Steve Kean 'celebrates' his first anniversary in charge of Rovers this week but if our manager and his employers wish to mark the occasion with a tipple, can I suggest flat 'Roller Cola' rather than vintage Champagne. The latest chapter in this annus horribilis was played out in front of almost 40,000 expectant and rejuvenated Mackems in the North East.
The reason for the optimism was the arrival of a new and respected manager intent on putting smiles back onto the faces of the loyal supporters. Maybe our owners watching (or not) from a far might now understand what a change can do to the fortunes of a club seemingly destined for relegation. O'Neill's mere presence was enough to turn the jeers into cheers and provide the Stadium of Light with a little sunshine.
Rovers were the architects of their own downfall. A catalogue of unfortunate injuries did not help the cause but the second-half tactic of playing as deep as was practically possible was only going to end in tears and one result. It is impossible to defend a lead for 45 minutes using this philosophy in the Premier League regardless of opposition but particularly given Rovers' defensive record this season. Having said that, Samba, Dann and Robinson were excellent and scoreline would surely have been greater if it wasn't for their heroics. I certainly believe that we could have got something from the game if we had have been more adventurous.
This weekend the national newspapers have been full of stories regarding the Venky's and the running of the football club. Some stories have suggested that the club's owners need to provide Â£10 million in security paid into the club's bank account by the end of the month or Barclays may review the overdraft arrangements and could deny the club access to money to pay wages etc. There are also reports of the imminent sale of star assets in order to pump money into the club.
These stories or rumours are nothing new to Rovers' fans but it is interesting that the London media have suddenly taken an interest in the club's affairs. Hopefully others can be persuaded to follow the lead of journalists like the excellent Henry Winter who have supported the fans' cause and have not vilified the protesters and labelled them ignorant morons as some so called expert pundits have done recently.