Blackburn owners under fire after Appleton sacking

Blackburn Rovers owners Venky’s have been criticised for the “incomprehensible and ill-thought out” decision to sack manager Michael Appleton and been warned they must bring stability to the club or risk a second straight relegation.

Appleton’s dismissal after just 67 days was confirmed yesterday in a short club statement. His predecessor, Henning Berg, managed ten days fewer at the helm before he, too, was fired.

Indian poultry firm Venky’s are now looking for a fifth permanent manager since their £23 million takeover of the club in November 2010.

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Rovers are currently 18th in the npower Championship, only four points above the relegation zone. Wayne Wild, the co-chairman of supporters group the Rovers Trust, said in a statement: “News of Michael Appleton’s sacking ought to come as a surprise, but sadly it does not.

“This is just the latest in a long line of incomprehensible and ill-thought out decisions that go back to the very start of the Venky’s ownership of Blackburn. It is obvious to any experienced fan or football professional that to keep changing managers will only lead to yet more instability and uncertainty. It is also a costly exercise to keep paying off staff.

“The owners have to face up to the fact they are entirely responsible for the situation we find ourselves in with a second successive relegation a distinct possibility.”

Wild demanded that Venky’s start to communicate with fans and other interested parties, and that they ensure the next man in permanent charge has managerial pedigree.

“We’ve been calling for an experienced manager to be given the job, but they’ve made three appointments, all of inexperienced managers, and they just aren’t learning from the mistakes they’re making,” Wild added. “All our recent success has been with having an experienced, established manager.

“All our recent failings have been with having an inexperienced manager.

“Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Mark Hughes have all been successful in their careers, so history tells you what the right decision is.”

The statement from Blackburn confirming Appleton’s sacking read: “Blackburn Rovers FC can confirm that Michael Appleton has been relieved of his duties as manager along with assistant manager Ashley Westwood, first-team coach Darren Moore and head of senior recruitment Luke Dowling.”

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The Sports PR Company, which represents Appleton, later released a statement from him via Twitter which read: “I am disappointed to be leaving Blackburn Rovers. I would like to thank the players and wish them all the best for the rest of the season. I would also like to say thanks to the fans who have made me feel so welcome over the past few months.”

Gary Bowyer has been placed in temporary control as caretaker manager.

Rovers’ managerial casualties


Venky’s buy-out was completed on 19 November 2010 and less than a month later Allardyce, who had been in charge at Ewood Park for just under two years, was sacked. On 21 December, Allardyce claimed a third party must have been at work in engineering his dismissal, saying: “Having never really met the new owners and had little dialogue, somebody somewhere has obviously said something derogatory to get me out of this job.”

Record: Played 90. Won 32. Drawn 24. Lost 34.


The Scot, who initially served as caretaker boss following Allardyce’s dismissal, was given the job on a permanent basis in January 2011 on a contract until June 2013.

Kean, who was in charge as Blackburn suffered relegation to the npower Championship at the end of the 2011-12 season, was deeply unpopular with Rovers fans and resigned in September last year after describing his position as “untenable” in the face of supporter boycotts of the stadium.

Record: Played 74. Won 21. Drawn 16. Lost 37.


The Norwegian lasted just ten matches and 57 days at the club, having been appointed in November 2012 as Kean’s permanent successor. He had said in May 2012 that “no manager with real credibility” would take on the job.

Record: Played 10. Won 1. Drawn 3. Lost 6.


Blackburn was Appleton’s third job of the season when he was appointed on 12 January, having previously been in charge at Portsmouth and Blackpool, whom he left to take charge at Ewood Park. His sacking was confirmed yesterday with the club 18th in the Championship and after 15 games at the helm.

Record: Played 15. Won 4. Drawn 5. Lost 6.