9th - 15th Oct 06
Roll on Saturday and our away clash against Liverpool. It will be interesting to see what kind of role our departed striker Craig Bellamy will be playing. I think Bellamy is a great striker, but worry that he could become one of them players that chooses a club that is bigger than himself and does not amount the success at the highest level that he has craved. Hopefully things will work out for him, but if not, this could be what could happen to Lucas Neill if he were to go Liverpool or Barcelona. Playing for us he is playing for a big team and playing regular football, which is what every player wants, but moving to one of these giants could see him being frozen out due to the stiff top quality international competition.
Something that caught my eye today was a huge 'kerfuffle` that occurred during a second round League Cup clash against Chelsea in which we lost 6-3 in extra time. I can hear you thinking what the hell is he on about as it is the international break, but I can assure you Rovers played…in the Women`s Premier League Cup. Police were called in to provide referee Ross Joyce a safe passage out of the Shawbridge ground due to controversy caused by Joyce sending off two Rovers players, Amanda Barr and Linda Shepherd. Fears grew for his safety after the crowd of over two-hundred mounted strong protests against his decisions, the protest coming from Chelsea fans as well as ours. Click Here for Full Article Come on girls, they could do with our support after all and deserve the respect and publicity that they are aiming to forge. Also, women are often caught eyeing up the men whilst they play and giving their comments, so you chaps out there can do the same, not that I`m sexist at all.
I am starting to sense that it is only a matter of time before Mark Bowen will be on his way to start a fresh challenge, this time as the man in charge at another club. He has done a fine job as our number two and you can not blame him for wanting to try his hand at being numero uno after all! He is still being linked as a main contender to take charge at the vacant Norwich City post. In fact odds of him becoming the next Canaries manager are 9/4 at the bookies and perhaps this is backed by the fact that he was a fans favourite there, playing one game shy of three-hundred. Chairman John Williams has no intention of letting him go which is good and has said there has been no contact from Norwich, which he feels will not be welcome anyway. Obviously I want him to stay but would feel bad for him if he really wanted to and felt ready to try his hand at being a manager but was to be denied the opportunity. Click Here for Full ArticleSaturday saw mixed results in the football for the British national teams playing. I was hoping for better from England as they were held to a goalless draw against Macedonia, Wales lost 5-1 to Slovakia, but Scotland heroically beat France 1-0 in a game which people felt would not be possible, but I had a sneaky feeling that Scotland would get some kind of result before the match. As with Wales, Republic of Ireland also lost heavily to Cyprus 5-2. Of our Blackburn players that played, Aaron Mokoena was the biggest success story scoring the only for South Africa against Zambia in the African Cup of Nations, his first goal in fifty-eight appearances. Lucas Neill`s Australia drew 1-1 against Paraguay with both our Aussie`s playing a full ninety minutes. With Neill being captain for that match, he became Australia`s fiftieth captain. As for Georgian player Zurab Khizanishvili, I bet he wishes he stayed back here and did some extra training as he saw himself sent off during the 2-0 defeat to Germany. Andre Ooijer set up Holland`s equaliser in their 1-1 draw with Bulgaria and Morten Gamst Pedersen's Norway lost to Greece 1-0 but they still remain top of their group. Click Here for Full Article
Tuesday 10th October 06
Good news between the sticks, Brad Friedel is expected to be fit for Saturday`s game against Liverpool. Hughes is confident that he will be fit for the clash, which I`m sure will be a highly entertaining match and a win is always possible, lets go for four out of four wins! It will however I`m sure be a disappointment for Jason Brown after making a memorable debut with that penalty and double rebound save.Francis Jeffers has spoke of how he is enjoying his time here at Rovers and wants to help us climb the table. It is fair to say that his career had gone a little stale the last couple of seasons and he never really got going since leaving Arsenal, well in fact never had it happening at Arsenal after leaving Everton. He has had a decent start for us and has been moving about the pitch well, with a decent touch. He is right in thinking that if he plays well he will stay in the team, as that is the way it works at Ewood Park as he has acknowledged and things are fair. He is enjoying his time and all he is lacking is a goal, which will come in time probably.
Wednesday 11th October 06
Former Rovers player Jon Stead who left to go Sunderland last summer is set to go out on loan to derby. He joined the Black Cats for £1.8m but unfortunately for him and all the Sunderland fans, things have not worked out for him with not netting until his twenty-ninth appearance.
The people upstairs at Rovers have been very generous this season so far with their special offers and this latest offer could be the cream of the crop, if you are a season ticket holder that is. I think I might start calling them o2 with all these special offers, as I have had many rewards with them this season, the latest being £50 credit as a result of my pay as you go upgrade reward for staying with them ha. Anyway, if you are a season ticket holder, you will be able to watch both home UEFA group stage matches for a one off payment of £15 and junior and senior citizen holders will get both for £5…bargain!
John Williams believes that season ticket holders are very important to the club as they invest a lot of their hard earned money and he wants them to benefit the best they can for doing so. He also understands that progressing in Europe can be expensive for fans, having to produce extra funds to follow their team, so wants it to be more affordable so fans can experience and share the moment. Hughes is hoping that the increase in fans at these ties can create the same atmosphere to lift the players as was created in the second leg home tie against Salzburg.Thursday 12th October 06
Due to our hectic UEFA group schedule, the FA League has kindly agreed to postpone our November 25th match with Watford due to a request by both parties. The higher powers of Rovers originally sought permission to move the game back 24 hours, but Watford were unable to agree due to their own commitments, so it has been decided that a new date will have to be arranged and be confirmed.
