When Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers play, you know that if Vinjay* previews the game you get no name but the certainty of some forthright views. Too forthright, he suggests, for some fellow Rovers fans. Read on for a not-so-fond farewell to Big Sam, relief that the new boss is Steve Kean and not Roy Keane, sideswipes at Alan Shearer and Shay Given and concern that video technology may ruin the game’s talking points …
Salut! Sunderland: You have often bemoaned lack of ambition at Blackburn. Will the new broom sweep away that failure and lead Backburn back to top club status?
As you will recall from my previous Q and As I was not exactly a fan of the previous owners. I’m certainly glad that they have been removed at last. They have been nothing less than an absolute disgrace to Jack Walker and they never got the abuse they deserved. As you may have noticed our new owners have been abused by some of our more ignorant fans. They fully intend to spend more than 5 million despite false reports and will bring new global marketing ideas to the club improving an area that has been neglected and regional minded. Our more parochial fans won’t like the sound of that. Getting rid of the previous owners will always have my gratitude. Looking forward to actually seeing some ambition in January for once.
Was the sacking of Big Sam a travesty, long overdue or just part of the restructurirng process?
He was always transitional and the new owners are fully justified in the decision to remove him. Northern image, arrogant personality despite winning nothing and no marketing value as a face for the club. Still his period stabled things after the Ince debacle and he does deserve some level of thanks. He was never good enough for rovers long term though just like Bruce shouldn’t be seen as good enough for Sunderland.
So the new man is the old one’s No 2, for now at any rate, and has got off to a mixed start. Are you surprised the club had no one lined up to replace Allardyce?
Well first of all would rather have Steve Kean than Roy Keane (who as you may recall in my previous interviews is someone I have zero respect for as a manager or human being)
Can’t judge a manager after 2 games. Rovers have had a poor run of games against both West Ham and Stoke City in the past. Our fans can’t blame Kean for that though some will probably try to. As I write this there is still a game to come against WBA. Though they have spent less money than Sunderland they might have ended their yo yo club reputation. The faced Rovers fans are as fickle as you can get. Its time for the players to fall in line (especially the likes of Nelsen and Samba) shame they never had a problem with the previous owners who never spoke to them.
There was speculation about Allardyce being sacked initially after Venkys took over but just as his position seemed secure they pulled the trigger. It is possible that Venkys may have a target in mind who isn’t available until summer. Jack Walker had Tony Parkes in charge for several months in 1997. He was initially waiting for Eriksson who lied to him and later Hodgson. Venkys may not have made a public announcement but it is still possible that they know who they want. A journalist named Alan Nixon (who posts on the BRFCS website) was very impressed by Keans manner moreso than Brian Kidd (not that hard I guess) and the late Ray Harford.
I thought it might be a good idea to give Allardyce until the summer and then sack him but I guarantee I would have lost patience with him in Venkys position. I would have sacked Mourinho for that scoreline at Old Trafford never mind Allardyce. Allardyce has spoken of someone inside the club stabbing him in the back. Kentaro apparently suggested Venkys sack him but give him until the summer. Some fans have accused Kean of being the “mole” so to speak. I highly doubt that to be true.
Personally I think it was the head chef at Brockhall (training ground) who is relieved he no longer has to cater for Allardyce as well as Dunn.
Tonked at Old Trafford. Some good performances at home, describe the season as you’ve seen it so far.
The Old Trafford “performance” was the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever witnessed involving Rovers. Allardyce deserved to be sacked just for that result alone. I hate that club more than anything and I still haven’t forgiven the players for it. I was the happiest I had been in years for about a week after the takeover. Well the players certainly ensured it didn’t last long. Other than that Rovers have been relatively stable. Some would say boring.
What were your minimum and maximum expectations when the season began?”
There was major takeover speculation at the beginning of the season. At one stage it looked like an individual named Ahsan Ali Syed was likely to takeover but any developments were always going to be after August. So I have always based expectation on the january transfer window. I expected the club to be in a stable midtable position at least so hopefully there can now be a european push with the right signings or certainly another top half finish. The FA Cup is more a hope you can’t really predict knockout competitions though. If a shambolic Portsmouth can reach a final though there is certainly hope for Rovers.
Was there any special activity or inactivity in the transfer market that enthused/ infuriated you?
The wonderful Walkers contributed zero as usual and it certainly did infuriate me. They didn’t manage to sell anyone important at least much to their disappointment no doubt.
Who are the best players you’ve seen in Rovers colours and who should never haven been allowed anywhere near them?
The worst I’ve seen was a goalkeeper called Alan Fettis who seemed to make an error every time he played. One time Rovers were 5-0 up and after the opposition pulled it back to 5-3 there were worries they might equalise with him in goal.
As for best I missed Shearer by a year. Chris Sutton was brilliant in my first season 97-98. As for others people like Hendry, Duff, Jansen (until his accident) and Friedel are on my best player list. I don’t do favouritism though. I wouldn’t put any of the current players on my “best” list and while Robinson is probably better than Friedel now he isn’t Friedel at his peak.
One word each to sum up Alan Shearer, Shay Given, Mickey Gray and El Hadji Diouf
Don’t think they were very good definitions but I’m not exactly a man of few words. For explanation purposes I call Shearer a liar based on his continued claims that Newcastle were his first choice in 1996. The reality being that Jack Walker would not sell him to Man United who he hated. You know Newcastle fans will believe everything he says.
Give me this season;s top four in order and the bottom three. If Rovers and SAFC appeared in neither list, where will we each finish up?
I didn’t think Blackpool had a chance in hell of avoiding relegation and they still have some way to go. I don’t know really its too unpredictable. As for the title race I’ll be happy with anyone other than Man United winning it.
Is it time to get a life and stop bleating about cheating and accept diving, feigning injury and trying to get opponents booked or sent off? Just another part of the modern game or an evil to be stamped out?
It’s always been part of the game. Would rather retain a bit of controversy though no doubt video replays will ruin many talking points when its brought in as I believe is inevitable.
When was your last great moment as a Rovers fan and do you remember an especially low point?
The last great moment was when the takeover finally happened. Relegation was a low point of course in 1999. Rovers had to beat Man United as things transpired but ultimately managed to go down with a little bit of pride getting a 0-0 draw when some expected a thrashing. Man United certainly weren’t celebrating that result. My lowest point was probably around 2005 when I finally snapped and decided to protest against the walkers. I have a reputation for anger but it is much better to saw how you feel than keep it bottled up. I have handled things better since 2007 onwards (when they finally put the club up for sale) but the scars of last few years haven’t entirely healed. Many older rovers fans may consider the playoff final in 1989 as their worst memory due to absymal refereeing costing the club promotion. Though Jack Walker soon made up for that.
Were you bothered about the Fifa vote on the 2018 World Cup and what is your abiding memory of South Africa 2010?
No I wasn’t particularly bothered since Ewood wouldn’t have hosted any games. Russia makes more sense than Qatar. My abiding memory of South Africa 2010? Probably those stupid instruments however you spell it.
Will you make it to our game? What will be the score?
Probably not think I’ll go to WBA instead with that game coming up soon. I’ll go for a draw not sure what exact score though.
* Vinjay: runs BRFC Attitude, making him our stablemate at footballunited.com
Interview : Colin Randall