You have to hand it to tabloid journalists sometimes. When they want to create a stir and really drill home their own agenda/view point they can do it with the best of them.
For the last few weeks I have been reading articles based around how the possibility of Blackburn Rovers surviving the relegation cut off this season should lead to Steve Kean being crowned manager of the season. Not necessarily because he's done a good job based on his own merits more down to the fact that the English press, by and large, have developed a dislike for the Rovers fan base and for the "insufferable abuse" they handed out to the much maligned Glaswegian in the first half of the season.
Let's start off by presenting the case for the defence (I wouldn't want this to sound like a bitter ramble after all), Steve Kean in recent months has improved, there are no two ways about it. Our form has improved, we've moved up the league slightly and to do this having had experienced players shown the door against the manager's wishes and control deserves credit.
Yes, yes I know, his overall record still makes Gary Megson look competent, the hiring of Eric Black and playing the likes of QPR at home and Wolves in their current state is going to help the cause but to sit there and criticise him for everything under the sun when the chips are down and then refuse to extend plaudits when things get better suggests a judgement clouded by a dislike for the man in spite of what is still a results based industry.
Furthermore, if we are being brutally honest, Kean has had no financial investment to work with over the last calender year, despite all the lies and false promises coming from India and SOME of the stick he has received at times can't have helped...
And after a rocky start to his press conference and interview giving life where he always sounded like a man with a very loose grasp on reality, Kean has handled himself with a great dignity in recent times in the face of what any human being would surely tell you are tough working conditions, whether it is deserved flak or not. To boot, throughout it all the Rovers players have backed and played with passion for him.
So yes, he has had it tough has the down trodden Rovers boss. Nowhere near as bad as the likes of Jerome Anderson, the press and the majority of other supporters who don't know the full story at Rovers would have you believe but it can't have been easy for the walking criticism magnet.
Having said all of that we must return to that original point and headline question - Manager of the season? Who in the nine established planets are you trying to kid?
Brendan Rodgers, Paul Lambert, David Moyes, Alan Pardew even Sir Alex Ferguson have all done better jobs than Kean given their respective circumstances and budgets over the course of the whole season. To dismiss their efforts based on a rather childish jab at a portion of the Blackburn fans highlights one of the glaring problems within the British media, it is the same type of attitude from the press that ambushed Fabio Capello when he was England boss... if the press don't like you they'll create hyperbole and problems that barely exist just to reinforce their feelings on a subject matter.
And as with most things in life you really need to look at the situation as a whole before drawing a conclusion.
A close look at Steve Kean shows that he has bought a lot of the bother on himself, even with rose-tinted spectacles and previous prejudices aside. He was the one who mouthed off over the summer and in the January transfer window making promises over investment from the owners that never materialised, he played up on pitch performances in interviews rather than being honest about them and even at one point tried to tackle the problems presented by the protesting section of supporters by inferring that the other supporters should turn against them.
If you play with supporters emotions and make them feel like they are being led a merry dance then you'll stir up emotions in what is already a section of society that overreacts and has a fickle nature that logic dictates shouldn't exist.
Add into the mix a drink driving charge that was quickly forgotten outside of Blackburn and a fairly hefty back log of rubbish team performances from the start of the season (prior to any fan revolt, fancy that) and the bigger picture shows a manager who has the potential to triumph against some hefty odds but ultimately has dug his own grave in places.
We as a sporting entity are still at the wrong end of the table with a starting eleven that should be really knocking around 11th/12th over the course of the season given the likes of Junior Hoilett, Martin Olsson, Yakubu, Paul Robinson and Steve N'Zonzi are in the side. The tools are there for the right manager to use but over the course of 50 games to have a win percentage that barely topples 20% is not the sign of the next Guus Hiddink, regardless of how much "disgusting abuse" he's had.
I for one never bought that Kean was a useless, moronic mouth piece but at the same time I would never buy for a second that he is THE manager of the season.
For further proof I leave you with the words of the man himself, taken from November time and in the midst of this allegedly unprecedented storm he's had to suffer...
“I don’t look at this season in terms of trying to salvage something. I think we have a good enough squad to be in the top 10."
Worst manager ever? No. Manager of the season? Don't be daft.