Blackburn Rovers: Wikis


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Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers.svg
Full name Blackburn Rovers Football Club
Nickname(s) Rovers, Blue and Whites, The Riversiders[1], The Mighty Blue & Whites
Founded 1875
Ground Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire
(Capacity: 31,367)
Owner The Trustees of the Jack Walker 1987 Settlement, a Jersey trust.
Chairman John Williams
Manager Sam Allardyce
League Premier League
2008–09 Premier League, 15th
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Blackburn Rovers Football Club (pronounced /ˈblækbərn ˈroʊvərz/) is an English Premier League football club based in the town of Blackburn, Lancashire.

The club was established in 1875, becoming a founding member of The Football League in 1888. It is one of only three clubs to have been both a founder member of the Football League and the Premier League (the others being Aston Villa and Everton). In 1890 Rovers moved to its permanent home at Ewood Park. Prior to the formation of the Premier League in 1992, most of the club's successes were before 1930, when it had gained league and FA Cup trophies on several occasions. Relegation in 1966 was followed by 26 successive seasons of football outside the top flight.

In 1992, Blackburn were promoted to the new Premier League a year after being taken over by local steel baron Jack Walker, who installed Kenny Dalglish as manager. In 1995, Blackburn became league champions, having spent millions of pounds on players like Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton. However, the title-winning team was quickly split up and, in 1999, the club were relegated. They were promoted back to the Premier League two years later, just after Walker's death, and have been in the top flight ever since. During this time they have qualified for the UEFA Cup four times: once as League Cup winners, twice as the Premier League's sixth-placed team and once via the Intertoto Cup. The 2009-10 season marks the club's 70th nonconsecutive year in the top flight.

The club's Latin motto "Arte et labore", the club's translation of this is "By Skill & Hard Work".




The early years

The club Blackburn Rovers was the idea of John Lewis and Arthur Constantine during a seventeen-man meeting at the Leger Hotel, Blackburn on the 5 November 1875. The club's first secretary was Walter Duckworth, and Lewis was its first treasurer. Many of the initial members were wealthy and well-connected, and this helped the club survive and rise beyond the large number of other local teams around at the time. Blackburn has had a particular strong history of football, Rovers were not the town's only side in the 19th century; other rivals included Blackburn Olympic FC (1883 winners of the FA Cup) and Blackburn Park Road FC, among others.

Leaflet advertising a Blackburn Rovers match on the 12 September 1887 against 'The Wednesday' at Olive Grove

The first match played by Blackburn Rovers took place in Church, Lancashire on 18 December 1875 and was a 1–1 draw. Although the make-up of the team was not recorded it is generally thought to be: Thomas Greenwood (goal), Jack Baldwin, Fred Birtwistle, (full-backs), Arthur Thomas, J. T. Sycelmore (half-backs), Walter Duckworth, John Lewis, Thomas Dean, Arthur Constantine, Harry Greenwood, Ed Youngson (forwards), in a 2-2-6 formation.

At the time, the club had no ground of its own and no gate receipts. The only income came from members' subscriptions, which totalled £2 8s 0d during the first season.

During the 1876–77 season, Rovers finally gained a ground of its own by renting a piece of farmland at Oozehead, on the west side of town facing Preston New Road. The ground was little more than a meadow with a pool in the middle that had to be covered with planks and turf for matches. But it did allow the club to collect gate receipts totalling 6s 6d for the season. Occasional games were also played at Pleasington Cricket Ground.

Subsequently Blackburn Rovers rented Alexandra Meadows, the home of the East Lancashire Cricket Club, for their matches. The inaugural game at Alexandra Meadows was played against Partick Thistle, the most prestigious club Rovers had played until then. The result was a 2–1 win for Blackburn, with two goals from Richard Birtwistle.

On 28 September 1878, Blackburn Rovers became one of 23 clubs to form the Lancashire Football Association. On 1 November 1879 the club played in the F.A. Cup for the first time, beating the Tyne Association Football Club 5–1. Rovers were eventually put out of the competition in the third round after suffering a heavy 6–0 defeat by Nottingham Forest.

Controversy erupted during 1880 when the club used players not from Blackburn to fill in for unavailable team members—this violated what, at the time, was considered an important principle of the LFA. The situation became worse at the start of the 1881 season when a Darwen player transferred to Blackburn Rovers. The move caused a great deal of bitterness between the clubs and local populations. Accusations of professionalism began to fly, with Darwen accusing Blackburn Rovers of offering the player in question, Fergie Suter, improved terms. However, Suter had initially moved to Darwen from Scotland and given up his trade as stonemason to play for the club. So the professional/amateur divide was already blurred. Nevertheless, subsequent matches between Blackburn Rovers and Darwen were fractious affairs both on and off the pitch. The teams were drawn against each other in the fourth round of the Lancashire Cup, and the clubs refused to agree on a date for the match. As a result the LFA ejected both teams from the competition. This type of controversy would only be resolved five years later in 1885 with the legalisation of professionalism.

During the 1881–82 season, the club continued to rent the facilities at Alexandra Meadows, but began to look towards a move elsewhere. As the leading club in the area, it was felt that Rovers needed its own ground. A ground was leased at Leamington Street and £500 was spent on a new grandstand capable of seating 600 to 700 spectators. Boards were placed around the pitch to help prevent a repeat of the crowd troubles with Darwen, and a large ornate entrance arch was erected bearing the name of the club and ground.

Blackburn Rovers cup winners in 1883–84. The first FA Cup win for the team. The photograph includes the East Lancashire Charity Cup; the FA Cup and the Lancashire Cup. Back row (left to right): J. M. Lofthouse, H. McIntrye, J. Beverly, Kurt Edwards, F. Suter, J. Forrest, R. Birtwistle (umpire) Front row (left to right): J. Douglas, J. E. Sowerbutts, J. Brown, G. Avery, J. Hargreaves.

