Rory Smith

Rory Smith is a football writer for The Independent.

i Newspaper
 
TheIPaper
The Independent around the web
Steve Kean is ignoring the obvious - Blackburn are bottom of the table

Kean's endless optimism turns crisis into a farce

Steve Kean has grown used to the banners billowing from Ewood Park, the blimps soaring into the skies above the Ribble Valley. Still the Blackburn manager has done for his reign what Comical Ali did for the Iraq war: he has obfuscated and optimised, shrouded the truth in spin and statistics. There comes a point, though, where the truth is so blatant, so clear, that it cannot be denied. Bottom of the Premier League, only one win all season, no clean sheets: the tanks are rolling down the road.

Steve Kean is ignoring the obvious - Blackburn are bottom of the table

Kean's endless optimism turns crisis into a farce

Steve Kean has grown used to the banners billowing from Ewood Park, the blimps soaring into the skies above the Ribble Valley. Still the Blackburn manager has done for his reign what Comical Ali did for the Iraq war: he has obfuscated and optimised, shrouded the truth in spin and statistics. There comes a point, though, where the truth is so blatant, so clear, that it cannot be denied. Bottom of the Premier League, only one win all season, no clean sheets: the tanks are rolling down the road.

'We have a very good relationship - not only professional but personal as well,' says Roberto di Matteo

Di Matteo insists he is staying put

Assistant to Villas-Boas shrugs off claims he is about to leave and restates commitment to Chelsea

Juan Mata (right) is establishing himself as a player whose importance at Chelsea rivals John Terry’s and Frank Lampard’s

Blues are united behind Villas-Boas, insists Mata

Chelsea 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

John Terry rises above the Wolves defence to connect with Juan Mata's corner and give Chelsea a lead that was never under threat

Chelsea revived as Romeu runs riot

Chelsea 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0: Villas-Boas signals start of new era at Stamford Bridge with demotion of Lampard to bench and a debut to graduate of Barcelona's famed academy

Barton’s Scouse accent may flummox his Argentine team-mate, but in footballing terms the two midfielders understand each other

Faurlin hero happy at QPR

The boy from the tough pampas production line that delivered Messi and Mascherano has always drummed to a different beat and is happy with life at QPR

Chelsea manager Villas-Boas insists there is no role at Stamford Bridge for Guus Hiddink

Villas-Boas starts to feel the strain

Chelsea manager admits job is on line but claims Abramovich's backing

A pensive-looking Andre Villas-Boas: Could he be heading for the Chelsea exit

Rory Smith: Is Villas-Boas heading the way of his predecessors?

A stagnating squad, transfer failures, faltering form. The Chelsea manager faces an unmistakeable sense of déjà vu

Michael Ballack felt Chelsea had lost some of their mental strength

Ballack: Chelsea players must deliver now more than ever

The iron mental strength which brought Chelsea such success under Jose Mourinho and made the sort of run currently threatening to destroy the club's season unthinkable is conspicuous by its absence in Andre Villas-Boas's side, according to the former Stamford Bridge midfielder Michael Ballack.

Manuel Friedrich's header beats Petr Cech

Friedrich's blow piles more pain on Villas-Boas

And so the hangman tightens his noose. Talk of Andre Villas-Boas's execution after just 16 weeks as Chelsea manager might have seemed premature, almost paranoid, but after his side's hopes of progress in the Champions League were jolted as their Premier League dreams have been, the Portuguese will feel Roman Abramovich's breath on his neck.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing