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Fowl play ousts Rovers

sports Updated: May 09, 2012 01:39 IST
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They arrived with visions of Ronaldinho and David Beckham, sacked Sam Allardyce on the grounds he was not the man to deliver Champions League football and asked a coach with no managerial experience to advance on a reduced budget.

It may be glib to say the chickens have come home to roost for Venky's, the Indian poultry company who completed a £44 m takeover of Blackburn Rovers in November 2010, but its calamitous reign has yielded the result the suffering supporters have long protested was inevitable under Steve Kean. The Championship awaits them.

A late defeat on Monday by Wigan Athletic, who secured their Premier League status with a style, belief and sense of purpose that shames Blackburn, relegated Rovers from the top flight for the first time since 2001. The end encapsulated the torment that had gone before. Ewood Park erupted in calls for Venky's to go and for Kean to follow suit, as it had been doing all night and for most of a sorry season.

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The Rovers manager ignored pleas from his personal bodyguard to disappear down the tunnel as roughly two dozen angry supporters invaded the pitch and tennis balls bearing the message "Kean Out" rained down from the skies.

Early in the game play had been interrupted by the appearance on the pitch of a chicken draped in Blackburn colours. It was caught by the formidable bulk of Yakubu Ayegbeni - never to be seen again. When Blackburn will be seen back in the Premier League is also open to question given the club's trajectory under Venky's.

For a club fighting to preserve their Premier League status, Blackburn's exit was feeble in the extreme. They sank as Kean had risen as manager; without trace.

Rovers were 13th when Allardyce was dismissed midway through last season, officially for his style of football, allegedly for his refusal to have signings imposed on him.

Whatever the truth, the club were far from the imbalanced and inexperienced unit that have lost seven in eight league matches and whose relegation was confirmed when Antolín Alcaraz headed home Jean Beausejour's corner with three minutes left.

Blackburn had a legitimate penalty appeal denied in the second half, when Emmerson Boyce clipped Junior Hoilett's heel, and at least troubled Ali Al-Habsi in the Wigan goal after a moribund first-half display in which the visitors should have established a comfortable lead. Yet this was no hard-luck story.

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