Championship season review: Aston Villa, Barnsley, Birmingham, Blackburn

Aston Villa: 13th After sinking from the Premier League without trace in 2015-16, a summer of transition inevitably ensued at Aston Villa as this illustrious club aimed to lift itself off the floor. Taken over by the Chinese businessman Tony Xia, former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo was appointed the new manager and although a surprisingly high number of the existing squad remained, hefty sums of money were spent on strikers Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodjia. Expectations were high, but there was clearly a weak mentality within the squad which showed…

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Championship Season Review – Birmingham, Blackburn, Bolton, Brentford

Birmingham City: 10th For the second year in a row, Birmingham City have finished 10th in the Championship, but the contrast between the two seasons is massive. In 2014-15 Gary Rowett took over a side that looked to be headed for relegation and galvanised them, whereas this time around they were very much in the play-off picture until fading away during the closing weeks as a strong home record deserted them. At the beginning the aim was to stay clear of danger and maybe push for another top half finish,…

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Small champions in big competitions: these teams set the example for Leicester City

Leicester City were crowned the most surprising Premier League champions ever as Tottenham drew 2-2 at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea on Monday. However, despite the Foxes’ amazing accomplishments, they are not unique in football history, as there have been more “small” champions in Europe’s five biggest competitions – England, Italy, Germany, France, and Spain. Premier League: Blackburn Rovers (1995) Before Leicester won it this season, there were only five teams who had won the Premier League since 1992: Manchester United (13), Chelsea (4), Arsenal (3), Manchester City (2) and… Blackburn…

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Top 10 most important strikers in The Championship

With almost three quarters of the season behind us, it’s time to look at some of the most remarkable statistics in The Championship, England’s second tier football league. Hull City is leading the way, being trailed shortly by Burnley, Middlesbrough and Brighton, while also Derby and Sheffield Wednesday are not done contending for promotion to the Premier League. At the bottom, three clubs are in serious trouble, as Charlton, Bolton and Rotherham have to make up a lot of ground to avoid being relegated to the League One. But who has…

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Aston Villa to wrap up triple deal for Adebayor, Gestede and another midfielder

Aston Villa are expected to complete a triple swoop this week for strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Rudy Gestede as well as wrapping up a deal for Nantes midfielder Jordan Veretout. Villa have been linked with a loan move for the Tottenham forward and he was even spotted at the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground earlier in the week (via Sky Sports). And now respected journalist Simon Austin believes that the deal could even be sealed by the end of the day on Thursday as Villa have apparently agreed to stump…

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Former Man United legend Sir Alex Ferguson named as Premier League’s most influential figure

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been named as the most influential person in Premier League history. READ MORE: Manchester United Transfer News Ten unstoppable players Manchester United almost signed Man United would lucky to sign key target, says ex-Real Madrid chief In a list compiled by the Daily Mail, the veteran tactician saw off competition from the likes of Roman Abramovich, Rupert Murdoch and Richard Scudamore to exert his influence on the top flight. Current Premier League managers Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho also featured amongst the…

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Harry Kane beware: 15 Premier League strikers who flopped after great seasons

When Tottenham began their Premier League season with an 1-0 win over West Ham, few would have expected that the man that Mauricio Pochettino would only throw on in the 83rd minute would turn out to be one of the league’s top goalscorers. READ MORE: Premier League News and Goals Amazingly – given that he wouldn’t start a single game in the league until November – Harry Kane would go on to finish the season with more goals than anyone else, apart from Manchester City’s talisman Sergio Aguero. His 21…

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Championship season review: Birmingham, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton

Birmingham City: 10th Only a dramatic stoppage time goal at Bolton Wanderers on the final day kept Birmingham City in the Championship by the skin of their teeth in 2014. A year on, they were able to head to the Macron Stadium again to bring their season to a close with no such relegation concerns; indeed they pulled off an impressive win to secure a top 10 finish. It was an amazing achievement, as in the early weeks of the season it looked like nothing could stop them from dropping…

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Blackburn tell Crystal Palace to pay asking price if they want Rudy Gestede

Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer has sent a message to Crystal Palace that striker Rudy Gestede will only be allowed to leave if the Eagles meet the asking price, reports Sky Sports. “It’s not his fault that people don’t meet the valuation of him by our owners, all he can do is get ready for the game. The owners have a valuation on where the player sits and until that’s met, he won’t be going anywhere,” said Bowyer. Palace reportedly had a £3.5M bid rejected this month by Blackburn, who are…

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Berg wins unfair dismissal case against Blackburn owners

Blackburn Rovers will have to pay former manager Henning Berg £2.25m after the Norwegian won a court case against the club reports BBC Sport. Berg had spent 57 days as Blackburn manager since his appointment on a three-year deal at the end of last October, picking up just one win in his time in charge at Ewood Park. In court Blackburn had contended that managing director Derek Shaw had acted without the authorisation of club owners Venky’s to agree to compensate Berg for the remaining two-and-a-half years of his contract…

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Appleton sacked by Blackburn as fans crave stability

When Michael Appleton was linked with the Blackburn Rovers job in January, many fans were left bemused and angry. What had Appleton achieved in his short managerial career to suggest that he would be the right man to guide the Lancashire club to success – to the play-offs and the Premier League? Given the dreadful circumstances he worked under at financially-troubled Portsmouth, Appleton’s record with the south-coast club may not have painted an accurate picture of his managerial skills and ability. However, having replaced Ian Holloway as the Blackpool manager…

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Appleton sacked by Blackburn

Blackburn Rovers have sacked manager Michael Appleton after just 15 games and 67 days in charge, BBC Sport has reported. Appleton was the third permanent manager at Ewood Park this season. Steve Kean started the campaign in charge but resigned in September, to be replaced by former Rovers defender Henning Berg. Berg left the club in December and Appleton was appointed, moving from Blackpool – where he spent only 65 days, replacing Ian Holloway, who left for Crystal Palace. Appleton was previously employed by Portsmouth. Appleton leaves Blackburn with the…

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Arsenal v Blackburn – FA Cup preview and team news

Arsenal, whose last trophy came via the FA Cup in 2005, take on Championship side Blackburn Rovers as they begin a crucial period of fixtures that sees them take on Bayern Munich in the Champions League as well as rivals for the Premier League top four in Tottenham and Everton in the next five games. With the clash with Bundesliga giants Bayern coming just three days after the cup clash with the Blackburn, Arsene Wenger may be tempted to rest some of his star men, particularly those who are struggling…

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Shearer open to Blackburn post

Alan Shearer is ready to make a return to management with former club Blackburn Rovers, the Daily Mirror has reported. The ex-England striker is said to be competing with Tim Sherwood to replace Steve Kean. There are mixed reports on whether or not Sherwood is interested in the post, however, but the Mirror claims the two title-winners are the front-runners. Shearer and Sherwood were part of the same Rovers team that won the Premier League title in 1995, beating Manchester United to the trophy on the last day of the…

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Sherwood not looking to leave Tottenham despite Blackburn link

Tim Sherwood has insisted that he will not be leaving Tottenham Hotspur to take up the vacant managerial post at his former club, Blackburn Rovers, the Guardian has reported. Sherwood was the team captain when Blackburn won the Premier League title in 1995. Steve Kean resigned from his role at Ewood Park on Friday after claiming his position had become untenable, despite Rovers being in good form in the Championship after their relegation from the top flight at the end of last season. Sherwood was immediately ranked as one of…

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Kean forced out of Blackburn

Steve Kean has resigned as manager of Blackburn Rovers after his position was made untenable by rumours surrounding his future at the club, the Guardian has reported. The newspaper adds that the club’s owners also attempted to dictate team selection, which proved the final straw for the Scot. Kean’s departure brings an end to two years in the manager’s office, during which time the club has been relegated as fan discontent at both his employment and the practices of the owners, Indian firm Venky’s, often came to the fore in…

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Levein to resist calls to pick Rhodes for Scotland

Craig Levein will not be forced into picking Jordan Rhodes for Scotland despite the Hampden Park crowd on Saturday calling for the introduction of the Blackburn Rovers striker, the Daily Mail has reported. The fans made their thoughts clear as Scotland toiled to a goalless draw with Serbia, with Kenny Miller selected as the lone frontman in the starting XI and a five-man midfield in support. As the game wore on and Scotland went no closer to breaking the deadlock, Rhodes’ name was sang from the stands by disgruntled supporters.…

