The Protest Debate- Part 1!
Here on Vital Blackburn, we allow for all opinions, from the pro to the con, the anti to the supportive and the common sense to the most eccentric. The Protest and Steve Kean Saga has divided many a Rover, so we thought to get the opinions of 2 Rovers on opposite ends of the scale.
This 3 part debate kicks off with a direct response to a set of questions. Part 2 allows each individual to respond to the first persons set of answers, part 3 allows the original person to defend his statement...yes, a 3 part Debate!
The two gentleman taking part are
Pro Kean/Anti Protest- Michael @CCMichaelD
Anti Kean/Pro Protest- Simon @reggers1984
So here goes, grab a coffee as this is a fantastic read!
1) Discuss your opinion on the protests.Are they effective and how do they portray the supporters, the players/coach and the club.
Michael: The protests have always been dubious, in my opinion. Granted, a lot of Ill feeling was carried over from last season, and a lot of people respected, if not liked, Allardyce. However, we went into the first protest, nonsensically before, a home game against a struggling Arsenal team. Protesting before a match, is telling your opponents that you expect to lose. It tells the players you have no faith in their abilities, and tells the wider football world that the fans don`t know what they are talking about, when, as did happen, the team wins.
I read earlier this week, from a protester, that no-one expects us to beat a top 4 club. Well, does that mean the traditional top 4 i.e. Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, last seasons Top 4 Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal, The Season before`s Top 4 Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, Or the Current Top 4 Man City, Man Utd, Newcastle and Chelsea. Because I`ve now listed 7 teams as the top 4, and we`ve already played 5 of them, so we currently stand after 11 games on 6 points, which equates to a draw against each of the teams we stand a chance of beating. So what are we protesting against? Look at it from a different angle; we`ve played 11 games, with 4 positive results i.e. points collecting. We`ve only played 3 games against sides that finished below us in the league last year. Of those three teams, 2 outspent us in the transfer market, one of which was a complete new team. The other was the first game of the season, against a side that had made their key summer purchases early on. BUT no-one mentions that in the protests. If they complained that our signings weren`t made early enough, I`d agree, but they don`t, they continue with the guttural and infantile Kean Out, that most imaginative of catchphrases.
So now that the fans look stupid, I`ll move onto the coach. Some of the brightest and best talents in the managerial world, are in support of Kean, Andre Villas-Boas has publicly said that he thinks Blackburn play good football, and were unlucky to lose against Chelsea (remembering that`s one of those seven teams Rovers have no business beating). Harry Redknapp (probable next England Manager) has also said that we were unfortunate to not beat his Tottenham team and that, and I quote 'the protesters are mindless`. So if the object of the protests is to destabilize Kean, why would the Board listen to a section of the fans when leading industry experts, are saying that the protests are wrong. As for the players, the past few performances have proven that they back the manager, the 'Plane Protest` clearly destroyed the morale of the players on the pitch, so the team that the protesters claim to support are now being negatively affected by the protests. A fifteen minute spell was clearly apparent when the team lost fight as soon as that plane came overhead. I do admire the zeal and passion of belief, of some of the protesters, but the curtain call has fallen, they are directly affecting the players on the pitch and that is where we have to draw the line, and I would now support the club in banning them from the ground. The next 6 games are vital, we could feasibly have a run of 5 wins and a draw, and the players don`t need the negativity.
As a Rovers fan living in Birmingham, I hear plenty of opinions on Rovers. The most common one I`m getting is the team are playing well, so why are YOU protesting? After I tell the Liverpool, Villa, Man Utd, Baggies, Wolves, Stoke, Arsenal and Chelsea fans that actually I don`t support the protest, and that I think the club are doing ok AND that I have faith that results will improve, the most common response is, 'good cuz for a minute I thought you`d gone crackers.` To summarize, the clubs reputation is being tarnished, but not by the employee`s of BRFC, but rather the fans, and even then it`s a section of the fans.
Simon: I think that the protests are effective in evidencing how the majority of fans who support and regularly attend Ewood Park feel about the clubs current plight. For our part in the process, I feel that we have conducted ourselves in a dignified and professional manner.
