Why would anyone want the Blackburn Rovers job?

As Harry Redknapp turns down Rovers, Tim Rich asks whether those in charge at Ewood Park are as clueless as they seem

Of all the words in Harry Redknapp's statement rejecting the chance to manage Blackburn Rovers, the most significant ones were: "I am starting to get bored. You can only play golf so often and I am losing too many balls at the moment."

It was never likely Redknapp would go to Ewood Park. The furthest north he has managed in a 30-year career is Tottenham. In popular terms, he an Artful Dodger on London's streets not a Heathcliff striding the bleak northern moors.

Redknapp was not displeased to be linked with Blackburn and, although he did not travel to Lancashire, there were talks between the club's "global advisor", Shebby Singh, and Team Harry, headed by agents Paul Stretford and Mike Morris.

It was always improbable that Blackburn could afford someone with Redknapp's CV and stature, but the lad himself has had the chance to stand in front of Sky Television's cameras and declare that, at 65, he might be ready to dip his toes back into management's crocodile-infested waters.

At Queen's Park Rangers, where Mark Hughes might be one game from the sack, and at Southampton, a much easier drive from Redknapp's home in Sandbanks than Blackburn, those words would hang heavy in the air.

At Ewood, the age of grand delusion goes on, although probably not to the extent Diego Maradona and his entourage are expected at the Brockhall training complex any time soon.

Reports that Venky's who, soon after their takeover in 2010 were talking of bringing Ronaldinho and David Beckham to Blackburn, were flirting with Maradona are unlikely to bear fruit.

His tortuous time as manager of Al Wasl saw him paid $2.7m, plus a six-bedroom villa in Dubai's exclusive Palm Jumeirah district, where the Beckhams have property. There were also the services of a PR firm who often had to carry out damage-limitation work. In return, Maradona took them to eighth in the UAE Pro League although, when taking away his private jet and handing over a $400,000 severance package, Al Wasl's owners conceded he had "increased brand recognition by 1,600 per cent".

Blackburn do not need increased brand recognition and cannot afford to finish eighth in the Championship. They need points and a seasoned manager.

It should not be a hard sell. By way of comparison, in 1998, another Rovers, Doncaster, were relegated from the Football League. They were insolvent, had finished 15 points from safety and their chairman had been arrested for trying to burn down the ramshackle main stand. They had 37 applicants for the manager's job.

Venky's have done many things since their takeover but they have not tried to burn down the Darwen End to collect on the insurance. In the summer, when it was far too late, they did finally spend significant sums of money on the kind of players likely to deliver promotion – Colin Kazim-Richards from Galatasaray, Danny Murphy from Fulham, Nuno Gomes, a free agent after his time at Benfica and Braga, while spending £8m on Huddersfield's Jordan Rhodes.

When Redknapp said anyone who took the job would inherit a good squad, he was not just being polite. They will also take charge of superb training facilities and an imposing stadium.

However, there is another side to Blackburn. Singh's appointment may have meant managers no longer face a monthly journey to Pune in western India to face the trio who run the poultry conglomerate.

Yet, Singh, a Malaysian footballer turned commentator, has made it clear his job entails rather more than turning around Blackburn's, often disastrous, image. He intends to be a hands-on manager, a director of football in all but name.

This might explain why approaches to Tim Sherwood, who led Blackburn to the title in 1995, and Billy McKinlay, another former player, failed. They were being offered not the job of manager but of first-team coach.

There are distinct parallels with Newcastle in their first disastrous year under Mike Ashley, a man who, like the poultry kings of Pune, had little real knowledge of football. Both sacked a highly competent manager in Sam Allardyce and went down several bizarre avenues, including Redknapp, to replace him. Ashley's initial bets on Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear and Alan Shearer were punts on men who had either essentially retired from front-line football or who had no managerial experience.

Newcastle were at least moving under the direction of one man. Blackburn appear split. Singh is believed to favour an adventurous appointment, although not as adventurous as Maradona. The club's chief, Derek Shaw, is said to prefer a more conservative figure with experience of the division and getting out of it.

Ian Holloway is still the best example of option B. Blackpool's eccentrically-brilliant manager has been linked with plenty of work in the past month and, since he has moved his family from Bath to the Fylde coast, might prefer it to be in the north-west. His relationship with the Oyston family and limited resources at Bloomfield Road mean that if Venky's can find £500,00 compensation, he might move. Since he also keeps chickens as a hobby, he would have something in common with Venkatesh and Balaji Rao, should they meet.

Runners and riders: Rovers' best bets

Ian Holloway Odds: 8-11

Blackpool manager may be ready to seek a new challenge after coping with limited resources at Bloomfield Road for several seasons.

Henning Berg 6-4

The former Rovers defender was sacked by Lillestrom last season.

Eric Black 12-1

Has steadied ship in caretaker role after the long-drawn-out departure of Steve Kean.

Diego Maradona 20-1

Took UAE side Al Wasl to eighth in their Pro League but at huge cost.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before