Blackburn Club Focus – Managers rally round Kean after further fan abuse

Lowly Blackburn Rovers sunk to the bottom of the Premier League pile following a miserable performance and defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers and local rivals Bolton Wanderers this week. The Ewood Park outfit have spent much of the season in the dreaded drop-zone, but this latest setback means that Lancashire side will suffer the humiliation of being bottom at Christmas. As a consequence, the pressure on rookie manager Steve Kean has reached a whole new level.

Supporters once again turned on the Scot at Ewood Park on Tuesday night, but their vile abuse was clearly more intense than ever before. This forced the League Managers Association to condemn the ‘unacceptable’ abuse towards Kean. Other managers including Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Harry Redknapp, Owen Coyle and Alan Pardew were also disgusted by the ugly scenes witnessed in Lancashire a few days ago.

While fans have every right to question the record of a manager or to criticise how the team is performing, the vitriol that has been directed towards Kean has gone over the top. The LMA are not complaining at the use of the simplistic and understandable chant of ‘Kean out’ – otherwise they would have made their views known months ago – but they are concerned by the more sickening abuse which some fans are now denying ever existed. The level of personal hatred towards Kean has also been extremely worrying.

Part of the LMA statement read: “The aggression and abuse levelled at Steve over recent weeks has stepped well beyond the mark and is as unacceptable in football as it would be in any other profession. It is to Steve’s significant credit that he has shouldered this continued onslaught with dignity and professionalism and has continued to work with his players to try and improve results on the pitch.

Meanwhile, Everton boss Moyes, who attended the game against Bolton, said: “I was disgusted with how football supporters treated Steve and the only way I could show it was by leaving at half-time.” He added: “If they had supported their team as well as they shouted at their manager, then I think the team might have got a result in the game.

Although the abuse towards Kean has rightly been condemned by his fellow managers, it is still important to understand the supporters’ legitimate concerns. The Scot has won just seven of his 38 league games in charge of Rovers and the Lancashire outfit has collected a miserly 10 points from a possible 51 so far this campaign.

Fans are very angry at Kean’s poor record and even more annoyed by the fact that he still remains as manager of Blackburn Rovers. They are of the opinion that Kean will be unable to turn things around at Ewood Park and that the former first-team coach will take them down into the Championship. The recent, widespread abuse towards Kean suggests that his relationship with the supporters has reached the point of no return. Venky’s must now, once again, choose whether to back or sack their man. Their decision could be critical.

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