Jealousy runs rife within football. Fans laughing at other clubs’ misfortunes as well as disparaging botched takeovers and transfers are actions rooted in envy - they all begin with a sense of hope and promise for a team that is not yours. Blackburn felt the full weight of these afflictions last season and continue to do so today. Others’ jealousy at the prospect of investment and big-name signings for the club then turned into pity for the plight of Steve Kean. Now today, like a contagious disease, Blackburn pose the threat of not only harming themselves but those around them too.
With a lavish carrot but over-used stick Blackburn’s Indian owners Venky’s have replaced two managers within three months. Kean and Henning Berg made ignominious exits while irresponsible and foolish have become epithets for the club’s executive decision-makers. Their unpredictable ways have become less and less interesting for the footballing public, rendering their actions into quite the opposite: expected. In football, a wager on ineptitude and folly is much more likely to pay out than one on brilliance.
An unenviable fate - one that is only pitied once there exists no threat to a fan’s own interests. Try telling that to Blackpool. “There is no animosity” Tangerines chairman, Karl Oyston, proclaimed as Ian Holloway left for Crystal Palace. Considering their thrilling Play-off victory and consequent Premier League adventure, Oyston’s words are understandable. Thesearch for a replacement took only four days as Michael Appleton signed.
Aboard the sinking ship that was Portsmouth, Appleton could not have been given a harder vessel to steer. Financial turmoil contrasted greatly with his humble and diligent attitude, overshadowing any tactical feebleness. Little expense and Manchester United pedigree were the stand out features on Appleton’s CV and clearly enough to persuade Blackpool.
But 66 days was all it took for Blackburn to begin inflicting their havoc on others. Appleton replaced Berg, Blackpool on the manager hunt again. Rejection at their first approach must only have been down to a lack in compensation - a matter quickly resolved with Venky’s financial clout. To throw their weight around a league in which most clubs endeavour to stay in the black is reprehensible. It is doubtful Blackpool will be the last club to suffer at the hands of such arrogance and boisterousness but nevertheless, a pattern that must be avoided. Blackburn’s implosion is in no way welcomed but when the debris starts to take others down with them such terrible ownership is at its worst.
Few will imagine a scenario in which Appleton lasts a significant time in charge. Perhaps it is the lack of criticism for owners he demonstrated at Portsmouth that Venky’s are after. They’ll need someone fighting their corner, or at least not condemning them, if this behaviour continues.