Rovers fans: Blackburn 'has become a national joke'
Wayne Wild, co-chairman of the Blackburn Rovers supporters’ group Rovers Trust, has admitted that the club 'has become a national joke' after Henning Berg’s reign as Blackburn manager came to an end after just 57 days.
The former Rovers defender, 43, was installed as Steve Kean’s successor on October 31, agreeing a three-year deal at Ewood Park, having previously suggested in an interview it would be “madness” to take the job.
A 1-0 St Stephen's Day defeat to Middlesbrough marked their fifth league loss in six matches, and this morning the club officially announced that Berg, along with assistant manager Eric Black, first-team coach Iain Brunskill and goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms would leave with immediate effect.
However, following one win in 10 matches under Berg, Wild insists the owners have a chance to finally make the right decision.
“The results speak for themselves and it is a results business,” Wild said.
“To be honest I’m surprised they’ve made such a swift decision. But it is the correct one.
“It’s just very disappointing. He’s an ex-idol of the fans but it’s no shock that it has come to this. His appointment itself was just another strange decision.
“They (Venky’s) purposely went after an ex-player. It was all about trying to win over the fans when really it was just another cheap option.
“When you think we’ve hit rock-bottom we manage to dig a little further. This club has become a national joke.”
Wild said that bringing in Hughes would be welcomed by the fans, even if it may not guarantee positive results.
He added: “Hughes is an obvious choice for most of the fans. He knows the working of the club. But there have been so many changes since he left, would it work? I don’t know. It doesn’t always work going back but he’s experienced and has a good pedigree.
“This is still a fantastic job. You’re talking about an ex-Premier League-winning club. But the owners have a great opportunity now to make the correct decision.”
A statement from the club said: “Blackburn Rovers FC has announced the departure of manager Henning Berg, assistant manager Eric Black, first team coach Iain Brunskill and goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms with immediate effect.
“This decision has been taken following a very disappointing sequence of results.
“The club thanks the four men for their efforts and wishes them every success for the future.”
Berg’s time at Ewood Park had not been a happy one, with a statement released earlier this month playing down claims he had stormed out of the club’s Christmas party after reports of a bust-up.
He initially seemed an unlikely candidate for the job, having told Norwegian television in the summer that “no real managers with credibility” would go for the post, adding: “To work as a manager for a club you need the right owners and to take over as a manager in a club (Blackburn) with owners like that is madness.”
Executives at Venky’s, Blackburn’s owners, held talks after yesterday’s result, which led to Berg and his staff departing.
Company director Balaji Rao was quoted in The Times of India as saying: “We have not been doing well and dropping points and losing matches quite often. I want to go up.”
Former Aston Villa coach Kevin MacDonald was today favourite for the post with several bookmakers, ahead of former Rovers manager Mark Hughes.
Berg’s dismissal marks the end of another disappointing chapter in what has been a turbulent period for the club.
Sam Allardyce was swiftly removed as manager after Venky’s completed their purchase of the club in October 2010.
Steve Kean replaced him as full-time boss after a caretaker spell, and under his charge Rovers were relegated from the Barclays Premier League this year.
Kean resigned in September, also in the wake of a defeat to Middlesbrough, saying that his position had become “untenable”.
The Scot left the club third in the npower Championship. They are now placed 17th – 16 points adrift of the play-off places but only seven above the drop zone.
Berg expressed frustration at losing his job in a statement released through the League Managers’ Association, and believes the team can soon battle their way up the table.
He said: “It goes without saying that I am bitterly disappointed to have been relieved of my managerial duties at Ewood Park after just 57 days since my appointment.
“At this stage I would just like to release a short statement thanking the Blackburn Rovers fans for their incredible support during my time in charge.
“I have always enjoyed a fantastic relationship with them dating back to my playing days where we shared some great memories.
“It was an honour for me to manage a club that is so close to my heart and I now wish all of them every success for the rest of the season and beyond.
“I would also like to thank the players and staff for their support and commitment in this short period. They have all done their best and unfortunately the results in these 10 games have not reflected their performances.
“I wish the club all the best in the future, and am sure that with a few additions in the January transfer window, they will have a good chance of getting a play-off place.”