After the international break, all our players have now returned ready to train for the big match ahead on Saturday against Liverpool. Usually I like to reflect on each players international appearances but on the whole they were all quite successful with our Aussies Lucas Neill and Brett Emerton and Dutch defender Andre Ooijer representing for winning teams. Georgian Zurab Khizanishvili was on a losing team and Jason Brown was an unused substitute for a triumphant winning Welsh side.
With Lucas Neill having been away on international duty, Hughes has not been able to progress with contract talks. Despite Neill supposedly again expressing his desire to leave, Hughes is saying there has been no developments with his future. I find it strange the fact that when he is in England representing the club that he is a true professional and not much is said about contracts or especially about his personal thoughts, yet when he goes away for international duty, comments start appearing. I`m not saying this is what happens as he might be saying what is printed, but it makes me wonder if his words could be taken out of context or people might be putting words in his mouth. Hughes himself has commented about words being taken out of context whilst being away.Hughes also has no doubts about giving Neill the captain`s armband and basically given his reasons as those of any other manger e.g. by the way Neill has played over the years, his attitude in training and he thinks he has done a great job. Hughes is also backing Craig Bellamy to come good for Liverpool and that he deserved his goal whilst proudly representing as Welsh captain. Hopefully his fortunes will not turn good against us.
Friday 13th October 06
Today Lucas Neill has told of how he wants to 'Stick it up` Liverpool when we face them tomorrow. To me this sounds like the kind of comment you would use in an insult but he says that he means this in the nicest possible way! He has again talked of his current contract with us and is this time sounding more professional saying that unless he is told otherwise he will be a Rovers player until at least the end of season. After this though he comments about moving onto bigger and better things and if this does not happen then he will have to re-sign for us! How does he know that this season will not be bigger and better things and that we will not finish above Liverpool. How would he feel about leaving to go Liverpool if we have a better season than them and achieve BIGGER AND BETTER THINGS?
Hughes has again spoke about former striker Craig Bellamy and how he feels it`s only a matter of time before he finally scores for Liverpool. If Hughes keeps talking like this, he is bound to haunt us and score, perhaps a winning goal; hopefully not though. Hughes is however right though that a player of Bellamy`s ability, who scored 13 goals for us last term in a season that was troubled with team injuries will come good. He is always a threat and exciting to watch when he is at his best. I remember his two goals against Portsmouth last season, the first being a fine, in fact brilliant individual goal.Saturday 14th October 06
Today is big match day and before the match I thought to myself if we at least got a draw then the results should keep coming our way. Click Here for Full Article We have some tough matches coming up with the likes of high fliers Bolton and Manchester United. Even West Ham will be a tough match. I know they have lost the last six games now after today`s defeat, but we all know that they are a better team than they have. Anyway, I feel that the season can only get better, yet we can`t win them all and although we are having a good run, the bubbles got to burst eventually and we will lose some matches like every other team. We are capable of a good season as I feel we have a stronger team than last year.
Today`s draw was a good result Click Here for Full Article, perhaps a little disappointing that we took the lead and did not hold it, but you can`t scoff at a draw against the quality of Liverpool, especially playing away to them. Hughes was happy with the result as some good quality football was played and he thinks it could perhaps be the best we`ve played all season. Obviously if we keep playing like that and also have a little lady luck on our side, which every team needs a little of then we should get the results we desire. I had a feeling that Bellamy might open his Liverpool account against us, but at least it was not a winner. It was good to see Benni McCarthy on the score sheet again, what a brilliant signing.Talking of McCarthy, he has said that he will stay loyal to us and that he would not be here if it was not for Bellamy. The fact that Hughes was persistent in trying to get him for over a year and also that his dream was to play in England is why he is with us. He said that if he does well, which we all know he is and a big club made a move for him, it would be up to them what happens as playing for us has given him his chance and he wants to remain loyal. I guess he is also enjoying his time and football here. Click Here for Full Article
Zurab Khizanishvili played a great match for us, earning himself a man of the match award, far from last season when we went Anfield and he was wrongfully sent off. He was sent off after half an hour and the red was rightfully withdrawn after the match, but never the less was still a blow for him and us. He said that we went there today looking for at least the point which we got and we are still in the top ten. Click Here for Full Article
Bad news with Steven Reid! He is to have another scan on his back injury which he picked up whilst playing an international against Germany and has not played since our third match of the season. Hopefully the problem can be diagnosed and resolved soon. Fingers crossed that it will be something small and niggling that is simple to fix. Click Here for Full ArticleSunday 15th October 06
I still feel yesterday`s draw was a good and valuable point, but Robbie Savage however is disappointed with just the draw and feels we deserved to win and played exceptionally well, especially in the first half. I guess he has a point and also when you are playing and feel you deserved something more and did not get it, you do feel let down. Our next match is on Thursday away to Polish outfit Wisla Krakow. Savage feels that to become a force in the leagues and in Europe, they need to continue with the fine form and that we need to be more like Liverpool who do it year in and year out.
Due to failing to bring in a left-back during the summer, Lucas Neill is being forced to play out-of-position so far this term. An option to solve this problem which has been presenting itself is the availability of Paraguayan defender Jorge Nunez, who cancelled his contract at Uruguayan side Estudiantes, so has become available on a free transfer. We do however face competition from Manchester City and Sheffield United. United are now battling it out with us and have invited him to a trial with the option of a short term contract, should he impress. I don`t know much about him myself, but as he will not cost anything, he could be worth a try and we need someone in his position. If we were able to get him and he was not up to scratch, then we could simply send him on his way in next to no time at the end of a short contract.