Bowyer Restores Pride To Beleaguered Blackburn

After three years of suffering under Venkys, Blackburn fans finally have a team in which to believe again. Under Gary Bowyer, there are flashes of light at the end of a long tunnel...

Last Updated: 06/03/14 at 09:29 Post Comment

Latest Articles

United Can't Rely On Force Of Personality Alone


With only two weeks to go until the start of the season, Man United still have plenty of work to do in the transfer market. It seems the enormity of the task is dawning on Van Gaal...

Saints Alive Despite Death Knells...


An awful lot of cash has been thrown in Southampton's direction for a collection of players with itchy feet who took them into mid-table. This is not a crisis; it's excellent business...

All Articles

Life has not been easy for Blackburn Rovers fans over the past few years. While the hapless Steve Kean eventually resigned in September 2012 following enormous pressure from supporters and relegation to the Championship, the manager's departure only led to more instability. Henning Berg lasted 57 days in charge and Michael Appleton only ten more as a second successive demotion loomed. There was no end in sight to the chaos of the Venkys' reign.

And yet, between those failed appointments last season, the promotion of reserve team manager Gary Bowyer offered brief periods of calm. An impressive record during two spells as caretaker boss earned the 42-year-old his first permanent role in the summer and, after guiding Blackburn to safety, he has taken the team into play-off contention in the current campaign.

As Rovers prepare for Sunday's East Lancashire derby against high-flying Burnley, you would expect there to be cause for envy and resentment among supporters. But surprisingly, these are not the strongest emotions. The relief of last year's survival has given way to renewed optimism under Bowyer and after seeing the club sink to its lowest point in 22 years, fans have been encouraged by the manager's start.

Bowyer's achievements have been made all the more admirable by coinciding with the club being forced to cut costs to comply with the Football League's Financial Fair Play rules. Six first-team players departed in the summer, including long-serving duo Morten Gamst Pedersen and Gael Givet, while Rovers' promotion hopes took another blow when captain Scott Dann left for Crystal Palace in January. A further eight members of the squad have left on loan in an attempt to ease debts of £54m, with the signings of ousted 'global advisor' Shebby Singh accounting for most of the departures.

However, Bowyer has acted shrewdly to plug the gaps in the squad, and he has built a tightly knit group that have shown the sort of spirit to reunite the team with a disillusioned fanbase. A hard-fought 1-1 draw against Manchester City in the FA Cup emphasised the belief that has returned to Ewood Park, with three of Bowyer's recruits - Tom Cairney, Rudy Gestede and Ben Marshall - all starring in a battling Rovers performance.

Blackburn fans are never happy to see Burnley above them in the league, and it won't be easy to stop the Clarets when they continue their hunt for automatic promotion on Sunday. But the occasion affords Rovers supporters with a chance to reflect on how far the club has come in the past 12 months. The same fixture last March saw Blackburn rely on a last-minute strike from David Dunn to snatch a draw as a desperate performance was punctured only by the introduction of a chicken onto the Ewood Park pitch. The protests hadn't disappeared and neither had Venkys' drastic decision making - two days later Appleton was sacked.

But this year there will be no chickens. The anger towards Venkys still lingers, but it is now possible to separate supporting the team from backing the regime. Bowyer has restored a sense of pride strong enough to withstand even a 4-0 defeat to Bolton last week. Whereas Kean would have attempted to shrug off that performance, Bowyer held the team fully accountable. "There are no excuses," he said. "We demanded passion but I don't think we got enough from the players on that."

Rovers will be aiming to put things right against Burnley to maintain an unbeaten record against their rivals that stretches back 35 years. Back-to-back Lancashire derby defeats would be difficult to stomach, but Bowyer has earned the supporters' patience. After three years of suffering, Blackburn fans can finally start looking forward to a brighter future again.

Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments


lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'


e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on


urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
Saints' Schneiderlin stalemate

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Indian Super League: Ex-Juventus and Monaco striker David Trezeguet joins FC Pune City

World Cup winner David Trezeguet has been unveiled as the latest Indian Super League signing, joining FC Pune City.

Transfer news: Paperwork delays Romelu Lukaku move to Everton

Everton have been forced to wait to finalise the signature of Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku.

Transfer news: Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku set for £24million switch to Everton

Sky sources understand Chelsea's Belgium international striker Romelu Lukaku is set for a £24million move to Everton.

Mail Box

Divock Origi Is Like Connor Sammon (Sort Of)

One Mailboxer inserts his tongue into cheek to offer his thoughts on Liverpool's newest signing. Plus thoughts on league-owned clubs, badges, and swearing...

Mails Come From A Land Down Under

We have an example of league-owned clubs from Australia while Kiwi boys want more respect for refs. Plus, Van Gaal won't stick with 3-5-2 and worried if Koeman will cut it...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property