As the excitement at the top of the Championship came to a climax, one club at the other end of the table decided to make their move.
Having avoided back-to-back relegations by the skin of their teeth, Blackburn Rovers have appointed Gary Bowyer as their new manager. This is a role that Bowyer should be familiar with, given that he has already been appointed as manager, albeit on a caretaker basis, twice since Christmas. Such is life at English football’s most dysfunctional club.
Sikka spoke to numerous figures involved in Lancashire’s most extraordinary soap opera, including the impeccably informed journalist Nick Harris and the remarkably uninformed Global Advisor Shebby Singh, in a bid to make sense of the chaos. But there is no sense to be made of this mess. Blackburn are out of control.
That’s not hyperbole either. That’s the view of the club themselves, through their own barrister in the recent court case against former manager Henning Berg (57 days). They lost the case, naturally, and had already sacked his successor, Michael Appleton (67 days) by its conclusion.
Bowyer (still in the job when we hit the ‘publish’ button, but you can’t be too careful) is a well-regarded coach who enjoyed one caretaker spell in the winter and survived another more challenging period in the Spring, but he has no chance of success here whatsoever. Not while the Venkys remain in control. You could reanimate Rinus Michels with 100,000 volts of lightning and this lot would sack him before October.
“The big challenge is to now not encourage mediocrity,” said Singh this week, ignoring the fact that mediocrity would be a considerable improvement. “In my opinion, Gary has the support of the majority at the club, unlike previous managers who were pretty much clueless.” Yes, that’s the same Shebby Singh who has been earning a fortune for supplying Venkys with advice while those ‘clueless’ previous managers have been hired and fired.
The film’s real laugh-so-hard-that-tea-comes-out-of-your-nose moment comes when Singh insists that Venkys matriarch Anuradha Desai is a powerful leader. “Madam is firm,” burbled Singh. “If I may say so, she is very, very firm.”
Bobbins. If she was firm, very, very firm, she’d have realised that Singh was a charlatan long ago and kicked him to the kerb. She’d have either sold the club or put it in the hands of someone who actually knew what they were doing. She certainly wouldn’t have (deep breath) taken on agent Jerome Anderson as an advisor, sacked non-Jerome Anderson client Sam Allardyce, replaced him with Jerome Anderson client Steve Kean, ignored Kean’s results, indulged Kean, protected Kean, brought in more advisors who would undermine and fatally compromise Kean just when he started to get results, and then sit back and watch while those same advisors made such an awful mess of his succession that the club may never, ever recover.
But it’s not all bad news. Because if there’s still anyone out there who believes that the Blackburn fans are to blame for all of this because they shouted at Kean in 2011, at least they’ll know how wrong they are now. And there’s really only one thing you can say to Bowyer now: Good luck!