Another of Blackburn’s undercover fans – DodgyGambit* is the only name we have for him – has taken time off from celebrating last night’s victory to preview Saturday’s Premier League clash. Then, as he says, Rovers will start with a stronger side than for the Carling Cup tie. It is a wide-ranging, fascinating addition to the Who Are They? series – and also presents a welcome spot of balance. DG – who owns the Blackburn Rovers Spammers site – sharply contradicts Vinjay’s scathing (yes, still scathing despite being toned down by Salut! Sunderland) assessment of Roy Keane….
Sunderland vs Blackburn a fixture being played twice over the space of 4 days, you would think both teams would know each other quite well after a taster last night in the Carling Cup but I very much doubt the Premier League game on Saturday will be similar. Blackburn had rested most of their 1st team attacking options with pretty much a reserve side in midfield and up front.
The game itself was dominated by Sunderland and it seemed like one way traffic. Kenwyne Jones started surprisingly as he was ruled out before the game, and it was he who came closest in the first half after headering the ball onto the bar.
Second half Sunderland continued to dominate but were inevitably sucker-punched. Roque Santa Cruz made a return from a three-week lay-off and within two minutes of coming on he scored to give Rovers a 1-0 lead.
The lead was doubled after five minutes when Derbyshire crossed the ball and Bardsley deflected the save into his own goal. Within a minute of scoring the second goal Rovers conceded a goal, Kenwyne Jones with a shot from outside the box. Sunderland continued to dominate but could not level up the game.
Think Sunderland showed a lot of grit and determination but lacked the killer punch…something Rovers have been found guilty of in the last few games. Rovers only having two shots on goal in the game.
The game on Saturday see’s former Man Utd stars Paul Ince and Roy Keane come head to head in the League. Both have respect for each other http://blackburnroversspam.forumsmotion.com/rovers-latest-news-f1/paul-ince-keane-s-driven-me-on-t298.htm and both agree that the League game is more important than the Cup game. So all reference to the game on Wednesday will be forgotten about. Although it will give Blackburn more confidence and Sunderland the urge to banish memories of a game they dominated only to lose.
Both Managers seem to be under pressure in recent matches after having played well but ending up dropping points to other teams. This game will be massive in the sense that 3 points could shoot them into top 10 or a loss could put them into a relegation dogfight.
As a Rovers fan I would firstly like to say that Roy Keane has done a fantastic job at Sunderland with the backing of Niall Quinn. I never thought as a manager he would keep his cool, most managers would berate the ref for incorrect decisions but Keane seems to just move on and concentrate on the next game. Rovers fans respect him as a player and manager and do not believe the ‘thug’ tag given to him by other Rovers fans (or fan) represent the whole Blackburn fan base.
The calls for Paul Ince and Roy Keane to be sacked are ludicrous, a team can only see a realistic aim by the end of December when half the games have been played. At that point it can be seen whether you will be in the top 10 or bottom 10.
I expect a fast paced game with plenty of bookings and the game won by the odd goal.
On Saturday I would expect Blackburn to have the following line-up
Robinson, Simpson, Khizanishvilli/Samba, Nelsen, Olsson, Warnock, Mokoena, Villanueva, Pedersen, Santa, Benni.
And now your questions…..
How did you think each club would fare this season, and have the first few months altered your view?
With Paul Ince coming in at the helm I wasn’t too sure as to where we would fare in the League this year. Most Rovers fans would have hoped for top 6 but with the departures of Bentley and Friedel, two huge players for us, we would be relatively pleased with top 10. Its still early days in the League and teams are stil jostling for position. 3 Points for us on Saturday could propel us into European contention a loss may put us into a relegation dog fight. Most Rovers fans are quite modest with their opinions, but you wont hear us do a spurs and say, ‘we will finish within the top four’, we don’t like giving it the kiss of death. Our season will depend pretty much on the replacements that have come in. Paul Robinson in goal and Carlos Villanueva our little playmaker who I hope will be the type of player that we have been missing for many years.
When did you last see SAFC v Rovers home or away, and what
happened? Any other memorable games between us?
No game springs to mind, we haven’t had any eight goal thrillers. The games are usually tight and won with the odd goal, but more occasionally than not we are the team going away with the three points.
You’ve had real success – League championships, Europe etc – followed by a return to humbler achievements. Has that been hard? Can you realistically get back up there?
Its difficult for any team, we were on such a high after winning the Premiership in 94/95 and then within a couple of seasons we were relegated. It must have been the most depressing summer of my whole life. Sunderland have tasted relegation, if I’m correct in thinking twice in the 90s so they would know how hard it is for a team to get back to winning ways. We got back into the Premier League two years later and we celebrated that like we had won the League again and thankfully on our return we have established ourselves as a Premier League outfit, even winning the League cup in 2002 against Tottenham. Can we get back up there? Realistically the answer is no. I still don’t see the sky 4 being broken….the only real way of breaking into the top four would be some sugar daddy coming in and throwing money at the club, in the current climate of the credit crunch I don’t see it happening for the foreseeable future for any club even for Man City.
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?
I’ve not been into the stadium but have seen it on my travels. The stadium is well designed and it does cater for the massive fan base that Sunderland do have…would love to be in the stadium for a packed game, I’m certain the atmosphere is terrific.
What about the signings each club have made?
