Club Focus – Blackburn Rovers – Venky’s in no hurry to replace Allardyce at Ewood Park

Having sacked Sam Allardyce on Monday, Blackburn Rovers’ new owners have revealed why they relieved the Englishman of his duties. In an interview with local media, Venky’s Chairman Anuradha Desai said the owners wanted someone who could push Rovers to a top-five finish in the Premier League. In their eyes, Allardyce was not that man.

Allardyce took over a relegation-threatened Blackburn team in December 2008 and guided the Lancashire club to safety. In the following season, he secured a top half finish despite working on a shoestring budget. And although Rovers were performing reasonably well this campaign, Venky’s decided to call an end to Allardyce’s short Ewood Park career.

Desai said: “We want good football and Blackburn to be fourth or fifth in the league or even better. The fans should trust us because this is in the best interests of the club.” She also admitted that the search for Allardyce’s replacement could take a couple of months, but was quick to show support for Coach Steve Kean, who will take charge of first-team affairs until a new man is brought in.

It has been reported that Allardyce’s dismissal was caused by his unhappiness at the quality of players being suggested to him to purchase in January. Allardyce wanted to bring in someone of Robbie Keane or Roque Santa Cruz’s stature, whereas Venky’s were offering him Middlesbrough striker Kris Boyd. Allardyce’s rejection of the owners’ propositions inevitably cost him his job.

There is much speculation about who will now replace Allardyce. Martin Jol, Martin O’Neill, Alan Shearer, Chris Hughton, Alan Curbishley and even Diego Maradona have been mentioned as possible successors. But with Venky’s looking to take their time over an appointment, it could be equally likely that someone already managing another club could be in the frame for the job.

The Daily Mirror is claiming that Kean could remain manager until the end of the season. Venky’s clearly regard him highly, but it is yet unknown how successful he could prove to be as a manager. With fixtures to come thick and fast over the festive period, Kean could be in for a tough ride, but only time will tell whether he is suitable for the job.

Blackburn have some interesting fixtures coming up, with West Ham, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland to play Rovers over the next four games. With some fans unhappy at the dismissal of Allardyce there is already pressure on the team to perform well over these games, in order to justify the decision of the owners. Should Rovers take a reasonable number of points from those matches, then the fans may begin to accept Venky’s decision. But a defeat against bottom side West Ham at Ewood Park this weekend could lead to discontent among supporters.

The owners have made a bold decision in sacking Allardyce and it is surprising to hear they may not rush appointing his replacement. But in the meantime, managerless Rovers need to keep up this season’s good form in order to avoid slipping down the table.

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