Steve Kean has shown strength of character

FOOTBALL managers and politicians are both in the public eye, and both have to put up with regular criticism, whether they like it or not.

It goes with the territory.

But there are limits. I no more approve of gratuitous insults against football managers, Steve Kean included, than I do against politicians.

I say two other things about Mr Kean.

One is that he has shown considerable strength of character in recent weeks.

The second is that, with a mainly young team, he has secured some remarkable results in recent days; the draw, away, against Liverpool; the fantastic win, away, against Manchester United; and the very fine result last Saturday when our ten-man team beat a determined Fulham 3 – 1.

I am happy to put on record that this was against my expectations of what I thought he, and the team, could manage.

If we could just win those six-pointers against the other teams at the bottom as well, we might still be in the Premier League next season, too.

The breathing space which these recent, better results give, should be a time for reflection by the club’s owners about how they can improve relations with the club’s many thousands of supporters.

I’ve been sitting in the same seats at the Blackburn End for at least the last 15 years. So have most of those around me.

They are a good cross-section of fans; and they don’t deserve some of the criticisms which have been made of them, either.

They are decent people, just deeply frustrated by an unnecessary absence of communication, and direction by the owners (which, by the by, has unfairly placed Mr Kean in the firing line).

Many of us have tried, so far without success, to make constructive contact with them. I live in hope that, despite recent difficulties, the owners will now positively engage with the fans and the community.

They would be pleasantly surprised by the result.

A moment’s thought should tell them that their interests are, in truth, the same as ours.

Author: Jack Straw

Jack Straw was elected as the MP for Blackburn in 1979 and is currently the Secretary of State for Justice.

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