Who will be Blackburn Rovers next manager?

Blackburn Rovers are searching for their second manager of the season after sacking Henning Berg after just 10 games in charge.

Berg, was only given 57 days but the board have decided that he is not the right man to take the club forward. Firstly, I would just say that I did not think this was a good appointment in the first place and although a lot of Blackburn fans will disagree with me, I thought Steve Kean was actually doing quite well for them this season. He had got a good squad together and they were picking up points and would have challenged for at least the playoffs. But, he was sacked and now Berg has joined him in the unemployed managers list. After playing 159 league games for Blackburn and being part of their title winning side, it was expected he was going to be given more time as the fans would surely have good memories of him as a player and believe he would want to be the man to get them back into the division that he once won with them. However, in his 10 games he only managed one win and the club has slipped down the table at an alarming rate. So, who can stop the slump and turn the club around?

Kevin MacDonald is currently the favourite to get the job and I do not think this appointment will excite the fans and this is not being disrespectful to MacDonald but the only experience of being a manager is two spells as a caretaker at Aston Villa and Leicester City. He has been a good assistant over the years but only 12 games as manager and only three wins is not what the club should be looking at right now. In his 12 games he also suffered a 6-0 defeat to Newcastle United.
But, even more remarkably Judan Ali has also been linked with the job and this would be ridiculous, so if this is MacDonald’s only genuine competition then he will surely get the job. Not a lot is known about Ali and this would certainly end in disaster. I am not saying Blackburn players are egotistical but they will not respond well to this unknown person coming into the club and telling them what to do. Apparently, Ali is a Bollywood star but if he does get the job this would be his biggest challenge yet.

Finally, Mark Hughes is also linked with the job, but to be honest I cannot see this happening , simply because I don’t think he will talk to the owners after seeing what they have done in the last few years. He would be a great choice and he would certainly bring a bit more respectability to the role but unfortunately for Rovers fans they may be the laughing stock of football once again when the new manager is announced. An interesting side point though is if Mark Hughes wants to get back into management, will he have to drop into the Championship?

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Who will be Blackburn Rovers next manager?

Steve Kean has finally left Blackburn Rovers after months and months of unrest at the Championship club and the fans have finally got what they wanted.

Yes, I agree with them he definitely shouldn’t have been in charge for as long as he was and when things weren’t going right in the Premier League he should have gone but some of them went about it in the wrong way and just showed how fickle football fans are, one minute they were singing, ‘We are top of the league’ then when the results weren’t going well, ‘Kean out.’ I am glad he has gone because now the club can go forward and the fans will return to Ewood Park and support their team, but if they do end up getting promoted then Kean deserves a lot of credit because he has assembled a decent squad and his signings in the summer were good, in particular Danny Murphy, Dickson Etuhu and Jordan Rhodes. However, only 21 wins in 74 games is not good enough, so who will replace him?

The favourite is Tim Sherwood, who was their captain in 1995 when they won the Premier League title so he obviously knows what it is like to be around the club when everyone is happy and things are going their way. Sherwood could bring the good times back but it would be very risky in my opinion because this would be first managerial job and his lack of experience could work against him, especially in the Championship when there are a lot of managers that know what they are doing in the division. However, he has worked under some good managers in Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas Boas so if he ever needed advice he could ask them and I’m sure he will have a lot of contacts in the game so he could make some shrewd loan signings, if needed.

The next person linked with the role is also someone that was part of that title winning side and that man is Alan Shearer. Shearer, does have a little more experience than Sherwood but his short spell in charge of Newcastle United ended in relegation after losing five of his eight games in charge. I’m sure the fans would take to him as he was a legend at the club and scored goals for fun at the club so they would hope he would get the best out of their strikers, in particular, Jordan Rhodes, who has been branded the next Alan Shearer.

Finally, someone that may not be as popular but would get results in my opinion and that man is Mick McCarthy. He may not be a big name or even someone that would excite fans but he knows what he is doing and has achieved some sort of success everywhere he has been. Gaining promotion from the Championship isn’t easy and he has done it with both Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers, both times winning the league in the process so he obviously knows exactly what is needed unlike his rivals for the post.

Will Joey Barton leave QPR on loan this summer?

Joey Barton looks set to leave QPR at least on loan this summer after he was given a lengthy ban at the end of last season.

Barton played 26 times last season scoring 3 goals for QPR

There is no doubting Barton’s footballing ability as he can on his day be one of the best box to box midfielders in the country and can be very influential on the pitch so it is not surprising that a lot of clubs would like to have him. The advantage of him going out on loan to a Championship or possibly even lower club is that his ban will run out quicker and will be available to Mark Hughes a lot sooner than if he stayed at the club. But surely teams interested in him would surely want him at least till January and could he make a difference to their team and if QPR were willing to pay his wages for the duration of the loan spell then it could be a win-win situation for everyone involved. Some people will be against him joining their club because of his reputation and the fact that he has been given more than one chance but if he joined your club and played excellently for a long run of games and helped you get promoted would you be complaining then? Opinions in football change very quickly and this could definitely happen with Joey Barton.

