Kean proves a point

Blackburn’s draw with Liverpool at Anfield may have done little to silence the boo boys circling Steve Kean, but it did show that on their day, Kean’s men can mix it with the best.

After taking the lead just before half time via a fortunate deflection from  Liverpool’s Charlie Adam, Kean was reserved on the touchline, perhaps wary of a Liverpool onslaught and yet more festive gloom.

The onslaught didn’t materialise until stand in goalkeeper Mark Bunn was called upon to produce a magnificent save deep into injury time.

Such was the scale of the achievement, Bunn and his defenders celebrated as if victory had been secured. Indeed, it might have been had Yakubu not knocked David Dunn off his stride when the midfielder was through on goal.

By all accounts the Blackburn fans were slightly less ferocious and more supportive. Providing a small piece of Christmas spirit for Kean to enjoy in what has been a season of very few highs, and numerous lows.

The argument that fans have a right to scream and shout their opinions is a valid one. 99 per cent of managers will expect a portion of grief throughout their careers – its par for the course. 

The sometimes painful difference with your everyday opinion and the abuse Kean has had to endure is the tangible hatred that has engulfed Ewood Park.

It has transcended the boundary that separates the average fan from a man trying to manage his club. The scenes at Ewood during and after the defeat to Bolton made uncomfortable viewing for all.

In a match of such importance the fans would have been better served by backing the team and the manager to the end.

Instead, the negative atmosphere that has swept around the club undoubtedly infiltrated the dressing room. Within five minutes Bolton had taken the lead and the writing was on the wall.

The truth is that Blackburn need the full support of their fan base. Ewood Park is regularly full and Rovers fans expect better.

However, realism is also needed. The landscape of the Premier League has changed dramatically since Kenny Dalglish and Rovers celebrated a glorious championship in 1995. Survival this season would possibly be a greater achievement.

If Kean can hold on to top scorer Yakubu and reinforce a wounded defence in January then his unwavering belief in his players and management might be justified.

The point at Anfield is unlikely to shift many fans’ attitudes, but it should be used as a marker from which Rovers, and Kean can move forward.

Gary Peters

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