Has England manager Roy Hodgson sabotaged England's 2016 Euro Championship bid before it has started ? By naming no less than three players whose fitness is in doubt , Hodgson has taken a massive gamble. It can be argued that Wiltshire, Henderson and Sturridge should not be in the squad, all three have played very little football of late. In the case of Wiltshire, he has missed almost the entire season. His inclusion appears reckless at the best. Danny Drinkwater has been excluded at the expense of these players. Drinkwater, who has had a magnificent season for Champions Leicester , can feel hard done by. Especially when the squad is light of defensive players. Only Eric Dier provides any mid field defensive cover. Is he better than Drinkwater ? I think not. It was Spurs and Dier who blew up in the final four games of the season. Whilst Drinkwater and Leicester kept their bottle and cool , to win the title. Dier in particular, lost his head on occasions, particularly against Chelsea , in the season's penultimate game , when he should have been sent off, he completely lost it. Having said all that, both Drinkwater and Dier should be going to France. We are very light weight in mid field. Sterling and Barclay are also two out of form players who are fortunate to get the nod before Drinkwater and Andros Townsend. I fear the squad is badly unbalanced. This could all end badly.
Alan Shearer says he knew exactly when it was time to leave Blackburn Rovers. It was the summer after they won the league. The club made two signings in that period. Adam Reed, a £200,000 central defender from Darlington, and West Ham midfielder Matty Holmes for £1.2million.
A couple of others arrived through the season, but nobody who indicated that Blackburn were taking their status as champions seriously. Kenny Dalglish, the manager, became director of football — one presumes because he could see the direction in which the club was headed, too.
They had done enough. They had done what no one thought possible. Blackburn Rovers had won the league. And they were happy with that, Shearer believed.
It was as if the work was over. Jack Walker, Blackburn’s benefactor, had realised a lifelong dream, and now the club would start thinking like, well, Blackburn again.
Shearer remained another year — indeed he finished top scorer once more with 31 Premier League goals — but he was already convinced his future lay elsewhere. Blackburn finished seventh and the following summer he joined Newcastle for £15m.
Ray Harford succeeded Dalglish as Blackburn’s manager. His first problem was what to do about the left wing, where Jason Wilcox had suffered a serious injury after 27 games of the title-winning season. He was unlikely to play for at least half of the following campaign, too, and wide play was vital to Blackburn’s style.
Harford asked more than once for the funds to replace Wilcox, even short-term. Each time he was refused. Walker wanted to remain loyal to a player who came through Blackburn’s youth system.
It was a noble attitude, but no use to a team trying to defend its title and entering the Champions League for the first time in its history. Blackburn lost four of their first five group games in that tournament, and did not win until the final dead rubber with Rosenborg at home, on December 6.
And although the polite thing to do would be to let Leicester have their homecoming party against Everton on Saturday before thinking about the future, football is not a polite business.
Other clubs are already making plans and formulating policy. By the time the cleaners have been through Jamie Vardy’s place, Leicester have to know what they want to be.
Not Blackburn, that is for certain. Within a year of winning the title, Blackburn were on a downward trajectory that has proved irreversible in any meaningful way since.
By the end of the 1998-99 season they had been relegated, and although they have returned to the Premier League subsequently, it has never been to contest the title or even the top four places.
They are 15th in the Championship, and looking for a manager who will be their 14th since Dalglish’s departure. And, without care, Leicester could go the same way. Claudio Ranieri, ever the realist, talks of trying to stay in the top half of the table next season.
No matter the fight in the dog, Leicester are a small club. What they have achieved this year is little short of miraculous.
Elite teams with every financial advantage are right now licking their wounds and regrouping to make sure this never happens again.
And there are plenty of them: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, all thinking they should be good enough to win the league.
Below that band, West Ham, Everton, Southampton, all believing they could be the next Leicester. That’s close to a top half right there. Sit still to drink it all in, and Leicester could be back where they started. And all this before they factor in the colossal commitment of the Champions League.
A short while ago, Emile Heskey, one of the club’s famous sons — it’s not a limitless supply, so they’re getting quite a lot of work, these lads — was asked whether the club needed to spend big next season.
