Blackburn Rovers fans threaten boycott over Billy McKinlay


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The Independent Football

Blackburn Rovers supporters were last night holding an emergency meeting to consider a boycott of Saturday's game against Watford in protest at Shebby Singh's desire to appoint Billy McKinlay as their new manager.

The club's global adviser is said to want a young British candidate who has an untarnished reputation and to mould him into the "next Jose Mourinho". Rovers yesterday asked for permission to speak to McKinlay – the first-team coach at Fulham – but their request was rebuffed. It is expected that they will go back in for their former midfielder this week.

But, 25 days after Steve Kean left Ewood Park, supporters are incensed at both a lack of movement and the type of manager Singh envisages. Alan Shearer and Mike Newell were keen on taking charge of the team together, while Blackpool's manager Ian Holloway and Barnsley's Keith Hill are also thought to be interested. The former Real Madrid manager Bernd Schuster had also wanted to talk about the job, but all were ignored by Singh.

There is friction at board level, with Singh and the managing director, Derek Shaw, disagreeing on who should replace Kean. Singh has been branded "out of control" after consistently ignoring advice from colleagues.

Glenn Mullan, chairman of the Blackburn Rovers Action Group, revealed that he has had "around 1,500 messages over the last seven days" from disgruntled fans urging the group to organise a boycott or a full-scale protest. The sheer volume meant his committee felt it necessary to hold the meeting and supporters claim that if McKinlay is appointed they will return their season tickets.

"We have had thousands of supporters contact us in the last few days demanding that we take immediate action to prevent Blackburn Rovers appointing a manager unwanted by the supporter base," Mullan said.

"They are not willing to put up with another experiment. Talk of Billy McKinlay and Tim Sherwood, who are both coaches with no managerial experience, has sent supporters into meltdown today."

The fury levelled at Singh over the approach for McKinlay also boiled down to his ties with the departed Kean. The two are close friends and Kean had wanted to lure the coach to become his assistant manager before current caretaker Eric Black joined the club last season.

Black himself has never been in contention for the job. Blackburn have drawn three and lost one of the four games under his stewardship, slipping to 10th in the Championship.