Premier League or the sack! New Blackburn boss Berg must win promotion
22:56 GMT, 1 November 2012
Henning Berg returned to Ewood Park as Blackburn’s new manager but faces the sack at the end of this season if he fails to guide the club back into the Premier League.
After seeing crowds plummet by 30 per cent in the Championship despite spending 15million on new players, owners Venky’s know that the consequences of another season outside the top flight are potentially disastrous.
Familiar territory: Berg is unveiled at Ewood Park on Thursday morning
Berg, whose first game is away to
Crystal Palace, takes over a team lying fifth in the table and a
three-year contract will mean little if the 43-year-old Norwegian does
not win promotion at the first attempt.
Asked if the new manager was clear about his target, Blackburn chief
Shebby Singh said: ‘Yes. Promotion is the minimum and the maximum.
‘We have emphasised that time and again. But the most important thing is that Henning welcomes the pressure.
‘He didn’t sit in front of us and say, “I need three years to build a
team or two seasons to get them promoted’”. He said, “I know what you
want and I want to be the man to deliver that”.
‘Financially we are on a par with every other club at this level. We all
know that getting into the Premier League is very important. We would
not like to be categorised as being a club in dire straits, but we share
the same pressure as every club in the Championship.’
Deal me in: New Blackburn manager Berg with Shebby Singh – the club's global advisor – at Ewood Park
Singh confirmed that talks took place with Harry Redknapp’s
representatives towards the end of a month-long search for Steve Kean’s
successor, after Blackburn were knocked back by Tottenham and Fulham in
their attempts to speak with two other former players, Tim Sherwood and
Berg won the Premiership title and League Cup as a player at Blackburn,
as well as the treble with Manchester United, but he accepts that some
fans may be concerned over his limited managerial experience at home in
Norway with Lyn Oslo and Lillestrom from where he was sacked a year ago.
‘I can understand that,’ he said. ‘People don’t know too much about what
I’ve done in Norway, and sometimes they feel more secure with an older
guy who has done it over many years and know what he’s done in the past.
But the most important thing now is the future.’
To the point: Berg had plenty of questions to answer as he was unveiled as Blackburn manager
Unlike Kean, Berg will not have to make monthly trips to meet with
Venky’s in India and will also have more control over transfers than his
predecessor. ‘As a manager you have to have the final say in most
things,’ he said.
But he still had to face some uncomfortable questions over comments he
made earlier in the year saying that it would be ‘madness’ to work under
Venky’s and that ‘no manager with credibility’ would take the job on.
‘The comments were made by me looking in from the outside,’ explained
Berg. ‘Now I’ve spoken to the owners they’ve made many changes and the
club is going in the right direction.’
HENNING BERG FACTFILE
1969: Born September 1 in Eidsvoll, Norway.
1987: Has trial at Manchester United while a Valarenga player, but unable to secure a work permit to make the move.
1993: Leaves Lillestrom to join Blackburn in a deal worth 400,000.
1995: Misses just two games all season as Rovers win the Premier League title.
1997: Leaves Blackburn for Manchester United for 5million.
1999: Part of United`s title, FA Cup and Champions League winning squads, missing two two cup finals through injury.
2000: Wins the Premier League for a third time before returning to Blackburn, initially on loan, with the move later made permanent.
2003: Signs for Rangers, who he spends a year with before ending his career. Also makes his final appearance for Norway, retiring on 100 caps.
2005: Agrees a four-year deal to manage Lyn, taking them to a third-placed finish.
2008: Returns to Lillestrom on a five-year deal as manager.
2011: Sacked by Lillestrom.
2012: Appointed manager of Blackburn on a three-year contract.