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Review Of The Season.


Alan75
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Out of every cup competition at the first hurdle and a home record worst than any of the teams relegated brought the club close to the drop into the Nationwide. Only the failure of clubs below us to pick up points and a late rally of four consecutive wins pulled the club back from the edge of the abyss.

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Edited by Alan75
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The sun was shining down on Ewood Park as the season kicked off with a 5-1 win against Wolves, and Rovers were top of the league (on goal difference) and our aspirations were high. New signings Amoruso and Emerton had scored on their debuts and Emerton looked the business as he ripped the unhappy Wanderers apart. Little did we know that it would be one of the highlight of the season and that it would be mid November before we'd see our next win at Ewood.

Scotland captain Barry Ferguson, had arrived from Rangers for a fee in the region of £7million in September, making his debut in our 3-1 home defeat by Liverpool. A game that saw Lucas Neill get his first red card of the season, ironically his second red card of the season was also against Liverpool, in the 4-3 Carling Cup defeat at Ewood Park.

Apart from the 2-1 away win at Portsmouth; with exits in the first rounds from both the Carling and UEFA Cups, there had been nothing to cheer about, throughout September and October. The only saving grace being the bond of friendship created between Rovers supporters and UEFA Cup opponents Genclerbirligi supporters, with seven a side fans games, arranged between the Gencler fans web site and www.brfcs.com before the home and away legs. Rovers supporters who attended the away game in Turkey were treated like celebrities and lasting bonds of friendship were created between both sets of fans.

As November started things didn't get any better with a 2-0 away defeat against Leicester and a drop to 19th position in the league. We did manage two home wins in November, Everton and Spurs and started December with an emphatic 4-0 away win at St Andrews, something that would come back to haunt us a month later, when Birmingham knocked us out of the FA Cup 4-0 at St Andrews.

After the minor recovery in November, Lady luck turner her back on us again. The away win at Newcastle, in December, thanks to a last minute Gallagher goal, was tempered by the loss of Barry Ferguson with a knee injury, ruling him out for the remainder of the season and it wasn't until February that we saw our next win, away at Middlesborough, courtesy of transfer window signing Jon Stead.

Despite a 2-0 win away to Villa, things went from bad to worst, hitting the depth of despair with a 2-1 home defeat by, relegation candidate elect, Leeds, on Easter Saturday. With relegation a distinct possibility the team went away to Fulham on Easter Monday and from somewhere found an inner strength and confidence, winning 4-3, that started a run of 4 consecutive wins, including the 1-0 defeat of Manchester United at Ewood to salvage the season and avoid relegation.

Out of every cup competition at the first hurdle and a home record worst than any of the teams relegated brought the club close to the drop into the Nationwide. Only the failure of clubs below us to pick up points and a late rally of four consecutive wins pulled the club back from the edge of the abyss.

The decline in our fortunes this season can be blamed on a number of factors, principally, the loss of Duff, a loss that would affect any team, also the injuries to key players, Short, Thompson, Amoruso and Ferguson, which never allowed the team to gel and to get any consistency. There were also under performers in the team, Gresko whilst on loan had been a revelation at left back, however he wasn't half the player he was, since signing permanently. Lucas Neill has had his worst season since signing for the club and whilst the jury is still out on his fellow countryman, Emerton, who appears to be lacking in confidence. Whilst Bret clearly has the ability, he needs to challenge the defenders and get his crosses past the first man.

The jury has definitely pronounced Dwight Yorke guilty of under achieving, his ability is not in question but it's clear that he has lost his way his way at Ewood and a move in the summer may be beneficial to both club and player. There are bound to be other players that Souness sees as surplus baggage, especially those that he has fallen out with, Todd has already been transfer listed and loan signings Babbel and Andressen will be returning to their respective clubs.

We as supporters can only wait and hope that Graeme Souness, who has gone on record stating that this has been the most difficult period in his managerial career, has learnt something out of this season and doesnt sacrific players because of his own ego.

Here's hoping that next season we see a team that doesn't under perform and gives the paying public something to cheer about at Ewood.

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