OK, Tuesday night brought us back down to earth with a bump. Chelski were just streets, if not boulevards or trunks roads, ahead of us in class. Blackburn, at this stage of our development, should be a fairer test of Bruce’s squad….
Last season, we seemed to play Rovers every other week, presenting us with a real test to find enough of their fans to preview each of the games. One who expressed himself in particularly robust terms was Vinjay, owner of the Rovers fan site www.brfcattitude.com, though his commitment to the cause of Blackburn Rovers is equalled by his resolve to remain anonymous. His loathing for Roy Keane cannot offend us any more, but he still comes up with some challenging thoughts on Big Sam, Steve Bruce, club owners and cheating ….
Big Sam saved you quite comfortably in the end, Is he the man to take you forward?
I wasn’t surprised he ultimately prevented disaster. Always felt he was capable of that goal. The job he has done has been slightly overrated in my view. If Portsmouth can survive with a failed championship level manager and Brian Kidd in charge it wasn’t such a momentous task.
What does taking Blackburn forward mean? If not Sam, who do you need and why?
This club can only be taken forward so far under the current ownership. As far as I’m concerned he needs to challenge for Europe and at the very least keep things stable until new owners arrive.
I don’t want Allardyce in the long term. The hypocrisy of other BRFC supporters is evident when it comes to this issue. Just last year people were protesting against his appointment mainly due to his management style. What exactly has he changed in his setup? Nothing. Yet suddenly for many fans he’s become a world class manager overnight. There’s a supporter on the BRFCS site who hates Allardyce and hasn’t changed his view on him. I’m not sure whether it’s still the case but he stopped attending games after Allardyce was appointed. I admire people who stand by their word more than those who make empty threats like Rovers fans did last summer. I would rather see that kind of honesty than the hypocrites who now think he’s wonderful.
I don’t dislike him but he’s not right for the club in the long term. Roberto Mancini who applied in December would have been a better choice. He’s got a Northern image which brings out the worst in our very parochial supporters. Steve Bruce mainly for being vastly overrated isn’t right for Sunderland either. A top continental name perhaps someone like Henk Ten Cate (my first choice at Ewood last summer) is who Quinn (and Short however much input he had) should have gone for.Since Roy Keane left I had no reason to wish failure on Sunderland.
We escaped by the skin of teeth. Did that – and Newcastle’s demise – please you or would you have been quite happy to see us relegated too?
I am reasonably pleased about Newcastle’s relegation. Typical of Shearer to try and play the white knight saviour role when he couldn’t be blamed. Shearer has continued to say Newcastle were his first choice in 1996. That wasn’t the case Jack Walker refused to sell him to Manchester United. I just wish he would be honest but he’s told Newcastle fans they were his choice for so long he won’t backtrack on it now.
Most Rovers fans seem happy about Newcastle getting relegated. There is a love/hate relationship with Shearer. He was booed on his initial returns to Ewood but the reaction seemed to be getting better. Yet as recently as last a pre season night game at Ewood (exhibition v Hibernian) there were mocking chants of “cheer up Alan Shearer.” There will always be some bitterness due to the manner of his departure.
As you will be aware Newcastle fans are highly deluded and many fans (including Rovers) were pleased to see their collapse. However it’s not fair to point out the faults of other fans and ignore the problems at their own club. Newcastle fans act like a champions league club. Many Rovers fans lack a premier league mentality. Some even have a league 1 mentality based on the club’s position in the 70s and 80s. They won’t appreciate me saying that but it’s true. Not many people would criticise their own fans but I don’t hide from the truth.
The Sunday Times preview of the season had “if they were a movie star, who would they be” comparisons for each club. Rovers were Kathy Burke – “not always everyone’s first aesthetic choice. but full of hidden depth”. Fair summing up, wide of the mark or just insulting to Kathy Burke?
Not really sure I like the first part of that description. I would say the club is in need of a little plastic surgery or in other words new owners.
Keane is gone, Sbragia’s short reign over. Is Steve Bruce another Big Sam, more artisan than artist, or is there more to the man – or both men come to that?
Poor choice as I said above. He’s not done anything special. If Sunderland are supposedly ambitious they should have sought better candidates yet they settled on an average achiever like Bruce. Unlike Dave Whelan I don’t think he’s one of the best managers in the country. I don’t hate him in the same manner I disliked Keane even though they have both been associated with the axis of evil.
Silly money has again been paid during the close season, across Europe. What is your assessment of your own dealings, where do you still lack strength and do you despair at your club’s – most clubs’ – inability to compete on equal terms in the market and keep players like Santa Cruz?
