It’s Going To Be This Way For A Long, Long Time: My Dear Blackburn Rovers

Posted on January 15, 2014



It’s half time at the Etihad Stadium, and Alvaro Negredo has just put Manchester City 1-0 up against Blackburn Rovers. As a Blackburn fan, that’s not so bad. City have been nigh on unstoppable at home this season, averaging almost four goals a game. FOUR. This is a season where they have played Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton at home, among many others. To average two goals a game would be impressive, let alone double that. So, for a club such as Blackburn to be one down at half time isn’t really that bad. We’re a mid-table Championship side after all, with a young side. A young side full of unproven players, of failed Premier league youth prospects who can only improve. This’ll do.

It wasn’t always like this though, and I’m not even harking back to the league winning side of 1994/95. That’s too far in the past to be relevant in any way. I’m talking of a mere five years back. In the 2008/09 season, Sam Allardyce finished it in charge after Paul Ince’s brief tenure, they finished 15th in the Premier league and were knocked out of this very same FA Cup in the 5th round. Benni McCarthy was our top scorer with a not-too-shabby 13 goals. The squad was full of experienced professionals and genuine top-quality players. Chris Samba and Ryan Nelson were at the heart of the defence. Tugay, the greatest player to ever lace up a pair of football boots, pulled the strings in the midfield. McCarthy and Roque Santa Cruz were, on paper, a damn fine strike pairing. Sure, the 08/09 season looked a little nervy at times, but there was good reason for optimism, and if not optimism then at least something approaching stability for a while.

We all know the story from there. Venkys came in, Allardyce went out, the dark times of Steve Kean began and before you know it, relegation was upon Blackburn Rovers. Players that were once Premier quality became half-arsed slackjobs. Far from challenging for immediate promotion back, Blackburn struggled all of last season, going through managers quicker than I go through crisps. Kean left, Henning Berg came and went, the same said for Michael Appleton. Gary Bowyer is in charge now, a chap who looks like you might bump into him at the Pinewood. Stability has arrived, but stability is late, and it’s presence is much like that of a stressed friend. A friend who is supposed to stop you from drinking. You find yourself in a bar, faced with alcohol, and you make a frantic call to this friend. They tell you they’ll be right there. Hours later, they turn up, just as you are sending your fourth text to god knows who with your auto-correct set to Serbian. 

It’s going to be like this for a long time. Todays squad is full of talented players, but we are now of the stature that a particularly good season for a Tom Cairney or a Josh King will see them moving onto pastures new, holding a scarf with whoever happens to be managing Stoke or something. Jordan Rhodes is as good as gone, but we’ve known this for a long time. The head chef at the Oak is also a Blackburn fan, and we’ve reached the point where we are saying we don’t mind him being sold, as long as he isn’t sold to someone like Wigan, Bolton or Leeds. We don’t mind him going to Aston Villa, oh that’s fine. Almost holding on to a 0-0 at half-time at the Etihad is as good as it’s going to get unfortunately.

It’s 2-0 now. 

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