Only Room For One Principal Boy

Ted Robbins and Jim Bowen and the like must be cursing Blackburn Rovers and Venkys these days.

After years of cornering the market for leading roles in the local pantomimes, they find themselves behind a hilarious new breed of mirth-making alternative comedians.

Step forward Prince Charming, Shebby Singh, the silver-tongued monogrammed shell-suited smoothie who has the ill-fitting replica shirt wearing chanters of such witty numbers as “Get Out Of Our Town“and “Gerrintoem” eating out of his jewel-encrusted hand.

In the wings, Agg and Dek, the ugly sisters who served their apprenticeship perfecting the Deepdale Duck role.

Fairy Godmother Anarudha, Dame Chicken with her bungling, idiot boy hen-pecked brothers.

Pure comedy gold. Or it would be if it was someone else’s club they were running.

Deadlines mean I had to pen this before Wednesday’s home game against Sheffield Wednesday and at the time of writing it seemed certain there would be no new manager in situ before that game.

At this rate Eric Black could end up with more games in charge as caretaker than Tony Parkes racked up in six separate spells at the helm spread over 18 years.

In fairness to Black, he sounded as fed up as anyone with the lack of progress in the search for Steve Kean’s successor and as frustrated as any of us at the apparent lack of any kind of coherent strategy aimed at finding the man.

Nearly four weeks after Kean’s departure and a week after a short list was drawn up, have we actually spoken to anyone? Offered the job to anyone? How long does it take?

In a bizarre development this week, one candidate seems to have been identified, sounded out then promptly veto’ed by fan pressure.

I’ve no idea whether Billy McKinlay would make a decent manager or not, just as I had no idea whether Howard Kendall would.

He was an average player who didn’t ever quite give the impression of busting a gut to declare himself fit for battle, particularly in our relegation season under Brian Kidd.

But if that was who the club had researched and identified, they should have people with the standing and courage of conviction to see the task through.

This “Oh, yes he is,” “Oh, no, he isn’t!” charade just makes us look foolish.

Bowing to pressure from a shouty fans’ group, and more or less playing out such squabbles in public, is not appropriate when Rovers are one of a handful of clubs seeking the best available manager.

The last time the fans congratulated themselves on influencing a non-appointment was, if I remember rightly, an “Anyone But Allardyce” Facebook campaign before Paul Ince was installed. So how did that one pan out, kids?

Suggestions that Shebby might attempt to placate the fans, following the humiliating lack of interest shown by number one target Tim Sherwood, by indulging Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s desire to finish the Norwegian season disappoint me.

Our season could be dead in the water by then.

My own preference would be for a no-nonsense guy with experience at this level, Mick McCarthy, Billy Davies or maybe even Ian Holloway – though I also don’t believe that just because it all came together for six months for a guy that it’s guaranteed to happen again. Ask Adie Boothroyd.

But the biggest obstacle in the way of bringing in a guy who brooks no nonsense and suffers fools not one whit is possibly the man co-ordinating the search himself.

Shebby seems to want a puppet, a stooge he can “groom” and be acclaimed as the man who discovered “the new Mourinho.”

Not a case of “He’s Right Behind You!” – more a case of wanting to be permanent principal boy.


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