Date: 7th January 2009 at 9:07pm
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Never before has there been a backlash against a signing from the Rovers faithful as the signing of Keith Andrews in the summer of 2008 by then manager Paul Ince. Keith cost £1.2 million from MK Dons and was instantly branded as ‘not good enough’ and a ‘friend’ signing, without really taking into account his actual ability.

Keith had never played at Premiership level and because many weren’t over pleased with the managerial appointment of the Guv’nor in the first place, they as a result didn’t like that an unknown would be taking his place in a blue and white shirt.

The first few appearances were solid if slightly worrying as he looked off the pace fitness wise. Howvever, this perhaps was down to the fact he started training later than everyone else, no-one really accounted for the fact that Premier League training is a different world from League One training. One game in particular was the 4-0 defeat to Arsenal at Ewood Park where Andrews came up against Cesc Fabregas.

Many people were aghast that Andrews performance was not a 7 or an 8 out of ten. Keith was highlighted as being a massive under performer in that game – even if players such as Stephen Warnock and Morten Gamst were worse. They were Premier League players though, it was an off day for them.

For Andrews though – he just wasn’t good enough apparently.

It is worth noting that Andrews, for all the abuse he got from fans, all the booing he got FROM HIS OWN fans didn’t chat back to the media and hog the limelight, he did what a pro does – he gave his all in training and earnt the respect of his team mates.

Since the first few months of his Rovers career, Keith has been the defensive midfielder that plays the quiet unassuming role. His ability is limited but he literally gives it his all in every game. He is not the first choice midfielder in either spot – Dave Dunn and Vince Grella/Tugay are but when he has been called upon he has put in a steady shift.

Rovers have in general over the first half of the season been poor, no-one really has over-excelled. Only really Ryan Nelsen and Brett Emerton could argue they have been as good as in previous seasons.

It is a testament to the character of the Irishman and the work he has done that when the announcer reads his name out to the masses on a Saturday afternoon that the sizeable boos have turned into warm applause. He still isn’t a terrace favourite and I don’t think he ever will be but he has earnt the respect of yours truly for sticking it out.

Games in which he has played against Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Man City recently have seen a remarked improvement in the performances of the man who will forever be called ‘That MK Dons guy’. Which is a shame as he is a genuine steadying influence on the team and is a good squad player.

Note also that Sam Allardyce has singled Andrews out recently as the one player he inherited in the first team squad that doesn’t have the ‘Premiership experience’- however Sam was quick to say that ‘very few adapt to the jump from League One to the Premier League as quickly as Keith’.

After all he has done to conquer the apathy the question remains – do Rovers fans in January 09 feel he is worth his place in the team? Sadly the answer in most cases is no.

When Dunn and Grella get back to full fitness he will be relegated to the bench but he has already played more games by January than most thought he would play all season – this may be through more necessity than opportunity but he has never once stood down or hidden when called upon.

Very few players follow Keith’s career path and that he is being kept by a manager who didn’t even buy him in the first place shows how someone with Keith’s experience has grown and become a part of the club against all odds.

Yes, he’ll never be the best footballer at the club but for all he has overcome and for getting to where has now I say the following –

I salute you Keith – the hero no-one loves.


17 Replies to “Keith Andrews – The Hero No-One Loves”

  • Just my take on what has to be one of the strangest signings ever for Rovers – but has turned out to be something of a bargain. Without him we would been Tugay and the Axe in midfield.

  • good squad player and therefore we brought him at the right price. I hope to see him progress and develop in the second half of the season but also hope our first choice centre mid dunn grella tugay stay fit

  • KA has made a massive step up to Rovers first team. I was astonished when he was selected against Arsenal for his first match for us. I thought he did OK though. You certainly cannot fault his effort. We will not see the real Keith Andrews until next season. That’s how it is in the Prem. I think the guy has done everything right. Good luck to him. He will improve as he gains experience at this level.

  • Sorry Mikey D… I totally and utterly disagree… he is as much use a Robbie Fowler… he missed a sitter against Blyth… he often
    “goes missing” during games as the pace seems to out do him. I do not give subscribe to giving him any credit or salute! I think Big Sam has given him a chance and with Dunn and Grella back we’ll not see him again!

  • I think Andrews is in a no win situation for many, many didn’t want him and many have never accepted him and probably never will. Every team needs a willing worker, someone that just about plays with their heart on their sleeve Andrews is that isn’t he?

  • Fair enough Sim I respect your point of view however I feel he has offered a lot more than 1. he has been given credit for and 2. was expected.

  • I agree with Sim in the respect that when Grella and Dunn are fit he will be dropped – but then again they both have missed a big chunk of games due to injury and may do so again – then Andrews will come back in. To be fair, he’s not a bad player to have as back-up.

  • was a suprise signing but a cheap one and he has been there when we have needed him, his is a rover now and we all support our boys keith included!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I aagree with Mikey. HE didn’t ask to be picked up by a premiership club, Ince decided to chase him from out of the blue. Now you might agree or disagree with him. But certainly our own fans shouldn’t be booing Keith, and you can’t fault his work ethic. I think he’s probably a championship level player at the moment. But don’t forget he hasn’t had the experience training or playing with(or against) premiership, championship or even league 1 opposition (he got promoted from league 2 last year).

    Give him some time. He might work out well after getting used to the standard of the league (don’t forget it takes foreign players a while to bed into the premiership).

    Meanwhile, he’s playing for Rovers in a time when we’re lacking midfielders, and he’s playing for Ireland, neither of which can harm his chances of improving. Either way, I still wouldn’t pick him ahead of a fit Dunn, Reid or Grella… not yet anyway.

    Don’t forget some players ARE late-bloomers (for example Steve Savidan who at 30 got his first call up for France ,a href=””>wiki . Don’t write Andrews off just yet.

  • It just riles me when he gets grief. If you think he isn’t good enough why boo him? He doesn’t decided to put himself out there week in week out. The manager does. He couldn’t try any harder than he does. Booing him isn’t going to make him improve is it??

  • i think he will prob get us a few goals between now and end of season and if that secures points for us then he could prove to be buy of the season

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