Written by Ian Hope @halftimepiesite
- Rovers have the 8th lowest budget in the Championship
- Mowbray has had year on year success at Ewood Park
- Bucked trend of sides yo-yoing between League 1 & Championship
Tony Mowbray should be congratulated for the way he has turned Blackburn Rovers from League One to the cusp of the Championship playoffs in a couple of seasons.
Mowbray took over at Ewood Park in February 2017 and narrowly failed in keeping Rovers in the Championship. An undefeated run in was spoilt by a last day defeat at Brentford resulting in relegation on goal difference. Despite that gallant effort, this is the only blip on Mowbrays CV whilst working in Lancashire.
The following season, Blackburn were promoted back to the championship in 2nd place with 96 points only 2 points behind champions Wigan Athletic.
History tells us that the sides that get promoted out of League One usually do so with ease but find the step up to the Championship is a massive one and end up battling to avoid a quick return to the third tier of English football.
If you look at this season, Luton Town won the League One title with a huge 94 points. Barnsley came 2nd with 91 points and Charlton came 3rd (winning promotion via the play offs) with 88 points. Yet this season all three of those sides are in a relegation battle along with Wigan Athletic who appear too good for League One yet not good enough for the second tier.
This season two of the three relegated sides out of the championship in Rotherham and Ipswich are knocking on the door to an instant return. Bolton Wanderers being the other side whose problems have been well documented.
This is where Mowbray should be congratulated. The championship is becoming a Premier League 2 with the sides relegated from the Premier League like Fulham and Huddersfield boasting premier league quality in their ranks as well as parachute payments coming in years after.
Add Derby County being able to sign Wayne Rooney, Leeds, Nottingham Forest and West Bromwich squads all containing players of premier league quality the championship is a tough league to survive in let alone get promoted out of.
Despite Rovers being owned by the Venkys, a $10billion conglomerate Mowbray has to survive on the 8th lowest player budget in the division. Signing Bradley Dack for £750,000 was a master stroke as was getting Adam Armstrong in and with the recruitment of experienced midfielder Stewart Downing, Rovers are sitting pretty on the cusp of the playoffs in 8th position.
Despite a tough run of results throughout Autumn of 2019, Mowbray steered Rovers through the winter with a run that included home wins over Barnsley, Brentford, Derby and away wins at Stoke and Bristol City. With some draws at Swansea and home to Wigan, Birmingham and Preston Blackburn rose back up the division.
Of all the top 8 sides in the championship, Blackburn get the least mentioned. Maybe that is just how Mowbray likes it, going nicely under the radar.
Image courtesy of Newstalk & Lancashire Telegraph.