BLACKBURN – Blackburn joined Wolverhampton Wanderers in being relegated from the Premier League after losing 1-0 at home to Wigan, which ensured its survival with a sixth win from its past eight matches Monday.
Blackburn, the 1995 champion, needed to win to have any chance of staying up, but Wigan defender Antolin Alcaraz scored with an 87th-minute header from a corner that sealed both teams’ fate.
The hosts earlier had a penalty appeal wrongly turned down by the referee when Junior Hoilett was fouled from behind by Emmerson Boyce in the second half.
Wigan rose two places to 15th, five points above the drop zone, and Wigan manager Roberto Martinez praised his players.
There were ugly scenes at the final whistle when some Blackburn fans ran onto Ewood Park. Earlier, a chicken draped in Rovers colors was released onto the field, a pointed reminder of the supporters’ antipathy toward owner Venky’s, a chicken-meat company.
Blackburn supporters had turned the game into one long protest against manager Steve Kean and Venky’s, even singing “that’s why we’re going down” after midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen’s free kick went straight through the box without being touched.
“I’ve got nothing but admiration and respect for him,” Blackburn defender Bradley Orr said of Kean. “It’s not through lack of effort but we fell short as a group of players, and it’s resulted in relegation.”
Blackburn and Wolverhampton will play in the League Championship next season. The third team relegated will be determined in the final round Sunday.
Queens Park Rangers and Bolton look to be fighting it out to stay up, with Queens Park Rangers two points ahead but visiting Manchester City with the Premier League leaders likely needing to win to capture the title. Bolton is at Stoke in its final match.
Meanwhile, the Indian owners of Blackburn Rovers ducked the media Tuesday amid a storm of criticism of their disastrous 18-month management. British press reports slammed the absence of the Venky’s family at the club’s make-or-break Monday night clash.
The rain-soaked evening featured chants calling for Venky’s to sell the club. One banner held by a fan standing on the pitch after the final whistle decried the management and owners as “Cowboys & Indians”. — Agencies