From speaking to supporters of other clubs regularly, they recognise that Blackburn fans are not known to 'kick up a fuss' and feel that to have to resort to such protests must mean there is something seriously wrong. We have not gone around like 'Green Street' gangs and caused riots or disturbances and we have not dragged the name of the club through the mud. Sadly, I cannot say the club have conducted themselves in the same vein and I feel that their actions have had a negative impact upon on the view of all Blackburn Rovers supporters [Pro/Anti-Kean]. Childish and silly tricks such as playing music louder over the fans [on Paul Hunt's direction] only serve to enhance the view that we are dealing with a bunch of amateurs [not just Venkys - Paul Hunt, Paul Agnew, Simon Williams and Simon Hunt]. It's difficult to say how it portrays the players/coaches as you would expect that they will be loyal to Kean at the moment [to make sure they get a game/stay in a job as we know Kean has the knife in his pocket ready for any possible moment - see John Jensen]. The real problem at the heart of all of this is that we are not being heard by the club. To round off my point - under the old regime things would not have been allowed to have got to this stage. We wouldn't have even needed a protest as Steve Kean and his merry men would be nowhere near Ewood Park - John Williams would have seen to that!
As regards Steve Kean - the protests portray him to be the arrogant, egotistical novice that he is. I can count more than one occasion now in which he has said 'only a couple of hundred at the protest' and it is the 'minority' that are not behind him. GET REAL - the reason people don't protest is not because they love you - it is out of APATHY. If Steve and the club had the correctly sized genitalia then they would 'test' their theory and survey the clubs season ticket holders. Where I sit in the Ronnie Clayton end is approx 10-1 in favour of Anti-Kean and from fans I speak to in other areas of the ground, it is similar. As a side note - the one person who was pro-Kean sits behind me and he is a racist scumbag [for disgusting comments aimed at our very own Junior Hoilett]. I can only hope that the other Pro-Kean fans I meet are not of the same ilk.
2) Discuss your opinion on Steve Kean. How is he faring, is he the man for the job?
Michael:I appreciate Steve Kean has not smothered himself in glory, nor has he endeared himself to a wide body of fans, however, the machinations of a successful team are in place. None of us are experts on running a football club, or managing a top-flight football team, and some may say that neither is Steve Kean. Let`s look at his career; he has been a coach at Racing Santander, Coventry, Fulham and Blackburn before becoming Manager. He worked closely with Chris Coleman, in three of those positions, a man who was touted as taking over Rovers in the mid noughties. So there is a sense of inevitability or fate in his arrival at the club. Steve Kean`s appointment was a surprise to many, myself included, he wasn`t the proven manager, that many wanted, and I understand the frustration in that. He took over a team who for 18 months had played defensive, small-club football. Our Star players when he took over were defenders, Phil Jones, Chris Samba, Ryan Nelsen, whilst our attacking forwards struggled between them to reach halfway to double figures in terms of goal scoring. With all that in mind we had just been turned over by Man Utd. So clearly there were cracks showing in the previous style of play.
Ask your boss how long it would take your organization to change its ethos, not just to write it down on paper, but to have the employee`s tow the line, and to Iron out the creases. My company has just done this, and eight months later we are still ironing out the creases, as a manager I am still tweaking performance to achieve my goals, eight months on. In those eight months, I have been able to hire and fire those whom I wanted, at any time. Steve Kean has not. In the twelve months he has been in charge, he has had three months to recruit, taking into account player holidays, and largely for the first six months of his reign was stuck with the defense-minded players he had because funds had not fully been released to him, to bring those players in. He managed though to bring in Ruben Rochina and Mauro Formica, arguably two of our best players so far this season. He managed to keep us in the Premiership despite these hindrances. Various fake sources appeared at this stage, none less than roversinsider on twitter, spreading rumour and lies in general, feeding the misery of fans who were anxious for the club to sign anyone. Questions were raised about key members of the board stepping down and would these signings be made if we`d still had John Williams. The answer of course is no, the club refused to be held to ransom by other teams and rightly so. Kean missed out on a number of targets this way, and before we knew it the season had started with no key new signings.
We were, just, beaten by Wolves, who with new CB Roger Johnson looked a lot better than the three goals they shipped against us on the last day of last season. We went to Aston Villa and we played the worst I`ve seen a Rovers team play in twenty years, and then an unlucky performance against Everton, where we missed two penalties, something the manager can`t be blamed for, but then the new signings started to roll through. The new signings for this season have finally started to blend into the team. From Yakubu`s brilliant finish against Arsenal to Scott Dann`s developing partnership with Chris Samba, Vuckevic, Petrovic, Ribeiro, they are all proving they have a part to play for the team and the squad. Steve Kean is slowly turning the tanker, the fortunes of this club will not be changed overnight, he needs time, something some of the fans do not want to give him. Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful manager Man Utd have ever had, but he was once 45 minutes away from being sacked, he won the FA Cup in that 45 mins and now every English club is compared to the dynasty he started.
