Boxing Day looms. McCallister’s taken another dive (remember that one against us that fooled Graham Barber?), Big Sam’s got Blackburn off to a winning start of his managership and we’re chuffed after scoring four in successive games.
But let’s hear it for Reidy You’re a Star! That’s how he signs on at the Blackburn Rovers Spammers site, but to Salut! Sunderland he is Mick Roberts*, the first Rovers fan to stand up and say who is he ahead of a game against us. We had some great contributions from DodgyGambit and Vinjay ahead of the Carling Cup and Ewood Park clashes in November, but not from anyone wanting to identify himself beyond fan site noms de guerre. That’s fair enough, but Mick is especially welcome to these pages. We also have answers from “StLedge”, which we can fairly assume is NOT his real name, so let us get straight into the questionnaire.
Since our first two games, Keane has gone, Ince has been replaced by Big Sam. And we’re both in trouble. What next?
I think it’s going to be tight around the bottom of the table. Christmas will give a clearer indication of what’s going to happen, especially to the Rovers. If Sam gets us up and running quickly, I think we can get out of it. The same could be said for Sunderland, but you have to get the right man in quickly or I think you could struggle. – Mick
Both clubs have lost the managers they had the last time both our clubs met, and both clubs haven’t faired as well as either set of fans would have wanted for their clubs, as the goals set out by the expectant fans, whether realistic or quietly over ambitious, have certainly changed or at the least been put on hold.
What next?? – Getting away from the bottom of the league is no doubt on the forefront of many fans minds, the next 7 to 10 games will be key in the turn around of the clubs’ season, and after that any league climb will be a welcome bonus. – StLedge
Two top Man U players, yet both faced a tough time managing at the top level, Any way back for either Keane or Ince?
I think both of them have strong characters and a massive will to win that should hold them in good stead in the future. Whether that is in the Premier League, it’s too soon to say. For Ince, it was just too big a jump too soon from the 4th division. I’m sure he’ll come back stronger for the experience and even though it didn’t work out for him at Rovers, most Rovers fans wish him well I imagine. – Mick
Never say Never, although I did twice, I think the 2nd one cancels out the first…… Anyway, both men were fierce players, didn’t quit, didn’t back down from a challenge. I think they both will make great managers one day, but at the moment I feel they still have a lot to learn. I think they will both bounce back. – StLedge
Honours even after the Carling and Ewood Park games. What is in store for the Stadium of Light return league game?
It’ll be a close fought game as always, but we have a very good record in the North East and I hope it remains that way. We certainly need to get something from the game if we’re to get back into the battle to stay up. 1-0 Rovers for me. – Mick
Hard one to call at this point in time. Neither club really doing as well as we would have hoped at the beginning of the season, and also with the departure of both managers from the last time we met. Rovers now have a new manager, which will instil a new sense of confidence in the Rovers dressing room, and Sunderland haven’t got Keane, which in turn should instil confidence in the Sunderland dressing room. As much as I would like to see a thrilling all out game of football, I feel it will be a more cautious game, maybe 2-2. But time will tell. – StLedge
Any special memories of games between our two clubs?
The only one that really sticks out for me is, a couple of seasons ago where we won 2-0 with Bellamy scoring both. He scored a scrappy goal first, then a peach of a header after a pin-point cross from Sergio Peter and only the woodwork stopped him bagging a hat trick. Unfortunately, Peter never lived up to the hype that came his way from the Rovers faithful and Bellamy was off to Liverpool at the end of the season. Such is football. – Mick
It’s hard to pick out anything that is unbiased, like a Rovers win which of course is special, but of late, a memory is all it has become. – StLedge
Have you been to the Stadium of Light, or Roker before that? What did you make ot it/them/the place?
I haven’t been to the SoL, but it looks like a fantastic stadium and it’s definitely one of the stadiums I would like to visit. – Mick
Sadly I haven’t been to any games of late, and sorry, but no haven’t been to Sunderland, I’m sure it has a great atmosphere (even better I’m sure when the Magpie’s come calling). – StLedge
What must Big Sam do to keep you up, and what players or types of players are needed in January?
