"He want results and Sam has taken up the challenge. He deserves a chance."
Venky's chairwoman Anuradha Desai, Friday 26th November 2010
With the confirmation that Blackburn Rovers' former "interim" manager has now become the long term manager and we can now begin to contemplate that maybe Sam Allardyce, the manager we all love to hate, was correct when he claimed that he was the victim of a swindle.
In fact, it would appear that the vastly experienced Allardyce was knifed in the back by one of the very coaches that he brought to Blackburn in 2009. If this was the case, just how deep did Steve Kean himself plunge the knife into that big, broad, back of Sam Allardyce?
On December 13th 2010, almost 2 years to the day since he became manager of Blackburn Rovers following the dismissal of Paul Ince, and only 24 days since Blackburn was purchased by new owners, the man they call "Big Sam" was sacked. 9 days later on December 22nd, Steve Kean was appointed as a temporary manager.
The new owners of the club, Venkateshwara Hatcheries Group, described by investinuk.net as "a poultry firm based in Pune, India [that] specializes in poultry farming and pharmaceuticals", decided that they wanted the club to play attacking, attractive football and challenge at the upper echelons of the Premier League and apparently Big Sam was not the man(ager) they believed whom could deliver any of these goals.
That may not sound suprising to football people who know that Allardyce would stick pins in his eyes rather than allow his teams to play attractive free flowing football, however it soon became apparent that the new owners of Blackburn Rovers had never seen a game of football in the flesh. They had seen the odd clips on TV but they had never attended a live football match until about a month ago.
Because of this, it was hard to see where they were coming from with regard to their possible knowledge of tactics and styles of the game. Either way, following a string of poor results that culminated with a 7-1 demolition at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford, Big Sam had been shown the door.
The other side of the coin however is that had Blackburn of beaten Bolton in what turned out to be Allardyce's final game, then Blackburn would have leaped into 6th in the league.
However the real surprise was to come in the replacement. Enter Steve Kean, a little known coach whom Allardyce had brought to Blackburn during the 2009/10 preseason. He was/is best known for being Chris Coleman's trusty number two during their time together at Fulham, Coventry and Real Sociedad but had never held a managerial role before.
Days after the sacking in an interview with The Sun, Allardyce claimed that he might well have been the victim of a stitch-up within the club, claiming he had only met the new owners on a couple of occasions and on neither of those times did they have a proper in depth talk about football related matters.
Usually, this wouldn't turn any heads, but in the days after Big Sam's sacking, it became clear that Venky's were being advised on the football side of things by a group called SEM, a sport agency owned by the agent Jerome Anderson who used to be, believe it or not, an announcer at the old Highbury ground in his youth.
The real coincidence in all of this is that Steve Kea is a client of Jerome Anderson and SEM, and it is widely reported that when the new owners gave Big Sam a list of transfer targets, all of them were players registered to SEM and he refused to sign any of them.
Maybe that is a coincidence but Steve Kean's number two, John Jensen, the ex-Arsenal player, is also a client of Mr Anderson and SEM, made all the more murkier by Steve Kean admitting that it was NOT his choice to bring Jensen to Blackburn and that he had never spoken to Jensen prior to his arrival as HIS number two. Strange that a manager would pick someone whom he has never worked with as his assistant don't you think?
STILL don't believe there's anything to it? Well try this on for size. In May 2007, Manchester City were brought by the exiled Thai PM, Thaksin Shinawatra. Guess who was advising them on the players to sign and whom duly signed 8 players for City in just under a month? Yep, Mr. Anderson. Who was instrumental in getting his mate Sven Goran Eriksson the job at City that season? Not Sven's agent, Athole Still, who when asked about Sven's impending appointment actually denied the claim that Sven was to be the next City manager as he had not heard anything about it.
It seems that Mr. Anderson has a habit of being the person to introduce wealthy foreigners to needy football clubs, almost acting as a footballing pimp. "Bring me the money, ill bring you a good time".
Blackburn currently sit 11th, 5 points out from the relegation zone. If they begin the rapid decent towards the Premier League trapdoor, people will automatically begin the talk of "What if Sam was there, would they be doing so poorly?"
But, if they can steadily climb up the table, people will be inclined to ask if they would have been doing so well under Allardyce. One thing is for certain, the whole situation at Blackburn remains very cloudy, and until the truth comes out, people, like myself, will continue to speculate exactly what influence Jerome Anderson and SEM have at Ewood Park.