Simon: I often wonder to myself what we did to deserve this cretin who certainly seems to think he is the next Taggart [AKA Fergie]. The only similarities that I can draw from these two people are that they are both Scottish and I would love to smack them both in the face. Other than that - they are worlds apart. Although I hate Man United to the core you have to admire Taggart for what he has done and what he continues to do. When you look back over Ewood Park managers past and present, there is only one that comes close to him and funnily enough, he is also Scottish. Yes you remember the day he got one over on Fergie [BTW - he is still the only manager in the EPL who calls him Fergie - LEGEND] - it was the best Rovers related day of my life! It also makes me remember that Jack Walker's first managerial appointment was the legend that is Kenny Dalglish. Venkys can only wish they had made a similar appointment as this guy isn't fit to shine his shoes!
Onto the facts. Steve Kean league games in charge = P 32, W6, D10, L16 = 18.75% win ratio. Is he the man for the job? Get real!
The only other manager in the premier league I have seen with such tactical naivety is Paul Ince and we all know what happened there!
Examples = He frequently substitutes player who are having the most impact [See Rochina - every time he plays] at crucial points in the game. He frequently leaves players on the pitch who are having a mare [see J-Rob every time he plays and Hoilett v Chelski].
We are frequently unable to see out games [See Norwich, Newcastle, Fulham] and before everyone starts about the bad luck at Norwich - if he didn't make the subs then would we have won - I think so!
Remember when we won against Arsenal - Kean said how he put Olsson on the wing to make sure we won the game as he had spotted a weakness in the full back [forgive me for not remembering who]. Well if that was the case Stevo - why on earth did you wait until the second half to exploit that weakness or why did you not to Hoilett to exploit that weakness? Just to emphasise how much a cretin this fella is - after the game he went on a media frenzy - Fans phone in on Radio Lancs, Sky Sports News, 5 Live, Talk Sport etc - talking to everyone and their dog. My question to Steve - where the hell are you now on the fans phone ins etc? It's easy to do all that off the back of a win. In the Radio Lancs one he said how they were working on defending, yet we still continue to play like a Keegan team. My other question is - when the hell are you going to meet up with Glen Mullan as promised? Are you waiting for a win first?
In addition to his tactical failings, he does not appear to be able to work the media either. To say that the next games are winnable only makes the opposition managers job easier. He will just pin your comments up on the wall to wind his players up! Learn you nugget!
32 games - 6 wins [SPEAKS FOR ITSELF]. I have not mentioned cup games as I wouldn't really count a win against Leyton Orient as something to write home about!
Just for the record - I backed Paul Ince right up until the last game when he got the sack. I normally advocate giving managers time but one look at the table tells you that we are in trouble. Does anyone really think we will win the next 6 games?
3) Discuss your opinion on player performance so far
Michael:No player is infallible. Every person no matter their station in life can make mistakes; some of the performances from the players this season have been dreadful. At Villa, Gael Givet played that badly with Grant Hanley that it looked like he would be the first sold come January, however his performances since, in particular against Newcastle in the cup, have made him almost a mainstay in the first team. A player having the confidence to dust themselves off, and become consistent if not outstanding, in part comes from within. But it also comes from the leadership that player is shown, not just from the manager, not just from the team captains, but all of the senior players in the squad. The old cliché is that a team is only as strong as its weakest part, and we do have some particularly weak parts.
We have a good first team, but the surrounding squad is not great, as we have seen with some of the substitutions made this year, some players are finding it difficult to settle into a game that they are a late introduction to. In Jason Roberts recent interview for brfcfans.com, he talks about the players fully supporting the manager, now while Roberts has faced some vitriolic abuse for his level of performance this season, he is still a leader in the dressing room. If his opinion is that the manager needs more time and that he is a positive influence on the players then who are we to argue? The season both is and is not a series of 1 game sessions. Each player can differ from one week to the next, but the balance of their play over the course of a full season is how to measure the managers affect on them. Too many of the fans are judging week to week and not looking at the bigger picture.
I started by saying that everyone has a bad day now and then; look at Fernando Torres, his utter lack of form and confidence is a sign of the poor management shown to him. In his case, the pressure of a massive price tag, and the change of manager halfway through, for which the chairman is obviously to blame. We have not had a disaster like that, every one of our new signings has shown signs of greatness, Ruben Rochina even came out in the press this week to say he was a better player now than at anytime while he was at Barcelona. Some of the Players we have lost as well were hailed as useless last season, yet suddenly there is a great affinity for them, Niko Kalinic for one. The issue of players has rarely been raised to me other than we should have signed earlier, which on the whole I agree with, but not if it meant the club got the short end of a deal and got ripped off. Well Done Venky`s and Steve Kean!!!
Okay - I am going to try and be a little balanced here:
RSC = Appeared a good signing but was a flop!
Jermaine Jones = Good signing and should have bought permanently.
