Season Preview 2013-14: Hull City

August 13, 2013 in Premier League, Team Previews

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After three years away, Hull City are finally back in the big time. The KC Stadium is guaranteed at least one year of hard fought battles against the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, but how long the top-flight jaunt will last is up to them. The Tigers are seemingly in a better financial position now then they were the last time they tasted Premier League football, and they also possess a manager with top-flight experience in Steve Bruce, his side having finished the job that Nick Barmby started the previous season.   They finished 8th in 2012, under the stewardship of local boy Barmby, and 11th the year before that.

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The Big Decision: Blackburn Rovers’ New Manager

October 21, 2012 in Championship

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I never got to write the blog entitled ‘Steve Kean sacked’ - it was the last cruel injustice of the Scotsman’s prolonged, painful and devastating spell as manager of my beloved Rovers. A so-called ‘forced resignation’ happened on a jubilant Friday night over three weeks ago, but Venky’s have still not appointed his successor, Kean’s heir apparent has not yet materialised. You’d like to think that anyone would be better than Kean, but that isn’t quite the case.

So let’s have a look at the candidates and weigh up their pros and cons:

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Iberia - An Untapped Market For Blackburn

August 29, 2012 in Championship, Premier League

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The Portuguese golden generation never quite lived up to their hype, did they? A team that contained the likes of Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Fernando Couto and Nuno Gomes should have succeeded were previous national teams had failed before them.

Championship new boys Blackburn Rovers significantly underachieved last year, as did the Portuguese golden generation from the early 90’s to the mid-Noughties. The stretch between the two sides might seem like a bridge too far for many, but in Nuno Gomes, we have a player who has now played for both sides. Gomes, alongside Fabio Nunes, Paulo Jorge and Edinho Junior, joined Rovers in Summer 2012, and may soon be followed by Nuno Henrique and Diogo Rosado, as Steve Kean welcomed the new players from what he called an ‘untapped market’.

Kean, who speaks fluent Portuguese after a playing career that included at least 12 games for Academica Coimbra during a three year spell, is not the first manager to seek out squad members from one particular area of Europe. Here we look at previous examples for Kean to follow:

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Blackburn Rovers: Same Club, Different League

August 21, 2012 in Championship

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A new season means a new barrel load of lies to be spoken by Rovers’ Alex McLeish-wannabe known as Steve Kean, and I know what your thinking now - if only Kean was more like the former Aston Villa manager. A top 10 finish and the Carling Cup were once mooted by the former Celtic player here - at least McLeish could deliver half of that for Birmingham in 2011.

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Season Preview: Chelsea

August 8, 2012 in Premier League

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22nd June 2011 saw Andre Villas Boas arrive at Chelsea; his ‘ambition, drive and determination’ coupled with his 88.24% win percentage at former club Porto saw him as the perfect candidate to replace Carlo Ancelotti in the Stamford Bridge hotseat. AVB won the Europa League with Porto just one month before leaving for Chelsea, and was seen as the ideal choice to quench Roman Abramovich’s undeniable thirst for Champions League glory.

Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Raul Meireles, Juan Mata and Oriol Romeu were all signed as Villas-Boas aimed to lower the average age of the squad, and the project to overthrow Manchester United was on course. AVB was joined at Chelsea by Roberto Di Matteo (Chelsea player between 1996-2002), the former manager of Milton Keynes Dons and West Bromwich Albion, who was seen as the perfect foil to AVB, and brought top level EPL coaching experience to the management team.

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