A Happy New Year to Rovers fans everywhere. Unfortunately 2012 has begun in a similar fashion to that which epitomised the vast majority of 2011. Monday's defeat against Stoke was a crushing blow considering that the club had achieved the unthinkable over the Christmas period in getting results at both Anfield and Old Trafford.
Those who witnessed the bizarre yet brilliant afternoon at Old Trafford will remember it for a long time. The small band of Rovers fans were magnificent in their support for the team and appreciative of the efforts of the players in yellow jerseys. Those who had played like ghosts for the previous five months looked like decent footballers.
Petrovic finally showed he had composure and could pass a football, while Grant Hanley demonstrated that he could handle quality strikers and was competent on the ball. The youngsters were magnificent and made United look average at best. And in Mark Bunn, Rovers have a second choice keeper who can be relied upon when necessary.
Fast forward 48 hours and there was a real belief that we may have turned a corner as the faithful made their way to Ewood. Unfortunately Peter Crouch and Stoke had other ideas and it is these sorts of games that will define our season and not the champagne moments against the likes of United.
The problem today was a lack of creativity to make chances. It is one thing defending deep against United and stifling their attacking options by swamping the midfield but Rovers should have dictated the pace of the game against Stoke by making their intentions clear from the start. And pace is one commodity that Rovers lack when Hoilett is not in the side. It is deeply frustrating that Rovers have saved their best performances in games this season against Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool and United but have not possessed the guile or invention to dispatch teams of lesser ability.
The loss today has been diluted somewhat by QPR and Wolves suffering similar home defeats. I see the escape route for Rovers being the indifferent form of Wolves with the Molineux club being dragged into the drop zone. If reports are correct, QPR will spend heavily in the window which could mean them pulling clear. It is vital Rovers start picking up points against sides at the wrong end of the table.
Evidently, Steve Kean's position has been cemented further because of the unexpected Christmas cheer and I would be amazed to see Venkys make a change now that the circus of the January window is in full swing. The status quo is set to continue and this will certainly please the LMA
It is no surprise that Rovers fans have been portrayed as the devil incarnate by Steve Kean's contemporaries in the past month. The LMA have an uncanny knack of sticking together when they see fit, protecting their own without fully understanding the frustrations of supporters. It appears there is some kind of unofficial agreement to back scratch one another when they sense the tide of opinion has turned against their own. They fear that the same could happen to them.
The irony is not lost on the supporters who will still be there long after managers and owners have departed. The vast majority of the season is taken up with managers falling out with each other and backbiting and not to mention approaches for players which has the result of destabilising squads and having an adverse effect on a manager's standing.
I wonder if this will cross the mind of certain individuals now the transfer window is cranked open for some January air? Surely they won't make Steve Kean's position any more precarious as to bid for Rovers' star assets such as Samba, Hoilett or Robinson?.......
Steve Kean cannot fault the fans' efforts over the past 3 games and has indeed praised them but what many observers fail to recognise is that the vast majority of fans have been behind the team for the vast majority of this season and will continue to do so until the bitter end.
A further observation about the games over Christmas is the decision by the club to wear the yellow away shirt at Liverpool and United respectively. I may be incorrect, but I cannot recall Rovers playing in anything other than blue and white against these clubs. Admittedly, it appears that it is our 'lucky' shirt having been unbeaten in the league and collecting half our points wearing it. But I think the powers have decided to try to neutralise the yellow and black protest by trying to use the shirt in matches away from home whenever possible.