Blackburns Ryan Nelsen Continues Good Form Despite Disappointment For Allardyce

illya mclellan@illya mclellan @illbehaviorNZSenior Analyst IDecember 30, 2010

Nelsen brings a sense of calm to those around him
Nelsen brings a sense of calm to those around himDean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Blackburn Rovers earned only their third away win and their seventh win of the season as they maintained their mid-table place in the game on Tuesday against West Bromwich Albion.

WBA have been a surprise package this season but were noticeably blunted without Chris Brunt, who has figured prominently for them in terms of chance creation, with only Nani having provided more assists prior to the match.

The Baggies did however have a good recent record against Blackburn and were looking to continue Rovers' away misery, as Blackburn had not won away from home since the 25th of September, when they triumphed at Blackpool.

Blackburn Rovers have been in reasonable nick as well, the side at present comfortably mid-table and producing fairly steady form at home.

This probably being part of the reason that most were shocked at the sudden firing of Sam Allardyce, who had turned the fortunes of the playing side around in his tenure as manager.

Acute betrayal by the organisation in all senses of the words. Something we have begun to grow more used to as the years pass, little uproar now, as people grow accustomed to such treachery.

A manager who re-energized the team when he took over, a team that were in danger of relegation.

He had stabilized the playing staff and put together a team unit that could play effective and competently rendered football in one of the most competitive leagues in the world, which is no mean feat.

Nonetheless, he was betrayed and thrown to the fickle hand of fate, regardless of the dedicated work he had put in, trying to make the club competitive.

One of his last interviews actually had him saying he was confident they would climb further up the table, only for him to be sacked a few weeks later, in a vehement piece of boardroom skulduggery. 

Something that certainly did not pass the attention of Ryan Nelsen, the New Zealander, a man of principles who was openly derisive of the new owners' decision to send Allardyce looking for a new job. He was quoted as saying,   

"Everybody says this is football, and that's the world we live in and all that, but what's happened to Newcastle and what's happened now is a real shame," Nelsen said.

"I know how much energy, how much time and passion the manager put into Blackburn, and Neil McDonald as well, so when you've been let go like that, I can imagine it's incredibly disappointing.

"I feel so sorry that it's been handled like this."


Obvious disappointment and anger below the polished veneer of the press release, which at the same time as showing the owners how he feels, maintains his respect for the club.

Rovers had had a torturous time of it on the road since way back in Blackpool, and were taken to pieces at Old Trafford, some even suggesting that that result could have had something to do with the sacking of Allardyce.

Even though the sacking actually reeks of naivete on the part of the new owners, who sacked a manager who would have definitely kept them up and who was putting together a capable campaign that could have even ended with the team in Europe.

Instead, they created unnecessary instability that has cost the club points, in the form of a home draw and home defeat before this when they had before these matches enjoyed relative stability at Ewood Park.

The last home match before these two was a 3-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, presided over by the now-departed Allardyce.

The rear-guard action in the win against WBA was particularly determined after two-goal hero Kalinic was sent off for a ridiculous tackle on Paul Scharner.

Nelsen himself was in the thick of it, showing he is quite capable of going about his work with the recent tumultuous events stored away in the file cabinet of his mind was clearly not distracted.

The Antipodean center-half played well and was a sterling example of the attitude required to maintain the advantage they had garnered for themselves through the course of the match.

It was a shot in the arm for Manager Steve Kean, who did not enjoy the home game on Saturday, as his team was pushed aside by an industrious and capable Stoke side.

Hardly a fitting introduction for the newly appointed boss, owner Venky's giving him a short contract to see what he is capable of in the days preceding Stoke's visit.

The win on the road, however, had Blackburn's traveling faithful asking for a wave near the end of the match, which was a rather sudden about-face after the crowd's reaction to him in the past few weeks.

He seems to have a team that have finally decided that though they may disagree with the events as they transpired, they have to carry on doing their job, as it is an important part of the lives of the fans that follow the side and the people who are part of the organisation, and of course, they as players representing the club and its tradition.

Ryan Nelsen has proven before that he can inspire, of course with the excellent run to the World Cup finals he enjoyed with the New Zealand team, and their undefeated World Cup, drawing with three teams expected to imperiously swipe them aside.

This fighting spirit will be vital in the coming rounds, as the league is extremely high pitched and eagerly contested, with no obvious whipping boys and several sides that have pulled splendid upsets out of the bag.


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