Ewood. On a positive note, Rovers have kept hold of their prized assets and they are not the only club who haven't opened the wallet this Summer. Many teams in the Premier League have had to face up to the times we currently find ourselves in and have had to cut their cloth accordingly. But recent defeats to Huddersfield, Preston, Rangers and AEK Athens have highlighted the weaknesses in the squad and a massive area of concern is putting the ball in the net.
With Kalinic on the treatment table, there is even more of an onus to be placed on Jason Roberts. Jason has always given his all for the cause and nobody has ever doubted his commitment but he has never been prolific or consistent at Rovers. Some fans argue that the lack of ambition shown by the club is mirrored by the fact that he is almost certainly going to kick off the new season against Everton. If new investment is to be forthcoming, it is vital that a sizeable chunk of it is spent on a proven goalscorer.