sport

Appleton paints a positive picture

Michael Appleton insists the situation at his new club Blackburn is nowhere near as bad as where he began the season.

Appleton has become the fifth Rovers manager this season, succeeding Gary Bowyer, who stood in on a temporary basis following the termination of Henning Berg's ill-fated 10-game stint in charge.

The feeling of instability is only increased by the knowledge he spent just 65 days at Blackpool before being lured to Ewood Park by Rovers' Premier League potential.

That was enough for Appleton to dismiss two chaotic years under the stewardship of the Venky family, which has led to open mutiny in the stands and the loss of Blackburn's top flight status.

Yet, no matter how bad things are, so the saying goes, there is always someone worse off.

And for Blackburn, that someone is Portsmouth.

"The lifespan of a manager is about 11 months in the Championship," said Appleton.

"It brings pressure. But it is nothing compared to the pressure I had for 12 months as manager of Portsmouth, dealing with redundancies and people losing their jobs and players and members of staff not being able to pay mortgages and having cars repossessed.

"We had a 10-point deduction and then lost four of our best players.

"There was a threat of liquidation every time we played. We were not able to train properly because the people who owned the training ground had put the locks on the gates. That is pressure."

Yet Blackburn has almost appeared unmanageable, so bizarre have been the goings-on of the last two years.

Even Appleton's appointment came as a contradiction as some, supposedly senior, spokespeople within the club were claiming no interest in the former Manchester United trainee and that Bowyer, who has now gone back to Under-21 duties after winning three and drawing one of his four-game stint, would stay in post until the end of January.

"A lot of things have been said about the circus that revolves around Blackburn," said Appleton.

"There is a perception of the owners.

"But they have put a hell of a lot of money into the football club and haven't had much reward for it.

"I have spoken to them at length. They sound very ambitious. Maybe I can give them something back."

It does seem the rather talkative Shebby Singh will be quietened on the basis "less is more", according to Appleton's theory of speaking to the media.

"Ultimately we are a football club not a movie production," he said.

"In the past maybe it has been too media orientated and people have had too much to say."

However, that does not get away from the fact virtually every major decision the Venky's have made, starting with the dismissal of Sam Allardyce and appointment of Steve Kean, has been a disaster.

Who is to say how long Appleton, whose managerial career is still in its infancy, will get?

"It was not about Henning Berg getting 10 games so I'm going to get 11 or 12," said Appleton.

"I had a conversation with the owners and know how ambitious they are.

"The thing that stood out to me was that they needed someone to steady the ship.

"If I hadn't taken this job, someone else would have done.

"Then I might have kicked myself because I might not have got that opportunity again."

So, what Appleton intends to do is focus on a stadium that remains perfectly respectable by Premier League standards and a training facility that remains one of the best in the country.

"This is a Premier League football club," said Appleton. "There is a demand to get back there.

"If I can do that within the first six months of a two-and-a-half year contract, brilliant. If not we have to make sure the future of the club is brighter than it has been for the first part of this season.

"I have never shirked a challenge and the challenges I have faced at the other clubs I have been at so far have been of the highest order. This is no different."