Blackburn boo boys cannot help the team
There was a moment on Saturday during Blackburn's crucial win over Swansea where the dissenters calling for the head of Rovers manager Steve Kean seemed to cross a line.
Ewood Park has not been a happy place for a while and the latest demonstrations involved fans wearing yellow T-shirts, emblazoned with "100% Rovers, 0% Kean, Venky's", in protest at their beleaguered boss, and the club's Indian owners.
Before the 4-2 victory, in which Yakubu scored four times to lift Blackburn off the bottom of the Premier League table, Kean had presided over six top-flight wins in the 34 games he has been in charge.
So perhaps some of the frustration after a poor run of results was understandable, but on Saturday on a wet and cold afternoon, Blackburn won their second game of the season, and still they booed.
Sections of the support shouted "Kean out" before kick-off, during the game, when they were winning and afterwards, in a planned protest of about 200 supporters.
Their argument is that they are fully behind the team, not those in charge, but when Yakubu scored a fantastic first goal to give Rovers the lead, the cheers were tarnished by boos when the Nigerian ran over to celebrate with his manager on the touchline.
At that point you had to question who they were booing.
Blackburn boss Steve Kean and Yakubu celebrate the first goal against Swansea
Was it Kean? Well, yes, but he didn't exactly beckon his leading marksman towards him. Was it Yakubu? Probably not. Yet, can he be blamed for wanting to bond with his boss after such a tough week?
The evident union between the player and the manager underlines the fact that one cannot exist without the other and whatever the fans' gripes, their clearly-defined agenda is bound to spill over and affect the players.
And they must take huge credit for overcoming a Swansea side full of élan, amongst such a cloud of negativity. It was understandably perplexing for the ever-optimistic Kean afterwards.
"I was thinking that the supporters support the club and they want it to progress and win and climb the table," he said. "So I'd be very surprised if they didn't want the team to win and didn't want the team to get out of the relegation zone the same as me and the players.
"We don't want to be in the position we're in but we've made a massive step to get out of the shadows of the places we have been in, and I hope that the number of people that protest gets smaller and smaller as the results come in.
"I don't know how many are outside protesting, but I would imagine there are not 20,000. I would like the majority to maybe be vocal and say to the protesters, 'give the lads a chance'.
"We've got a lot of young players in the team and it can certainly affect them if there's a little bit of negativity aimed when you're ahead or when you're playing well, so I hope they can bear that in mind."
The problem for Kean is that protesters want the same things as the Scot, they just don't want him to be in a position to make them happen.
But if Blackburn go on to put a run together in the upcoming games against Sunderland, West Brom and Bolton, will the fans' attitudes change?
One of the myriad of complaints is that Kean has not established a firm tactical plan for his team, much in the way that his former Reading colleague Brendan Rodgers has done at Swansea.
Only four points separate the two teams now, but the plight of the respective managers could not be more contrasting.
Kean is under pressure, has fans baying for his blood and must travel to India to discuss plans with the owners, whereas Rodgers has breezed into the Premier League with a team which is winning plaudits for its passing-based style.
There is no doubt they played the more eye-catching football on Saturday and Leroy Lita's goal came after a superb passing move, but Blackburn created more chances and had a striker who has now racked up 10 goals in 12 appearances this term.
Which team will still be in the Premier League next season?
Whatever happens to Swansea, Rodgers is not about to change his methods. When I asked him if he wished his side scored more ugly goals he said: "If you are referring to would we would be happy to play like Blackburn? No chance.
"Would I resort to smashing the ball into the box from their halfway line onwards and look for a scramble every time there is a free-kick? Then no, I wouldn't. But, at times, we do score those types of goals.
"I'm very pleased with the way we have adapted to the Premier League. I've had it since I was a young coach and when you play like ourselves, you have to defend that right of the game on how to play and I will continue to do that."
Kean rejected Rodgers' accusations that Blackburn are one-dimensional. "I would take exception to that. When it's on to pass it, we pass it," he said. "If you have a type of delivery and you have very good players on set-plays, which we have, we are not embarrassed about the fact that we will try and exploit that.
"I like the way Swansea play, I think they knock it about very well. But we think we mix the game up. I don't think you can have somebody signed from Barcelona in Ruben Rochina, or a Mauro Formica, or a Junior Hoilett and play long ball, second ball.
"When we get a free-kick against a team that is possibly slightly smaller than you, and you have Chris Samba, Scott Dann and Gael Givet, you try to exploit that. We feel like we play when it's on to play and if we get a set-play we are not going to play it on the deck, we are going to play it in the air."
On the evidence of Saturday's victory, where two of Blackburn's goals came from set-pieces, Kean's point is a valid one.
One thing is for sure, however, Blackburn's tactics or performances will not be helped by the continued anger from some supporters, especially if some boo in the midst of celebrating a goal.