Kean fights on after ‘vicious’ abuse

The under-fire manager described recent criticism as “vicious” as

he prepared for Boxing Day’s clash at Liverpool. Supporters brought

their protests to the club’s training ground on Friday when three

days after the 2-1 loss to local rivals and fellow strugglers

Bolton that left Rovers bottom of the table, Kean again answered

questions about the club’s plight and his own position. The chants

of a small group of fans outside the gates of the Brockhall Village

training ground were audible from inside, and despite insisting he

was still open to the idea, Kean was cautious about meeting

supporters. He said: “I have to take direction from other people as

far as health and safety and making sure if we do anything like

that it’s in a proper environment. “At the game the other night it

was pretty vicious so it would have to be in an environment where

first and foremost it was safe.” Supporters’ fears about the

direction the club is heading in under the guidance of Kean and

Indian owners Venky’s have grown this week following home defeats

by West Brom and Bolton that have left them five points adrift of

safety. And it does not get any easier for Kean with a trip to

Anfield to face Liverpool on Boxing Day followed by another away

game against Manchester United. The Scot insisted he would continue

to take the criticism on the chin, saying: “You look at the last

two games and would be expecting, like we all were, to get

something from them. We didn’t and we’ve got to face up to that.

“It’s not a nice place we find ourselves in at the moment. I’ll

take the responsibility for that, I’ll never shirk away from that

or duck that. The players are giving me everything they can. “It’s

been tough. It’s never easy when you’re getting a bit of stick but

it’s part of the job. There’s plenty of people who have got stick

over the years from fans and months later the fans are singing your

name. That’s football.” Kean has been left increasingly isolated,

with Venky’s conspicuous by their absence at recent games while

local MP Jack Straw and newspaper the Lancashire Telegraph have

both called for the manager to go. He received some welcome support

from his fellow managers this week, with Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry

Redknapp, Owen Coyle and David Moyes all condemning the situation.

Kean said: “My phone’s been going hot all week with people phoning

with messages saying, ‘Hang in there’. “No disrespect to local MPs

or local journalists or ex-players, but when you’ve got vastly

experienced managers that are phoning up and saying under the

circumstances you’re doing a marvellous job, then I’ll listen to

them.”