Following the sudden resignation of Steve Kean from Blackburn Rovers yesterday, it finally brings to an end his turbulent reign at the club. Sadly it doesn’t spell the end of the problems at the club as many fans see it, which began when Venky’s originally purchased Rovers.
The news throughout yesterday had changed from Kean feeling upbeat about talks with the owners of the club to Kean resigning stating that his position had become untenable.
In his full statement issued by his lawyers, Kean said, “For reasons I cannot discuss on legal advice, it is with deep regret, given my hard work and service for the club for a number of years that I have been forced to resign as manager with immediate effect due to my position as team manager becoming untenable. I wish to thank all the players and coaching staff for their great support and the majority of the fans, who now see their club heading towards an automatic promotion position back to the Premiership. I wish the club all the very best for the future.”
His statement thanks “the majority of the fans” and intimates that they see that the club is heading back to the Premiership next season. If only the game of football was so easy to predict then the club wouldn’t have been relegated last season. Even towards the end of last season Kean was quoted as saying, “I didn’t expect it to come to this. We have to make sure we stay up. I’m still convinced we can do it.”
The club’s managing director, Derek Shaw, said Venky’s were “very disappointed” by Kean’s resignation.
The secretary of the Blackburn Rovers Action Group responded to the news. Their secretary, Mark Fish, is quoted as saying: “I am delighted. It’s been a long 12 months for all involved and I never thought I’d see the day when he went. The supporters are liberated and free of Steve Kean. I am just enjoying the fact that he has gone.
“He has treated the supporters with contempt. We’ve got 8,000 to 9,000 boycotting and empty seats are one thing he can’t mask. I have longed for this.”
Considering the turbulent reign of Venky’s Rovers, the question of course now stands who would be ready to step into Kean’s shoes. Anybody watching the battle for Premiership survival, the fan protest groups, the lack of communication from the owners of the club and the frustration in many quarters about what fans see as a series of poor decisions or, indeed, lack of decisions and still willing to take on the club would be a brave manager.
The club needs to rebuild quickly and with vision. The last 18 months have done nothing but damage to the reputation of the club and the internal and external wrangling have ripped out its heart.
Venky’s have some of the biggest questions to answer, having appointed the manager in the first place and continuing to stand by him as the fortunes of the famous team fell off a cliff, with the final insult of relegation.
When many expected Kean to be removed from his post on several instances, he seemed to have the ability to survive every onslaught.When a manager needs to employ protection staff, then the question has to be asked as to whether the owners are acting as employers with the interests of the business at heart or if the relationship had become clouded.
Fans appear to be staying away from the club, whilst sponsors leave, leaving the club with less money and a worsening public perception. The owners originally promised Champions League and delivered Championship instead. Bidding for high profile stars, who in the end were not persuaded for the case to support Blackburn with their names.
If Venky’s remain in ownership of the club, then they have to find the right manager to reach the Premiership and demonstrate that they can be forgiven for perceived poor decision making so far. It could be a long and difficult road.