BLACKBURN Rovers director Mike Cheston believes Owen Coyle is already proving why the club was right to hold fire on appointing a new manager.

Rovers interviewed Russell Slade, Nigel Adkins and Warren Joyce following the departure of Paul Lambert.


But they moved for Coyle after he left his position as boss of Major League Soccer side Houston Dynamo.

And Cheston said: “We received an awful lot of applications, some expected, some unexpected, some very high calibre managers, and it took us some time to go through them and, as you know, Alan Irvine and Rob Kelly were extremely helpful in that process.

“Owen Coyle wasn’t on the list for a long time but suddenly he came on to the list and in a way, subsequent events have proved already we think we have definitely made the right appointment.

“It was good that we did take that little bit of extra time than we would have had, say, in mid-season, to do that. I did say we had a little bit of time but also we had to do it as quickly as possible.

“We’ve got five players in and we’ve got the new management structure in time for the pre-season tour. It’s been a very hectic period but we’re there.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Owen. He’s such a positive manager and he’s delivering already.

“The retention of Danny Graham was a particular case in point, he was integral to it, but his other signings have also generated excitement.

“He’s been a real asset to the club. He’s very accessible and he recognises the club needs to work together as a whole.”

Rovers wanted Lambert’s replacement to work with his assistant manager Irvine and first-team coach Kelly.

But two days into pre-season Irvine quit to take up a role at Championship rivals Norwich City and he has since been replaced by Sandy Stewart.

And Cheston said: “We did say to managers in the interviews that we did want them to work with the incoming team.

“We wanted to avoid compensation to outgoing managers and compensation to clubs to get whoever the manager might want to bring in as part of his team. That was one of our criteria.

“So yes I was disappointed to lose Alan Irvine but it’s like when you lose your best players, sometimes it happens, and what happened with Alan Irvine was he got a very good offer.

“To be fair to Alan Irvine he always said, ‘I’ll happily stay’, but he also always said, ‘it might be a case of the new manager wanting to bring in his own men, I respect that and I’ll move on’.

“But it was Alan who had the offer. He’d been extremely helpful to us, he did stick around like he said he would do, he’s been a real gentlemen throughout this process, and we genuinely wish him all the best.

“And now Owen’s got somebody he’s familiar with and he’s got a good track record with. Everybody wins in that scenario.”

See tomorrow’s Lancashire Telegraph for Mike Cheston on season ticket sales, off-the-field appointments, and the club’s financial position