Sunday, April 09, 2017

There's no-one left to blame at Blackburn Rovers

Like most people, I watched most of yesterday's desperately depressing defeat to Barnsley in stunned silence.

I said at the end of last season that it might have been better if we'd gone down then. A team of over-paid stalwarts, loanees, cast-offs and kids needs something special to become a team capable of surviving. I think yesterday we saw what happens when it all falls apart. I still like honest Tony Mowbray. I still want to believe we can pull a series of performances out of the bag and survive, but I  also find myself asking why we'd want to.

There are always three teams who will be relegated. Therefore there must be three teams worse than us over the course of a 46 game season for us to survive. The epithet "too good to go down" has been applied to good sides before. But we know in truth that this is not a good team. It is half a team, it has some elements of a team, but it can't mask the negatives with the abilities of Sam Gallagher, Marvin Emnes and the weight of expectation that sits on the young shoulders of Conor Mahoney. They should be the sparkle that makes winning enjoyable. Instead they flatter to deceive and come up short time and time again.

I often wonder about the motivation of professional footballers. What deep inner core of determination can unite a dressing room to perform as Barcelona did against Paris St German, or for Blackburn Rovers to overcome Derby County in the play off semi-final in 1992 after going 2-0 down so early. What is it? Why do some teams accept that they're just not beaten, while others capitulate, blame each other, do that arm shrug when there's no-one to pass to that virtue signals a frustration with a team that aren't as good as the player doing the shrugging. Why?

Go through the entire squad and ask yourself who will be here at the end of next season. The club's director of football has already hinted that there are players on too much money who won't be offered new contracts, presumably that's Lowe, Guthrie, Conway and Evans. The loan players will be off. Wes Brown has presumably played his last game of football. I think Conor Mahoney can have a bright future in football, but honestly, would you blame him if he worked out that the best place for  him would be away from Blackburn Rovers? Can anyone tell me why Anthony Stokes was ever even signed?

Put like that you start to piece together the mess that the club is in from top to bottom.

I've headlined this blog, 'no-one left to blame', partly because the manager said there must be no more excuses. But the crowd yesterday was stunned and silent. We wanted to get behind a spirited performance and a dogged fightback, but none came. No player is capable of changing a game plan on the pitch, grabbing hold of a game and leading the team. The only two players at the club who could are both injured, Lenihan and Mulgrew were much missed yesterday, but if we're pinning our hopes on them coming back to save us, we're dreaming. Under Owen Coyle it would have been the hapless and clueless manager who would have got the brunt of the crowd's ire. But he's gone. Venky's are never there and don't listen. I don't honestly think Rovers have been starved of cash, if anything they've spent too much on the wrong things. We're paying dearly for the sins of the past. For them to walk away like Portsmouth's previous owners did would arguably be far worse. None of that changes the fact that we're still adrift and putting in a shift like that one yesterday.

I'm rambling now, I genuinely don't offer any solution. The world outside our club is suffering enough from people who think things are easy, obvious and solvable.

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