‘Not really,’ he said. ‘It’s difficult because if they bring in marquee signings, they risk hurting the philosophy Ranieri has put in place. He has a good set-up. If he starts chopping and changing with personnel who don’t really fit, he’s going to start causing trouble.’
Yet if he doesn’t, Leicester are sunk. Nobody is expecting a second title challenge. The 5,000-1 price offered at the start of this season would be almost as valid for the next campaign, and for the same reasons. The stellar names, the vast budgets, the cutting-edge coaches, all will be lined up against Leicester, just as they were this season.
Then there is the possibility that players such as N’Golo Kante receive tempting offers from elsewhere. So Leicester improve, or this is a fleeting moment in time. Just to maintain that top-half position, they will have to make changes.
Not a Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Leicester don’t have to spend £300,000 a week on wages, or ditch what has made them great for superstars eyeing the last big cheque before a move to China. Yet there must be more to it than Darlington’s player of the year.
The same scouting acumen that recruited Kante and saw the potential in Riyad Mahrez must be at work shaping a squad for a whole new raft of challenges.
At the very least, European football requires additional personnel. Ranieri won’t get away with unchanged starting XIs next season. He will have to be a tinkerman again, have to find a way of doing without the odd stalwart when Burnley come to town, if the following Tuesday brings a trip to Moscow.
Mike Ashley has plenty of regrets about his time at Newcastle, but his biggest is that the year they came fifth in the league, 2012, he chose not to improve the squad.
Ashley adhered to the old line about not fixing what isn’t broken, and thought a group of players good enough to qualify for Europe would benefit from the experience and be even better the following year. Newcastle finished 16th and were fighting relegation for much of the season.
It is a myth that a football club stands still if it doesn’t invest. It goes backwards, because the clubs around it get better.
And, yes, perhaps it is inevitable that Leicester fall back after such an incredible campaign. The bigger question is how far would constitute a palatable fall?
They wouldn’t want to be Blackburn. Nobody would want to be Blackburn. At the risk of shutting down the music at a very good party, Leicester cannot afford to drink this in for too long.
With thanks and apologies to Martin Samuel Daily Mail
Paul Lambert believes he will soon know whether Venky's share his ambitions for Blackburn Rovers.
Lambert has submitted his detailed plan for the short and long-term future to the clubs India based owners for consideration.
it is understood he could discover whether Venky's are willing to back them this week.
Lambert quoted as saying "does the club want to stand still ? or does it want to move forward ?"
Everybody "amongst the staff and players alike want to move forward and hopefully that would be the case".
I fully understand where Lambert is coming from, I get it and agree with him. But look at it from the owners point of view. Lambert has disappointed them since his appointment in November 2015. No doubt about that. And Lambert knows it.
After a disappointing start to the season, 3 wins from 16 games, and 16th in the league table, Venky's were advised to make a change. Their advisor /representative at Ewood, recommended they appoint a proven, experienced manager. The playing squad was good enough to mount a challenge for the play offs, they were told. It just needed that experience and tactical awareness Bowyer did not have. Lambert was identified as that man. Out went Bowyer and his staff, and in came Lambert and his staff. At considerable cost. But it did not happen, results did not significantly improve.
The owners were then told the playing staff were not good enough and Lambert needed to bring in new signings in January, now the transfer embargo, under which Bowyer had toiled for over a year, had been lifted. Eight new faces joined in January, at considerable cost. Still no significant improvement in results, although to be fair performances were better. But some have questioned are the new players any better than those they have replaced ? As the owners contemplate Lambert's request and plans for the future, they find their club in 15th position in the league and still not clear of the relegation zone. Hardly an improvement in the 23 games Lambert has been in charge.
To compound matters, attendances have not improved , as they were told they would, with a new management regime. The owners are in a quandary as what to do. It is brought to their attention that other clubs, below Rovers when Lambert arrived have flourished, without financial investment.
Preston are 10 points ahead of Rovers, with a capital outlay of only £250,000 for the whole team. Cardiff, who almost sacked their manager at Christmas, with attendances down to 9,000, are now just 2 points from a play off place, and gates are up to 28,000. And it has cost them zilch, reward for sticking by their manager. Leeds are ahead of Rovers, they were 6 points behind when Lambert came, and have had no player investment. But the Daddy of them all is Warnock at Rotherham, he has taken them out of the bottom 3, when they looked dead and buried, with the same players he inherited , and can not stop winning games . So the owners look at these things and say , why is our club not making that sort of progress with the experienced manager we have appointed ? This is their dilemma . They are not convinced about Lambert being the right man.
