January 27, 2011
Certain reputations in the football world may have suffered irrevocable damage this week but Steve Kean has seen his stock rise further still. A relatively comfortable, mature display against WBA concluded with the Ewood faithful singing Kean's name, something which was inconceivable a month earlier. Did I also hear the distant faint cry of "Venkys Venkys?" Maybe that's stretching things somewhat, but it's far from far-fetched that it may become reality if the feel good factor blooms further at Ewood.
What a fickle bunch we are, but Steve Kean has shown he is tactically astute and is able to change the course of a game when necessary. Rovers are certainly a more adventurous unit and with Roque returning to the arms of his true love after an 18 month torrid affair, the team and squad has aquired another dimension and more choice should mean greater success. Jermaine Jones had a good debut without deserving the man of the match award. This comically is awarded to anyone finding their feet at Ewood regardless of how they performed and Junior Hoilett along with Martin Olsson has provided Rovers with a different outlet and an opportunity to create more chances.
The irony is that with 4 days to go before the window closes, the Venkys have not yet realised the promises they made for this transfer window. Much can happen in the next 72 hours but it is to Steve Kean's credit that the supporters are gradually moving with the times and are taking to 'new Rovers'
There has been rumour and counter rumour that Paul Robinson maybe heading back to London to be reunited with the Spurs supporters that still idolise him. It is no secret that he feels he has unfinished buisness at the Lane but if he was to commit his future to Rovers, this would certainly be a 'marquee' signing in every sense of the word.
Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter and Facebook
January 20, 2011
In 1978 the great Elvis Costello said he didn't want to go to Chelsea and that was the case for many Rovers fans last weekend who decided that £50 was too excessive to follow their team to the capital. Indeed it wasn't just the travelling blue and white army who decided not to show up on Saturday. This was frustrating as Chelsea appeared to be a shadow of the team who had won the double a few months earlier.
It was a case of spot the difference between Steve Kean's Rovers and that of the old regime. The positive and free flowing football of the Liverpool game was replaced with a nervous and negative approach that a stronger and more confident Chelsea would have exploited to the max.
January 13, 2011
One of Rovers's favourite sons of recent times has returned to the club which made his name. When Roque Santa Cruz left for Manchester City in the Summer of 2009 he went largely with the gratitude of Rovers supporters who had witnessed seeing the Paraguayan score 29 goals in 70 appearances for the club. Equally, Rovers fans should have been grateful to City for paying £18 million for a player who could only start 20 Premier League games in 2008-9 and scoring just 4 goals due to chronic injury problems.
Roque's value may have tumbled more rapidly than house prices, but I am sure his imminent return will be greeted with enthusiasm and give the whole club a big boost. Whether he will arrive in time to feature in the Chelsea fixture at the Bridge on Saturday remains to be seen but his presence will certainly soften the blow for the Rovers fans who have had to shelve out £50 for the 'pleasure' of sitting high up in the corner of the stadium. It is certainly a sign of the times that Chelsea themselves have tickets on open sale for the fixture.
Arsenal's former goal-scoring machine John Jensen has been appointed assistant manager at Ewood until the end of the season. Steve Kean has recognised the Dane's coaching attributes and believes he will provide Rovers with another dimension on the training ground. Jensen has previously worked alongside Michael Laudrup and has received many plaudits. Jensen became a cult hero with the Gooners in the early 90's. He was a well respected midfielder but had an incredible ability to hit anything but the target. A solitary goal for Arsenal in 1994 was greeted with similar celebrations as any League title or FA Cup triumph would have been. Hopefully he will not have much imput with the strikers at Brockhole!
It may be the case that Neil Warnock has been more than a little 'holier than thou' with the comments directed towards El Hadji Diouf this week. But if it does turn out that the Senegalese player did abuse Jamie Mackie as he lay injured with a broken leg, then internal action must be taken against him. Steve Kean has stated more than once that he wants Rovers to have a more postive image in the football world and I am sure he will deal with the matter if he sees fit to do so.
I was sorry to hear that Rovers former flying full-back, Chris Price, was seriously hurt in Australia following a freak accident at a beach. Rovers fans of a certain age will remember Price galloping down the touchline in the late 80's and again in his second spell with the club in the early 90's. "He's got no hair but we don't care!" was the cry from the Blackburn end. All Rovers, Hereford and Villa fans will wish him a speedy recovery.
Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter and Facebook
January 8, 2011
Wednesday night at Ewood proved what most of us have believed for some time, Rovers are far more secure on the pitch than they are off it. Steve Kean deserves credit for setting up Rovers to fully exploit Liverpool's well documented frailties away from Anfield. Martin Olson and Junior Hoilett terrorised the reds full backs and Mame Diouf and Benjani found themselves with more time and space than Dr Who's tardis witnesses!
Liverpool were very poor and game ultimately decided Roy Hodgson's fate heralding the return of another former but slightly more successful Ewood manager. But take nothing away from a Rovers side who competed for every ball and carved out enough chances to win two games. If this was to be Chris Samba's swansong in a blue and white shirt, he went out on a blaze of glory and showed every Rovers fan the qualities which made him become so popular with the Ewood faithful.
It was great to forget about the daily soap opera taking place in the corridors of Ewood or on the Sub-Continent and to remember why we make the effort and spend the money we do to support our club. If it's possible,transfer speculation will become more rife in the coming weeks but as long as the side keeps performing on the pitch, starting today with the cup tie against QPR, the faithful will put up with the bizarre and sometimes contradictory statements from the owners.
According to Steve Kean, Ronaldinho could yet be bringing a little bit of Copacabana with him to Ewood, but at the momment a bit of Blackpool beach in the form of Charlie Adam's signature seems much more likely.
January 4, 2011
We may have stumbled into a brand new year but for Rovers fans there has been no change with the media circus that engulfed Ewood at the back end of 2010. On Monday we had the familiar tale of rumour followed by counter rumour followed by a denial followed by confirmation that the club had contacted AC Milan and tabled a £6.2 million offer for former World Player of the Year, Ronaldinho.
Nothing surprises Rovers fans now. In the past month, the club has been linked with three of the highest profile names to have ever graced this great game. When it was suggested that Maradona would take over the reins from Big Sam, my phone went into overdrive with fellow Rovers fans and friends who have no connection to the club texting their views on the incredible breaking story. Over the Christmas period, Beckham has been linked with the club but this was largely greeted with cynicism from Rovers supporters as yet another PR stunt gone wrong by the owners. When the Ronaldinho story broke on Monday evening, it may have raised the eyebrows of the rest of the football world, but it was probably taken with a pinch of salt by the majority of Rovers supporters.
Indeed local radio on Tuesday morning did not even mention the story and had a piece on Accrington Stanley before Rovers were even mentioned.
I said before Christmas that Venky's should be judged on February 1st about their true intentions for Rovers’ future. What happens in the January window will set the mood and direction for the long term future of the club. If they were to achieve the signing of a huge name who was committed to the cause, the owners would certainly have healed much of the wound which became infected in December.
In 1991 we were flabbergasted when it was revealed that Rovers had made a £2 million offer to Spurs for Gary Lineker. Nobody then could envisage the journey that Jack Walker would take the club on in the years to come. The difference with Jack was that we knew he had the best interests of the club at heart. But could these 'chicken farmers' derided in the press and by supporters alike have the last laugh as history repeats itself? We should know more very soon.