Even a high contained a low. Such has been the way of things during Steve Kean's troubled reign at Blackburn that victory was overshadowed both by those who were present and those who were not. While Colin Kazim-Richards condemned Hull to a defeat they deserved for their lack of ambition, Ewood Park hosted its lowest league crowd for almost 20 years. Just 13,562 paid to attend, the smallest gate since 1993, when rebuilding limited the capacity.
"I would imagine if we can get another couple of results then people who were a little bit slow to renew their season ticket will come back and see us," said an optimistic Kean. However, a half-full ground did include two of the owners; the brothers Venkatesh and Balaji Rao, who can now testify to the manager's enduring unpopularity. If the swathes of empty seats suggested that apathy has replaced dissent, the first chant of "Kean out," albeit from a lone voice, sounded from the stands 17 minutes before kick-off.
A louder chorus followed 50 seconds into Ewood Park's first Championship game since 2001 and regularly thereafter. It was amended to "one-nil and we want Kean out" after Kazim-Richards scored his second goal in as many games since joining on loan from Galatasaray.
The Turkey international hooked in from close range after a succession of miscues and mistakes. Neither Nuno Gomes nor Marcus Olsson connected properly with shots before Joe Dudgeon slammed his attempted clearance into the Swede's chest. It rebounded to Kazim-Richards and Kean's eighth summer signing converted. The makeshift forward is camouflaging a gap in Blackburn's squad by leading the line.
"He thought he wasn't a natural goalscorer but I disagree," said Kean. The Scot's search for a striker, which has taken in attempts to borrow Manchester City's John Guidetti and Arsenal's Marouane Chamakh, continues and Rovers have had a third bid for Huddersfield's Jordan Rhodes rejected. Despite that, Gomes only merited a place on the bench, though his cameo contained hints of class.
He may be required to start against Leicester on Saturday with Kazim-Richards' knee problem rendering him a doubt. He was ubiquitous. A shirtless goal celebration brought him the game's only caution, a sign of how bloodless it was. "There wasn't a hive of chances," said the Hull manager, Steve Bruce. "But I thought we had the better." Just one was clear-cut, however, and Paul Robinson denied City's £2.5m striker Nick Proschwitz. A lack of goals is their potential problem, "our Achilles heel," as Bruce termed it.
Meanwhile, the continuing civil war threatens to destabilise Blackburn. "I am sure by the time we get another couple of victories the fans will be happy," insisted Kean, but only one of the club's powerbrokers has high approval ratings now.
Shebby Singh became a cult hero to Rovers fans for suggesting Kean would be sacked if Blackburn lost three successive games. It was surely a footballing first when a section of the crowd called for a global adviser to wave to them. Singh duly obliged, raising a cheer. Only at Ewood Park.