A lot has been said out of Ewood this past week. We have had the departing Myers saying " why make the change to Lambert if the owners are not going to back him ? We have had Lambert reveal that the club " was taken to the cleaner in the past" , and he would not do that. A reference no doubt to the Anderson/ Kean regime. We have had Lambert say " there's loads, there's absolutely loads, that has to be rectified here ". And then we have had ex Rovers legend, Simon Garner suggest Lambert may walk away. What a mess. The owners have it all to sort out. Let us hope and pray they make the right decision.
Reg Rover "SAYS" 8:32am Sat 30 Apr 16
Why is Lambert still any where near this football club ? Why is he in charge of the team today and next week ? Has no one at the club any sense what so ever ? Having made his decision , Lambert and his staff should be on gardening leave. This is going to end badly. Damien Johnson and David Dunn should have been put in charge of the team until the end of the season.
What are Rovers thinking ? O.K , Shaw and Myers have left, but secretary Ian Silvester and director Robert Coar are experienced operators, as is new man in charge. Mike Cheston. What are they thinking ? Lambert should be no where near the place.
Lambert , apart from performing badly, has been very divisive and disruptive. He has split the club like no other since Kean. I do not buy into his humble, honourable act. Praising the club and everyone at it, whilst condemning it at the same time. How dare he. It is for us , the paying spectator to " slag off our club". Not a jumped up new comer who thinks he is to good for us. I have been in and around football to long not to spot a fraud, Lambert is a fraud. Honourable resignation ? Football managers do not do honourable resignations. He has a new job lined up, mark my words. He is taking us and the Rovers for fools.
How come Gary Bowyer managed to work for these 'impossible owners', who incidentally pay all our bills, which many seem to forget. How come Bowyer managed a 7th and 9th place league finish, with a memorable FA Cup run thrown in for good measure, whilst working for these impossible owners, Lambert can not work for ? How come Bowyer managed without the cash input Lambert deems so necessary ? We have no money and Lambert does not like that. Just as he didn't at Villa. Bowyer just got on with it. He was the perfect fit at this moment in time. And we fired him ! And everyone rejoiced ! You really could not make it up.
Few things I have never understood about PL. 1) why when Rovers had a very good defensive record did PL at times choose to bring in Ward when Duffy and Hanley were fit 2) why did PL not bring in a defender to replace Olsson knowing Rovers only had one left back in the squad (and Spurr had some long term injury problems). 3) PL stated several times that he felt that Marshall was one of Rovers best players and was best suited further up the pitch, yet he decided not to bring in a right back and instead played him at right back for most of his time at the club 4) why sign Bennett (a right winger) who has been inconsistent when Marshall is at right back. 5) the performances of Gomez, Grimes, Jackson, Ward, Bennett and Watt were below average and inconsistent at best . 11 wins in 32 games is not great form.
It's where we go from here that matters, I think Lambert should go now, I really don't want to see him on the touchline on Saturday, early kick offs are bad enough without having to go through the farce of seeing him pretending he cares about the club or fans, we have put up with enough without having to witness that.
We have the core of a decent squad, some decent youngsters coming through and we are clear of the embargo and FFP compliant, as long as we don't lose the likes of Steele, Duffy, Hanley, Lenihan and Marshall the new manager will have a good base to work from.
I'm not really all that concerned about who the new manager will be, I just want someone who will understand what the club means to us fans, has some idea what we have been through over recent years and is willing to get stuck into the job, whatever happens over the summer and we hit the ground running next season.
Not a lot to ask is it?
Venky's? I really don't care what they do, if they leave, whichever way they chose to go good riddance, if they stay I will simply remain ambivalent towards them.
It's the structure above the manager that matters, I want to see what Mike Cheston has to say in his interview with the LT, will it be a positive message with real meaning or another meaningless exercise in PR, because the latter will go down like a lead balloon.
Is Cheston the man for the job? Who knows, but he has the chance to talk to us fans openly and honestly, just tell us what the real situation with the club is, tell us what our aims are for next season so that all the speculation and rancour can stop, the club owes us that at the very least.
