The Rovers Returned in the nick of time. We were beginning to fear Dan Clough* – great surname and he runs the Rovers Return site – was not going to get back to us with the answers to the customary Salut! Sunderland questions. It being Christmas, he’d completely forgotten. But here they are, including his thoughts on Sunderland (essentially “none, I’m afraid”) and Alan Shearer (“true Rovers legend”); and given how often we played Blackburn Rovers last season, each time getting a Rovers previewer, it is probably a small wonder that there was anyone left to interview …
Salut! Sunderland: Miserable about your form so far this season or just happy to be out of the relegation zone?
A mixture of the two. Things started reasonably well but recent form has been desperate and, with no signs of our away form improving at the moment, things are starting to look bleak. It’s good not to be in the relegation zone, but after a few bad results we are well and truly in the relegation battle at this moment in time.
Is Sam the right man for Rovers in the longer term? If not, who do you want to see in his place?
Sam came in and turned us around last season and, for that, we must be thankful. There is no denying that had the previous incumbent stayed in the job, we’d have been relegated. That said, you can’t see any real progress under Allardyce. Now Hughes has left City there’s that sentimental feeling at the back of my mind that I’d like to see him return, but you just know it should never happen. As things stand, Sam’s our man. It may not be pretty, but with our desperate lack of funds (we really need a new Jack Walker right now) he’s as good as it gets.
Can Blackburn realstically ever reclaim past glories, ie become a top four club consistently performing in Europe or are those days gone for ever?
Never say never. Should a big money man come in with the right ideas then anything’s possible. But, if things stay as they are, we won’t even be in the Premier League in a few seasons. Being one of the best-run clubs in the league is one thing, but without money we are really going to struggle to compete in the years to come.
Alan Shearer. Not the most popular man in the world if you ask Sunderland fans but I suspect you have a little time for him.
After his departure, Shearer was very much vilified by the Rovers faithful. Called a Judas for returning to the club he supported as a boy, just goes to show how fickle football fans are. But there’s no doubting he’s a true Rovers legend and one of the greatest players this club has ever had. He returned for a Tony Parkes testimonial game a few years back and seeing him back in the Rovers shirt really made Rovers fans remember just how great it was to see him in the blue and white, so I think they have now “forgiven” him – not that he had anything to be sorry for, but that’s football!
What thoughts do you have about Sunderland – the club, the fans, the area? Are you pleased to see Newcastle romping away with the Championship?
If I’m honest… None whatsoever. Although Newcastle have always annoyed me for thinking they’re bigger/better than they really are!
Hand on heart, where will our two clubs finish this season?
Sunderland mid-table. Rovers around 15th. I hope anyway, on current form we may get relegated!
What about memories, good or bad, of people linked with both Rovers and Sunderland: Dwight Yorke, Michael Gray, Shay Given, Sam Allardyce for that matter (and I know there’ll be plenty I cannot pluck out of the air)?
There’s no-one really noteworthy I don’t think. Dwight Yorke was decent but never lived up to the hype surrounding his being reunited with Andy Cole. Michael Gray was awful. Seeing Shay Given become one of the best keepers in the country has been a bit annoying as we let him go really cheaply, but never mind.
The Eduardo question: it’s the last second of the last game pf the season and everything – relegation/European place/whatever – depends on Rovers getting three points. It’s 1-1 and Kalinic goes down in the box ion what everyone except the ref sees as a blatant dive. Rovers win 2-1 with the resulting penalty. You take it gladly, you take it guiltily or you feel so ashamed you almost wish you’d only drawn?
Take it gladly! These things happen and aren’t good if they go against you, but when they do you have to take the slice of luck you’ve been given!
Ngog, Drogba, Henry ….. which players deserve to be named in that question and were we wrong to choose Kalanic (purely at random) as the diver?
Steven Gerrard! Diving git. Kalinic seems to be quite an honest player, but he’s hardly played so far this season so hasn’t had much chance to go down like a sack of spuds.
Club vs country. Who wins for yoiu and why? Rooting like mad for England in S Africa or couldn’t really care less?
I always support England and want them to win, but for me my club wins every time. I’m Rovers through and through and would sacrifice England winning the World Cup for Rovers winning the league every time!
You can’t make the Rovers v Sunderland game. Have you seen any memorable encounters between our teams, home or away? What will be the score in this one?
I’m disappointed to be missing it, even though I’m not expecting a classic. Unfortunately, work commitments make midweek games difficult for me. To be honest, Sunderland isn’t a game I relish. I can’t think of any games that have been particularly memorable I’m afraid! I never bet against Rovers and I’m not going to change the habit of a lifetime. 2-1 to the Rovers!
* Dan Clough on Dan Clough:
I’m 22 (23 in January) and work as a journalist for a bunch of newspapers in the East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire area, based at the Hull Daily Mail office. I’ve supported Rovers all my life. My first game was the Charity Shield in 1994 (lost 2-0 to Man Utd), where I sat in the United end with my Reds fan stepdad, unfortunately I was dressed from head to toe in Rovers gear! I write the Rovers Return, at www.roversreturn.net where I try to talk about my experiences of watching Rovers and my feelings about the stories that hit the news. I also like to take photos on my phone, particularly at away games and post them on there.