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

So Long And Good Luck To Nani

Post comment

A Mailbox that offers best wishes to a departing hero, defends Olivier Giroud, tells us to steady on over Calum Chambers and makes some amusing predictions...

Football Managers On TV: Paul Lambert

Post comment

He's Scottish so he has a soft-spoken, eminently reasonable manner while permanently transmitting the warning signs that he could go full mental any minute now...

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


K FIFA we're done, you can ban us now

Barcelona transfer ban upheld


h Daniel. I could spend hours on this subject putting the world to rights. You can even take a step back and ask why football fans (and society in general) have this need to know that something will happen before it actually does. There are times this important, when it comes to things like war, food production and natural disasters. A man you've never met changing his job? Not so much.

Time To Burst The ITK Bubble


reat article. Hits the nail on the head. Encapsulates why I don't read tabloid newspapers anymore. The only thing worse is the 'told you so first' headline when they get lucky.

Time To Burst The ITK Bubble

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Transfer News: Bruce confirms Hull are eying Vincent Aboubakar

Hull City manager Steve Bruce has revealed the club are considering a move for Lorient forward Vincent Aboubakar.

Premier League: Edin Dzeko signs new four-year Manchester City deal

Edin Dzeko has signed a new four-year contract with Manchester City.

Champions League: Callum McGregor on target in Celtic draw

Celtic claimed a 1-1 draw with Maribor in Slovenia in the first leg of their Champions League play-off clash.

Mail Box

So Long And Good Luck To Nani

A Mailbox that offers best wishes to a departing hero, defends Olivier Giroud, tells us to steady on over Calum Chambers and makes some amusing predictions...

Mailbox: Feeling Sorry For Poor TC23

If there's one loser in all the machinations at Man United, it's poor TC23. We have mercifully few mails on United, but lots on Arsenal and in particular Olivier Giroud...

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