Ruben Rochina = AWESOME signing - needs to play MORE.
Mauro Formica = Looks like he will be a decent buy.
Myles Anderson = Who? Oh yeah - Kean's agents son who couldn't get a game if every player who can play in his position died.
Radosav Petrovic = Looks clumsy but may need time to bed in [not convinced].
Simon Vukcevic = Not seen too much - needs to play more judging by appearances at international level.
Scott Dann = Very good signing and has played very well so far [still needs time to get an understanding].
Yakubu = Very happy with goals - lazy but will be pleased if goals still come.
David Goodwillie - Poor recently but only young and think he will be better in a 2. Should not be played as a lone striker!
Jordan Slew - No idea!
Paul Rob - Good as always
Olsson - had a dip in form early on but improving again. Better at LW
Givet - Improving all the time - better at CB but think he will revert to LB where he is not good!
Samba - Head appears back on the game although not sure that is Kean's doing!
Hoilett - Awesome but looked disinterested v Chelsea [contract taking eye off the ball?]. Either needs to defend or be moved from the wing where he doesn't need to defend [behind striker]
Nzonzi - Good player - doing well
Pedersen - Seems to be improving at CM
Roberts - Awful. 50p foot & head, couldn't hit a barn door from 5 yards, Championship player at best. Doesn't hold ball up anymore or do anything really.
Nelsen - Not played yet
Salgado - Poor all season
Jason Lowe - Fantastic emergence although I believe this was by accident and not a Kean masterstroke.
Dunn - Injured a lot and poor when he has played. Also very disappointed with his comments telling fans to 'get real'!
Grella - is he dead?
Overall, I cannot fault effort and passion shown by the players under SK. Sadly, it is the tactics which exposes them.
4) Discuss your opinion on our owners, Venkys
Michael: Once upon a time a little division 2 club was bought by a steel magnate, who loved the club more than his own children. He hired the best manager around at the time, and proceeded to piece together a set of fantastic players who ended up winning the highest league competition in their country. However a lot of those players were Prima Donna`s who didn`t like each other, and in one game they even started fighting each other. The players started being sold, and the great manager left, so the club got relegated, and while the once great club were playing in division 1 (as was) the steel magnate unfortunately died. The fans built a statue to the man they all loved, but his bitter and resentful children took over the football club and only put in the bare minimum that the steel magnate had stipulated they had to.
The other board members brought in a succession of managers who could not reignite the glory days of the club, until eventually the resentful children found another family from a far off land to buy the club off them. The other family came from the second most populous country on the planet, and so clearly were very shrewd businesspeople to have become so powerful. But the supporters of the football club resented the family because they wanted to run the football club like a business, like the continental officials were telling them if they ever wanted to play in the richly rewarded continental club competitions. So the supporters, who wanted the family to bankrupt themselves in funding their every whim, became ungrateful for the gifts bestowed upon them. Even though the family had gone about establishing the club as a global brand and had attempted to bring in a fan base and a supply of good young players from their own country. But the fans were still ungrateful and turned to protesting about the way the football club was run and demanding things they had no right to.
Sadly although this is told as a fairy tale, it`s a true story, and our owners whilst badly advised at times, have proactively sought to further our club. They do not want the club to be held to ransom for players, they accept that every player has their price, and ultimately if a player wants to leave then their staying could damage the club further
Simon:To be talking of Steve Kean as a 'brilliant manager' is not only inaccurate but it only serves to increase the 'joke' that is currently Blackburn Rovers. As if the poultry-based promotional videos emanating from India and ridiculous ideas of signing Ronaldinho were not bad enough, we now have people laughing at us for pure footballing reasons. Who else in the best league in the world would even be discussing an improved contract for a manager who in his 32 league games in charge has won 6 games!
They regularly fail to attend games and it seems as though they are naive about the footballing world. They don't engage with the fans on a regular basis and we only seem to get ramblings of brilliant manager, top ten etc.
May I remind you that they asked us to judge them after a year in charge - nearly there Venkys and it certainly looks a hell of a lot worse than when you took over!
5) If you could post one message to all Rovers supporters, what would it be!
Michael:Keep The Faith, I`d play the bloody Bon Jovi song if I thought it would make a difference.
Simon:If you sit back in apathy or don't make your feelings clear then get ready to see the dingles in the league next year because with this guy in charge we have a one way ticket to the Chumpionship and I am sure Big Sam will take a wry smile as he passes on the way up and pulls the dagger out of his back! On a serious note - whatever your feelings [Pro/Anti-Kean] we should stick together for the good of the club and not resort to the ridiculous name calling I have seen on twitter recently!
2 Passionate men discussing their beloved clubs via two different perspectives