From the earliest days of his tenure as Blackburn Rovers manager, Steve Kean was loathed by the Ewood Park faithful. So much so that, before guiding the Lancashire club back into the Championship, the 44-year-old needed a bodyguard to protect himself from the overwhelmingly enthusiastic "Kean Out" movement.
After starting the Championship campaign with Blackburn's hugely unpopular owners publicly threatening to fire him — and completely undermining his authority by bringing in players he'd never seen play — Kean's Reign of Terror is finally over.
According to Sportingintelligence, however, the Scotsman would have been enjoying the thrills of unemployment last weekend if it wasn't for his wife phoning the club's co-owner and earning him a 'stay of execution':
Insiders say the decision was taken to sack Kean last weekend and plans for his dismissal were so advanced that a press release confirming the news was in circulation at Ewood Park on Monday morning, signed off by Venky's and ready to be posted on the club website.
But in an 11th-hour intervention, sources say, [club co-owner Anuradha] Desai took at least one call from Mrs Kean to protest at what was then believed to be an imminent departure.
It is not known whether Kean himself and / or Kean's agent, Jerome Anderson, also spoke to Mrs Desai but the sacking did not go ahead as planned and the press release was not issued.
Sportingintelligence add that Kean was due to be sacked on at least three other occasions, but he, or parties acting on his behalf, convinced Mrs Desai that he should be kept on. Who would have thought that a club with dwindling attendances, no shirt sponsors and ever-decreasing revenue streams would have such ambivalence at the highest level?
At the time of writing, there is no word of Kean's departure on the official Blackburn website. In fact, the only story featuring Kean has a headline that can't possibly be true...