Monday, 18 February 2013

A reminder that sometimes it can all be worth it

What a day. What an evening. What a moment.

And after spending over two years being miscast as a villain in a play we didn't write and portrayed as the devil in a hell we didn't create it's fair to say each and every Blackburn Rovers fan deserves this.

Amazing to think that when the 3rd round of the FA Cup kicked off at the start of January there were a lot of good folks (myself included) who had dismissed the cup competitions - much like the Capital One Cup - as an unnecessary distraction to the primary objective which was promotion via the Championship play offs. That was wrong, very wrong. But then hindsight normally does win when pitted against predicted foresight.

To say Rovers win away at Arsenal was virtually unpredictable would be a bit of a stretch given the Wenger Boys' ability to create their own particular brand of crisis. But when the line ups were announced pre-match there was still more than enough quality in the Gunner's starting line up to rip Rovers a new belly button.

With a starting line up that cost in excess of £80m over the years to assemble, the "weakened side" argument may have been true in terms of who they could have fielded, but pretending that Arsenal were significantly hampered by dropping some of their finest players is an excuse they shouldn't be allowed to cuddle up and hide behind.

Especially since they were playing a Rovers side that had no less than SEVEN players which fall under the bracket of having cost nothing, a nominal fee and/or are club youth team graduates.

Yes, Arsenal were not at their best, Oui, Arsenal can still point to the endless one man football comedy show that is Gervinho and without question, Rovers certainly rode their luck at times.

But when you're the underdog in a fight nobody expects you to win when do any of the above not apply in football for the less fancied side to triumph?

Pretending it was all just a monumental Arsenal cock up does a tremendous disservice to the new found spirit, fight and organisation that has been instilled under new boss Michael Appleton which allowed our boys a fighting chance. We weren't exactly overeager to attack at will but then why should we?

Rovers didn't have an obligation to pour forward at will and allow their Premier League counterparts an 8-0 landslide. There was only one way our Ewood Park clan were going to emerge victorious and that was by digging in and frustrating. Appleton knew the crowd would grow restless the longer the game stayed goalless, he declared as much pre-match... and he was right.

There were some heroic performances at the back - pretty much all of the back four (anti-Bradley Orr brigade look away now) were absolute lions. They were overworked and pinned back but they never gave up, and as for Jake Kean, well those of us who are Arte et Labore by choice know first hand what he is capable of. Now a wider audience does too.

He was tremendous. A performance up there with the famous super show Brad Friedel pulled off at the same venue in the exact same competition back in 2007.

Even Lee Williamson put up a sterling fight in midfield on debut. A couple of performances loosely related to this one and he may even lose the "oh he was released by Portsmouth so he must be bobbins" tag.

It was a team performance to make you proud once again. One that would have never occurred under Bullshit Boy or Henning Berg, but one that was made possible by the breath of fresh air that is Michael Appleton... the appointment we didn't want but the one we definitely needed, even if we didn't know it at the time.

That's now over 9 hours since Rovers last conceded a goal from open play, a place booked in the FA Cup quarter finals with a shot at Wembley very much in range, a late charge for the play offs a decent possibilty and a new belief amongst fans and players alike.

It still has plenty of time to all come crumbling down after an encouraging start by Michael Appleton, but if you didn't enjoy Saturday and a glorious victory over one of England's leading lights then there is no hope for you.

Out of all the club's fans out there, we more than anyone deserved our day in the sun.

And what a day it was.


  1. Well done Blackburn, you deserved to win, great defending. best of luck in the competition. ArsenalFan.

  2. Are things starting to come together ? Michael Appleton may still be seen as an unproven manager by some people, but in a short time he has shown that he knows football. Shebby has vanished (for the time being ?). Derek Shaw and Paul Agnew may not be everyone's choice but they are football people, they have made a good appointment in MA and they are leaving him to get on with it.
    And dare I say it, maybe Venkys are learning too and deserve some credit. They have been very badly advised in the past, but they have given DS and PA their heads and we are beginning to resemble a football club again. Early days, but just maybe.

  3. I remeber Jack Walker saying, when Rovers lost it ruined his weekend, this one was for you Jack.

  4. Spot on again Mikey. Nice to have something for us all to cheer for once! :)

  5. I never thought I would be so happy that someone named Kean was involved with Blackburn.

  6. Just want to say, pretty much agree with everything, except Orr. Yes he was decent,but I thought he was definitely one of the worse players out there. And no, I don't really even dislike him because of the comments. It's long past time to forget them.

  7. We need to up our game in the league but yes, great to win against Arsenal. Two huge mistakes brought us here: Steve Kean and, much more significantly this season, the ludicrous appointment of Henning Berg which, I think, will be what costs us our chances. We now have the onerous task of getting out of the Championship and it will NOT be easy because every loss and every draw makes gaps which are easily taken by others and we have spent chances under Berg which we should have banked. Unlike in the premiership, mid-table is not an option - the Venky's may have realised this now but frankly they should have realised it a long time ago. But yes, great victory at Arsenal - I think the last time this happened was a 1-0 when David May (?) scored the winner. I was there that day - but unfortunately had to stand with the home supporters at the clock end at Highbury... Happy Days. PS thank goodness Shebby is nowhere to be seen - he's a clown of the first order and should be seen nowhere near any football club, let alone Ewood Park.

  8. Since that game, we've scored none and conceded 5 against the top sides. That shows the gulf in class created by Kean and the Venky's. And Kean went away with a fat cheque for the privilege of leaving us here. Thanks Steve. Thanks Venky's. Thanks for nothing. We can't blame Appleton but the sad truth now I think is that the priority must be to get the 50 points we need to stay in this division before anything else. Maybe next season will be the one - just like it was the last time we were relegated under a coach, Brian Kidd.

    Venky's Out!

  9. Mr. Delap,

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  11. Looks like you've ended up with spammers on the site, Mikey, looking at the posts immediately above mine. Or maybe - judging by the shocking linguistic content - members of the Venky family (or even the ghost of Shebby) have decided to comment. You should be able to get rid of these via Blogspot hopefully - the last thing we want is to have your great site spoiled by these imbeciles. Venky's are bad enough but spammers are even lower life. But only just...