An Open Apology To Sam Allardyce....
Scroll back 18 months. Paul Ince Sacked, Rovers looking at relegation, languishing in the basement of the English Premier League. Sam Allardyce appointed manager, steps in, does the job, keeps Blackburn up.
The offseason comes around, a few players go, a few players come in, big money splashed on an unknown striker, season starts of slow. Come Christmas, Blackburn are languishing just above the drop zone, with difficult fixtures ahead. Many heads, including myself, not happy. A disgraceful style of football, where if the ball bounced more then three times it was worth cheering, strikers who could not score in a brothel, and a disgruntled bunch of players.
Scroll forward to now, mid table, challenging some of the bigger names, Fortress Ewood is back and firing, with only 3 losses out of 28 home league games. If we had not have slipped up in a few games, i.e, draw v Portsmouth, draw v Wigan, loss to Sunderland, the top 8 could be in reach. My pre season prediction was 10-12th, and we look spot on for hitting that mark. However, 4 months ago, we didnt, and thats when we asked for Sam's head. The push for his head became worse, when Benedict McCarthy was forced out of the club. Regardless of his ability, view's on the man himself were split, with the saga eventually ending with a move for the South African. What did cause more frustration, was no striker brought in. And with the likes of Roberts, Di Santo and Kalinic leading our front line, it was worrying times for Blackburn.
But, credit to Sam. He noticed that our frontline is not our strength, resorting to the 4-5-1 formation. He backed the likes of Olsson, Hoillet, Dunn, Gamst Pedersen and Diouf to pull a few goals in. 1-0 was enough. 2-1 also works. What Sam did do, was tighten the defence. Salgado finally stepped up, Givet regained the form of last season, Samba, Nelsen and Jones dominated in the middle, whilst Nzonzi cleaned up anything in his path.
Whether this was Sam's game plan all along, who knows. Boy did it frustrate us though, and Im sure it will continue to frustrate us when we play this formation against the smaller clubs. However, until we find that 15 goal striker, or Kalinic develops into that, 4-5-1/4-3-3 it is....
Now lets get something straight. This is an open apology. In no way is it, Sam Allardyce, your my favourite manager. I did say I would shut up about the axe Sam Campaign, as long as he pulled us away from the drop zone, with a few weeks in hand. Sam has done that, and I will eat a slice of humble pie.
With more then a game between us and teams below us, how about we throw some caution to the wind. We face Arsenal, who realistically have nothing to play for, Aston Villa, who are almost out of Champions League contention, Everton, fighting for a Europa spot and Wolverhampton who are almost safe. Lets hit Wolves and Arsenal. Send out Roberts and Kalinic. Allow Nzonzi/Grella to shut down the midfield. Lets attack. Our only option is to attack, if we want to jump into the top 10, we need to string a few more wins, so heck, lets back ourselves and finish off strong. Whats the worst that can happen? Arsenal have put 6 past us 3 or 4 times in the last 3 seasons.....lets at least make a game of it!
Finish the season strong, pick up a nice striker in the off season, and lets push onwards!