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Was Blackburn justified in sacking manager Henning Berg?

Anubhav Roda
663   //    27 Dec 2012, 19:13 IST

In the list of managerial casualties, the latest name is that of the Lancashire-based Championship club Blackburn Rovers‘ boss Henning Berg, who has been sacked with immediate effect following a string of poor results.

The former Blackburn Rovers stopper lasted a little less than two months (57 days) after replacing Steve Keane at the helm of affairs on 31st October.

In his brief spell of just ten games in charge, the Norwegian could only manage a solitary 4-1 win over Peterborough in mid-November. He lost six and drew the remaining three, failing to get register a win at home.

After being relegated from the Premier League in May, the Rovers had a bright start to their Championship campaign, leading the pack before the resignation of Keane, who was forced to resign, with the owners in favour of a change in guard.

In came Berg, who won the coveted Premier League title with Blackburn back in 1995 as a player. He joined as manager again on a three-year deal, with his CV showing managerial reigns at Lyn Oslo and Lillestrom in his home.

Since Berg’s arrival, the tides changed and the Rovers went the wrong way, falling down the pecking order, and are currently sitting 17th in the league table, seven points adrift of the relegation zone. And with eight points separating the club from the play-off places, things are not too rosy for the Rovers.

Now moving on to the FAQ after every sacking, was the sacking justified?

I would say YES. A lot might be arguing, given the fact that the manager wasn’t given enough time to instill his style of play and change the fortunes of the side, but to be honest, in modern day football, you do not have much time.

One has to kickstart his campaign right from the word go and make the most of the time at his disposal. The pressure on the management, both from the fans and given the monetary prospective, is too high to allow any manager the leisure time to settle in. You are in guard and you have to make a change, a quick one too.


There are certain clubs and management who have a rather patient philosophy that allow a manager time to stamp his authority and philosophy on the team and take them forward, if slow, but at least steady. But, the prerequisite is a visible improvement in the team’s performances and style of play, like what is happening at Liverpool, termed as a transition phase.

But with Blackburn, Berg showed no improvement in the team, and since his appointment, the team only went back and not forward, and hence, the owners lost patience with him and decided on his axe. The decision was well-justified, but a couple of points I would like to highlight are:

1. When Blackburn were looking to move ahead after Steve Kean, Venky’s should have gone in with a manager with a better CV and not someone who has had just a brief spell as a manager, that too in Norway. The pressure, the style of play, and the fans’ expectations are way higher in England, and the owners ought t o have realized this.

2. Another fact is that coming from a nation where football always plays second fiddle to cricket, Venky’s were not well-versed with the rules, as they thought that no team could be relegated. Then, they made some naïve decisionas regarding a change of guard.

Naive the decision making, naive the coach; the rest is history!

Though Berg was disappointing, given he could manage only 6 points from ten games for the Lancashire based outfit, Venky’s faultered initially, signing the naive Norwegian. The decision comes out as justified, since the Rovers were driving in reverse gear. Rovers’ fans must now be hoping for some better decision-making by the owners and a coach that could take Blackburn back to where they belong.

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Anubhav Roda
A Sports Management professional working at grassroots football with a vision to produce better crop of players for the future. An ardent football fan. I am mad about Liverpool. I am an avid reader of sports articles and now into writing.
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