In the first part of this contribution to our Who Are They? series, Vinjay, owner of the Rovers fan site brfcattitude.com, told us of his intense dislike of Roy Keane. And he hasn’t finished, as you will see when you read on. His loathing for our manager is such that he wishes failure on Sunderland AFC. Don’t blame Salut! Sunderland. We only asked the questions..it may be part of Vinjay’s punishment that whenever we try to click on his site, it switches after a split second to something about Fat Boy Slim, who is not known to have played for Rovers……
What did you think of our respective clubs’ prospects before the season started? Have the first few games altered your thoughts?
I fully expect BRFC to be in contention for the European places again. Many fans have been brainwashed by the arrogance of Leslie Hughes and believe he is fully responsible for three top 10 finishes in succession. That’s what he would lead you to believe. The players will hopefully prove that they were the ones who finished in the top 10 and will do so again.
Sunderland I would like to see fail in their goals though nothing personal against the club, just the current manager. I have absolutely no respect for your manager and his past actions. Deliberately (setting out to injure Alf-Inge Haaland) isn’t the act of a decent individual. I expect Sunderland to come close to a top half finish but maybe just narrowly missing out. If Portsmouth can reach a final there’s no reason why Sunderland can’t though hopefully not at the expense of BRFC’s league cup ambitions. The league cup means a lot to this club and I see the LC fixture as slightly more important than the league one.
When did you last see SAFC v Rovers home or away, and what
happened? Any other memorable games between us?
That would be the 1-0 win over Sunderland at Ewood last season. I enjoyed beating Keane and that’s what it was about for me, not beating Sunderland. Enjoyed it almost as much as beating Sven Liar Eriksson. That would be a reference to 1996 when Eriksson lied about becoming BRFC manager (seems a harsh use of the verb – ed!). There was the 0-0 draw at the beginning of the 2002-2003 season which saw Dwight Yorke/Andy Cole partnership reunited. Probably set the tone that they weren’t going to live up to the standards they had previously met elsewhere. Also that awful 3-0 defeat on Boxing day when Niall Quinn was very dominant and scored a couple of goals if I recall correctly.
A takeover is essential for this football club and our fans don’t discuss it anywhere near enough. Would it result in another prolonged title challenge? Obviously that would depend on the extent of finances the owners have at their disposal. I would say that “disposal” is accurate as most likely a profit wouldn’t be made at Ewood. Look at Abramovich he hasn’t made anything out of Chelsea yet and not even come close to doing so. What I want at the very least is someone prepared to back the club to their full potential which isn’t the case with our current owners.
I don’t know the full extent of the finances your consortium owners have though Niall Quinn is a respectable figurehead and has 100 times the class of your manager.
Have you been to the Stadium of Light? If so what did you make of it?
What do you think of Sunderland itself? What memories do you have of Roker Park?
The Stadium of Light is a very impressive, modern stadium. I don’t know much of Sunderland itself I haven’t been on any sightseeing trips there other than to watch football. I have no memory of your old ground as I began supporting BRFC in 1997 by which time I believe you have moved into SoL.
What about the signings each club have made?
Villanueva has been built up by some to be the next coming of Pele and Maradona. So no pressure on him then. Robinson is unlikely to be as good as Friedel but he is still an excellent goalkeeper on his own merits. I have not seen much of Vince Grella in Serie A but he was a decent performer at that level so no reason why he shouldn’t do well in this league. Robbie Fowler is an excellent squad player and will prove useful on occasion. He already has against Everton in the previous League Cup match.
Do you regard Bolton, Man U or anyone else much as we regard Newcastle? Or are you more grown-up about such things?
I dislike Man United more than anyone and don’t care about any clubs in lower divisions. BRFC finished 13th in 1997 so I see no reason to change rivals after three top 10 finishes. I’ve retained a premier league mentality but the same sadly can’t be said for many Rovers fans. You probably remember the Shearer situation of 1996 quite well with your interest in Newcastle’s affairs. You will be aware that Newcastle fans are deluded but their biggest delusion would be regarding Shearer. He has created this myth that he chose Newcastle over Man United to preserve his “god” like status. The fact is Jack Walker refused to sell him to Man United. Jack had a huge dislike of Man United and wouldn’t have sold him to them if they were the last club on earth. Hell would have frozen over first.
Memories of players and/or management linked to both clubs?
Nobody I can remember right now and I’m not checking any of my A-Z books to find out. Michael Gray I suppose would be one individual who represented both clubs.
Is the reputation of Rovers supporters for being lacking passion fair, or complete nonsense?
I think lacking a premier league mentality would be accurate for many BRFC fans unfortunately. A lot of people dislike me for being critical of our own fans but I don’t say anything unfair or untrue. However I don’t see any less passion at Ewood than I see anywhere else. The only problem with Blackburn Rovers is that the club is “too big” as opposed to a smaller minded view some of our fans would subscribe too. Nothing can be done about that though one person on the BRFCS supporters site keeps talking about some Lancashire United nonsense. Attendances may be brought in from outside the geographical area with success and a takeover is key to that.
What do you make of the big takeovers, such as Man City and, before them, Chelsea, Man Utd, Fulham and QPR? Having experienced the largesse of a local millionaire, would you have liked the Abu Dhabi deal for Rovers.
Anyone who knows me on various BRFC forums would accuse me of being obsessed with takeovers. They are absolutely right. Perhaps I talk about the issue more than the playing side at times but that’s the reason I want a takeover in the first place. I’m not going to make any financial gain from it so seeing better players and more chance of success is what I would get from it. Yes I would have liked the Man City takeover or something similar here. Chelsea have had success and should be grateful to Abramovich for it even if they don’t agree with the Mourinho decision. Chelsea care too much about what outsiders think. People are saying their football has improved but they were scoring goals before and winning comprehensively. Hopefully Man United will collapse under that mountain of debt their owners imposed upon them.
Al Fayed seems to have dropped funding at Fulham but they can’t really criticise him. Of course funding has dropped at Ewood as well but Jack wouldn’t have been happy about it at all. I think he would be very disappointed by it.
QPR have shown some sense by sacking the mistake they made. It wasn’t really a statement of ambition and they need to appoint a top name now though a Dalglish type appointment wouldn’t have the same immediate impact. All the money in the world wouldn’t win a title in under four years now though Man City might be an exception and I mean that. Though hopefully not and they should sack hypocrite Hughes first. If they make simultaneous bids for top players at the same time it’s not hard to imagine they they could bring in some top class players next summer. Probably not in January though.
Club vs country. Who wins for you?
Club by an absolute mile. I struggle to show support for England. I just can’t cheer for Man United players. It’s impossible for me to cheer for someone like Wayne Rooney.
Who will win each of the two games?
I certainly expect to win one of the games. I will attend the league cup fixture as I prefer night games and knockout competitions bring me more excitement than the league at present.
BRFC have an outstanding record in the North East region in recent fixtures. I expect that to continue to some extent. So a win and a draw I will predict though I wouldn’t be too surprised if it was a one win/one defeat.