The first week of the close season has probably set the tone for much of the Summer to come. Feverish speculation involving players and the manager will undoubtedly continue while many of us take a much needed break well away from the circus that was Ewood Park 2010-2011.Both Chris Samba and Phil Jones's future will come under the microscope as those clubs with loftier ambitions than Rovers look to sure up leaky defences that ultimately led to a lack of silverware in this campaign.
I do fear that one if not both of our defensive giants will not be wearing blue and white halves come the middle of August but the red of Arsenal and Liverpool respectively. It is no secret that the Gooners need a collossus in their ranks and Samba may fit the model that Wenger needs to end 7 barren years without a trophy. Phil Jones on the other hand may be tempted by the overtures coming out of Anfield and wish to be part in King Kenny's second revolution to make Liverpool kings of England once again.
The consolation for Rovers is that both players would command hefty fees given their respective current contracts. In today's market, Samba should command Â£10 million and Phil Jones who will surely one day captain his country, Â£20 million. This should mean that there will be finance available to invest in the squad plus money promised by the owners. Priorities are a central midfielder to dictate proceedings (Charlie Adam would be nice) and after a shaky start Jermaine Jones is worthy of his loan deal becoming permanent. We are also in desperate need of a goal scorer with realistic targets being Daniel Sturridge or Peter Odemwingle at West Brom.
Steve Kean's future will come under constant speculation throughout the Summer and if you believe reports circulating in one Sunday tabloid, the owners are at loggerheads as to who should be in charge come the middle of August. Regardless of what Kean achieves, he will always be viewed by many as a puppet of the owners and nothing more than a flying start to next season will keep the vultures away.
Kean does however deserve that chance given the way the side ended the season. There is no doubt he needs to take much of the blame for the position the team found itself in the Spring, but he equally deserves credit for finding the right formula to turn things around when it was required. Kean and the club were on the brink but through tactical awareness and subtle changes he pulled the side back form the precipice.
I have been critical of Kean's media personna and his constant spin and rose tinted glasses approach but hopefully he can use the Summer to learn more about himself, his players and the role and be stronger for it come August.
2010-2011 will always be remembered as a tumultuous and anarchic season. The club metamorphosed from John William's model of calm accountability into a chaotic circus. We went from being much admired to much derided but in the end we survived and start level with another 19 teams in three months time. Those responsible for the shambles of the Winter and Spring must learn the lessons and make sure the shenanigans are not repeated in the future.
Players of the year
Samba and Phil Jones produced individual acts of heroism while Salgado has become a geniune cult hero. David Hoilett showed that pace and ingenuity were not extinct at Ewood after all.
Flop of the Year
Sad to see R.S.C a shadow of the player we loved. Never get back with your ex!
Goal of the Season
We waited 37 games to see a blockbuster fly into net. Take a bow Brett Emerton!
2-0 down to Blackpool at home, facing a real prospect of meltdown on and off the pitch.
Same game, last kick of the game. Hoilett broke Blackpools hearts and gave us a psycological lift we so desparately needed.
Special Award for Outstanding Contribution
The Fans. Despite the turmoil, they never stopped supporting and encouraging in increasing numbers. The owners have recognised this loyalty by only modest increases in season ticket prices.
So that is that. I will be here during the close season to give my thoughts on incomings and outgoings at Ewood and will be building up to new the season from early August. Thanks for all the messages and emails during the last 9 months. See you after the break!