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Rovers fall fowl of Premier League drop after chicken protest

Date

Henry Winter

Blackburn 0 Wigan 1

Chicken run ... Blackburn striker Yakubu tries to catch the bird.

Chicken run ... Blackburn striker Yakubu tries to catch the bird. Photo: AFP

Blackburn Rovers were relegated last night with rain, tennis balls and relentless derision falling on their beleaguered manager Steve Kean. Whatever Kean's limitations, it was a disgrace that Rovers' owners, the Venky's, did not turn up for this brutal denouement. This fine club has been left bereft by poor management on and off the pitch.

It was like the coliseum at times, Kean even requiring a bodyguard as Blackburn's 11 years in the Premier League ended. A chicken invaded the pitch in the first half, a fan threw his season ticket at the dugouts in the second half and 30 Rovers fans protested on the pitch at the final whistle. Kean had made a sharp exit. In the background, the giant screen read "Thank you for your support this season".

For Wigan, there was nothing but celebration. Antolin Alcaraz's late header guaranteeing survival for their jubilant fans, who had sung "I'm a believer" for much of this game.

Heartbreak ... Morten Gamst Pedersen reacts after Rovers are relegated.

Heartbreak ... Morten Gamst Pedersen reacts after Rovers are relegated. Photo: AFP

The first half had been notable mainly for the chicken run.

Inevitably the rooster became a darling on the social-media scene, having seven Twitter accounts by half-time. Yakubu took charge of the chicken situation, trying to usher the fans' feathered friend off the pitch but it ended up in the back of the net. Cue much hilarity and gags about the chicken being a target for Dinamo Kiev.

The chicken was in Rovers' colours, the home fans making a point about their anger with the Venky's regime. Blackburn's owners specialise in chicken meat processing. The owners had elected to stay away, a shame as they would have realised the strength of feeling against them. The anger was detectable outside the ground, and brutally inside.

Caustic echoes abounded of the Bolton game here, of the derision for Kean pouring down from all sides. "Kean out" was sung frequently. "We want our Rovers back," came the next chant. Then "There's only one Jack Walker" in memory of Blackburn's late, great benefactor. Venky's representatives should have been here.

After a three-minute chicken break, the game resumed with Wigan largely in control. Their 3-4-3 system seemed to flummox Blackburn, particularly Martinez's wide players Jean Beausejour and Emmerson Boyce, and the elusive runner, Victor Moses. Franco Di Santo, so instrumental in Wigan's rally, kept showing for the ball, kept looking to test Paul Robinson, who shovelled one shot away. Then Moses came calling, escaping Scott Dann, but failing to beat Robinson.

As Rovers fans chanted "no shots on target", Morten Gamst Pedersen lined up a free-kick on the right. It disappeared horribly wide, prompting chants of "that's why you're going down" from the Wigan fans. Some Blackburn fans joined in.

Rovers suffered a blow when David Dunn hobbled away, having sustained a knock in making one of countless tackles. Dunn is one of those Blackburn players who really cares for the club cause, and had been giving everything here, tackling hard, trying to create openings for Yakubu and Anthony Modeste.

Marcus Olsson came on in central midfield, and a further change was made at the break. Gael Givet was replaced by Radoslav Petrovic.

Rovers' tempo actually improved after the break, although there was another pitch invader, this time of the human variety. A Blackburn fan ran from the Darwen End and threw his season ticket at the dugouts.

It landed in Wigan's technical area and was a fairly empty gesture anyway, this being Rovers' last home game of the season.

Kean's players gave their fans something more positive to focus on.

Dann headed down for Yakubu to try his luck, the ball cannoning into a wall of Wigan bodies. Modeste, living up to his name, shot timidly.

Wigan broke out, storming down the other end. Di Santo headed down, Moses volleyed over, a wasted opportunity. Wigan almost conceded moments later. Boyce clearly caught Junior Hoilett, who fell to the ground, his run towards the ball clearly checked. Mark Clattenburg waved play on to Rovers consternation.

The vilification of the Venky's continued. From all corners of the ground it came. Wigan's fans responded with "there's only one Dave Whelan", a tribute to their owner, a former Blackburn player.

