The pressure is firmly on Steve Kean to deliver an immediate return to the Premier League, and it is 12/1 with Paddy Power that the Scot answers his critics by leading Blackburn Rovers to the Championship title.
Ins: Leon Best (£3 million), Nuno Gomes (free transfer), Danny Murphy (free transfer)
Outs: Christopher Samba (£12 million), Junior Hoilett (undisclosed amount), Yakubu (undisclosed amount), Matty Pearson (free transfer), Zac Aley (released), Herold Goulon (released), Vince Grella (released), Michel Salgado (released)
Strengths: They know the ins and outs of the Premier League. In fact, this is only the third season that Blackburn Rovers have had to live with life outside of the top English division since its creation 20 years ago. All of that experience surely has to shine through sometime during their stint in the Championship, doesn’t it?
Weaknesses: Steve Kean. Not to open old wounds but many think it may be better for everyone involved if Kean just ended his chapter at Blackburn Rovers, started afresh somewhere else and let a new era begin at the famous Lancashire club. Even football-wildboy-turned-ballroom-dancing-hit Robbie Savage agreed. He told Radio 5 Live at the end of last season: “I thought he should have walked after the Bolton performance [2-1 home defeat in December]. He turned it around for a bit. There were times we thought they would stay up. Now the honourable thing now is to say ‘we failed, I’m going to leave’.” Surely you’re not going to pick an argument with Savage.
Last season’s performance: Imagine you’re a world-class diver taking place in the men’s synchronised 10m platform diving final at London 2012 and miss out on a medal because your partner makes a splash every time he seems to hit the pool. That pain would have been felt by every Blackburn Rovers fan when their beloved club lingered at the bottom of the Premier League for the majority of last season and, inevitably, bit the bullet and got relegated to the Championship after finishing in 19th spot.
If they were a celebrity: Tom Cruise. Both have seen the rug unceremoniously dragged out from under them after believing they were untouchable and are now paying the price dearly.
You might not have known: When match results, points and goals are taken into account, Blackburn Rovers are the ninth greatest team in the all-time Premier League table. See, it’s not all bad.
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