Wednesday, 24 February 2016

My Lancashire Telegraph column - Weds 24th Feb

What's going on at Ewood Park these days? My mecca and an essential part of my and my friends life since I first went in 1974.

I cannot recall thinner gruel than the last 5 years. I was coming back through Instanbul when we lost 5-1 last weekend to the Hammers. I was relaxing in one of those pubs in the new connected world which had every game, everywhere on every TV all at once. And I wasn't the only Rovers fan either!

As we watched the Rovers crash out of the FA cup we agreed it was indeed desperate times. Hard to recall a lower ebb for the club? Perhaps the end of Kidd regime but Souness quickly turned that squad around. Probably the Paul Shepstone era, season 1991 where we finished 19th, just 2 points above relegation from the championship and with the 3rd poorest goal difference. Two wins - away at Barnsley on the 23rd April and a 3-1 home victory against ironically West Ham four day laters saved us.

As the Hammers knock in the next goal the bitterness of how did we end up in this situation takes forefront. Defeats to (----------) after 37 years of never losing to them is the most painful of reminder of how bad things are. And of course the 5th March looms.

At least we beat West Ham in 1991 but watching the current hammers slot in another brought up the subject of controversial wonder manager, Steve Kean. Fans are right to point to his failures as the principle architect of our current plight.

What is galling is fans saw it coming and did something - they quite rightly protested. John Williams the biggest loss. All the more bitter as our cause was hindered by the football mafia. In particular David Moyes after the Bolton game as well as Alan Hansen fawning over the calamitous Steve Kean every week ("premiership coach wanted by every other club") on Match of the Day. The printed media joining in the mateocracy, defending their private privileged football cabal. Only the LT was brave enough to call it as it was.

Like politics, football is full of know-it-alls. A world of over confidence, littered with delusion. Not very bright managers who will often fail before realising they have failed. The collective conscience of fans is never far from the truth and a brave manager will listen. I cringe when watching the Keano Hong Kong video.

The owners have pumped silly money into the club but why have they taken such a kamikaze approach? A revolving door of self confident misfits (players and staff) offering spurious advice whilst wasting £miilions. When will they see sense and put someone senior and local on the board? I personally think Jack Straw would be an ideal person.

As the final Hammers goal goes in it is clear Rovers future is precarious. Indian money propping up a team unlikely to threaten the play offs next season never mind this at this rate. At least the defeats on the telly are better than the long traipse home I and other Rovers fans have had to endure for the last 5 years.

Please can we have our Rovers back.