So first off, the club that surprisingly looks the most likely to sign him is newly promoted to the Football League Fleetwood Town. He is currently training there and would obviously be a fantastic addition to their squad and would probably help financially as a lot people may buy tickets to watch Barton play. Or possibly watch him implode on the pitch? As much as I would love to see this happening, it is unlikely as I can’t see him dropping down to League 2 but there is always a chance especially if he enjoys the training sessions and gets on with the players and staff.

More realistically though I could see him signing for Blackburn Rovers who have just been relegated to the Championship so they do still have some quality players and will be looking to bounce back on their first attempt. This transfer as alluded to earlier may not sit well with the fans, and Steve Kean doesn’t have the greatest of rapport with them anyway so I would personally advice him not to add fuel to the fire and sign Barton but if he does perform for them, he will win them points and they could be crucial come the end of the season.

Finally, Blackpool are also linked with him and this could be fantastic for both club and player because manager Ian Holloway is known for giving players a new start. Holloway is a brilliant man manager and gets the best out of his players and they seem to overachieve every single season and it just seems like a fun laidback place to play so maybe that would help keep Barton calm. Blackpool play football the right way and the one time England international would certainly fit into their team.

Who will be relegated from the Premier League?

The battle at the bottom is going to be one of the best ever with five teams all struggling to string together a set of results that will pull them away from the danger zone.

Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, QPR and Wolves are the five teams and it will probably go to the last day to decide who is going to play Championship football next season. With only four points separating them, it could even be decided by goal difference. So who is the most likely to stay up.

Let’s start with bottom of the table Wigan. Out of the five teams they are the favourites to go down because they are the smallest club and have always struggled in the Premier League. However, this could work to their advantage as some teams may not take them as seriously as they should. They also have some good players and have been in this situation before and survived, it was only a few seasons ago they stayed up on the last day which shows when it comes down to it they can hold their nerve. They have a good goalkeeper in Ali Al-Habsi and he should be playing for a better team as he has performed brilliantly for the club and it wouldn’t surprise me if he left in the summer even if they did stay up. Wigan play some good football and probably only need a proven goal scorer but these are difficult to find. Hugo Rodallega is a decent player but he will not score enough goals, Victor Moses, another very good player but he will not be a consistent goal scorer.

Blackburn have just beaten Wolves and this shows that when it comes down to it, they are up for the fight. Their manager Steve Kean has been written off multiple times this season but the players seem to be playing for him and are very much behind him. They also have some very good players and what maybe the other teams don’t have is a proven goal scorer. Yakubu has arguably been the signing of the season and if they stay up he should receive a lot of praise. They also have Morten Gamst Pedersen and Junior Hoilett in their midfield and these two can change a game in the blink of an eye, they both have fantastic technique and have also got a few goals in them.

Bolton also secured a massive three points when they beat QPR with a very late goal from Ivan Klasnic. They shouldn’t really be in this position but most teams in the league will struggle when they have their two best players out injured for most of the season. Lee Chung Yong and Stuart Holden give the team so much quality and it would be difficult to replace them especially when they don’t have the biggest budgets. However, they do have Nigel Reo Coker and Mark Davies in their midfield and if Bolton go down then surely these two will still be Premier League players after the summer because they can control a game from the middle of the park.

Wolves are in real danger in my opinion because they have given Terry Connor the responsibility of guiding the club away from the danger zone. I am not slating him but in a situation like this you want a manger with experience. Also, putting in the assistant to me is a bad choice because it is like the old regime is still in the club and maybe something new would have given everyone a lift. Steven Fletcher has had a good season for the club but he has lacked the support, Kevin Doyle works hard but has not scored enough goals, and Sylvain Ebanks Blake is not a Premier League striker at all. The problem with Wolves is that they cannot defend and concede some very sloppy goals, Wayne Hennessey deserves praise this season because he has gained the team points and also kept the score lines down which could prove vital at the end of the season.

QPR have a good team, a good manger and the backing of the board so it seems that everything should be going well at the club but for some reason it hasn’t actually worked out. If QPR do go down there will be a lot of what ifs asked, for example what if Warnock stayed in charge would we have stayed up? The signings they made in January should have kept them up safely with Djibril Cisse and Bobby Zamora coming in to provide some much needed firepower. The defence is still a worry though as Clint Hill is still first choice, and he is not a Premier League defender. In the Bolton game they didn’t have much luck but you don’t get much at the bottom anyway.

