October 30, 2010
Rovers are mourning Ronnie Clayton who died yesterday at the age of 76. He made his debut for the club aged 16 in 1950-51 and went on to make nearly 600 appearances up until 1969. He was capped 35 times for his country and appeared in the 1958 World Cup.
Ronnie Clayton played in an era long before the modern day circus of the Premier League. But all Rovers fans have been educated by fathers and grandfathers alike as to what a special man he was both on and off the pitch. My father who is of a similar vintage, referred to him as a gentleman and many others have expressed similiar comments in the last 24 hours.
October 26, 2010
On Monday, I stressed that the club needed responsible investment in order to dispel the very real prospect of relegation this season. Overnight, it appears that Rovers may be changing hands sooner rather than later. Rovers Chairman John Williams has confirmed that the club is close to be taken over after discussions with the Indian based Venkys conglomerate.
The takeover, which would see Rovers become the first in the Premier League to come under Indian Ownership, could be finalised next month. "Both parties are hopeful that the transaction will be completed in November," said Williams.
October 25, 2010
Blackburnians are generally honest folk when it comes to their football team. They are generous in praise when it is due and are vocal in criticism if they feel they are being short changed. They are also realists and understand when limitations can hinder progression. The latter is certainly relevant to this Rovers team due to lack of finance but the disappointment of yesterday for many supporters was not the result but the performance.
Liverpool, desperately short on confidence, will not have wished for an easier 90 minutes in which to kick start their season. Rovers attacking prowess mustered 2 shots on target and the initiative was given to Liverpool from the first whistle. I have supported and defended Allardyce in recent weeks when his tactics have been questioned by some ill informed observers but I can't defend the some decisions made yesterday at Anfield.
October 19, 2010
Maybe Sam Allardyce is not the greatest manager the Premier League has ever seen. But if a side suddenly finds itself reduced to ten men, early in a game with the score at 0-0, then there is no-one better at frustrating the opposition into ultimate stalemate. A few Rovers fans will have noticed that the pattern woven into the nets at Ewood now resembles a giant blue and white chess board. Allardyce is canny enough to frustrate the greatest Russian Master into submission.
There has been a clamour to criticise Sam's tactics in recent days and weeks but the very way he sets his teams up allows him to make just the slightest adjustment when his side finds itself with a man less on the field. Rovers battled last night but make no mistake, they did it legally. Sunderland had a couple of great chances but generally Rovers limited the Wearsiders to long range efforts and were themselves a constant threat on the break.
October 17, 2010
Those of you who have read this column over the last year will acknowledge that I have never offered Sam Allardyce blind loyalty and at times I have been vocal in my criticism of tactics employed and personnel used. I have rarely questioned the endeavour of the team but do recognise that at times it may appear to the uninitated that the remit of a Blackburn Rovers player is simply to stop another fellow professional by any means possible.
This week has seen Big Sam condemn Danny Murphy's comments aimed at Rovers and a two other clubs. So angered was the Rovers boss that the club issued the assembled press at the Brockhole training ground with a dossier countering Murphy's claims. In summary, the document highlighted that Rovers are currently 8th in the Fairplay League table and have had only one player seeing 'red' since January. Indeed the document suggested that the red card count is 50% lower than when Murphy's current boss was in charge at Ewood.
October 6, 2010
It is not clear whether Arsene Wenger was brave enough to watch the Saturday evening highlights of the meeting of minds at the Britannia.He may have tentatively viewed the game from behind the sofa in classic Dr.Who mode but in reality, there were no Daleks or Cyberman on view but two highly competitive teams.
It is interesting to see how the media's attitude to the more direct style of play adopted by the likes of Stoke and Rovers has changed over time. I do recall that the Watford and Wimbledon sides of 80's were regarded as being 'different' rather than 'dreary' and there was not the same hysterical queue of managers ready to deride the tactics of the opposition and on occasion plant seeds in officials heads before a ball had been kicked.