5 days after the opening day defeat, @tomrover looks at why it could be the most important result of the season.
The excitement and anticipation on of the opening day was soon lost, when after 45 minutes Rovers found themselves 2-0 down. An excellent Mulgrew free kick followed, but in reality Rovers offered little in the way of a comeback and succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of a very good Southend side.
In the immediate aftermath, the usual doom and gloom brigade were out in full force, one saying he felt we would be relegated, others completely writing off any hope of promotion.
The dust settled, as did the over-reaction, but the disappointment remained and it’s a disappointment we desperately needed – both players and fans alike needed a reality check.
The overriding feeling, and I include myself in this, is that in terms of quality we have the best team. We’ve spent the most money, on paper we have the better players and in Mowbray we have a competent manager who is experienced in League One. What we don’t have, is a divine right. We aren’t the only good team in this division.
I have maintained that I felt we would succumb to an opening day defeat. I looked at the team we were facing and just felt they’d be too much to handle, I was unfortunately right and we fell to an opening day defeat . I’d be lying however if i didn’t say that part of me woke up that morning thinking we could put 3 or 4 past Southend. Blinded by the excitement of the opening day? Perhaps. Was I unknowingly being slightly arrogant? Definitely.
For me, Southend might just be the most important result of this season. For those that felt that no one could compete with a club of Blackburn Rovers’ stature, this proves teams can. They might not possess as much quality as the Rovers team do, but my god will they fight as hard, if not harder. To the players that feel they’re too good for League One, judging off Saturdays performance, League One might be too good for you.
In my 3 things we learnt article after the Southend game, I made reference to the fact that this is the wake up call we needed. 4 days on from that article, I feel even more strongly about that. An early loss proves to the players that anything but their best will see a season of disappointment. Anything less than 100 percent, will see teams try and bully us.
I make reference to Newcastle in the Championship last season, their fans expected and come the end of the season they were rewarded with the league title. It was no easy ride though, an Owen Coyle managed Blackburn were able to do the double over them. They lost their opening 2 games, something that could quite easily happen to us.
Newcastle were a big fish in a small pond, much like we are this season. Should we be challenging? Yes, definitely. Should we see ourselves promoted come May? Yes, with the quality of our team anything less has to be considered a failure. Does that mean its going to be easy? Definitely not. Southend proved that, it made fans stand up and take notice that League One is anything but easy.
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