Opposing View - Blackburn Rovers
What were your hopes, fears and expectations for the season?
When the big kick off to the season happened I was fairly hopeful as my blind optimism dictates.
We had managed to escape relegation the season before, had actually spent some money for the first time in years during the summer and even though we still had the rookie Steve Kean in charge the noises were that we would crack on and push up to mid table.
I had hoped we'd have a boring season of keeping our head above water whilst maybe enjoying a nice cup run. So happy days, stability ahead and time to put our feet up then? Not so much. There was always that underlying fear that we would find ourselves in trouble that never left my head and the devil on the other shoulder has so far won out as I expected the problems at the club wouldn't leave us and they haven't.
What's your take on the Venky family and their ownership of the club?
A lot of talk and only a little bit of walk to back up the promises they make.
I am still not certain that they are the destructive force many make out but they are at the very best a little naive and influenced by the wrong people.In a year they have certainly taken the time to increase their own profile and they have done a sterling job of promoting us in Indian markets but without addressing the core promises they made upon buying Rovers which was to give us stability and invest their own money into the club (Purchases in the summer were ultimately fuelled by player sales.
They promised to back the existing boardroom at the club and the manager already in place but neither of those aspects has worked out like they said.
We've also fallen down the league and have struggled to establish a good communication line with fans.So in short. Some good, mostly bad from the Rao family so far.
Are you an anti-Steve Kean protester and why?
Yes I am.
Because in every way you can think of he is not up to it. His win percentage stands at around 20% which is borderline useless but that is only the root of the problem, the real reasons for the protests which the media won't tell you are behind that figure. We are in the relegation zone of the Premier League, we can't keep a clean sheet and as a side side we are tactically un-organised.
Furthermore, Kean himself has struggled to build a relationship with the fans, like Venky's, and often makes a lot of faux pas promises/dialogue to us which he then struggles to keep and comes across as delusional. He told us winger Junior Hoilett was desperate to sign a new contract back in the summer and on numerous occasions came out to say the player was signing soon. Four months later and Hoilett still hasn't committed to a new deal.
Kean told us that we'd be a Champions League side in 3-4 years time which is writing a cheque that most realists would never see us cashing and creates controversy and mocking comments.
Every match we play he completely ignores the problems that are on the pitch and harps on about how well we are doing and what positives we can take from the games. This does get a bit tiring after 3/4 games.
He's called the fans who are discontent negative and asked the other fans to turn against them which is like asking the crowd to riot.
In general he waxes lyrical constantly in that very smug way he does without any concrete action following it. I could go on but I will likely bore you and be here all day!
What do you make of your new exotic names - Mauro Formica etc?
Some of them are actually very good.The player you named Formica is a real workhorse and has a good touch of flair about his play. He is a bit lightweight for the League as things stand but he is a talent no doubt.
Ruben Rochina is another one who could be BIG. He is a very gifted player with an eye for the spectacular, he just needs to learn to be disciplined, when to use his team mates and to track back.
Simon Vukcevic we haven't seen much of yet but he is another who comes with hype and what glimpses we have seen of him he has looked very promising.R
adosav Petrovic is struggling to adapt to the league and has looked out of his depth in the main really. Bruno Ribeiro is rubbish.
Just how important is the Robinson - Samba - Dunn - Yakubu?
Robinson as with any goalkeeper is vital. He is an excellent shot stopper but is prone to the odd mistake which holds down his ascension from good to very good.
Chris Samba is a vital piece of the jigsaw as without him we have looked shaky but with him we have looked more assured and commanding... Still with problems but a much better side with him there.
Dave Dunn is waning. He is still very committed and plays with passion I just think his injuries and age are slowly catching up with him.
Yakubu has been an inspired signing. We have not struggled for goals and he is the reason for this. Without him we look pretty toothless in front of goals. Ten goals in 10 games in all competitions if excellent by whichever standard you want to judge it.
Will you hold onto the likes of Samba and Hoilett in January?
Yes but both will probably leave in the summer/eventually. Hoilett is out of contract and if he does want to leave for some reason Venky's are determined to let the tribunal decide the amount as they feel another six months of his talent is more important than the cash.
I don't agree personally but there is an argument either way.Chris Samba wanted to leave in the summer and made noises behind the scenes but he is still here and seems happy enough to play for us as long as we tell him to stay or someone doesn't come in with an offer we can't refuse.
Who is your key man that we should keep an eye out for on Sunday?
The three key players we have at our disposal have already been outlined above. Chris Samba at the back, Junior Hoilett on the wing and Yakubu up front. If you want a little dark horse tip off though the returning Martin Olsson is highly underrated and has pace to burn.
Where will you finish this season?
If Kean stays in charge the best we will manage is 17th which I would more than likely take from you now. If we do bite the bullet and hire someone capable then we can push on in my estimation depending on who that individual is.
I am an optimistic chat and even though you look to have given us the curse of the new managers first game in charge I am going to be bold and plump for a Rovers win.
2-1 to Rovers with Richardson scoring for Sunderland and Yak + Rochina scoring for Rovers.
Cheers Mike, though you need the points more we haven't had a win in a while, so I'm sure you won't mind surrendering the points, ta!