December 12, 2011
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.
February 23, 2010
The first flower of spring appeared in my garden this weekend and although the arctic conditions at Ewood suggested otherwise, Rovers performance on Sunday warmed the heart to signal the beginning of the end of this nuclear winter.
The significance of the result cannot be underestimated. My prediction last week that the cut will be around 36 points, is looking rather pessimistic. The bottom five sides have won just five out of 66 away games between them. This is an extraordinary statistic. Never before has it been a simpler task to stay up.
The manner of the win was refreshing and hopefully the assurance of another season in this division should signal a more positive approach to games away from Ewood. It's only six weeks ago at Eastlands that the most loyal Allardyce advocator was questioning the judgement of the man. Those were dark days. So what has changed?
October 6, 2009
One arm of the Arsenal propaganda machine (aka the Matchday Programme) reliably informed us on Sunday that Rovers' record defeat was suffered at the hands of the Gunners in 1933, 8-0 if anybody is interested. This statistic would surely have been re-written had it not been for the brilliance of Paul Robinson. I had to look twice when I watched the highlights that evening and saw Fabio looking on from what I have always considered to be a souless new build.I was convinced he would have gone to the Bridge to observe players he already knows inside out.
Robinson deserves his chance again but could the unthinkable become reality and Capello decide David Dunn is playing with the same confidence and swagger he possessed all those years ago when he last won a cap. Dunny is fitter and stronger and more arrogant than at any time since the beginning of the decade. There are always at least 2 wildcards included in any World Cup party and he would certainly be a brave choice.
Sam was correct in believing Rovers should have been awarded a spot kick at the Ems,but wrong in thinking it would have changed the course of the result. Arsenal were in another stratosphere compared to the rest of us. It was the greatest exhibition of attacking football I have seen in the flesh for a hell of a long time. I have often criticised Wenger for undermining the traditions and fabric of the English game but nobody can argue with the way his teams can play.
September 27, 2009
They say a week is a long time in politics but it's light years as far as football is concerned. Last weekend brought doom, gloom and a great sense of forboding for the cold and dark months which lie ahead. Fast forward 6 days and optimism oused out of Ewood, the like of which we have not seen for some time. We maybe getting ahead of ourselves slightly but there are fundamental reasons why this victory may prove significant in shaping the rest of a very long season ahead.
The manner of the performance and the tempo at which we took the game to the opposition even after the sending off, was unique in the current campaign. If Sam's system is going to be effective and worth pursuing, you need a target man who is mobile and able to lead the line. He also has to bring into play the runners from midfield. This has been missing up to now. Step up Di Santo! He fulfilled the criteria and ran himself into the turf. If he continues to impress, the current Chelsea transfer embargo may unfortunately force his quick return to West London.
N'zonzi was also instrumental in the victory. His distribution was excellent and he controlled the midfield for long periods. His performance should finally see the end of the 'none' dimensional Grella/Andrews partnership particularly after the former saw red by doing a great Paul Scholes impression under the nose of the ref.
Dunny took us all back a decade with an inspirational display. In fairness, he does appear fitter, stronger and more confident than at any time in recent seasons.
There is still much to do for Sam to convince the Ewood faithful that his methods and formations are the most pragmatic way of keeping the club in the top flight, but Saturday certainly helped his campaign.
September 21, 2009
The glorious 'Indian Summer' weather we had this weekend was in complete contrast to the mood that all Rovers fans were feeling leaving Goodison on Sunday. The performance raised more questions than answers and was the latest in long line of away days where the faithful travelled in hope rather than expectation.
I have said many times before that we do not have the quality to play a passing game, equally we do not have the personnel in the right places to do justice to the current system. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place and that should worry us all. I still have faith in Sam to fulfill his remit of keeping us up but by continually playing a 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 formation, he is testing the patience of the most loyal supporter.
As for poor Jason Roberts, it is nothing personal. He gives 100% and I appreciate the effort he puts into every game. But unfortunately that is not good enough. By asking him to play as the lone man upfront, with the total lack of service he receives, it is akin to kicking a blind man's stick away!
September 13, 2009
I've never played a game of Rugby League. I do realise however that the basic premise is that you have 6 attempts to score a try and if you are too predictable the ball will be 'turned over' to the other team. The first half yesterday resembled just that. The late Eddie Waring would have been in his element!
For 45 minutes, one side was a poor man's Stoke, the other was far worse than that. The pattern of play went something like this; Long throw,long throw,long throw,corner,goalkick. Long throw,long throw,long throw,corner,goalkick. Long throw,long throw......(you get the idea!) There were kids in front of us snoozing to their hearts content. With Jason Roberts again all alone up front, Rovers were limited in their attacking options. Wolves were worse than awful and with more adventure, Rovers would have gone in at the interval with more to show than Diouf's opener. The 2nd half was different.
Rovers were inventive and mixed things up and the default mechanism was thrown in the bin.They removed their shackles and with the instrumental Dunn surging forward with energy and purpose, they threatened the Wolves goal on countless occasions. There was a spell on the hour mark when Rovers treated the faithful to an exhibition in the art of passing which had some of us looking through the history books as to when that last happened!