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Dublin: 21°C Sunday 13 June 2021

War of the Roses: Blackburn boss Kean hits back after Singh jibes

The club’s Malaysian ‘global advisor’ might want to have a word with himself before the season kicks off this weekend.

Steve Keane: not happy with apology.
Steve Keane: not happy with apology.
Image: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/Press Association Images

BLACKBURN MANAGER Steve Kean has slammed the club’s global adviser Shebby Singh after the Malaysian’s controversial comments cast a shadow over the start of their bid for promotion to the Premier League.

Singh enraged Kean when he criticised the under pressure Scot, claiming he would be sacked if the team lost three successive games this season, and described Blackburn midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen as a “pensioner” during a meeting with Rovers supporters earlier this month.

Blackburn, relegated from the top flight last season, begin life back in the Championship with a trip to Ipswich on Saturday and Kean is frustrated that former Malaysia defender Singh’s jibes have led to renewed speculation that Venky’s, the club’s Indian owners, are ready to sack him.

Singh has said sorry for his comments but a frustrated Kean said: “I think there was an apology that feelings might have been hurt and people might have been rubbed up the wrong way, but I don’t really see a retraction being in there.

“It’s massively disruptive in a very important, if not the most important week. I think that statement shows how disappointed and unhappy the players are with it. Morten has been a fantastic servant. He’s probably one of the true gentlemen and it’s really affected him.”

Singh, appointed earlier this year to mediate between Blackburn owner Anuradha Desai and Kean, has clearly added to the pressure on the manager, who was already disliked by fans after last season’s relegation. But Kean hopes the fact that Venky’s allowed him to sign Danny Murphy, Nuno Gomes, Dixon Etuhu and Colin Kazim-Richards in pre-season is evidence he continues to enjoy support at boardroom level.

“I’ve spoken with Mrs Desai at length,” he said. “There were some great conversations at the end of last season and she’s been very supportive of us building a squad. I think everybody wants us to succeed, none more so than me and the players.”

- © AFP, 2012

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