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Rovers and Rangers continue in mirror image – Interview
Thursday, 28th Jul 2022 15:48 by Clive Whittingham

This my neighbour Ian Herbert, he is pain in my asshole: my team suffers New Year collapse, his team suffers New Year collapse; my team bins long-serving manager, his team bins long-serving manager; my team make four summer signings, his team cannot afford – great success.

A very Moany Towbray season in the end, mirroring our own play for play, how was it for you?

Sadly all too predictable. Why, when we kept renting the same movie did we expect the ending to change? A director’s cut?

I doubt we’ll have as good a chance to break into the play-offs for quite some time. Up until the January window our course was set fair; some surprisingly positive results served to re-charge the optimism batteries only for the lack of new faces to cost us dear.

The Ben Brereton-Diaz injury at West Brom effectively ended our season as our attack paid their own tribute to the late comedy genius Ronnie Barker, by transforming from being tough and ruthless to rough and toothless.

Blackburn’s 2021/22…
Blackburn 2-1 Swansea Gallagher 36, Brereton-Diaz pen 48 – Paterson 52
Millwall 1-1 Blackburn Wallace 64 – Brereton-Diaz 76
Forest 1-2 Blackburn Zinckernagel 69 – Ayala 47, Lenihan 86
Blackburn 1-2 West Brom Brereton-Diaz 51 – Mowatt 1, Phillips 45
Middlesbrough 1-1 Blackburn Howson 36 – Gallagher 17
Blackburn 2-2 Luton Dolan 27, Pickering 31 – Berry 73, 90
Blackburn 2-0 Hull Ayala 61, Brereton-Diaz 65
Barnsley 0-0 Blackburn
Blackburn 5-1 Cardiff Gallagher 24, Brereton-Diaz 32, 45, pen 90, Dolan 53 – Morrison 58
Huddersfield 3-2 Blackburn Vallejo 36, Ward 60, 84 – Brereton-Diaz 57, pen 64
Blackpool 2-1 Blackburn Lavery 4, Yates 24 – Brereton-Diaz 50
Blackburn 2-2 Coventry Rothwell 39, Gallagher 45 – Walker 62, Kaminski og 68
QPR 1-0 Blackburn Chair 83
Blackburn 2-0 Reading Gallagher 61, Dolan 64
Derby 1-2 Blackburn Davies 89 – Brereton 8, 20
Blackburn 0-7 Fulham Kebano 6, 79, Mitrovic 19, Wilson 54, 58, Muniz 81, 90
Blackburn 3-1 Sheff Utd Khadra 37, Brereton 59, Poveda 70 – Brewster 2
Bristol City 1-1 Blackburn O’Dowda 34 – Brereton 75
Blackburn 4-0 Peterborough Pickering 16, Brereton 35, 60, Lenihan 45
Stoke 0-1 Blackburn Khadra 52
Blackburn 1-0 Preston Brereton 53
Bournemouth 0-2 Blackburn Pearson og 21, van Hecke 65
Blackburn 4-0 Birmingham Buckley 6, Khadra 52, Brereton pen 60, 79
Blackburn 2-1 Barnsley Rothwell 24, Brereton 65 – Morris 45
Blackburn 0-0 Huddersfield
Cardiff 0-1 Blackburn Rothwell 14
Hull 2-0 Blackburn Honeyman 7, Eaves 47
Blackburn 1-0 Boro Gallagher 76
Luton 0-0 Blackburn
Swansea 1-0 Blackburn Obafemi 16
Blackburn 0-2 Forest Garner 22, Johnson pen 90
West Brom 0-0 Blackburn
Sheff Utd 1-0 Blackburn Davies 90
Blackburn 1-0 QPR Khadra 80
Fulham 2-0 Blackburn Kebano 25, Wilson 35
Blackburn 0-0 Millwall
Blackburn 0-1 Bristol City Weimann 90
Blackburn 3-1 Derby Wharton 53, Dolan 59, Gallagher 90 – Morrison 28
Reading 1-0 Blackburn Laurent 78
Coventry 2-2 Blackburn Pickering og 8, Gyokeres 90 – Dack 46, Wharton 82
Blackburn 1-1 Blackpool Gallagher 10 – Ekpiteta 48
Peterborough 2-1 Blackburn Szmodics 83, Marriott 87 – Brereton 77
Blackburn 0-1 Stoke Brown 4
Preston 1-4 Blackburn Browne 29 – Gallagher 9, Buckley 12, Lenihan 37, Travis 52
Blackburn 0-3 Bournemouth Solanke 21, Billing 70, 79
Birmingham 1-2 Blackburn Pedersen 78 – Buckley 29, Brereton 45

Right decision to bin him off?

It’s the summer to replace leaders who split the loyalty of their followers down the middle and end up generating in-fighting across their base. Rovers are nothing if not trend setters.

Unlike Johnson, Mowbray had not managed to win enough key victories in red wall marginals to secure another term. Neither was he caught in his office being pleasured by Mark Venus though so there is that.

His time was up, but my word, it’s quite the poisoned chalice that is being left behind but that is more down to his superiors and ultimately the owners.

What do you make of the replacement?

