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Which Rovers Gaffer Of The Past Decade Ranks Best?

It’s been just over a decade since Steve Kean resigned as manager of Blackburn Rovers, the resignation was much celebrated by Rovers’ supporters with a new beginning expected after tough years. Since the resignation Rovers have been through 7 different managers and remain stuck in the championship. We will rank all 7 of the gaffers to see who's stood out best since the end of the Kean era.

7. Owen Coyle

The obvious inductee into rock bottom place. Coyle took over the club going into the 2016/17 season, with very little optimism and appreciation from the Rovers supporters being given over the Scotsman's appointment. Coyle joined Rovers after previously managing 2 North West rivals in Burnley and Bolton Wanderers, He was mostly unsuccessful in his most recent jobs at Houston Dynamo and Wigan Athletic, giving him a very poor repertoire amongst the Rovers faithful. His time in the hot seat was awful just to put it bluntly, he didn’t pick up a single win in his opening 7 games as manager, including 4-1 and 3-0 losses in his first 2 games against Norwich and Wigan.

Former players have recently come and called out Coyle for many things including his poor training sessions, bad man management and just being a complete laughingstock in general. His well stated, non-confrontational attitude around the players and poor leadership led Rovers to a relegation scrap, constantly in the bottom 3 throughout his tenure as boss. He was sacked by the club in February 2017 with a woeful win percentage of 29%, ultimately the main factor in Rovers relegation to league one at the end of that season.

6. Henning Berg

Just missing out of the bottom spot is Rovers legend Henning Berg, not so much of a legend as a manager, however. Berg was appointed on the back of Steve Kean’s resignation, making it an exciting appointment amongst the Rovers fans. The Norwegian was a superb player, playing for the club on 2 separate occasions, winning the league cup and the famous Premier League title in his time at the club, racking a combined 287 appearances for The Blues. His time with us as a manager didn’t last anywhere near as long. Berg lasted just 57 days in the Rovers hotseat, the shortest managerial reign in Rovers history. He won just one game in his short time as manager, being the second manager gone in what was a shambles of a season for the club.

5. Michael Appleton

Coming in just in front of Henning Berg is the manager that replaced him. Michael Appleton was appointed halfway through the 2012/13 campaign and was already the clubs third man to manage the club that season. Appleton joined Rovers after leaving Blackpool in January 2013, the appointment was still a strange one to say the least, after Berg's sacking, Gary Bowyer was put in as caretaker boss for 4 matches winning 3 and drawing 1, many thought Bowyer would get the permanent job after this however, it was given to Appleton who had only won 2 games in 8 with Blackpool.

Despite the strange appointment, he was still given a chance. Like Berg however, he didn’t last long, he spent 67 days in the hotseat, winning 4 of the 15 games he played, leaving rovers in 18th in the championship at the time, just 4 points above the relegation zone. Despite Appleton's poor run with Rovers, he (Like Henning Berg) joined at an awful time where behind the scenes the club was a shambles. Appleton went on to do decent jobs at Oxford and Lincoln, currently managing Blackpool in the Championship.

4. Paul Lambert

Coming into the middle position is Paul Lambert. The former Scottish international was appointed 10 league games into the 2015/16 season after Gary Bowyers sacking following a poor start to the season. Lambert was the biggest name to join Rovers since they were relegated, bringing huge optimism around the fan base over the appointment. Lambert came to the club after being sacked by Aston Villa the season before. His last time managing in the championship was with Norwich City, finishing second and earning back-to-back promotions with The Canaries.

This was a high-profile appointment for Rovers and a new beginning was hoped for. Lambert did win his first game in charge of Rovers with a 2-1 over Preston creating high hopes amongst the Rovers faithful, however he couldn’t live up to them. He kept Blackburn in the Championship finishing 15th place in what was an underwhelming season for the club. The club hoped for Lambert to stay on for the 2016/17 season however he left the club after alleged lack of funding for the season. Lambert went on to manage a few clubs after leaving Rovers but was mostly unsuccessful in all these reigns.

3. Jon Dahl Tomasson

The current Blackburn boss was a tough one to place, he’s only managed 16 games at the club after all. However, he must be placed somewhere, and third place is fair looking at how he’s done so far. The former Danish international joined Rovers after leaving a successful spell with Malmo, winning back-to-back league titles with the Swedish side and qualifying for the Champions' League group stages. Rovers appointing a European manager with success in the European game showed the indication from the club that a new era was coming after the 4 years of Tony Mowbray being manager.

Thomasson has done a good job so far being 5th in the championship. Inconsistency has been an issue so far with the club winning 8 and losing 7 in a win-lose-win-lose pattern. However, with the club drawing no games it does see the club in a good position in the table despite losing some of their best players this summer. Tomasson’s position could change during the season however right now he has done more than any of the managers below have combined, hopefully exciting times will be on the way for Rovers with the Dane.

2. Gary Bowyer

Coming in as runner-up is Mr Gary Bowyer. This is the man who stabilised the club after the shambles of the Kean era and 2012/13 season. Bowyer was appointed Head Coach after 2 separate occasions as caretaker boss on a 12-month rolling contract. Bowyer did a decent job for Rovers in his first season finishing 8th and just 2 points off a play-off spot.

A 9th place finish followed the season after, with some saying the club should have done better with the squad they had at the time with the deadly duo strike force of Rhodes and Gestede, with that being said, the club still wasn’t the best behind the scenes financially etc, and with Bowyer to step up with no previous senior management experience and guide the club to narrowly miss out on the play-offs twice is a good achievement. The season after Bowyer couldn’t keep the waters as steady, losing some key players in the summer window under a transfer embargo. Despite it not ending, the best Rovers fans still regard Bowyer highly at the club for steadying what was a shipwreck at the time.

1. Tony Mowbray

The inevitable winner of the list, Tony Mowbray. When Mogga took over in 2017 the club was dead and the ship had sunk, the club was relegated to League One on the final day of the season despite Mowbray's best efforts to keep the club in the league following the damage already done by Owen Coyle. Despite relegation Mowbray stayed on at Rovers on a two-year-deal releasing the deadwood in the team and bringing in a mixture of exciting upcoming players and experience in hopes to create a team capable of bouncing back to the Championship at the first attempt.

Mowbray succeeded in this challenge and got Rovers to automatic promotion in second place and on 96 points, his new signing Bradley Dack playing a pivotal role in the promotion alongside retained players such as Charlie Mulgrew and Danny Graham. He turned Rovers from a relegation fighting team to an established championship club, gaining respectable mid table finishes across the next 3 seasons, bringing in exciting talent permanently and on loan along the way such as Adam Armstrong, Harvey Elliott, Tosin Adarabioyo and Joe Rothwell just to name a few. The 2021/22 campaign was the season he really made Rovers fans believe with the club sat in 2nd place halfway through the season, however it was a usual issue for Mowbray that cost us not just and automatic but play-off place that season with a dreadful second half to the season.

This usual issue with Mowbray saw The Venkys letting his contract run out and replacing him with current gaffer Jon Dahl Tomasson. Despite divided opinion amongst Rovers fans over Mowbray, he was still the longest serving Rovers manager since the 1900s, spending 5 years in the post. The former gaffer managed 267 games for The Blues with a 40%-win percentage. It was a rollercoaster ride with Mowbray to say the least with the promotion from league one and the second half season disasters in the championship. One thing most people can agree on is that he took Rovers from a sunken ship to actual competitors in the Championship.

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