Last week we discussed an owner whose ambitions might come back to hurt his club. But there also are the clueless ones, those who make fans pull their hair and scream as their club falls down the standings.
Blackburn Rovers is becoming that club, Venky’s is that owner and the club’s fans have gone past frustrated as the Championship club seeks its third full-time manager this season.
The club had been a solid member of the Premier League for ten seasons in November 2010 when the Indian poultry-processing company purchased the club. In many fans’ eyes, the ownership’s immediate firing of manager Sam Allardyce, and hiring of Steve Kean, began a downfall which led to relegation on the final week of last season.
This season’s madness began one month in, when Kean, who was little loved by fans during his tenure, resigned unexpectedly “due to my position as team manager becoming untenable.” Reportedly he was given a stay of execution after collecting 14 of the 16 points demanded from Rovers’ first seven matches, but other sources have discussed possible outside interference in on-the-field management.
After a search by Rovers’ director of football operations, Shebby Singh, a former football coach and commentator, heads began scratching at the selection of Henning Berg. The former Rovers’ defender was serving as a football analyst for a Norwegian television network. The choice was so strong, it lasted 57 days — Berg was fired Dec. 27 after a sixth consecutive match without a win. It wasn’t just him, though: Eric Black, who served as caretaker after Kean’s firing, along with two other coaches, were sacked.
The insanity continued after the Boxing Day massacre when the club’s managing director, Derek Shaw, was reported to have traveled to India during December to ask the ownership to remove Singh, whom was considered a “global advisor” by the company.
Under reserves coach Gary Bowyer and youth coach Terry McPhillips, Rovers won its first two matches as the club moved from 17th to 13rd. This was a club, however, that was in a fifth-place playoff position before Berg was hired.
While the usual rumored names are out there — former Rovers manager Mark Hughes, former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, Phil Brown, formerly at Hull and Preston North End, has stated interest — perhaps it is time for stability. Singh stated this week an incoming manager would have to initially accept a short-term contract. Rather than bringing in another name, maybe the man they want already is on the bench. It may be better to give one of them the reins through the end of the season, if only to end the nightmare.