Blackburn continued their recovery last night with a 2-0 victory over Sunderland, a result that takes them 6 points clear of a relegation zone they spent most of the early parts of the season in. Under fire boss Steve Kean has led the club to three wins in their last five games and a charge up the table and out of the relegation scrap, for the time being at least.
In my opinion, Blackburn have done well recently on extremely limited resources, and will be safe come the end of this season, and ready to build for next. I’m not saying that finishing in their current position would be something Blackburn fans will be proud of, especially considering they’re one of only a handful of clubs to have won England’s top prize, but it gives them a starting point. Blackburn fans made it even harder for the club to gain morale and momentum with continual protests about their frustrations earlier in the season. At board room level, perhaps the problems run deeper and do need to be addressed, but on the pitch we are unfortunate to once again see a generation of footballing fans expecting instant success, slating a manager in his first foray into management. An environment not many come back from, and one Steve Kean can be proud of keeping his head high throughout.
When Sir Alex Ferguson took over at Manchester United, he finished 11th in two of his first three seasons. In today’s footballing climate, he would not have survived, and United would never have become the footballing force they are today. Sackings this season have included AVB and Neil Warnock, both in their first season of Premier League management with their clubs, Warnock having led QPR to promotion the previous season. Indeed, the AVB situation appears to have been as much to do with squad disruption and disagreements as anything, but in my opinion Warnock’s dismissal was harsh. What have QPR achieved since? They’re certainly one of my tips for relegation, and though Mark Hughes also needs time to rebuild his squad, I see no benefit in bringing him in to try and save a season with 6 months remaining. With relegation rivals Wolves, we’ve seen Mick McCarthy, who has been brilliant for the club, replaced by a relative novice who is expected to turn their season around in no time at all. Wolves are struggling, and TC will inevitably be met with criticism.
Management can be a thankless task. I’m not trying to say that Steve Kean is on the verge of returning Blackburn to glory, but being realistic his achievements considering his resources and the pressure he’s under have been admirable. I, for one, wish Steve a long and successful management career, and hope he gets the support needed to achieve it.