Early Doors

Out of the frying pan, into the fire?

Early Doors

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It is just three days since one of football's most comically inept reigns came to a suitably farcical conclusion, yet already Blackburn Rovers supporters could be forgiven a fresh bout of trepidation.

With reports suggesting fried chicken magnates Venky's may be looking to Alan Shearer to replace Steve Kean, it could be a case out of the frying pan, into the fire for the East Lancs club. Given Venky's track record, there is little cause for optimism.

Having scored 113 goals in 139 Premier League games for Rovers and won the title in 1995, Shearer would benefit from a reservoir of goodwill that Kean - promoted far above his station following the bizarre sacking of Sam Allardyce in December 2010 - never had the good fortune to call upon.

Yet though an iconic figure in English football - despite possessing the charisma of a soggy sponge - Shearer is not a manager of any repute. Not yet, anyway.

His career win percentage stands at only 12.5 per cent - perhaps misleading as the sample size of eight is far too low, yet this merely underlines the key problem: he has hardly any managerial experience the top level. In fact, given he has spent the vast majority of his retirement describing what precisely is flickering across viewers' screens on Match of the Day and professing never to have heard of Hatem Ben Arfa, it is arguable that he is even less qualified for the job than Kean, who at least had a very good reputation as a coach.

The fact Venky's appear to have targeted Shearer and former team-mate Tim Sherwood leads Early Doors to the inescapable conclusion that the main criteria laid down by Venky's for the job is membership of that title-winning Blackburn side. It is surely only a matter of time before Paul Warhurst is considered.

With attendances plummeting at Ewood Park due to the continual presence of Kean and the rank mismanagement of the club's absentee owners - to the extent that just 13,405 attended the home game against Middlesbrough, more than 9,000 down on attendance figures last season - it is unsurprising that Venky's are attempting to harness some enthusiasm, but the whole thing smacks of a recruitment strategy designed by a PR firm, not a serious football club.

And if there's one thing Venky's don't do well (actually there's plenty) it's PR.

When football historians come to assess this deeply damaging episode of Blackburn's history, perhaps the most perplexing thing of all will be that ultimately Venky's never sacked Kean. He finally resigned after declaring his position "untenable" - at least displaying a firmer grasp of the word than John Terry.

Kicking Kean out would have been a short-term lift for the chicken-peddlers, yet they even bungled that, and according to reports had a press release drafted confirming his sacking, only for matriarch Anuradha Desai to be talked round by a pleading phone call from Kean's wife.

It was one final farce, a barely believable episode yet one which perfectly encapsulated the club that Rovers have become under their Indian owners. Founder members of the Football League, reduced to a laughing stock.

It also gave one final kick to the lie, oft repeated in the media, that Kean has in some way been a beacon of dignity throughout this whole sorry episode, and that the real villains of the piece have been the dastardly supporters who dared to lash out when their club was being run into the ground.

Undoubtedly some of the criticism from the stands was excessive last season, and took on a very nasty personal dimension, but Kean's claims to unimpeachable dignity have always been tenuous. There was little dignified about the way in which he stepped into Allardyce's still warm shoes as Venky's, advised both prior to and following the takeover by his own agent, took the stunning decision to sack Allardyce as they felt he was not capable of taking the club into the Champions League.

Dignity was in short supply when he admitted to having "forfeited" a cup tie. Bemusement was the overriding feeling when he described a succession of inferior signings as the new Batistuta (Mauro Formica), Rooney (David Goodwillie), Irwin (Bruno Ribeiro) and Smalling (Myles Anderson).

And when he signed a new contract in November 2011, having won only three of his past 26 league games, it was amazing he could keep a straight face.

Still, you can hardly blame a man for accepting a pay rise, especially one who may struggle to find work again once he loses said job. Though consistently a Venky's stooge, he was just that: a stooge. The ultimate problem with Blackburn is that it is a club run by a family with no credibility or operational intelligence and ability.

Lest we forget the rumours that when purchasing the club they were unaware of the concept of relegation. ED will let that just settle in for a bit...

A fantastic manager can help lessen the impact of a poor owner, but an inexperienced one will struggle. Such is the challenge possibly awaiting Shearer. But in truth, progress of any sort is a distant dream at Rovers while the calamitous brand of ownership from Venky's continues.

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COMING UP: There's Premier League action tonight as West Ham visit QPR at 8pm. We will have live text commentary on the match from Loftus Road. Prior to that we publish our European and Premier League Teams of the Week and Jan Molby files his latest column for us.

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