Blackburn were trying to mix up their attacks, occasionally going long. One hoof towards Yakubu appeared to have freed the Nigerian but Antolin Alcaraz cleared. Desperation began to creep into Blackburn hearts. They had to score. They had to win. Adding an apocalyptic backdrop to the occasion, a flare was lit in the Darwen End, the smoke drifting across the Rovers' box.

Then Wigan stormed towards Robinson's area. This time it was Shaun Maloney scampering through the middle, bringing his right foot back to shoot. Just as he was about to connect with the ball, Pedersen fouled him, taking a caution for the cause.

The weather reflected the bleak mood. Rain poured down and down. Kean did not flinch, standing on the edge of his dugout, the rain soaking his coat. Still he hoped. Modeste ran through, unleashing a low shot, collected easily by Ali Al Habsi. Their work-rate was better.

For Wigan, Moses should have been enjoying this weather. He drove in from the left but decided to take a tumble in proximity to Pedersen.

Clattenburg ran across and booked Moses for diving.

With time running out, Kean twisted again, sending on David Goodwillie for Bradley Orr. "Rooney, Rooney" chanted the Rovers fans, mocking Kean's assertion that Goodwillie shared similar footballing qualities to the Manchester United and England striker.

Blackburn's tactics would not have been found in any coaching manual.

They seemed vulnerable at the back, relying on three at the back, and only some spectacular goalkeeping from Robinson denied Moses. Then Boyce lifted in a cross and somehow the tiniest player on the pitch, Maloney, rose best but headed over.

Humiliation finally engulfed Kean. Hope left the building. With three minutes remaining, Alcaraz headed in Beausejour's corner. The boos intensified.

