Yakubu asks fans to give Kean a chance
Blackburn 4 Swansea City 2
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Monday 05 December 2011
Yakubu Aiyegbeni achieved something that not even Alan Shearer managed for Blackburn by scoring four Premier League goals and it was still not enough to deflect the Blacbile from his manager. When the Nigerian striker celebrated his first goal – a stunning left-footer to finish a move he started – by running towards his manager, it should have been the cue for a rare moment of harmony at Ewood Park. Instead, the minority of Rovers fans with a pathological loathing of Steve Kean were still booing the Blackburn manager and calling for his sacking.
It was an apparent contradiction that left the player bemused. "It's a shame to see that reaction from the fans. It was not good, but maybe we can change their minds if we win more games," said Yakubu. "I've never experienced anything like that before. They should give him a chance."
On the face of it, Blackburn's second win of the season – in their first they also scored four, against Arsenal – improved Kean's chance of hanging on to his job when the club's board meet today. On the other hand, when a segment of the crowd can't even raise a cheer for a victory as exhilarating as this, you wonder whether the situation is already past the point of no return. After his opener, Yakubu converted two headers and a late penalty. It took his tally for the season to 10, all in the Premier League, compared with just one for Everton last season. "I always believe I can score goals and they've given me the opportunity to do that here," he said.
Swansea showed enough to suggest that, had Yakubu not been so spectacularly on the top of his game, they could have come away from their first top-flight fixture at Ewood Park with something to show for it.
They set about trying to play with width and enterprise, with Scott Sinclair particularly threatening, but did not defend well enough to make their qualities count. Playing in their change strip, they had more than a little in common with another team in tangerine last season – plenty of good intentions but also plenty of frailties.
They did not help themselves by having Joe Allen sent off late in the game, but not too late for them to have salvaged something. Their manager, Brendan Rodgers, believed that Allen's dismissal – a second yellow card for minimal contact on Junior Hoilett – was "very, very harsh". He had a point, but he tended to overstate how much his side had created from the abundance of possession they enjoyed.
For the reviled Kean, this was a fine start to what he has flagged up to his players, following their Carling Cup defeat by Cardiff, as "four cup finals". Sunderland away on Sunday, followed by West Bromwich Albion and Bolton at home are the other three. Blackburn's position – and even that of Kean – could look a lot healthier after that. Whether that would be enough to placate the crowd around the guillotine is another question entirely.
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