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Blackburn Club Focus – Decisions needed as confusion reigns

The chaos at Blackburn Rovers continues. Despite the club suffering relegation from the Premier League for the first time in 11 years, the inquest into where it all went wrong has seemingly not even begun. If it has, then owners Venky’s have not yet tackled the root cause or causes of Rovers’ miserable season. In an interview aired on Sky Sports News on Wednesday, co-owner Venkatesh Rao admitted that “everything is in confusion” following relegation. Furious fans are even more confused about why Venky’s have not yet made a decision…

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Le Saux disappointed to see Blackburn relegation

Former Blackburn Rovers defender Graeme Le Saux has stated his sadness at the plight of his former side, who were relegated to the Championship after a poor season at Ewood Park. During Le Saux’s time at the club, he won the Premier League in the 1994/95 season alongside the likes of Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton and former Scottish international Colin Hendry. This season, Rovers have struggled with fan pressure and a lack of money for Steve Kean to invest in the club, which is a stark contrast to the millions…

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Blackburn Rovers season review – Rovers’ 11-year Premier League stay comes to an end

Blackburn Rovers – 19th FA Cup – 3rd Round League Cup – 5th Round Lowly Blackburn Rovers came extremely close to being relegated from the Premier League in the 2010/11 season and that should have served as a warning to Indian owners Venky’s that all was not going to end well with unpopular manager Steve Kean in charge. The much-maligned Scot has had an extremely tough season, with supporters regularly protesting before, during and after matches in the hope that he would be sacked. But Venky’s backed their man throughout…

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Blackburn Club Focus – Kean prepares for the future with young squad but his time may be up

Lowly Blackburn Rovers had already been relegated prior to their final day fixture against Champions League finalists Chelsea, therefore the result at Stamford Bridge – a 2-1 victory for the home side – made very little difference to much-maligned manager Steve Kean and Rovers’ angry supporters. However, the team picked by the ever-positive Scot may have given fans a glimpse of what to expect in the Championship next season. Crowd favourite Paul Robinson and defensive midfielder Steven Nzonzi were both missing from the squad altogether, with the former absent through…

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Blackburn submerged by a leaky defence as their Premier League fate is sealed

A period of introspection is inevitable after relegation is confirmed for any side but at Blackburn Rovers, the question may be more numerous than elsewhere, as well as far more questions posed than answers offered. Chief among the inquisition, however, will be exactly how a side that earlier in the season defeated Manchester United has found itself slipping out of the Premier League. The New Year’s Eve win at Old Trafford, and a victory over Arsenal earlier in the campaign at Ewood Park, were arguably the highlights of a very…

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Blackburn Club Focus – Rovers relegated amidst backdrop of turmoil

On a dreary, miserable and wet Monday night, lowly Blackburn Rovers – one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888 and indeed the Premier League in 1992 – dropped down to the second tier of English football following a devastating 1-0 defeat at the hands of fellow bottom-six Lancashire rivals Wigan Athletic. On Tuesday, as Rovers’ furious fans – who had spent almost the entire game the night before calling for manager Steve Kean and owners Venky’s to go – tried to get over the fact that…

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Arsenal face competition for Hoilett signing

Arsenal will battle with a host of clubs from the Premier League and beyond for the free transfer signing of Blackburn Rovers winger Junior Hoilett, the Daily Mail has reported. The Gunners face competition from German pair Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach as well as Premier League rivals Everton, Stoke City, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland, according to the Mail. Hoilett has thus far made 36 appearances for Blackburn this season, scoring seven goals, but was unable to prevent Rovers slipping out of the top flight after 11 seasons. A 1-0…

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Blackburn Rovers Club Focus – Abject Rovers on brink of relegation

If ever proof was needed that Blackburn Rovers’ memorable 11-year stint in the Premier League is on the verge of coming to a miserable end, then the limp, lifeless and lacklustre performance at White Hart Lane on Sunday was it. The ill-fated visitors, who are in the midst of a tough relegation battle, suffered a morale-sapping 2-0 defeat at the hands of Champions League chasing Tottenham Hotspur. That desperately disappointing result left Steve Kean’s jaded side in 19th place and three points adrift of safety, although based on their dreary…

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