Appleton handed an impossible task

FanZoner Anna-Louise Adams believes Michael Appleton was handed an impossible task as he became the latest sacking at Blackburn Rovers.

Last Updated: 30/03/13 at 16:14 Post Comment

Michael Appleton: Axed by Blackburn on Monday

Michael Appleton: Axed by Blackburn on Monday

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Fans, players and football pundits alike were shocked at the sacking of Michael Appleton, after just 67 days in charge and only four wins in 15 for Rovers. The statistics sound poor, but Appleton was handed the impossible task of rebuilding the club following the systematic dismantling of Jack Walker's legacy in the past three years by the Venky's.

Revealing rumours have surfaced suggesting that Appleton was relieved of his duties as global adviser Shebby Singh's PA handed him a note informing him of his sacking.

The results may be poor but it is important to consider the circumstances Appleton was working under. He had to deal not only with the boardroom political power struggles between Derek Shaw, Paul Agnew and Shebby Singh, but the accumulation of an extensive injury list in the squad leaving him with a lack of resources to work with.

This resulted in signing a number of players on emergency loan such as Wigan's Dave Jones, Chelsea's Todd Kane (who had already played for Rovers on loan until February) and Hull City's Cameron Stewart.

The club is in dire need of stability as a relegation battle turns to Gary Bowyer's hands. Bowyer achieved a four game unbeaten run when he became interim manager following the sacking of former Rovers captain Henning Berg. Berg's managerial reign was also short lived and was sacked after just 57 days.

Bowyer motivated the players earlier this season, and Colin Kazim-Richards (currently injured) said playing under Bowyer was "refreshing."

The problem on the field at the moment is the distinct lack of quality football. Under Steve Kean the players lacked ambition, motivation and determination. Appleton has instilled these three attributes back into the players, but as they have gained motivation the quality still wasn't there.

High ball's were being played and there was generally a lot of 'hoofing' to £8million ex-Huddersfield and Scotland international striker Jordan Rhodes. Tactically, Appleton was one dimensional particularly in the two Millwall quarter-final FA cup games (which saw Rovers dreams of Wembley shatter as Danny Shittu scored the only goal for Millwall in the replay.)

Irrespective of Appy's tactics, the general consensus among fans was that the man needed time. It was believed he needed the summer in order to rebuild the squad containing 'Steve Kean buys.'

Arguably though, the appointment of Appleton should be questioned more than the sacking, It was the works of Shaw and Agnew that saw the ex-Pompey man take the job. Appleton left Blackpool with only two wins in 12, leaving alarm bells ringing in the minds of many fans. Although his previous record was not commendable, he had experience in working with struggling clubs and so the fans got behind him.

It is difficult to predict at this point in time how the sacking will affect the squad and the rest of the season. It could allow Bowyer to come in and achieve a string of results allowing Rovers to keep their place in the second tier of English football. On the other hand, it may prove a detrimental decision which could thrust Rovers deeper into the abyss of relegation leaving them to spiral down into League One.

It has been confirmed that Bowyer will remain in charge for the last section of the season. Given his previous form for the team it may not be a bad decision, however if Bowyer is unable to get the results necessary, the club could be in even bigger trouble.

By Anna-Louise Adams, one of FanZone's Blackburn bloggers.

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