Reg Rover "Says"
What a manipulative man Paul Lambert has turned out to be.
A ex football league manager, of some repute, once told me, " The first rule of management when joining a new club , is to get the local press on your side, you will need them in the bad times".
Lambert has certainly succeeded in doing that. He has Paul Wheelock of the LT, eating out of his hand. Anything Lambert says, Wheelock prints. No questions asked. Wheelock falls for it hook line and sinker. A more experienced 'hack' would see straight through Lambert. Take yesterday for example. These are just a few gems from Lambert. " The crowd will live with me." I have been involved in Champion League and UEFA Cup Finals, I have won domestic cups in front of big crowds, but I can not let sentiment dictate my decision". All very nice compliments for Rovers fans from the departing manager. But please spare us the false sentiments. Do not treat us as Jerome Anderson did, as " Thick Northerners ". Lambert has kicked us in the teeth and decided to go. He is quite entitled to do so. But why has he not gone ? He should now not be here. What are the owners thinking ? It is obscene that this destructive , divisive man should still be at Ewood on Saturday. He has caused nothing but trouble, whilst being on a nice little earner , until his next job came along.
Lambert has totally split the club and put us back 3 years, to the dark days of Berg/ Appleton. Lambert is a Steve Kean with a brain. No wonder Villa fans wanted rid. No wonder Delia Smith will not allow his name to be spoken at Carrow Road.
Lambert is that trouble maker we have all encountered in the work place. Never happy.
Lambert has been a big disappointment in many ways, it happens. But please spare us the nonsensical drivel. We are not all as gullible as Wheelock. Had Bowyer been half as media savvy as Lambert, he would probably still be in a job.
In todays national press it states " Celtic will speak to Paul Lambert about returning to Parkhead as manager, following the announcement he is leaving Blackburn Rovers". Yeah right !! Do you think we are all fools, this was a done deal week ago. We have been taken for mugs. And some of our supporters chanted his name yesterday ! Unbelievable, you could not make it up.
If Lambert is at Ewood on Saturday , I for one won't be.
peely Replying Reg Rover
Reg , for once absolutely spot on - couldn't,t agree more - reading this drivel from Lambert makes me want to throw up - he,s taken Rovers and Venkys for mugs and got away with it !
Crazy times "says"
I'll give you my summary, I was surprised how poor Rotherham were given their recent results. Steele had to make a couple of good saves but nothing major. Duffy and Hanley were solid, kigallon had a bit of trouble with their nippy winger but grew into the game. Lowe and lenihan were excellent screening the back 3 which was probably why Rotherham went long playing right into Duffy and hanleys strengths. Grimes worked hard and is neat and tidy, I actually thought Bennett put himself around well and looked a threat but final ball let him down. Marshall roamed around and looked threatening, our main attacking threat, graham did what graham does, chases harries and holds the ball up well. Gomez was pedestrian but could easily end up with 2 goals. Enjoyed the Best baiting, he looked their biggest threat, Derbyshire was lively, and their keeper played really well. New ground ticked off the list but apart from rovers fans, no real atmosphere. Laughed at how the stewards surrounded the rovers fans at the end and missed the Rotherham fans spilling onto the pitch behind them. Comfortably safe, I had us finishing 4th bottom this year so credit there. Liked the formation and the players played with a bit of freedom. Massive summer for the club, can we rebuild or are we the next Pompey, will the owners stick or twist, and do we have the structure to make the right decision on the board and manager? All need clarifying but I'll still be there. All the best...
Is it only five and a half years? It feels like a lifetime.
About three years ago I was told of a conversation between the odious one and Bowyer regarding the search for a new striker, it came from from someone at the club who is no longer there but I'm fairly certain it's true.
Bowyer "Hey odious one, I've been keeping an eye on someone who is just what we need, he's young, quick, aggressive and scores for fun and as he's in the lower leagues he won't cost a fortune."
Odious one, "No thanks we are signing Leon Best, proven quality at this level."
The name of the player was Jamie Vardy, who Leicester took a punt on.
Best has to be the greatest mistake this club has ever made from a financial perspective.
But Best and others got very rich in the process.
