Date:Friday August 3 2007
I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been ravenously devouring pre-season reviews online, scoffing at any lowly pundit who predicts anything but Premiership glory for the Rovers come May.
But something troubling has caught my eye over the last week: it's a consistent theme in these reviews to characterise the Rovers as a dirty team. Chief culprit: Football365.
Phillip Cornwall, who wrote the Blackburn Preview for Football365 said (just a few things) this on that Website:
"A couple of years ago it was very much a case of 'J'accuse Mark'ughes' in this piece, after the God-awful display in the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal set the seal on Blackburn's reputation as the dirtiest and one of the dullest teams in the top flight.
Rovers fans were unhappy. Hughes was obviously completely unaware of my criticism, but he reacted strongly to the universal verdict of the national press on the negativity of his side.
Has much changed? Hughes has spent much of the time since claiming a )we're not as dirty as we used to be, but b) we're were not as dirty as you claimed, not dirty at all in fact, stop being mean.
Rovers fans have voiced similar views. Reader James Greenwood was objecting to the notion that 'Blackburn will be able to kick their way out of trouble' in Mailbox on Tuesday. Though he issued what observers of the late President Nixon would consider a non-denial denial: he emphasised the calibre of football played at Ewood, rather than addressing the issue of whether Blackburn try to kick their way out of trouble.
The facts are that in the Premiership only Bolton picked up more bookings than Blackburn last season and the two clubs were tied for total cards thanks to the latter's 7-4 lead in reds. Fans have suggested this is a case of referees acting on reputation, of 'give a dog a bad name'. In this case, Rover. But few outsiders are convinced."
Obviously we'd all spend as much time as we can watching the lads in action and as far as I can see we're no worse, but probably no better than any other team in the league. Still, we finished bottom of the fair play league last season and some would say the figures don't lie.
Is our reputation still suffering from the impact of Andy Todd's elbow on Robin Van Persie's face? Or.... is there a bit of a rough streak we'd rather not admit to?
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Date:Friday August 3 2007
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