Opinion piece by Toby Wilding, sports journalist and Rovers fan
There have been a number of managerial appointments across the Football League in the past few days, the majority of them having been welcomed as impressive selections, with good reason. Nigel Pearson and Roberto di Matteo have the know-how to get Derby County and Aston Villa, respectively, into the position to push for the promotion they will expect this season, while Garry Monk could, should he be given the chance, bring some much needed stability to Leeds United.
Further down the pyramid, the calming influence of a certain Gary Bowyer will likely do the same at Blackpool. One appointment, however, has been met with a degree of scepticism from its team’s fanbase, and that is, of course, Owen Coyle’s arrival at Blackburn Rovers.
One the plus side, the appointment of a manager means the club can now properly start to think about preparing for the season ahead and Coyle certainly has a job on his hands in that respect.
There are currently just 14 first team players at the club and a combination of loan and contract expirations means not a single one of those is a recognised striker.
What makes Coyle’s job all the more difficult in rebuilding the squad is the club’s lack of a managing director to instruct the Scotsman in what he has available to spend on his side.
In that respect, the appointment of a manager appears to be something of an attempt to appease the club’s fans by the owners and given the identity of the man selected, it has not been a successful one.
Appointing a manager means there is someone on the ground for the fans to look to for answers, but he is responsible for getting results on the pitch, not being, in the previous manager’s words, a spokesman for the owners.
Coyle will have to work with what he is given by the owners and work with the directors who are responsible for the day to day running of the club as a business. With no one from Venky’s present at Ewood Park and no appointment of anyone to run the club appearing imminent, the impression given from the owners is one of indifference.
It’s as if they feel a manager who picks the team and directs the players is all they need to run a club.
Sadly, that is far from the case and unless they move quickly to give Coyle some regular support, you wouldn’t be surprised if we see Coyle going the same way as Paul Lambert did.
So to the man himself. As has already been mentioned, the appointment of Owen Coyle has not exactly gone down well with many Rovers fans, understandably so, perhaps, given Coyle’s links to local rivals Burnley and, more pertinently, what can politely be described as a mixed record across his managerial career.
Yet, to instantly jump on Coyle’s back may be premature, although some already have. As we have seen, the job facing Coyle is difficult enough as it is without also having to worry about (lack of) support from the stands, a sentiment that will also be felt amongst the players working to earn the much needed points for the club out on the pitch.
It should also be remembered that regardless of rivalry, Coyle was the first man to guide Burnley to the promised land of the Premier League, where all Rovers fans dream of returning to. For that to happen, however, Coyle will need all the support he can get from Venky’s to build a squad capable of achieving such a feat while also finding the people to oversee the running of the club allowing Coyle to focus on events on the pitch.
The pressure, therefore, remains on the Rao family – as it has done for all of their ownership. They have taken the first step in appointing a manager and must now follow it up by providing the support their man needs.
If they don’t, they may as well not have bothered appointing anyone at all.