Kean clings on as Mrs Desai digs her heels in - Premier League - Football - The Independent

Kean clings on as Mrs Desai digs her heels in

Owner refuses to put Blackburn manager out of his misery as Hughes and Jones wait in wings

Blackburn Rovers slipped deeper into the abyss yesterday, with their manager, Steve Kean, still in his job last night because the Ewood Park board was yet to persuade Indian matriarch owner Anuradha Desai to put the club out of its misery and sack him.

The beleaguered manager may find himself at the helm over Christmas, with prospective replacements, including Mark Hughes and Dave Jones, requiring assurances that they would not be walking into a disaster zone. The former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has not been approached but he would not want the job. As of yesterday, Hughes had not been contacted by Rovers either, and though the emotional appeal of a club he took from near-relegation to Uefa Cup qualification five years ago is unmistakable, he would want absolute transparency from the board and assurances that Rovers would be a buying club, not one seeking to sell, next month. Desai appears to have a lot of work to do if he is to be talked into taking on such a precarious task.

Though Graeme Souness and Avram Grant have also been linked to Kean's job, with agent Pini Zahavi now engaged to supervise the search for a new manager, neither is understood to be a likely successor. Adding to the uncomfortable climate for any incoming manager is a Rovers Christmas fixture list which looks highly unfavourable – a visit to Anfield on Boxing Day, with Manchester United at Ewood Park five days later. Since neither of those fixtures looks winnable, Kean may at least see the year out.

At Ewood, there was unanimity after Rovers' defeat to West Bromwich Albion at the weekend that Kean's position had become untenable, before Tuesday's 2-1 home defeat by Bolton. All members of the senior executive team – the deputy chief executive Paul Hunt, sporting director Simon Hunt and the Indian contingent of Vineeth Rao, Mahesh Gupta and Gandhi Babu – now appear to feel that a new manager is the only solution.

Though no direct contact has been made through Hughes' representatives, it is possible that the club's former manager was approached informally several months ago by one of the contacts he retains at Ewood. The prospect of a short-term, five-month role for Hughes might have been raised, with a £1m fee plus a bonus if the club avoids the drop to the Championship. The climate has changed radically since then and statistically Rovers' hopes of avoiding the drop are now remote in the extreme: only one club in 19 years of Premier League football has avoided relegation having gone into Christmas at rock bottom.

Though everything points to the need for change, the disconnect between Blackburn and Desai, who must sanction all the decisions from her position in the owners' Indian home city of Pune, is causing the current stasis. Desai, head of the Rao family who control Rovers' owners Venky's, was said to be "in a meeting" in India yesterday but it is unclear whether that related to the club. Blackburn's Evening Telegraph, which on Monday called for Kean and the Indian owners to go, said yesterday that the manager's reign was "expected to end" having achieved three points from the last four games after being set a seven-point target. But once again, it was impossible to predict with absolute certainty that Kean would go.

The Rao family are understood to have watched Tuesday's miserable defeat to Bolton, though it does seem that from Desai's position in India, where the ownership of Venky's has created virtually no additional media interest, a sense of the plight Rovers are in is missing.

Kean, to whom it was suggested after a night of supporters' vitriol on Tuesday that his wife would surely hope he did not stay to face more, was defended yesterday by the Tottenham Hotspur manager, Harry Redknapp. "I have never seen it like that," he said of the fans' abuse. "That is horrific to stand and take that. I just felt sorry for him, it was sad to see. He has loads of injuries [in the squad]. I heard people saying that the players weren't trying or weren't making the effort for him. That's absolute nonsense, a load of rubbish. They tried for their lives."

But the former Blackburn striker Kevin Gallacher said Kean's position was "becoming untenable". Gallacher said: "At this moment in time the club is going into the abyss. There's a fear factor about what's going to happen to the club. If a manager comes in, he's going to be working under the same circumstances as Steve, and I can't see that changing. The big question if they get someone else in is, 'What's the next stage?' When there's nobody running the football club from internally, it makes it twice as hard."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
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