Carlos Villanueva is the player I’m hoping to see more of. He has shown flashes of brilliance but has been wrapped in cotton wool, and is being exposed to the Premier League slowly so he can get used to the way the game is played here. He is currently on loan Im hoping he impresses Ince enough to sign him on a permanent deal. Paul Robinson is a good keeper, but hes an excellent keeper when he has confidence. Blackburn fans will tell you Friedel gets you 10 points a season, I don’t think Robinson will be as good but considering both keepers ages we got a bargain. Grella havnt seen much of but was impressed by him in the Villa game, where he won MOTM, unfortunately he seems to be on the treatment table for the 3rd time this season. Keith Andrews, the player Ince brought from his former club has had a decent start but not spectacular, I don’t see him as a match winner but I think some of the stick he gets is uncalled for. Robbie Fowler is a purchase Im still finding hard to understand, the only reason I see him at the club is if Rovers take him on as a coach to help the youngsters with the killer instinct he once possessed.
Im not too sure about the purchases of Sunderland. Cisse has bags of pace but his finishing isn’t up to standard in my view, but he has one heck of a piledriver shot when he is given space. I have a feeling he will be nervous against Blackburn as it was against Rovers that he broke his leg while playing for Liverpool, he hasn’t been the same player since. Not sure if Chopra was bought this season, but he seems to have started well albeit with a gambling addiction he is trying to get over. I think a loan out to Cardiff city will do him the world of good and will return a better player.
Now we get to Diouf, I’m sorry Sunderland fans but I just don’t like him whatsoever. His constant diving and spitting at players has made him one of the most hated players in the Premier League. I remember him playing for Bolton where he dived to win a penalty, it was converted and Bolton went on to win the game 1-0. I would say Diouf is on par with the likes of Ronaldo and Drogba in the diving stakes.
Do you regard Bolton, Man U or anyone else much as we regard Newcastle? Or are you more grown-up about such things?
I hate both Man Utd and Bolton but the team I would like to give one heck of a thumping to would be Burnley. I would say the hatred towards each other is similar to the Tyneside Derby, unfortunately we are in different leagues, I would love it if they were in the Premier League, guaranteed 6 points. We can still dream, they did just beat Chelsea so we can hopefully get drawn against them in the next round giving us easy passage into the semi’s. Burnley will always be Public Enemy Number 1 in every Blackburn fans eyes except for Vinjay.
Memories of players and/or management linked to both clubs? No name springs effortlessly to mind but you may have a sharper grasp of club history.
Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole spring to mind. As well as Michael Gray, who I still think should have been in the England squad at the time when he was playing for Sunderland and for ourselves. The Yorke/Cole partnership didn’t quite work at Rovers. I don’t think Yorke put enough effort in, hence why Souness tackled and injured him in training.
What do you make of the reputation of Rovers supporters for being lacking passion? Fair, or complete nonsense?
It’s complete nonsense. Blackburn is a small town with a population of 120,000. Considering our average attendance last season was 24,000 that would make it approximately 20% of the population which is quite amazing. You will still find the occasional Man Utd and Liverpool top wearing glory hunters around the town but Im sure every city has that. The one thing I would like done is to appeal to the asian community in Blackburn and get them into Ewood Park, they make up about 40% of the population at Blackburn if I’m correct. Think more has to be done, I guess it’s the fear of them still believing racism exists on the terraces.
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
I would only like a takeover if it was beneficial for the club. Unfortunately Rovers don’t make huge profits, in fact we struggle to break even every year so I don’t think it would be beneficial to investors. It would be great to see a Rovers fan take over the club who will solely do what is best for the club and not think about money first…but I don’t think there are many Jack Walkers out there. Jack walker will always be remembered for what he did for the club, but as a club we have moved on and our primary aims are totally different from what they were back then. I have a 21st century mind set not one of the 80s. Im not obsessed with a takeover as some Rovers fans are (Vinjay), Im just happy that we are a well run club who do not have a revolving door for managers. With a millionaire owner comes complications about who is running the club the owner or the manager…Man City have already seen Sven come in do very well and get sacked. I wouldn’t like to see a perfectly good manager replaced for doing nowt wrong.
Club vs country. Who wins for you?
Club wins hands down. Wouldn’t want to see Santa Cruz be called up for a meaningless friendly for Paraguay only to return with an injury keeping him out for 6 months, things like that can cause teams to get relegated. With the transfer window teams cant buy themselves out of trouble anymore. Don’t get me wrong I get pleased that players like Warnock get called up for England as it shows their achievements playing for their club and in some cases it may be what keeps a player at a club knowing he will get noticed by International managers, but for the club itself we watch games on the edge of our seats hoping the player they have seen tackled isn’t there very own player. Michael Owen would be the best example of when injured players on international duty can affect clubs form.
Who will win. Score? Will you be there?
I’m hoping for a Blackburn win. But if we do win it will be by the odd goal, we expect a stern test from Sunderland and will fnd them hard to beat, but with Carlos setting up Roque or Benni I think we will scrape it. The game will be totally different to the League Cup match. Benni may just shine and justify the £8m that Sunderland had reportedly bid for him in the summer
* DodgyGambit on DodgyGambit:
Based in Birmingham, intriguingly describes hismelf as a “dodgy accountant/secret agent/underwear model”