While the shadows lengthened at Ewood Park and the fans’ unrest surged post the sacking of Blackburn Rovers coach Henning Berg, the team management finally appointed Michael Appleton, who headed Blackpool, as the manager of the team.
Berg was sacked just 57 days into his tenure on December 26 after a string of poor performances. There were rumours that former Aston Villa coach Kevin Mac Donald would fill in his shoes.
B Venkatesh Rao, Joint MD of VH Group that owns the club, had said during an event, “We will do away with the positions of manager and assistant manager and will only hire a coach and an assistant coach for the remaining season. More than the revenue losses, it was the fame of the club that was at stake and we had to take steps.”
However in sharp contrast to Rao’s earlier statement, an official release from the club on Saturday said that 37-year-old Michael Appleton has taken over as the club’s new manager and will be joined at Ewood Park by assistant Ashley Westwood.
“After a day of discussions with Blackpool FC, Rovers were granted permission to negotiate with highly-rated duo on Thursday. They arrived at Ewood on Friday morning, accompanied by their lawyer, before putting pen-to-paper on two-and-a-half-year deal,” said the release.
Rovers’ managing director Derek Shaw said, “They are both highly regarded in the game. We will do everything to support them in our quest to make an instant return to the Premier League.”
Rao had suggested that the fall from the top flight had hit the club hard. “We want to be back into the top flight by the end of this season. The decision to sack the current management was tough but necessary for the club to progress in the right direction,” he said.
Appleton brings with him an impressive resume to Ewood. Having been a former Manchester United trainee, Appleton had spells at Preston North End and West Bromwich Albion before beginning his coaching career with the Baggies (West Bromwich Albion). He also became assistant head coach to Roberto Di Matteo and later Roy Hodgson before taking up the reins at Portsmouth in 2011. Post Portsmouth, he took charge of Blackpool in November 2012 and had been instrumental in beating Rovers in mid-December last year.
“We have a challenge ahead of us but I am excited as it is a good opportunity for