It’s the owners that are the problem. It’s been difficult finding a striker this summer despite the Cruz sale and thanks to their non existent contribution. The Kalinic purchase was funded entirely by the Cruz sale. What would the budget be otherwise? Zero? Looks like it. Squad needs a stronger midfield especially in the centre. There’s two new strikers so I’ll wait to assess that. McCarthy gets some criticism but his goals per starts ratio last year was excellent. Roberts isn’t the best finisher in the world but he isn’t the most expensive in the world either. The club has an excellent goalkeeper and defensively things should be fine.
The overall spending in football isn’t really something Rovers fans could complain about. It isn’t that long ago Rovers were the highest spenders in the country. Not just in the early 90s as recently as 98-99 (which was a disaster) so I have no problem spending whatever it takes to bring the best to Blackburn Rovers. The Walkers might not have enough to challenge Man City and Chelsea in that area but some sort of contribution would be helpful. Combined with a bad manager poor funding can lead to disaster and we almost saw that at Ewood last season. Ironically they forced the sacking of Ince if only to protect their own interests in regards to selling the club. I can’t really complain about that though anything that improves takeover chances is a good thing. Relegation would have been of colossal damage towards obtaining that goal.
The first games are out of the way. What does ther outcome tell you about the season to come? Where will you – and we – finish the season
A 2-0 home defeat dosen’t tell me that much since it wasn’t a real reflection on a decent performance. There was a lack of killer instinct again what was worrying but Di Santo (on loan) only got 25 minutes and Kalinic didn’t feature. I need to see more of them. McCarthy I fully believe is good enough though Roberts has always lacked that killer instinct really.
I don’t know how well Sunderland played but winning and not conceding away from home looks like a good start. Expect a tough game if Rovers put in a competitive performance as they did against Man City.
Rovers need to win to stay up/reach the FA Cup Final/secure a place in European competition. A blatant dive wins a last second penalty and the game (and gets an opponent a red card). Are you philosophical, filled with self-disgust on behalf of Rovers or single-minded enoiugh to give the manner of victory no second thought?
No I wouldn’t mind at all. Ultimately do whatever it takes to win. It’s not like anybody’s been killed. That may seem like a rather ruthless attitude but I have developed a heart of stone to some extent in recent years. Mainly due to the Walkers still being in charge (and having a manager who linked himself to the club I hate most for four years) it’s hard not to be consumed by an element of general bitterness.
Give your idea of the likely top four, in order, for 2009-2010 and say why you have (or have not) placed Man City in one of those positions.
Well I would have said the team most likely to be replaced by Man City would be Arsenal. Based on the 6-1 win for Arsenal however people will perhaps begin to revise that opinion. Arsenal also have a far superior manager with a history of major success which gives them an advantage over Man City. I’m not sure what the top 4 (or 5 as it probably is now) will look like. Just as long as Man United don’t win the title I’ll be happy.
And who will go down?
I doubt Stoke will do well to perform as good as they did last season. This good football debate is nonsense. West Brom finished bottom last season yet people say they played good football. That’s not good football; sums up what a mickey mouse league the Scottish SPL is if Celtic think that managerial appointment is good enough. Stoke may not have attempted a pretty passing game but their football was good because it got results. People confuse good with attractive and personally I don’t give a damn how Stoke City play. I don’t see their fans complaining and if they are happy Stoke should keep playing the same way. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were relegated though. Look what happened to Reading and Quitter Coppell they had one good season then got relegated in the second. (Coppell pathetically quit after a few games at Man City a few years back I have no respect for weak quitters) I suppose Kenny Dalglish quit at Liverpool but it’s a little bit harder to cope with the pressure of challenging for titles season afer season and 96 of your supporters dying.
I like Mick McCarthy but I doubt Wolves will do as well as Stoke did. Bolton (boring manager) and Portsmouth (bad manager, horrendous pre season though they have had the good fortune of Brian Kidd quitting) might be in danger too in my opinion.
I think Burnley are probably certainties but I’m saying that because it’s what I think not for any other reason. I only hate Manchester United I’m not interested in parochial matters. In 1997 I hated Man United (though they deny it now that’s the only club any Rovers fan ever encouraged me to dislike back then. Not anybody else though I ultimately make my own decisions I’m not an advocate of sheep mentality) I thought Stoke were certainties last season though and look how they did. Nothing is a foregone conclusion.
How will it go on Saturday and how will you keep tabs on the game if you don’t actually go?
I will probably miss this fixture so I’ll keep tabs at home. I get restless and impatient easily so I’ll probably watch TV for a bit then read the boards, etc. Maybe watch a streaming if there’s one available.