I’ve seen some shoddily run operations in my time, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like what is happening at Blackburn Rovers.
Even if they appeared from day one to not have a clue what they were doing, Indian owners Venky’s at least inherited a decent, lower mid-table team and established Premier League club when they bought Blackburn in 2010. That they haven’t put a foot right since walking through the door has sent Rovers into a spiral that may yet end up in League One come August.
Sacking Sam Allardyce, a man who knows how to get results no matter how gruesome the football, was folly in the extreme, but nothing compared with replacing him with his third in command Steve Kean, a man that permanently wore the expression of someone that had walked into a room only to forget what he was meant to be doing there.
Amid the backdrop of outlandish claims from the owners about Champions League qualification and signing Ronaldinho, Rovers were relegated last May but what has happened this season is even more catastrophic. Five different men have picked the Blackburn team this year: Kean (left by mutual consent), Eric Black (caretaker) Henning Berg (sacked), Gary Bowyer (caretaker) and Michael Appleton (sacked) and it is little wonder that, despite Jordan Rhodes’ goals, the Ewood Park side are just two points above the drop zone with three games to play.
Bowyer is back in charge on a temporary basis, and how a once proud club (and former Premier League winner, don’t forget) have been allowed to get themselves in such a mess shames not only the Venky’s but the football authorities that allowed this to happen. Is there anything more pointless than the fit and proper person’s test?
But this could yet get worse before it gets better because I don’t see any respite for Blackburn when they travel to the Den to face Millwall. The Lions are fighting for their lives (not literally for a change) at the bottom of the table and still need another result to ensure their Championship survival, and at 5/4 I reckon they will get it.
The draw is priced at 2/1 with Blackburn a 23/10 chance but you can’t be tempted given Rovers’ form.
Since the famous win over Arsenal in the FA Cup, Blackburn have won just two of their 14 games, losing eight, and away from home they have been awful: their current run stands at six defeats and a draw from seven matches on the road, failing to score in six of those fixtures.
Millwall are hardly in great form themselves, but they have won two and drew one of the three previous meetings this year (the two met in the FA Cup quarter-final that was eventually settled by a replay) and what’s more, Blackburn failed to score in any of those matches.
Kenny Jacket’s team were well beaten by Huddersfield at the weekend but they got a good win in their last home outing against high-flying Watford and they can edge it against a Blackburn side that has won just three of their 21 away matches and boast the fourth worst away points tally in the division.
But I’ll admit 5/4 is a bit skinny for a side that have won just one of the last six, so take the slightly better 37/20 that Millwall win a match that is under 3.5 goals: only two sides have scored fewer goals than the Lions, and with Blackburn scoring just one more it is not going to be thrilling stuff.
That said, take Millwall to edge it and take that 37/20.