Premier League Years: A Yak, A Steve & Some Goals in Norwich

You know Steve Kean managed to beat Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford once? I’m being deadly serious too. It’s often overlooked when we look back on Steve’s run as Blackburn boss under that lot that have a chicken business and many look at Steveo stepping into the hot-seat as the beginning of the downfall for Blackburn. OK, when I say many I actually mean anyone with eyes.

Do you also remember when Paul Lambert was an exciting manager with a big future? He’d just guided Norwich to consecutive promotions having got the job by humiliating them in the third tier. Now, he’s just a sad impression of Alex McLeish, jobless after sackings at Villa and in the Championship. Look out for his next career move as manager of Zulte Waregem in Belgium then.

So, why am I talking about both of these guys? Why I’ve found an entertaining game featuring the two of them in the dugout. And no this definitely is not made up at all.

Norwich City 3-3 Blackburn Rovers (29 October 2011)

Norwich were the newly promoted side with the exciting manager that can do no wrong and a squad of players that are pretty much all now playing in League One at this point. The Stevester’s Blackburn had lost six of their opening nine games as they shocked precisely zero people by proving they were quite s**t. Norwich were coming off a 1-1 draw at Anfield; Blackburn were celebrating beating Newcastle’s reserves in the League Cup. To each their own and all that.

Norwich lined up with a starting XI that were so English that they may have voted Brexit five years before it happened. Steves and Davids and Anthonys and Johns littered their starting XI with the most foreign player being a guy named Ritchie. His surname had a De in it though. Paul Merson favourite Cinnamon Jackson was only on the bench.

Stevie McSteve went with a curious mishmash of memorable Premier League names such as Chris Samba and Morten Gamst Pedersen beside some absolute trash in Ruben Rochina and Mauro Formica. Special mentions to Yakubu for being Yakubu; Steven N’Zonzi for still having a football career and David Goodwillie – a man of particular note to Scots like myself for once scoring for Scotland against Spain away and six years on playing for Clyde in League Two after some unsavoury court proceedings shall we say¬†[editor’s note: that’s definitely all you should say].

Want to know just how bad Blackburn became by 2011? First 20 seconds of this game saw more dodgy passes from blue and white shirts than a Sunday League game in winter. Hilariously, our commentator notes that neither side had kept a clean to this point and they were the only sides in the league to have done so.

And it wasn’t hard to see why Norwich weren’t very good defensively. Pedersen swung in a corner from the right which John Ruddy (who, remember, was England’s third choice keeper for a while) managed to drop and only a block stopped Yakubu from scoring an overhead kick and breaking the entire Internet before Vines and that Jake Paul nonce.

The poor Yak then had another chance when dross Rochina played a lovely pass to him and Yak managed to f**k it up. You know how you looked at Yakubu and expected him to stumble about all over the place because he’s ‘rotund’ but he generally didn’t? Well he did that here.

Norwich finally fashioned a chance of their own when it turned out Yakubu wasn’t that fast and lost the ball. Some decent work and some man named David Fox forced Paul Robinson into a good save. Who is David Fox? According to Google, he’s a designer that’s won 17 awards.

Then something strange happened. Blackburn had possession and worked it to Martin Olsson on the left. He played a simple five yard pass back to Junior Hoilett and who, following the timeline given to me by video, began to celebrate controlling that pass wildly. Alas, he was only celebrating putting one into the top corner from 25 yards. He’s not that good after all. It also brought us into half time with Blackburn leading 1-0.

The second half began with a goal to match the quality of Hoilett’s first touch. A long ball from the left was headed down by Bennett into Steve Morison who took a touch and, like a bald Matt Le Tissier, took a touch and just planted a lazy looking volley in the top corner from the edge of the box. Woof.

Naturally, since Blackburn had been on the back foot, they’d go on and take the lead. Some neat play involving the paper Formica and Rochina set Yakubu through. He was way on the right side of the area but he just hit it hard and low. Now, I’m no Premier League goalkeeper but something tells me John Ruddy should not have conceded that at his near post from where Yakubu was. But then again he was England’s third choice for a while.

And then things got worse for Norwich. See how I was ragging on Blackburn for being a bit crap at defending? Norwich took the biscuit here. A free kick from the left went all the way through to Chris Samba at the back who had enough to space to propel himself like an eight foot missile at the ball and head home. 3-1 and surely Blackburn couldn’t f**k it up right? Who am I kidding it’s Blackburn under Steve-san, of course they f**ked it up.

And so the collapse began. With The Stevemeister having removed any attacking threat from the pitch, Norwich piled on the pressure and a ricochet fell invitingly to Bradley Johnson whose low shot looped up and over Robinson. The poor keeper had PTSD from Croatia as another deflection saw him concede.

Then another interesting moment from my video. Grant Holt won a free kick on the left which magically turned into a Norwich penalty all of a sudden. Clearly Anthony Taylor had it in for old Steviekins. Then we get a sad looking Stevealona as we have to assume (correctly if you do your research) that Holt scored.

Final score was 3-3 with Norwich well on their way to mid-table security. Blackburn would go down with not even the tactical genius of Steveinho able to save them in the end.

p.s. screw that YouTube video I watched.