By Nick Harris
SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year
3 October 2011
Blackburn Rovers’ Indian owners will be told in the coming days by senior executives based in Blackburn that many of the club’s staff and some of the players have lost confidence in Steve Kean’s ability to turn around the crisis at Ewood Park, sportingintelligence has learned.
Blackburn are going on a mini tour of India this week, with a friendly scheduled for Friday in Pune – and an advanced party from Ewood Park have already touched down in India today (Monday). The team fly out on Tuesday evening by private jet, arriving in India on Wednesday and scheduled to return on Sunday.
Rovers have won just three of the last 21 Premier League matches, and were thrashed 4-0 at home by Manchester City on Saturday. The game was punctuated by ‘Kean Out’ chants, and there were anti-Kean banners on display – and a post-match sit-in protest by around 300 Rovers fans.
The Rao family who control Rovers’ parent company, Venkys, is headed by Anuradha Desai, who owns the club along with her brothers, Venky and Balaji. Mrs Desai has ultimate control over all key decisions and she has given Kean her full backing, and up to this point continues to do so.
But she will learn within 24 hours from those who actually work at Blackburn and see the day-to-day activity at the club that Kean no longer has the backing of everyone at Rovers. And while most of the players have been supportive in recent months, cracks are starting to show, sources say. There are concerns about tactics now as well as results, once source says.
Mrs Desai has until now believed Kean can turn things around, to the extent that no firm contingency plans have been made. The rationale is that while Rovers remain in touch with fellow struggling clubs, they can still pull clear with a decent run.
That run is showing no signs of materialising, hence the call from some quarters for Mrs Desai to consider change.
As Mrs Desai hasn’t contemplated change, there is no short list, though some fans would welcome the return of Mark Hughes. That might not appeal to Mrs Desai because of the all the attendance baggage now Hughes is represented by Kia Joorabchian.