Saying all the right things, making all the right moves but he’s been given a squad that has lost half a dozen of last season’s 1st XI and at time of writing there are no signs of any incoming talent to bed in. Poor bugger is already starting to look puzzled at press conferences.

He has a decent track record but I fear that Rovers might turn out to be the chapter in his autobiography where he explains how he learned an awful lot and wouldn’t therefore make the same mistakes when choosing his next job.

All outgoings and few incomings so far, what needs to be done this window?

A lot. We have a conveyor belt of promising youngsters but they really need to be the icing on the cake as opposed to the sponge base.

It looks like the funding taps have been turned off and unless we can secure a substantial fee for BBD then inbound traffic may be thin on the ground.

Either way, we are handicapping the new boss by not providing the tools to do the job and even if four or five come in on deadline day, we will by then have played a number of games and quite possibly shaped the tenor of our season by September.

We need at least two defenders, a midfielder and if Ben departs, a striker.

It’s beginning to take on the demeanour of a careless husband buying the family Christmas presents at the last service station on the way home on Christmas Eve.

Ins >>> Ethan Walker-Hernandez, 19, LW, PNE, Free >>> Callum Brittain-Gonzalez, 24, RB, Barnsley, Undisclosed

Outs >>> Joe Rothwell-Munoz, 27, CM, Bournemouth, Free >>> Darragh Lenihan-Morales, 28, CB, Boro, Free >>> Ryan Nyambe-Rodriguez, 24, RB, Wigan, Free >>> Harry Chapman-Fuentes, 24, RW, Bradford, Free >>> Bradley Johnson-Lopes, 34, CM, Free, MK Dons >>> Antonis Stergiakes-Espinoza, 23, GK, Panetolikos (Greece), Free >>> Jacob Davenport-Gutierrez, 23, DM, Released

How has pre-season gone?

We’ve played friendlies against a range of opposition but only the one away at Celtic could really be described as something approximating a serious challenge. In the context, a 2-2 draw is probably a decent result but anyone reading too much into any pre-season result, in any context, is juggling with chainsaws - entertaining but potentially quite dangerous.

I’ve seen a couple - Accrington Stanley and Lincoln City - the latter allowing us a glimpse of our only cash signing to date, Callum Brittain. Yeah, we’ve done the “Brittain’s Got Talent” thing to death already…

Khadra gone elsewhere now as well, how big a blow?

Not really a blow at all as nobody really expected him to return & if we were to have a former Brighton loanee returning this season then Jan Paul Van Hecke would be the unanimous choice of every single Rovers fan. Khadra is a skilful, tricky, pacy winger but he’s also inconsistent, frustrating and more easily replaced in our likely formation this season.

Latest transfer rumours?

On the forum, our Transfer Thread now stretches to 361 pages and we have but two signings to show for it - only one of those costing any actual money. We have to “trust the process” I guess, at least whilst the new head of recruitment is serving his notice period with the Welsh FA. The new director of football really needs to dig deep into his contact list and plug the obvious gaps in defence, midfield and attack.

Rumours of JPVH returning, Callum Styles from Barnsley, Josh Bowler from Blackpool and Tyler Morton from Liverpool account for large chunks of the 361 pages. So far…unrequited.

How do we expect Rovers to line up this weekend?
Not a Scooby…sorry.

We’ve tried 3, 4 & 5 at the back at various points in pre-season. We ended last Saturday in a sort of “is it 4-3-3, 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 ?”. I was there and swore we played three at the back in the first half only to be corrected by others who swore we started with four so…you’re possibly asking the wrong guy.

I’d expect Kaminski to be in goal, Ayala, Wharton, Brittain to be in defence; the law firm of Travis, Buckley in midfield; Diaz and Gallagher up front - that’s eight…so pick a left back from Pickering or Edun; probably add Hedges in there somewhere and…oh what the hell…let’s say Markanday.

How do you see this season going?

Based on the squad at time of writing - it’s going to be tough. A couple of injuries to the wrong players and we’ll be fielding a team worthy of a crèche. Rabbits need to be extracted from hats…quickly. Let’s keep the faith till the window closes but…

Links >>> Rovers official website >>> Official website >>> Lancashire Telegraph – Local Paper >>> BRFCS message board and podcast >>> Rovers Chat – Blog

The Twitter @ianherbert, @loftforwords

Pictures – Action Images

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Hunterhoop added 18:36 - Jul 28
To begin with I thought you were doing a mock interview here, Clive. You answering about Rangers instead of Blackburn. It worked for a few paragraphs. Just replace Brereton Diaz for Willock and one or two other names and it works the whole way through.

StratfordBoy added 15:55 - Jul 29
That Ian Herbert is almost as funny as you Clive!

TacticalR added 13:15 - Jul 30
Thanks to Ian.

I am a bit suspicious of these 'oppo in peril' interviews, as they always seem to backfire on us. Having said that it doesn't sound like Tomasson has got a whole lot of room for manoeuvre in the transfer market.

OrlaKiely added 13:55 - Aug 2
My client plays for Rovers and he plans on getting his biography written from where it got assigned to me for which I am collecting his interviews. I was thinking since Ian Herbert was his ex-playmate if he could be willing to give an interview.

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