Who would be a football manager?… Sir Alex Ferguson once said ‘dealing with stress is always there for everyone in different ways. How you deal with it does make a difference.’ This is normally a diagnosis I agree with but the case of Steve Kean at Blackburn Rovers bucks this trend.
Kean became Blackburn manager after Sam Allardyce’s sacking by Venky’s, the hapless owners at Ewood Park. He was initially appointed caretaker manager on December 22nd 2010, as the owners looked for a new and more attractive style of football than had been played under ‘Big Sam.’
In the new year Kean signed a three-year contract. It would be fair to say that rarely has a man had to put up with so much criticism from his own fans.
A mixture of enormous expectations and massive inexperience has meant Kean faced a near impossible task of being a success at Blackburn. There were rumours of signing Ronaldinho, the cripplingly embarrassing chicken advert, and bad result after bad result. How was Kean meant to change the style of play with the same squad and no funds to add to it? He has got the best out of Junior Hoilett, a player who looked restricted under Allardyce but, despite his best attempts, Kean is fighting a losing battle.
Last night, Blackburn lost another home game to a team they were expected to beat and as such Kean has surely managed his last game for Rovers. The boos at the interval and full-time were amidst thousands of voices booming ‘KEAN OUT,’ banners proclaiming his record of seven wins in thirty-seven (now thirty-eight) matches, and local newspapers with headlines asking for Kean’s sacking. What can a man do?
Kean has said this morning he would be surprised if he was sacked. I don’t know why he puts himself through these strains. He must have the broadest shoulders in football. Although he has lost the fans in Lancashire, he has won the support and admiration of every true football fan in the country.
By Luke Lambert