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Herbie6590

Old Blackburnian’s View Pt 2 - Last Season’s Failings Revisited

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Last Season’s Failings Revisited...

I think it was Sophocles, in his writings in the 5th century BC, who coined the phrase “misery loves company”. I say “think”; I pretty much “know”, partly because of my innate love of the Classics (ahem), but more honestly, because I also know how to use a decent search engine.

Either way, “misery” would have been right at home at full time at Ewood Park last Saturday afternoon. Misery could not in fact, have been more at home, if it had found itself telling a group of children that their long-awaited school trip to Disneyland had just been cancelled and the teacher arranging it had just scarpered with all their spending money.

In recent years, opening day and Rovers have not really been on speaking terms*. (can you remember the last opening day victory ? Answer below...).

We have lost and been relegated, lost & been promoted, lost & stayed where we were; so perhaps a note of caution before becoming over-excitable and calling for Mowbray’s head as some were on Saturday?

The pre-match optimism bubble was pricked before half time.We didn't even get the chance to try the “imaginatively priced” new concourse food before Rovers conceded. First reviews on these offerings were at best "mixed".

A bright start from Rovers with some neat movement from Sam Gallagher, a couple of deft touches from Stewart Downing and early signs that Bradley Johnson would use his presence gainfully in the centre of Rovers midfield raised the spirits. However, all were soon distant memories once former-Sunderland Netflix star Jonny Williams or “Joniesta” as he was once christened at Crystal Palace, picked out Purrington, ghosting in, unmarked, at the far post to put Charlton in front. Nominative determination indeed as Andres himself would have been delighted with the cross and Ben was definitely purring as it curved inexorably towards him.

“Defenders are coming” Tony Mowbray promised the faithful at the Fans’ Forum only a few months back, yet the line-up starting Saturday’s encounter was straight out of the 2018/19 playbook and this time, with no silver linings and the only Bradley performing to expectation being Mr Johnson rather than Mr Cooper; (Mr Dack showing only fleetingly). Converted midfielders filling three out of the four defensive positions, only Bell an authentic defender, but even he continued to look out of sorts. He is quite the enigma, seeming only content to attack at three-quarter pace and even then, only under sufferance.

New on-loan keeper Walton looked unsure of the calibre of those in front of him and in fairness, the feeling looked mutual for parts of the game. A little attempted tiki taki triangle in front of the Riverside causing many a palpitation as mishit pass after mishit pass eventually saw a throw in conceded. It could so easily have been worse. 

An energetic start to the second half promised much, Bradley Johnson demonstrating his value in winning a decisive header, resulting in an o.g. equaliser for Rovers. But then Tony Mowbray seemed to take the steam out of the engine by removing Armstrong, who to this correspondent looked a constant threat, moving Gallagher out wide and playing Danny Graham through the middle. Downing was also replaced by Rothwell and in the blink of an eye, momentum was gone.

Charlton sensed they could be more ambitious and Rovers hapless defence obliged with a series of passing errors that would embarrass even a decent school team. That the winner came from a corner with a key man once more unmarked and a keeper seemingly neither willing nor able to come and claim screamed déjà vu. The scriptwriters from last season had clearly had their contracts renewed. Walton in fairness did make a couple of sharp stops that spared blushes but overall it wasn't pretty.

In a final throw of the dice worthy of a serial loser in a casino betting his taxi fare home on black, only to see it come up red; Mowbray sent on young John Buckley for Lewis Travis, presumably instructed to “try something…anything” to force a second goal. In fairness to Buckley, the odds were stacked against him and he made little impact. There were many in the team that really ought to have taken on that mantle before him. It bodes well that Mowbray trusted him with the task, but a penny for Ben Brereton’s thoughts when Buckley was given the task. If not then, in those circumstances, when?

A disappointing day then turned into an ugly evening as fans vented their respective spleens on social media. The only problem being that Elliott Bennett had seemingly decided to trawl the "interweb" to see what the fans thought. What the fans thought, was that Bennett was once again being played out of position, had turned in a “sub-optimal” performance and that changes need to be made. It was often not quite as eloquent, nor polite as that, but I’m sure your imaginations can fill in the blanks.

Bennett however, saw fit to call out some of his critics and a few tawdry exchanges that ensued really did nobody any good. One fan’s rather innocuous comments in particular became a focal point for Bennett’s impromptu fan club and the fan deleted his account rather than face more of the unseemly vitriol. The fact that the fan’s observations were not especially imprudent (certainly not by Twitter standards) and were possibly shared by several thousand witnesses at Ewood on Saturday just adds to the farcical nature of the whole episode. 

Fans love to see passion and direct engagement with their heroes can be mutually beneficial. However, I do think there is a lot to be said for players staying off social media for 24 hours after a game to let feelings calm and to encourage a more mature and considered reflection upon the events of the day.

Rovers now have the opportunity to right the wrongs of last Saturday by visiting pre-season promotion favourites, Fulham and inflicting another defeat on them. Fulham also came a cropper against a newly promoted side, in the form of Barnsley and so you can be sure that Scott Parker will not want to have to explain away two consecutive defeats. Neither of course will Tony Mowbray. It should prove to be interesting.

Following that, the League Cup pits what will almost certainly be a changed Rovers XI against Oldham Athletic for the “David Dunn Derby”. Wins in both would provide optimism for different reasons, defeats may just exacerbate the angst.

One final note, following last week's sad news regarding Kevin Stonehouse, another Rover of that generation has also left us with the news of John Lowey's passing on Monday. Lowey made 156 appearances scoring 16 goals after being re-fashioned into a midfielder. Thoughts are with his family & friends of course.

 

*Last win ? 14th August 2010 v Everton at Ewood, 1-0…(can’t remember a single thing about it to be honest.)

 

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I've just put 2+2 together and hope I haven't made 5 ....

Would  Herbie6590  have attended a well known Blackburn school c.1975-82, having, at that time, a shock of blonde hair, and a penchant for blue/white scarves ? Would our correspondent recognise the names Paul Cocker, John Aspin, Gaz Bailey, Chris Rawson , Alastair Newman and Greg Starks ??

Just wondering ... 

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2 hours ago, sympatheticclaret said:

I've just put 2+2 together and hope I haven't made 5 ....

Would  Herbie6590  have attended a well known Blackburn school c.1975-82, having, at that time, a shock of blonde hair, and a penchant for blue/white scarves ? Would our correspondent recognise the names Paul Cocker, John Aspin, Gaz Bailey, Chris Rawson , Alastair Newman and Greg Starks ??

Just wondering ... 

Aha, so you went to school in Blackburn then purple pal? That would explain your ability to string coherent sentences together. 

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8 hours ago, sympatheticclaret said:

I've just put 2+2 together and hope I haven't made 5 ....

Would  Herbie6590  have attended a well known Blackburn school c.1975-82, having, at that time, a shock of blonde hair, and a penchant for blue/white scarves ? Would our correspondent recognise the names Paul Cocker, John Aspin, Gaz Bailey, Chris Rawson , Alastair Newman and Greg Starks ??

Just wondering ... 

He would...😉

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