A surreal Saturday had Rovers fans both shaking their heads in disbelief and nodding in enthusiastic approval as one of the most exciting games witnessed in recent years at the famous old ground concluded. The day may have begun with protests but ended in great applause for a team that battled and fought for every ball. Lady luck may have at times worn a blue and white shirt but take nothing away from the players and on this occasion the tactical awareness of Steve Kean.
I said last week that supporters with differing views on Steve Kean should be allowed to exercise their right to free speech without fear of being ridiculed or seen as troublemakers. The anti-Kean lobby of approximately 500 in number protested in a resolute but peaceful manner prior to the game before taking their seats to cheer on the side. Those who are firmly in the Kean camp may feel that they had the last laugh but the real winner emerging yesterday was the football club as a whole.
Those who decided to take direct action yesterday should not be criticised just because Steve Kean appeared to be vindicated with a great victory. The decision to march would not have been taken lightly and was certainly not based on any short term view of Kean but had built up over weeks and months of frustration at the below par performances being witnessed. The fans are also cute enough to know that one victory alone will not suddenly make them feel we have the new Mourinho in charge but it has certainly given many supporters food for thought that things may not be as dire as thought.
There were many positives to take from yesterday. Obviously the Yak is hungry and was well fed, if just a little fortunate with his second strike and Simon Vukcevic showed that he could be a real talent in the years to come. Josh Lowe was outstanding when he came on for the striken Salgado at right back and this freed up N'zonzi to team up with Petrovic in the middle of park to add more creativity.
The biggest positive was that the heads never dropped and the lads had the guts and determination to come back after twice falling behind. They also withstood an onslaught by Arsenal in the final 10 minutes which again proved that Paul Robinson is still the best English born keeper in the game and the Dann/Samba partnership will save Rovers time and again.
In Steve Kean's post match interview he suggested that his team is 100% together and the spirit is there to see. I would say he is correct in this assumption and it appears that the players are behind him. He deserves credit for yesterday but one swallow does not make a Summer.
We take on Orient for the first time in 30 years on Tuesday night in the League Cup and I hope Kean sticks with his assessment that the competition can provide an opportunity for success by playing a strong team against the side from East London. There then follows a tough encounter with unbeaten Newcastle on Tyneside. Only time will tell whether yesterday's epic win is to be the prelude to a sequence of positive results but for a few days at least, Kean has somewhat silenced his critics and deserves credit.
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