First thing he needs to do is sack Nigel Winterburn. The man is a waste of space and it’s no surprise our defence has crumbled since he’s been our (part time) “defensive coach”. So, yeah, the defense is the thing that needs to be sorted first, then we need to be looking at getting in a right winger as David Bentley has not been replaced yet. Keeping hold or our best players, like Roque, Benni and Warnock is maybe even more important though. – Mick
Easy, win games!! Strong, experienced and fit players, with great hair, like Roque and Matt Jansen. – StLedge
A lot of our fans would have gone for him as our manager. What do you make of the appointment?
I think it’s the best man for the job in all honesty. We don’t have a lot of money and we are in a very precarious league position, who better than Big Sam to get us out of it? – Mick
I am hoping he can do the job, and do it very well. There is too much judging a new manager before a ball is even kicked, as a lot of us Rovers fans witnessed with Paul Ince. I will back big Sam, just as I back Ince, and Hughes before him, and so on. He is here to manage the team, that’s his job, not to win a popularity contest. – StLedge
Do you feel about any club as we feel about Newcastle or are you too grown-up about such things?
There is only one club (despite what some people may have you believe) that we truly hate and that’s Burnley. Our biggest fear this season is not just falling out of the Premier League, but that that lot down the road will replace us. I shudder at the thought. But in true Burnley fashion, they’ll fail. They always do. – Mick
Burnley!!! Someone will attempt to convince you it is Man Utd, pay no attention, we don’t! – StLedge
What do you say to certain fans who claim Rovers supporters lack the passion and commitment of other clubs’ followers?
I’d say that’s rubbish. We may lack numbers in the stadium a lot of the time, but we certainly aren’t lacking in passion for our club. Numbers have dwindled in recent years because of the general cost of living. Blackburn isn’t a particularly well off town and a lot of people can not realistically afford to go to every home game. There’s also the fact that there are a good 8 or 9 other Premier League and Championship clubs in close proximity to us competing for fans. But, all in all, I don’t think we do too badly considering. – Mick
How are they defining passion and commitment?? By changing their own name by deed-poll to Birminghamcityfc (true story), or calling the new born Chelsea, or by starting fights where ever they go. Thanks but I’ll do it my own way. – StLedge
What about Hull’s astonishing success so far, and Stoke’s refusal to roll over?
Hull have certainly been the surprise package this year. I don’t think anybody expected them to half as well as they have done so far. The real test will be when injuries and suspensions start coming into play, but take nothing away from them, they’ve done fantastic. As for Stoke, they’ve also done themselves proud so far this season, but I still think they will go down. Hopefully the decline will have started against us and we can take 3 vital points of them.
I have to say Hull have been brilliant, this seasons surprise package. Stoke also have surprised, I’m sure they were among the early favourites to go down, but they have proved a lot of people wrong, and good for them. – StLedge
Can Rovers be great again?
That depends on how you define great. If you mean can we win the league again, probably not. Certainly with the finances we have we can only really hope for top 10 and the odd good cup run. If the long awaited take over ever materialises, then, I see no reason why we can’t be up in the top 6 regularly again, but I think the top 4 have already got too big a headstart on everyone else now and it’ll take something special to dislodge them any time soon. – Mick
Rovers will always be great in the eyes of the fans, as any club would be in the eyes of its fans. Any fan that says their club is only great when they are winning trophies, is more in love with success than the club! – StLedge
Club v country – who wins for you?
As much as I love seeing my country doing well, it doesn’t make me kick the dog on a Saturday evening if we lose, like my club does. – Mick
Club!! – StLedge
Who are you, what is the history of your support and how active a fan are you?
I’m a 25 year old Technician, Blackburn born and bred. I’ve supported the mighty Rovers for as long as I’ve known about football, about 20 years. I’ve experienced the highs of promotion and winning the league and also the lows of relegation and it’s something I hope I never have to experience again. I don’t go as many games as I’d like to anymore, but I have a lot of other responsibilities and drains on my funds. If I was to win the Euro’s Lottery, I’d be getting my cash out and investing big time, but until then, if I can spare the cash, I go to the game and the dog prays we win. – Mick
About me: I’m StLedge, the nick came from my nick on 606 which was change a lot depending on my mood, but always kept the StLedge bit in, the full nick was StLedgerHotel1875. have been in love with Rovers since I can remember, my dad, his dad and so on.
Was born in Blackburn but now live in Bristol, miss going to Ewood, but am looking to get some games in next year, I will let everyone know when, as every game I have attended at Ewood has ended in a 2-1 win to Rovers… worth a flutter – StLedge