I am not sure on who will go down and my opinion will change now on a weekly basis, but looking at QPR’s fixture list they seem to be in a lot of trouble but football is a strange game and anything can happen so it will be enjoyable for all the neutrals but for the fans involved it will be agony.

The fight for survival

Blackburn showed they have enough team spirit and determination about them to successfully battle against relegation this season.

They have beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford and now without their best centre back Chris Samba who looks like he could be leaving in the transfer window they beat Fulham at home 3-1. Adding to this, their top scorer Yakubu got sent off which must have left the Blackburn fans with the sinking feeling of here we go again. But the team pulled through and beat a Fulham side who had been on a decent run themselves and in their last league game came from behind to beat Arsenal.

It shouldn’t be all doom and gloom at Blackburn, yes the board made a terrible decision in sacking Sam Allardyce and maybe Steve Kean should have been sacked but there is definitely quality in this Rovers side and this includes some good young promising players.

Martin Olsson at left back is only 23 and is a very capable player and I wouldn’t be surprised if he played for a top team in the league because he adds a lot going forward with his pace and also his defending is improving as he is getting more experienced. Grant Hanley, the player that scored the winning goal at Old Trafford reminds me of Phil Jones and he could be set to follow in his footsteps and leave the club for a very good price. Although this isn’t what the fans want, if the club sell some of their young assets they can add experience to the squad which would help the team in their scrap at the bottom.

Players that are experienced players in the squad such as Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Dunn are very good players and could fit into most sides that are in the bottom half of the Premier League. They both scored in the win over Fulham and they could have a big say in whether Blackburn are playing in the Premier League or Championship next season.

Up front they do look lightweight with only Yakubu scoring the goals for them but Ruben Rochina who is only 20 has provided real moments of quality at times this season but probably because he is only young he has been inconsistent however I see a bright future in the game for him. He possesses a rocket of a left foot and looks very good on the ball therefore he will surprise a few defenders this season. They also have David Goodwillie who has not acclimitised to the Premier League yet but if he can reproduce some of his form from his days in the SPL then he may be a good addition to the squad. His goal against Newcastle in the FA cup would have done him the world of good.

The most promising player at the club is Junior Hoilett and the proof of this is that he is linked to some of the best clubs in the Premier League, most noticeably Tottenham. His pace and trickery are his main assets but the reason why Blackburn have to keep him is that he is very unpredictable and is the only player in the squad that can really make the Ewood Park faithful get up of their seats. If Blackburn are to stay up this year, they need to keep hold of their 21 year old winger.

They think it’s all over…. Not yet for Kean

Well I was going to write about a comfortable victory for Manchester United and talk about how impressive it is that they have scored 1500 goals in the Premier League which they did through Dimitar Berbatov but there is an even better story coming out of Old Trafford today.

Blackburn beating United 3-2 and in all honesty probably deserved a result because of their commitment to their manager. Steve Kean deserves a huge round of applause because he has kept his team focused and they all seem to be playing for him which hasn’t been the case at other clubs over the years. One of the most memorable is Craig Bellamy’s public falling out with Graeme Souness while at Newcastle United. But the Blackburn players have stood by their manager when it seems every fan is slamming him.

With a point at Anfield and a win at Old Trafford surely the fans will lay off Kean now because he deserves a break and if he keeps Blackburn in the Premier League it will be a great achievement. The fans are supposed to be the 12th man at every club, but at Ewood Park it seemed like the players lost confidence because of their fans, therefore it’s not surprising that the team are finding solace away from home.

Yakubu looks like a fantastic signing and guess who signed him from Everton? Yes that’s right it was Steve Kean and he has arguably been the signing of the season alongside Demba Ba of Newcastle. It is hard to pick a man of the match for any away team that wins at Old Trafford but for me it is a straight up battle between the striker and the powerful centre back Chris Samba.

How he hasn’t been signed for one of the big clubs I will never know because he is a fantastic defender and also offers a lot in the opposition box, winning the penalty today. If Arsene Wenger has seen this performance he must be tempted to put a bid in for him in the January transfer window.

Steve Kean deserves a medal for what he has had to put up with this season from the Blackburn fans so hopefully this result will get them off his back even if it is only for a short while.

Finally, I would just like to praise the performance of the referee, even though on the whole Mike Dean was pretty poor and gave some interesting decisions, he was a lot stronger than most at Old Trafford. He gave the penalty which was quite blatant but time and time again we have seen those waved away and he could have also called for a foul on the hapless David De Gea for the winner as he came for a corner and got nowhere near it.

So a big well done to Mike Dean but even more so to Steve Kean.