“We won’t get relegated – absolutely no chance.” – Steve Kean, November 2011.
“I think we need two wins and a draw.” Steve Kean, April 2012.
This from home games against Norwich and Wigan with trips to Spurs and Chelsea thrown in? Good luck with that. Relegation is beginning to look nailed on and the inevitable questions to be asked could be endless. Why haven’t Venky’s invested like they said they would? Why have players been sold and replaced by inferior ones? What happened to European football? You could go on forever.
While Venky’s have clearly misled the fans, Steve Kean’s role in this sorry shambles can’t be ignored – despite the best efforts of certain folk in the media.
Perhaps the worst recent example of this was the Daily Mirror’s Brian Reade, who treated us to some real gems.
“If Steve Kean keeps Blackburn up but doesn’t win Manager of the Year there is only one course of action open to the man who does,” wrote Read. “Decline it, on the grounds that the adversity Kean has overcome, and the manner in which he has overcome it, has done more for their profession’s reputation than one man winning any amount of trophies could ever achieve.”
Not content with insulting everyone’s intelligence, Reade adds to the misery by getting all excited after Rovers managed to beat the might of Wolves and Sunderland by predicting they’d avoid the drop. Football tipping isn’t a strong point of Reade’s it seems. Does Kean deserve such lofty praise? The facts suggest otherwise.
Assuming an award like this is based on someone doing something of merit, let’s start with Kean’s league record. P12, D13, L29. Otherwise known as relegation form. Reade argued Venky’s lack of financial support for Kean is a major factor in where things have ended up, and while it’s true they haven’t done what they said they’d do, his argument is badly flawed.
Kean’s main signings have been Yakubu, Goodwillie, Petrovic, Vukcevic, Dann, Orr, Modeste, Formica, Rochina, Ribeiro, Slew, Anderson and Marcus Olsson. Total outlay around £22 million. Successes? Yakubu.
For the same money he could have bought Nikica Jelavic, Jonny Howson, Pavel Pogrebnyak, John Arne Riise, Anthony Pilkington, Ryan Bennett and Luke Young, with Gylfi Sigurdsson, Josh McEachran and Dedryck Boyata on loan.
So that’s over a season of shocking results and a record in player recruitment which isn’t even average. Factor in poor tactical decisions and an inability to man-manage players (Samba, Givet etc) and a more realistic picture emerges of the job Kean’s done. Venky’s part in this situation shouldn’t be ignored, but anyone suggesting Kean’s done a great job in the face of adversity misses the point that much of it is self-inflicted.
Steve Kean may be many things – Manager of the Year isn’t one of them.