In preparation for Saturday’s massive match against Blackburn Rovers, I asked Michael Delap from the Blackburn Rovers blog, The Wild Blackburn Rover, some questions about the match and the seasons of Blackburn Rovers & Manchester United as a whole. Michael has been writing his interesting and informative blog for over two years now, which focuses solely on the ‘one and only Blackburn Rovers’; the happenings, the comings, the goings and the trials and tribulations surrounding one of England’s most famous clubs.
CTS: With the Jack Walker Trust relinquishing control of the club, Blackburn Rovers is entering a new period of its history; what have you made of the Venky‘s takeover and the subsequent appointment of Steve Kean? Are you optimistic about the future?
It has certainly brought about a change; one which has sacrificed short-term loss for long-term gain. Plenty has been written about the sacking of Sam Allardyce, the appointment of Kean and the wayward PR of the Rao family, who now run the club. My take on it is that the club, for all the negative press that has been written, is now in a much better financial shape than it was under the Walkers. The club certainly isn’t as well run as it used to be under the excellent administration of John Williams but, for the first time in ages, we actually have a summer to look forward to, where we can actually spend some money – but that is only IF… we can negotiate these last two remaining games and remain in the league.
Kean’s appointment, considering he has no managerial experience, was a strange one as it seems he has purely been appointed on good faith. In fairness, Kean has actually set the team up well and he certainly has the players on his side but some of his substitutions and changes during game time have been a bit baffling. The jury is very much still out on him…
We are in a bit of a whirlwind at the moment and as long as everyone at Rovers can stick together and get the points needed to stay in the division then we can assess the after disaster wreckage and move forward by learning from the mistakes that the Venky’s have already made.
CTS: It seems United loanee, Mame Biram Diouf, has suffered quite a lot from the change in management, being a Sam Allardyce signing. What have you made of his performances for you this year? At 23, has he adapted well to the PL and where do you think he will be playing next season?
He has been a bit hit and miss on the whole.
There is certainly nothing wrong with him as a player as the boy clearly has talent and a good range of movement but he has suffered from being in and out of the side, ever since the new order (as I’ll call them for now!) came in. He has mainly been deployed as a main striker but at times he’s been put on the right wing to good effect. However, he strikes me as one of those players who needs to play in a certain style, with the right partner alongside him.
At times he has looked leggy and a bit lost but at others he has looked dangerous. I don’t think he is Manchester United’s calibre of striker if you were to put me on the spot but at a club like Rovers, Everton or Aston Villa he could do well.
CTS: Do you think either Chris Samba or Phil Jones will be at Blackburn next season, with both being possible targets of Arsenal & other big clubs?
If we can remain in the Premier League then there is no reason why we can’t hang onto both. The papers certainly like to pick the carcasses of the teams at the lower end of the Premier League and any good players, who play for these sides, are often given the “why don’t you go to team X and earn Y more and win Z” treatment. It is very patronising for the likes of Rovers to hear that their players are gagging to leave the club, especially when you know that they are quite happy at Ewood Park.
Phil Jones is one of England’s best young players but the lad is a Blackburn fan, so unless someone comes along with some ridiculous cash, which you wouldn’t turn down in your right mind, then Jonesy will start next season in Blue and White.
Samba I would be slightly less confident about but he has served Rovers well and if he was told that he was staying I am pretty sure he wouldn’t spit his dummy out, like a Tevez or a David Bentley.
Santa Cruz has been fairly dire since his return to the club but I was semi-pleased to see him come back to Ewood, as my memories of him have always been that of a very cultured player with a good scoring record.
Whilst not a direct swap with Diouf, who is a right winger, the emergence of Junior Hoilett was the reason that Diouf was packed off to Ibrox, with all that entails.
A Controversial Figure…
I must say that in hindsight we miss El Hadji Diouf. Yes he is a complete ball ache, at the best of times, but when you are in the fight that we are in, having him snarling around and tearing stuff up would have been just what the doctor ordered. In the early stages of this season he was genuinely the best player at the club but if he had been available to us from February onwards then we may have fared a little better.
Part 2 of the Interview can be found here, where Michael will share his thoughts on our season so far and, more specifically, Saturday’s match itself; where we will discuss El- Hadj Diouf’s absence, the Premier League title and the relegation battle! Click Here.
If you liked this interview, make sure you check out Michael’s blog, The Wild Blackburn Rover, and follow him on Twitter!