Blackburn's owners start the hunt for a new manager after expressing their disappointment at Steve Kean's resignation on Friday night.

In a statement released through his lawyers, Kean confirmed he had called time on his chequered 21-month reign at Ewood Park, saying he had been "forced" to step down and that his position had become "untenable".

The 44-year-old Scot has been a much-derided figure ever since taking over from Sam Allardyce in December 2010, with the club's supporters baffled as to how he retained the unwavering support of the club's owners, the Venky's, despite poor on-field form which culminated in Rovers falling out of the Barclays Premier League in May.

That he had guided the club to a promising start to life in the npower Championship seemed irrelevant to the protesting fans and on Friday night, after travelling to Charlton with his squad, ahead of Saturday's game, he handed in his notice.

Kean said: "For reasons that I cannot discuss on legal advice, it is with deep regret, given my hard work and service for the club for a number of years, that I have been forced to resign as manager of Blackburn Rovers Football Club with immediate effect, due to my position as team manager becoming untenable.

"I wish to thank all the players and coaching staff for their great support and the majority of the fans, who now see their club heading towards an automatic promotion position back to the Premiership. I wish the club all the very best for the future."

When initially contacted by Press Association Sport, Blackburn had no idea of Kean's decision, with managing director Derek Shaw saying: "I have been travelling down to London and this is the first I have heard of it."

But when later contacted, he said: "Steve has, after a great deal of thought, resigned. It was completely unexpected. He travelled down with the team ahead of our game at Charlton tomorrow, but he must have been giving it an awful lot of thought owing to the pressure he's been under.

"With the things that have gone on, over weeks and months, he's decided it's in the best interests of himself and the club that it's time to move on.

"I have spoken with spoken with Anuradha Desai (the club owner) and she is very disappointed as she was close with Steve. Owing to time differences, I don't have anything else."