Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Monday January 11 2010
The second half of the season is under way. We begin our new rival fans series 'Desert Island Shinpads.' Our castaway this week is Mikey D, Vital Blackburn legend...
Desert Island Shinpads: Blackburn
You've followed your English Premier League team's global marketing tournament by way of a dream football holiday tour where you are to face Manchester City, Droylsden and The Timbuktu All Stars...but Michel Platini has alledgedly shot your plane down somewhere over the Not Specific and you find yourself washed up on a beach in the middle of nowhere...
Thankfully, you've got a smartphone and Vital Manchester City is texting you XI questions in an effort to keep your mind off going mental like in that series LOST and back on the football...
1. Why Blackburn Rovers?
'Well, I am originally from Manchester but I started supporting Rovers when I was about 4/5 years old when my friends Dad took me took a game and I have followed ever since to the point where I consider myself a fanatic now. It has not been a pretty ride for sure but they are my team and I love them.'
2. Favourite and worst all time Rovers moments as you deliriously alternate between dread and delight?
'Oh god, how long have you got?!
'There have been so many ups and downs over the years but I will stray away from the obvious for one of them.
'For the favourite moment I am going to avoid the blatant with the 94/95 Premier League triumph and go for a personal favourite of mine.
'It was an FA Cup 5th round match at home to Arsenal in the 2005/06 season and we had held Arsenal to a 0-0 draw in the first match with a Brad Fridel super show and I was live at the replay on a FREEZING Wednesday night at Ewood Park.
'Again it was hardly a stellar match as we spent 80 odd minutes trying to contain the Gunners and it led to quite a tactical stand off. But 4 minutes from time, Benni McCarthy was sent off down the left - he cut inside Philip Senderos and unleashed the biggest peach of a shot you will ever, EVER see from the edge of the area.
'Benni is often a nightmare and he can be the most frustrating player in the world... but that is one of the moments that makes him a genius.
'The place erupted and that annoying, stubborn school teacher (Arsene Wenger) had a face like thunder on the side... it was our first shot on target in 180 minutes, but who cared?
'As for the worst moment. Look no further than the 1998/99 season. We were relegated with very little fight and with a side that was very talented (Ashley Ward/Nathan Blake aside).
'The worst bit was watching a crunch match between Rovers and Forest which could have kept us a float. We lost 2-1 and even though Forest were already relegated, they looked like the team desperate for points.
'We joined them in dropping down the trapdoor shortly after that.'
3. You could be here for years. If you had to set up a squad of natives with one of the following Rovers gaffers parachuted in, who would it be and why? Mark Hughes, Sam Allardyce, Graham Souness, Paul Ince, Don McKay, Bobby Saxton or Howard Kendall?
'First off, please don't mention Paul Ince's name in my presence - that is bringing back some dark days! Out of all of them I would have to choose between Saxton, Hughes and Allardyce.... mmm, I am actually gonna says Hughes.
'He can motivate, he can pick a good un out in the crowd and he can make a team play a system and believe in it.
'You may not have as high of an opinion of Sparky as we do at Blackburn, but he is a very, very good manager.'
4. Where has it all gone right or wrong for your club this season?
'It has gone more wrong than right. Interestingly enough, it has gone right in the Carling Cup and I actually think it has gone right because Big Sam has let the players open up and express themselves instead of being so direct - witness that Chelsea quarter final match as the best example. We played 4-3-3 and got the ball on the deck and try to play our way into the match.
'The result? We were actually pretty awesome.
'It has gone wrong in the league up to this point due to the Big Man wanting to play safe... wanting to feel in control. That loss of freedom of expression and the over reliance on being direct has cost us points.
'I still feel he is the guy for us but it is frustrating at times.'
5. Which of your players would you happily see fed to the sharks and which player would you bomb it out there to save?
'Fed to the sharks - Keith Andrews. God only knows how he gets away with such one-dimensional, 'safe' play. He is the dictionary definition of frustrating.
'Bomb it out there to save - David Dunn. The best Blackburn Rovers player there is.'
6. Can you confirm or deny that Robbie Savage is a twat?
'Sadly for you guys he is actually a top bloke by all accounts. Yes, he is a flash man and can't shut up but he wears his heart on his sleeve and would have died for the Rovers cause.
'I actually know two people who have met the man before and both will tell you he is behind only Steven Reid in the nice guy stakes.
'I still get the feeling you won't buy into that though, such is the public persona he has built up!'
7. Then there's Manchester City. Do you think they will conquer the world or at least part of it in your absence?
'Part of it. I think money can buy you a lot of things but it can't buy you time - which is what you need to build long term sustainable success.
'I am confident you will win the league in the next five years but I think you need to just break through into the Champions League crew first... then move onto the League.
'I can't see world domination though!'
8. What is it about Manchester City supporters?
'I am not sure I understand the question!
'If you are asking me what I think of them - I have a brother who is a Man City fan called Jonny and he is pretty sound.
'Apart from that the ones I have met are generally pleasant. Just don't let the success go to your head, otherwise you'll end up like that lot from Trafford/Salford/Surrey.'
9. Give us your Premier League Top Six and Bottom Three for May 2010...
3. Man United
6. Man City.
10. City's canoe pulls up a mile or so down the beach. Which of The Blues' players would you prefer to greet you out of the heat haze and which one would you probably run away from screaming from...?
'Greet - Craig Bellamy. I rate him big time and he is a winner.
'Run away from - Roque Santa Cruz. A sneaky, sneaky man who is made out to be some sort of saint... he isn't.'
11. If you make it back to Blackburn by 1st May, what do you reckon will have been achieved at Ewood Park during your exile?
'Well first off, that is my birthday! So hopefully they will have sent me some sort of birthday present/cake for my years of support/torment!
'But apart from that all I expect is some sort of stability, Premier League safety and another win over The Dingles!
And maybe a Carling Cup triumph.... :)"
Very many thanks to Mikey and Vital Blackburn for a classic encounter!
VMC MATCHDAY THREAD TONIGHT: Man City v Blackburn - Mon January 11th - KO: 8pm UK Time
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Date:Monday January 11 2010
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