Reg Rover Replying Beetlejuce
Good post BJ. But come on you are stealing my thunder. I posted about Jamie Vardy months ago. I know you know, because you responded in surprise. No matter, it is true. Bowyer recommended Kean sign him from Fleetwood. The asking price was £800,00. But his agent was not Jerome Anderson, and Rovers at the time, were splashing the cash on Anderson's players. More commission in fees for Anderson, with Kean getting his cut. Best was signed instead for £4m plus £32,000 pw in wages. Massive commission for Anderson/Kean. Vardy's would have been peanuts in comparison. But this was going on at the club all the time in 2010/12. And it bankrupted the club. Venky's let it happen, they were dupped by Anderson. Hence their reluctance to heavily invest since. Check the Best deal out, it is all well documented in the accounts. which are a matter of public record.
I warned what was happening on my site, to much derision from all and sundry, including you BJ. It is all well documented ,dated and timed for posterity. Nobody took any notice. My site was condemned by LT editor Kevin Young as being "incendiary ". Young is spineless.
With regard to Varney, Rovers were not the only ones to bulk at the asking price, so to did Swansea. Along came Nigel Pearson and took a punt, as he put it, the rest is history.
I will give you another missed opportunity by Rovers. Michael Kean, now at Burnley. In all probability Burnley will clinch promotion back to the Premiership, this afternoon. With Kean a major part of their success. Bowyer had him on loan at the Rovers, as we all know. Bowyer asked Venky's for £2m to buy him, Man Utd asking price. Venky's said NO. Burnley bought him . Kean is now valued at £10/15m . With the big boys hovering to make a bid. The story is well documented in the LT, Wheelock wrote it. When you look back in hindsight, Rovers had a gem in Bowyer, and sacked him. And ended up with another opportunist. You really could not make it up.
Reg Rover Replying Andy Kennedys dance tutor.
Andy Kennedys dance tutor wrote…
But if they won't even speak to the manager what are the chances of speaking to the LT ?
They would have to speak to the Liverpool Echo, if say, they owned Liverpool or Everton. The Echo would not take no for an answer, they would camp on their door step, they would delve into every aspect of their lives , and motives for owning the club. They would scrutinise the accounts. They would expose Andersons dealings. They would reveal Venky's inept ownership. In other words, they would make their lives a complete misery. The Liverpool Echo have fried bigger fish than Venky's. The South Yorkshire Police Force, H.M Government of the UK, Our justice system, The Sun Newspaper, Rupert Murdoch, BBC, The entire establishment, all to get at the truth over Hillsborough. Not to mention Hick and Gillette, the useless owners of Liverpool.
Exposing Venky's would be no problem to the Echo.
But of course they are a proper regional newspaper, with proper journalist. The LT, by comparison are useless. The LT have let the people of Blackburn down. With a proper, strong press, the situation at Rovers would be no where as bad as it is. I have had dealings with LT Editor Kevin Young, he is spineless and useless.
On the 31st March 2016 in the Lancashire Telegraph, the Blackburn Rovers manager Paul Lambert had a ‘dig’ at football agent Jerome Anderson, (pic above) without actually naming him.
Lambert, speaking about his hoped for forth coming budget for season 2016 / 2017 and meeting with the club owners, said, “I know this club has been taken to the cleaners in the past, but I would not do that”.
Lambert went onto say,” the club cannot stand still, we have to progress and the owners know my plans”.
It might be wrong to jump to conclusions, but one can only assume Lambert is referring to Jerome Anderson Kentaro SEM Sport Agency. And his fellow Director Charlie Nicholas, and manager at the time Steve Kean.
Anderson is reputed to have run the club from November 2010 until around September 2012. How accurate this is Venky’s will not say. Although it is believed their lawyers are seeking legal redress against Anderson and his companies.
The club has incurred debts of £104m since the Venky takeover November 2010, and its future is uncertain.
Only since Anderson / Kean departure have losses drastically reduced. Due mainly to the efforts of now departed Chief Executive Derek Shaw and Manager Gary Bowyer.
The picture above of Jerome Anderson is for Rovers fans to recognise if he ever shows his face again at Ewood Park. Hopefully they would make their feelings known in a peaceful articulate manner.
The Sun Newspaper has today (05.04 16) predicted that Lambert will walk away from the Rovers if Venky’s fail to meet his budget and planned way forward.