James Corrigan: Carping at Kean is so gloriously predictable - News & Comment - Football - The Independent

James Corrigan: Carping at Kean is so gloriously predictable

The Way I See It: It wouldn't have mattered if he'd got a red card having flattened James O'Connor with a baseball bat

Misery loves company – but it is utterly besotted being in a stand containing 10,000. So it was proven once again at Blackburn on Saturday as the Ewood Park faithful refused to be moved from furious depression despite Yakubu becoming the first to score four goals for them in a Premier League game.

Indeed, Yakubu was like that student at the head of the anti-capitalist march who, just as they were approaching Westminster, whipped out an equation which provided ultimate proof that of all the economic systems the one which features people selling their labouring power to a buyer, not to satisfy the personal needs of the buyer, but to augment the buyer's capital, is in fact the best bet for humanity. The mob weren't listening. They'd come to abuse Steve Kean and abuse Steve Kean they would.

This was completed with a "Strict Observance" of the protest for which a Trappist would have mouthed "bravo". As Yakubu proceeded to mow down Swans like a machine-gunner on a duckshoot, it must have been tempting for the fans to pause their agenda awhile. They could even have covered themselves with a caveat, perhaps by updating "you're getting sacked in the morning" to "you're getting sacked three weeks on Tuesday (if we don't beat Sunderland, Bolton and West Brom and gain at least a point at Anfield)". But no, they pressed on regardless.

Two hundred of them even stayed behind after the final whistle to demonstrate against Venky's Limited, Blackburn's poultry-producing owners. They'd made their banners and it would have been a shame to waste them. Maybe there wasn't the time to work out that with some hasty redistribution of the letters "Kean Must Go" it could have become "Soak Nutmeg" and have been offered as some kindly culinary advice to the Indians on how best to marinate their chickens. Afterwards Kean announced himself baffled by the continuation of protest, which shows he doesn't know the cost of ply-wood and stickie letters nowadays and doesn't understand the psyche of the modern sports fan. No doubt there are plenty in Blackburn who feel Kean is not the right man for the job and no doubt their arguments are as convincing as their belligerence is commendable. But, in the main, the rest would be there for the convincing or, more to the point, for the brain-washing.

It's the herd mentality and in sport the herd is as regimented as the People's Army. They may well be described as fickle in the long term (remember how unconditionally they once worshipped Alan Pardew on Tyneside?) but in the short term they follow the gang's instructions. "It says here Kean should be sacked and until someone higher up in the herd decides his contract should be extended, sacked it shall remain."

Of course, it works two ways. Indeed, ecstasy loves company almost as much as misery. And to be in Cardiff on Saturday night was to experience euphoria which giggled itself silly in the face of demoralising defeat.

During the Rugby World Cup much was said, written and probably reworded into hymns about how this new Wales were professional to the core and were interested in one thing and one thing only – winning. In the aftermath of the semi-final agony to France, they didn't want to be depicted as the gallantly vanquished. "Show me a brave loser and I'll show you a loser," as Dai Lombardi was quoted.

Yet here they all were, dancing around the pitch with the scoreline reading 18-24 to Australia. It was bizarre, but then when you heard the roar of the crowd it was eminently understandable as well. More than 60,000 were in attendance and a good number had turned up to say goodbye to Shane Williams. And when he of the ickle boots and the huge sidestep dived over the line with the last touch of the game, this went way, way beyond consolation.

Later in the evening, I ventured across a head-scratching New Zealander, who couldn't fathom the reaction. "You lot have lost for the 14th time out of 15 to Tri-Nations opposition, to an Aussie team in the middle of their off-season without nine of their first-teamers after a World Cup in which you were supposed to have bridged the gap – and you're all celebrating," he said, before being led away by men in white coats emblazoned with red roses.

The fact was the Welsh were determined to bid farewell to Williams and the timing of his try meant the joy would flow unbounded. The truth is they were always going to come over all misty-eyed by the farewell of their twinkle-toed wizard and it wouldn't have mattered if he had departed the scene courtesy of a red card having flattened James O'Connor with a baseball bat. Tears for Shane was the order of the day.

And why shouldn't the fans troop along with an agenda already prepared? After all, that's what it's all about, isn't it? Knowing exactly what you'll be chanting and who you will be eulogising and who you will be barracking. Thank goodness for some certainty in these most uncertain of times. All hail the great predictability of sport.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week