Following Steve Kean’s resignation, albeit forced, the Blackburn job has become vacant leaving the 1995 Premier League champions looking for their 10th manager since Kenny Dalglish delivered the title.
Since that taste of the high life under the riches of Jack Walker Rovers have twice been forced to start from scratch in the Championship with a succession of managers, working with budgets that Dalglish would have scoffed at, failing to reach those dizzy heights.
The new man who comes in will find a side that’s sitting third in the Championship and has a good mix of experience and emerging talents to support a swift return to the Premier League.
Paul Robinson, Martin Olsson, Danny Murphy, Scott Dann, Dickson Etuhu and Morten Gamst Pedersen have good Premiership experience while the likes of Grant Hanley and Jordan Rhodes are up and coming talents.
SportsNewsIreland takes a look at some of the contenders who have been linked with the job and it’s no surprise to see some former members of that Championship winning side are in the running.
Sherwood is the early favourite for the role and knows the club well. Sherwood captained the side to their 1995 title winning success and spent seven years with the club before joining Spurs in 1999. The 43 year old is currently assistant first team coach at White Hart Lane and is reportedly keen to make the step up to manager. A move to Blackburn would be a bold appointment especially as he has never managed in the top level football however given his pedigree as a player the three times capped former England midfielder could prove to be success.
Positives: As a former player and member of the title winning side he would command a lot of respect from the club’s fan and younger players. Sherwood has learned his trade working with one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs alongside the experienced Harry Redknapp and now Andre Villas-Boas.
Negatives: Has never managed at any level and it would be a big step up from coach to manager.
Like Sherwood, Shearer is a former player whose goals helped the club to the title. A legend of the stands the former England striker can now be seen sitting on the BBC Match of the day coach and despite being linked with a host of positions has yet to be tempted to leave the comfort of the studio. Bar a brief eight game spell in charge of his beloved Newcastle back in 2009 Shearer has never managed at club level and his appointment would represent a big risk by the Venky’s.
Positives: Would be a popular figure at Ewood Park and his appointment would generate positivity around the club, even if was in the short term. Shearer would also have a wealth of contacts in the game and big name players would be drawn to the club in order to work with the 42 year old.
Negatives: Like Sherwood, lack experience of managing at club level in case even experience of coaching. The interest in club management does not seem to be there and there would be a worry that if the going got tough Shearer would be tempted to return to the safety of Lineker and Co.
The former Ireland manager has been out of work since been sacked by Wolves in early 2012. Has won the Championship with both Sunderland and Wolves and knows his way around the division following an earlier spell with Millwall. Widely regarded as a man who won you promotion but lacked the experience to keep teams up, McCarthy put that to bed with his spell in charge of Wolves who he kept in the Premier League two seasons’s running.
Positives: Would not require compensation as he is a free agent and has a wealth of experience. Not only does he know how to win promotion out of the Championship he knows how to win the Championship. Despite his reputation as a tough tackling defender McCarthy’s team play a nice passing brand of football.
Negatives: Remains to be seen if McCarthy would manage in the Championship especially as he reportedly turned down the Nottingham Forest role.
In line with the new brand of footballing manager ala Brendan Rodgers and Andre Villas-Boas, Robinson is a progressive young coach in his early thirties. Currently boss of the MK Don’s, who sit fourth in the League one table, Robinson is a former Liverpool and Blackburn coach who at 29 was the youngest ever to get the UEFA Pro License.
Has led the MK Don’s to the play off’s in each of the last two seasons following his appointment in 2010 and has proven to be a shrewd operator in the transfer market with the likes of Jimmy Bullard, Alan Smith and former Liverpool trainee Jon Otsemobor all on the club’s books.
Positives: Has worked at the club before and knows the set up. Robinson is a hungry manager eager to make his mark in the game and work at the highest level.
Negatives: His age and lack of experience. Despite his impressive abilities, Robinson is only 32 and has never managed higher than League one.
Out of work since he was sacked by Aston Villa at the end of the season McLeish came to prominence with a trophy laden spell in charge of Rangers before moving to Birmingham. The former Aberdeen player then continued his upward spiral by building a steady side that earned promotion to the Premier League and won the Carling cup.
However that Carling Cup success was tainted with relegation from the Premier League the same season and his reputation was tarnished further by an ill-advised spell with the Blues bitter rivals Villa.
Positives: Has plenty of experience and knows how to win promotion out of the Championship.
Negatives: His brand of football is not to everyone’s liking and while his teams are set up not to be beaten they do lack a cutting edge at times.