It took Sir Alex Ferguson four onerous years to finally win over frustrated Manchester United fans and thus begin an unprecedented period of success for the club. Steve Kean, the Blackburn Rovers manager, is hoping he can emulate his fellow Scotsman in swaying Ewood Park opinion in his favour, albeit well aware it will have to be in a far shorter timescale and with Premier League survival rather than an FA Cup success as his salvation.
"Yes, I look at that," he said, recalling Ferguson's troubled start. "And I knowI can do it. I've been in the game long enough to know that when you can get the backing from your players and your owners, and you get all the players you need to be competitive, then I've got absolutely no doubt that we will be where we want to be at the end of the season."
Blackburn will host Tottenham Hotspur today amid a backdrop of discontent among a disgruntled section of supporters. Placards and a protest march will demand Kean's removal as the manager after only 10 months in charge, but he remains defiant; confident he can lift the club from the bottom of the League.
"We are in a position where we don't want to be, but I'm convinced that will change quickly," he said.
"I'm not saying I'm some tough guy but it's easy for me to stay positive. We've got a great club, we've got lots of good players and the majority of fans are with us. There's a small section that's a bit negative but I'm sure we can change them.
"I do think I'll be able to win the fans over. I'm hoping they will say 'I've changed my mind'."
Given the venomous and vociferous reaction, some managers may have considered quitting, but not Kean. "No, never," he added. "You work through it like we did last season and you come out of it a better person, a better manager. I think the owners have been very strong and backing what we are trying to do as a club – and that won't change. Long may that continue."
Blackburn Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur, kick-off 3pm today