I had to smile wryly to myself watching footage of Rovers
enthralling victory over Arsenal several
hours after the game last Saturday and noticing that the first person to
embrace manager Steve Kean after a rare victory was the club press officer!
There has been hardly a PR opportunity wasted since as the
beleaguered boss has made himself available for in-depth interviews with every
channel, station or motley collection of hitherto seething fans in a charm
offensive so far-reaching you would have thought he’d hired Max Clifford to
I am surprised he has not yet been on Oprah, Graham Norton, invited
on Dancing On Ice or named as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent.
Besides the two og’s which helped overcome the egregious Gunners,
the biggest own-goal seen at Ewood on Saturday was the arrival of the soggy few
protesters who turned out for the “Kean Out” demo clutching their little
placards chanting for the manager’s head, somehow feeling the need to point out
in song that said gaffer’s head is bald and that his midriff is not exactly in
need of a right tight belt.
(I guess that criteria rules yours truly out from ever applying
for the job).
At half-time, the organisers and those whom they recruited
had every reason to expect that the whole home contingent within the stadium
would be joining them in howling their bloodthirsty slogans at the end.
But that unanticipated and miraculous second-half turnaround
made the need for panic seem rather silly, vindicating to a degree those few
who have stood up for Kean in public and those many who probably agree that he
is not the man to lead us long-term but felt no compunction to march and
peremptorily chant for his removal four
games into a season and two matches after the transfer window shut.
Let me say here and now I had no love for Sam Allardyce but
wouldn’t have sacked him when Rovers did, I wouldn’t have considered Kean a
candidate to replace him and I would have been happy to have seen the Scotsman relieved of his duties at any stage.
But it was difficult
not to feel a little sympathy for him trying to do his job last week and hard
not to be at least a little pleased for him, the first time I have ever felt like that, that
he had silenced the more excessive clamouring for his sacking by the final
Let’s acknowledge the fact that Arsenal offered no more courage and resistance than
did Leyton Orient on Tuesday. It must be bad if Kean can rather patronisingly
hand out messages of support to Arsene Wenger in the wake of seeing the
Frechman’s team capitulate to save his own job.
But anyone who could come off that match – the most
exhilarating and viscerally involving 90 minutes seen at Ewood in a long, long
time – and not see at least some sign of better things ahead has a hard heart.
The contributions of Yakubu, Olsson, Dann, Hoilett, Lowe and
Rochina suggest that we ought not to be among the worse half dozen clubs in the
division. The performances of Vucjevic late on in the Arsenal game and against
Orient were intriguing and portend to exciting things to come.
One result doesn’t change Kean’s overall cachet or assuage
fears about some of the worrying situations behind the scenes at the club, although
you might have thought so listening to some of the confusion among those who
were keen to push their arguments forward in the media but found sadly wanting
in expressing them coherently when presented with the chance (Sample phone in
caller: “Yeah, at half-time I’d’ve sacked him but if he can get results like
that, he deserves a few more games.”).
But for once last weekend Kean had a big slice of that one
commodity his predecessor had in abundance which has eluded Kean – outrageous good
His most vocal detractors will be out in force if another
couple of defeats follow Saturday’s momentous victory and he knows better than
anyone that an isolated if tumultuous triumph is not enough.
But Rovers fans would do well to acknowledge that a poor
start, even in the Premiership era, is far from rare or a definitive harbinger
of impending doom. I have located around eight or nine campaigns where we had
one win from the first five matches, some seasons which began with with even
poorer runs, and only one ever ended in relegation.
Certainly one shudders to think what kind of
vitriol would be aimed at Kean if he presided over a run of nine defeats in 10
PL games, as Owen Coyle has done.
So expect the PR guff to go on for a week or two – whoopee ,
Venky’s are taking the Fans’ Forum to India! Everything’s hunky dory on Planet
Rovers! Goodness, some fans have back-tracked on the Kean Out ticket saying
what they wanted was “better communication from the owners.” I’d actually settle
for hearing less from them if what we heard made any sense.
And if you need something to be even happier about, at least
we can’t get drawn at Villa in the Carling Cup.
I have banned myself from Ebay and Amazon for a while – although my “basket” on Amazon, which I will buy with one click should I get a large advance for a book, win the lottery or ever get paid by that girl I did a few “lollipop” shifts for last year, would currently fill two of those really big trolleys you can get at Tesco,
So the early albums of John Hiatt, several missing Rothmans Football Yearbooks from my collection and the complete works of Harlan Ellison can wait.
But after being good for months, I couldn’t resist a cheeky couple of low-ceiling bids last week for John Cale’s 2006 Double Live Cd “Circus” and a triple Cd of Mott The Hoople’s triumphant 2009 Hammersmith reunion shows.
I then sheepishly told Lesley I had a couple of items to pay for. Not that she begrudges me an odd treat, she just knows that I am an incurable parcel junkie.
“What else have you bid for,” she asked.
“Well actually there was this 70’s Punk compilation….well, when I say compilation, I meant box set actually….it’s really good, it’s got the Dictators and Wire and lots of stuff you don’t come across….”
“Well I’ve bid…£19.99…but I won’t win it!..”
I did of course. For only £16.79! Bargain!
“You’ve seen the postage on this,” asked Lesley, waspishly.
“Mmm, £1.25? ”
That’s probably me finished for a bit. Thank goodness I lost out on Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers first album. And the bloody winning bid was only £3.24
I know I can listen to this stuff on Spotify but you don’t, like, get a parcel comes and then you don’t get to study the cover and the liner notes on Spotify.