LONDON: Blackburn Rovers were relegated from the Premier League after losing 1-0 at home to Wigan Athletic – who thus stayed up – amid a cauldron of angry fervour which boiled up against both owners and manager.
Manager Steve Kean was a target for furious chants from fans on and off throughout the game and then for a hail of missiles after Wigan’s Antonin Alcaraz scored the deciding goal in the last minute of normal time.
Blackburn had needed to win both their last two games to have any hope of surviving but, after a dismal season, they did not deserve to stay up – unlike Wigan who had stayed true to manager Roberto Martinez’s footballing principles under heavy pressure throughout the campaign.
Kean waited briefly for his players before being ushered down the tunnel by security staff as around two dozen fans swarmed across the pitch.
Goalkeeper Paul Robinson was the last player to leave the pitch, walking round and applauding the fans as he went. Fans in the main stand gave him a standing ovation in farewell since it’s unlikely he will still be at the club back in the Championship [second division] next term.
** West Ham will play Blackpool or Birmingham City in the play-off promotion final after a 3-0 semi-final second leg victory at home to Cardiff on Monday sealed a 5-0 aggregate win.
Kevin Nolan headed home from close range after 15 minutes and Ricardo Vaz Te struck a second shortly before half-time. Nicky Maynard rounded off the scoring in the final minute.
The Wembley play-off final will be on Saturday, May 19.
# # # #