The winning team wasn’t broke - but Venus chose to fix it


WHEN Boro come to town, a manager tends to face up to the prospect of a new beginning elsewhere.

Or so is the case if you’re the gaffer of Blackburn Rovers.

Ewood Park turned poisonous as the campaign to force Steve Kean out turned the club into more of a circus.

It wasn’t just in the ground where the banners got an airing. I still recall leaving Headingley, in Leeds, after a Friday night with the Rhinos as company for the World Club Challenge and looking up to see a grinning ‘Kean Out’ banner hanging from a rooftop.

And it was another Friday night which gave the Blackburn boo-boys their long awaited wish. A brilliant Boro, with Muzzy Carayol and the unplayable-on-the-night Lukas Jutkiewicz, at the helm, tore Rovers to bits, banishing them to their first defeat of the season and in doing-so banishing Kean to become a thing of the past in the Blackburn ranks.

Henning Berg didn’t last long. That chicken connoisseurs that run the show at Ewood brought his short and unsuccessful stint in charge of Rovers to an abrupt end following their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Boro on Boxing Day.

The chances of history repeating itself were slim to none on Saturday. In Gary Bowyer, Rovers finally seem to be giving a manager somewhat of an opportunity to make the job his own. Although with the Venky’s running things, it would be naive to take anything for granted.

Instead, this time round, it was Boro who brought with them the managerial uncertainty.

Two weeks after that uncertainty was cast over the club with Mogga getting the boot, it remains.

With the exception, you would hope, of Gibson and Bausor, nobody seems to have any clue as to who it will be in the Boro hotseat.

Phelan, Karanka, Agnew, the White Feather and current minder Mark Venus are all the next in line if we were to believe what we see, here and read.

And after the battering of Doncaster and the much-needed confidence boost that came with it, Venus may very well have been a result or two away from being offered the spot, at least until the end of the season.

Yet making my way to Ewood on Saturday, the thought of the current caretaker making any changes to that 11 which tore through Donny, was one I didn’t even take the time to contemplate.

Blackburn were there for the taking. An average side, limited in what they do but able to boast a constant threat in Premier League hitman in the waiting Jordan Rhodes.

The front four which tormented Doncaster, being allowed to roam free again with Smallwood and Leadbitter providing the solidity and steel behind, would have frightened the life out of a questionable looking back line.

And Blackburn are more than aware of what Carayol can do to a side if he’s on song. They were the helpless victims in the same fixture last year.

Instead Venus opted for a Mogga. Swapping Carayol for Varga and adding an extra defensively-minded body into the engine room.

It was at times a frustrating element of Mowbray’s management. Setting up a team to stifle the opposition instead of maybe making them worry more about us.

The irony comes with the fact that very element perhaps cost us minimum of a point and may well result in Venus being overlooked.

It’s not to say he’s out of the reckoning of course, anything but. Boro can probably feel slightly aggrieved we didn’t leave with a point on Saturday, we looked solid at the back again and it took a world class hit to settle the game, but we didn’t do anywhere near enough to take the three points.

Had we started with the team that finished against Blackburn, the outcome may well have been very different and Venus may well have been heading for the home game with Watford as his final audition.

Point worth mentioning: Jason Steele’s pointblank save denying Jordan Rhodes is the best stop I’ve ever seen live - bar none.

One more point worth mentioning: The noisy away-day following of 2,300 with managerial uncertainty hanging over the club, a dodgy start to the season and sitting not-so-pretty in the bottom half of the Championship was fantastic throughout. We could probably sell that twice over for the Leeds away game this month.

And one final point worth mentioning: Steve Kean will be hoping his next spell in management won’t be anywhere near as turbulent as his time at Blackburn - he’s recently been confirmed as the new boss at Brunei DPMM, one of three foreign teams competing in the Singapore League.