When a soccer manager has to hire a bodyguard to protect him from his own team’s fans there’s definitely something wrong. Either he’s doing a lousy job or the fans have lost the plot. When it comes to Steve Kean, manager of the English Premier League’s Blackburn Rovers, statistics show that it’s more a case of the former.
Blackburn is hovering in the league’s relegation zone, just one point out of the basement, with five wins, 15 losses and six ties on the season so far for just 21 points as of Feb. 25. They’ve also allowed a league-high 59 goals against. This is a long fall from grace since winning the Premier League title back in the 1994/95 season.
The 44-year-old Kean has hired a 24-hour bodyguard to make sure angry fans don’t get to him. The unnamed guard is a martial arts expert and Kean decided to bolster his and his family’s security after word got out that fans had planned on confronting him while he was out for dinner with his family at a local restaurant. Kean said he showed the warning text to his wife and they decided to vacate the restaurant as quickly as possible.
Kean said it’s a little odd having a bodyguard with him at all times, but at least he’s interesting to talk to. Kean took over the team when former manager Sam Allardyce was fired in December of 2010. However, the team hasn’t improved at all under his tutelage. In fact, it’s gotten worse, and fans have been calling for Kean’s dismissal for most of the season, fearing they’ll be relegated into England’s second tier of competition.
Kean said he thinks most of the club’s fans are behind him and are non-violent, but he isn’t willing to take that chance. Kean, from Glasgow, Scotland, has taken verbal abuse from fans at most home games and has seen thousands of them protest in the streets outside of their Ewood Park Stadium. He said his 13-year-old daughter has also been jeered at school over the situation. He said he’s used to taking some abuse though, since he’s a Catholic and lived in one of Glasgow’s Protestant areas.
Kean said fans sometimes protest at the club’s training facility as early as 8am when he arrives there to start work. However, some fans have written to Kean to support him and numerous other soccer managers have also stood by his side. He said it’s hard to take the verbal barrage he receives during games, but there’s nowhere to hide from it.
Many fans feel Kean’s delusional though and point to an incident that took place in August when he received an 18-month driving ban for drinking and driving. He told the judge that somebody had spiked his drink after a game against Manchester United earlier that day. Obviously, the judge, didn’t buy the argument.
Soccer’s a result-oriented sport and it’s clear that Kean hasn’t been able to produce. Fans turning on a manager is common in Europe and they don’t understand why Kean doesn’t just resign from the club for his and his family’s sake, not to mention their own. They’d also like to know if the bodyguard’s salary is being paid out of Kean’s own pocket or if the club is footing the bill.
Written by Ian Palmer via FeedCrossing
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