The Daily Telegraph, London

Hyundai A-League 2015-16

Round 1
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1vs BRI 3 Stats
Fri, 09 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 0vs VIC 0 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 3vs PER 2 Stats
SYD 1vs MCY 1 Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1vs NEW 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 16 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1vs WSW 1 Stats
Sat, 17 OctTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs SYD 1 Stats
VIC 3vs MCY 2 Stats
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI 2vs CCM 1 Stats
PER 1vs WEL 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 23 OctTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs VIC 0 Stats
Sat, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 3vs BRI 2 Stats
SYD 1vs WSW 0 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
MCY 3vs CCM 1 Stats
PER 3vs ADE 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 30 OctTimes shown AEDT
MCY 2vs NEW 3 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs SYD 3 Stats
BRI 3vs ADE 0 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1vs PER 0 Stats
Mon, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 3vs WEL 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Thu, 05 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2vs MCY 4 Stats
Fri, 06 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD 0vs BRI 0 Stats
Sat, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs WEL 1 Stats
Wed, 16 DecTimes shown AEDT
PER 1vs VIC 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 13 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 4vs ADE 2 Stats
MCY 0vs WSW 3 Stats
Sat, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs CCM 1 Stats
SYD 2vs VIC 4 Stats
Sun, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1vs PER 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Thu, 19 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2vs CCM 1 Stats
Fri, 20 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1vs MCY 1 Stats
Sat, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW 2vs WEL 1 Stats
PER 0vs SYD 0 Stats
Sun, 22 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE 0vs NEW 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Thu, 26 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD 0vs WEL 0 Stats
Fri, 27 NovTimes shown AEDT
MCY 5vs PER 1 Stats
Sat, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs BRI 1 Stats
VIC 2vs ADE 1 Stats
Sun, 29 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM 0vs WSW 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Thu, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs MCY 5 Stats
Fri, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD 1vs NEW 0 Stats
Sat, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 2vs VIC 0 Stats
WSW 2vs BRI 1 Stats
Sun, 06 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1vs PER 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 11 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2vs SYD 1 Stats
Sat, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI 2vs WEL 1 Stats
WSW 2vs VIC 0 Stats
PER 2vs CCM 1 Stats
Sun, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs MCY 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 18 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs ADE 0 Stats
Sat, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1vs SYD 1 Stats
MCY 2vs VIC 1 Stats
PER 2vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM 0vs BRI 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 24 DecTimes shown AEDT
WSW 2vs NEW 0 Stats
Sat, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE 3vs WEL 0 Stats
SYD 4vs CCM 1 Stats
Sun, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1vs PER 1 Stats
BRI 3vs MCY 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM 3vs WEL 1 Stats
Fri, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW 0vs ADE 0 Stats
Sat, 02 JanTimes shown AEDT
BRI 2vs PER 1 Stats
MCY 2vs SYD 2 Stats
Sun, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs VIC 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 08 JanTimes shown AEDT
CCM 3vs VIC 3 Stats
Sat, 09 JanTimes shown AEDT
SYD 2vs NEW 0 Stats
MCY 3vs WSW 2 Stats
PER 1vs ADE 3 Stats
Sun, 10 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL 0vs BRI 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 15 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC 4vs BRI 0 Stats
Sat, 16 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE 3vs CCM 1 Stats
WSW 1vs SYD 2 Stats
PER 2vs MCY 2 Stats
Sun, 17 JanTimes shown AEDT
NEW 3vs WEL 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 22 JanTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1vs ADE 4 Stats
Sat, 23 JanTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs PER 6 Stats
Mon, 25 JanTimes shown AEDT
MCY 3vs WEL 1 Stats
Tue, 26 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1vs SYD 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 29 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW 4vs MCY 3 Stats
Sat, 30 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1vs CCM 3 Stats
SYD 1vs BRI 3 Stats
PER 3vs VIC 2 Stats
Sun, 31 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1vs NEW 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 05 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2vs SYD 2 Stats
Sat, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI 4vs CCM 0 Stats
VIC 1vs WSW 1 Stats
Sun, 07 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL 0vs PER 1 Stats
NEW 2vs MCY 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 12 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs NEW 20:00Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs PER 17:15Allianz Stadium
MCY vs VIC 19:30AAMI Park
Sun, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 15:00Central Coast Stadium
WSW vs WEL 17:00Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 19 FebTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs ADE 19:40AAMI Park
Sat, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs WEL 17:15Hunter Stadium
SYD vs WSW 19:30Allianz Stadium
PER vs BRI 21:40nib Stadium
Sun, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
MCY vs CCM 17:00AAMI Park
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 26 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MCY 17:30Westpac Stadium
WSW vs PER 19:40Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs BRI 17:15Coopers Stadium
VIC vs SYD 19:30AAMI Park
Sun, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs NEW 17:00Central Coast Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 04 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WSW 20:00Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs ADE 17:15Westpac Stadium
MCY vs SYD 19:30AAMI Park
Sun, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs VIC 17:00Central Coast Stadium
Mon, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
PER vs NEW 20:00nib Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs MCY 19:40Coopers Stadium
Sat, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs WEL 17:15Allianz Stadium
BRI vs VIC 19:30Suncorp Stadium
PER vs CCM 21:40nib Stadium
Sun, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs WSW 17:00Hunter Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 18 MarTimes shown AEDT
MCY vs BRI 19:40AAMI Park
Sat, 19 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs SYD 17:15Central Coast Stadium
WSW vs ADE 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs PER 15:00Westpac Stadium
VIC vs NEW 17:00AAMI Park
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs WSW 19:40AAMI Park
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs PER 17:15Hunter Stadium
BRI vs SYD 19:30Suncorp Stadium
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs CCM 17:00Coopers Stadium
Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
MCY vs WEL 19:30AAMI Park
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs CCM 19:40Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs VIC 17:15Westpac Stadium
SYD vs ADE 19:30Allianz Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI vs NEW 17:00Suncorp Stadium
PER vs MCY 19:00nib Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
MCY vs ADE 19:40AAMI Park
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
CCM vs NEW 17:15Central Coast Stadium
VIC vs BRI 19:30AAMI Park
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs WSW 15:00Westpac Stadium
SYD vs PER 17:00Allianz Stadium
View All Fixtures
Hyundai A-League 2015-16
Overall standings
Team P W L +/- Pts
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 18 10 4 10 34
Brisbane Roar FC 18 10 4 9 34
Melbourne City FC 18 8 6 11 28
Melbourne Victory 18 8 6 6 28
Sydney FC 18 7 4 5 28
Adelaide United 18 7 5 3 27
Perth Glory 18 6 8 -1 22
Newcastle Jets 18 5 9 -12 19
View all
 

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