On 25 March 1882 the club won through to the final of the F.A. Cup against the Old Etonians. Blackburn Rovers was the first provincial team to reach the final, but the result was a 1–0 defeat by the Old Etonians. There was no repeat of the previous season's success during the 1882–83 season, when Rovers suffered a bitter defeat 1–0 at the hands of Darwen in the second-round. Local rivals Blackburn Olympic went on to be the first provincial team to actually win the F.A. Cup.

Rovers finally won the F.A. Cup on 29 March 1884—the year Thomas Mitchell joined as manager—at the Kennington Oval with a 2–1 victory over the Scottish team Queen's Park F.C. Had it not been for this cup success the club would have folded leaving Blackburn Olympic the primary team in Blackburn. The same teams played the F.A. Cup final again the next season, with Blackburn Rovers again emerging victorious, with a 2–0 score. Rovers repeated this success yet again the next season, winning the final against West Bromwich Albion. For this three-in-a-row of F.A. Cup victories, the club was awarded a specially commissioned silver shield and given the unique privilege of displaying the club crest on its corner flags.

The 1885–86 season was the birth of the legal professional footballer, and Blackburn Rovers spent £615 on player wages for the season. Despite the new professionalism, it was a disappointing season for the club — an unusually high number of defeats would culminate in Rovers losing its three-year grip on the F.A. Cup when it lost 2–0 in the second round to the Scottish club Renton on 4 December 1886 at the Leamington Street ground. Further defeats followed in the other major cups that season.

The Football League and Ewood Park

On 2 March 1888, William McGregor, a Birmingham shopkeeper and a committee member of Aston Villa Football Club, sent a letter to five clubs — Blackburn Rovers among them — suggesting that twelve of the leading clubs should organise a series of home and away matches between themselves. With the introduction of professional players, it seemed natural that better organisation should be brought to the complex and chaotic system of friendly and competitive matches prevalent at the time. On 22 March 1888 John Birtwistle represented Blackburn Rovers at a meeting of a number of clubs at the Anderton Hotel in London. This meeting, and subsequent ones, led to the creation of the Football League, with Blackburn Rovers as part of it. Rovers finished the inaugural season of the league in fourth place, and unbeaten at home.

Blackburn Rovers again reached the F.A. Cup final on 29 March 1890 at the Kennington Oval. The club claimed the trophy, for the fourth time, by beating Sheffield Wednesday a hefty 6–1—with left forward William Townley scoring three goals and becoming the first player to achieve a hat-trick in the F.A. Cup final. The summer of 1890 brought yet another significant event in the history of Blackburn Rovers with the decision to move again. The choice of new home was Ewood Park, and it remained the club's home for the next century or more.

F.A. Cup winning side of the 1890-91 season

Ewood Park was built in 1882, the idea of four local businessmen, and it had hosted a number of sporting events. In 1890 Blackburn Rovers purchased the ground and spent a further £1000 on refurbishments to bring it up to standard. The first match was played on 13 September 1890 against Accrington, with a 0–0 draw result.

The 1890–91 season saw Blackburn Rovers win the F.A. Cup for fifth time against Notts County F.C. with a 3–1 victory—but this success marked the beginning of a lengthy period without silverware at national level. With Mitchell still in the manager's seat, Rovers continued their solid league form - Rovers never finished worse than ninth in the top flight until after Mitchell's departure in 1896.

During the 1897–98 season the club stayed in the first division only as the result of a decision to increase the number of teams from 16 to 18. The season did, however, mark the beginning of Bob Crompton's 45-year association with the club, both as a player and eventually as an F.A. Cup winning manager.

The final years of the 19th century brought little success for Blackburn Rovers and several narrow escapes from relegation.

Early 20th century

Blackburn Rovers continued to struggle during the early years of the 20th century, but the results began a gradual improvement. Major renovations were made to Ewood Park: in 1905 the Darwen End was covered at a cost of £1680 and the new Nuttall Stand was opened on New Year's Day 1907. During the first three decades of the 20th century, Blackburn Rovers were still considered a top side in the English league. They were league champions in 1912 and 1914, and F.A Cup winners in 1928, but the F.A Cup win was their last major trophy for nearly 70 years.

Mid 20th century

Chart showing the progress of Blackburn Rovers F.C. through the English football league system from the inaugural season in 1888–89 to 2007–08 when Blackburn came seventh in the Premier League

Blackburn Rovers maintained a respectable mid-table position in the First Division until they were finally relegated (along with Aston Villa) from the top flight (for the first time since the foundation of the league) in the 1935–36 season. Their final match prior to relegation was a triumph. By the last game of the season, they were already certain to be relegated, but at Villa Park, they beat the home side, thus dragging the only other team of the original Football League who had never been relegated, Aston Villa, with them. They struggled in the second division for the next two seasons, until winning the Second Division title in the final season before the war.

When the league resumed after the war, Blackburn Rovers were relegated in their second season (1947–48) and remained in the second division for the following ten years. After promotion in 1958, they again returned to the mid-table position they had occupied in the earlier part of the century. During this time, they seldom made a serious challenge for a major trophy - although they did reach the 1960 FA Cup final when managed by Scot Dally Duncan. Rovers lost this game 3-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers after playing most of the game with only 10 men on the field. Full back Dave Whelan was lost during the game to a broken leg, the game being played in the days before substitutes were allowed. Despite losing, cup final man of the match was future Scotland manager Ally MacLeod (left winger MacLeod scored 47 goals in 193 appearances for Rovers). During the 1960s Blackburn Rovers had several players who made it into national teams. They were again relegated from the First Division in 1966 and began a 26-year exile from the top division.

1970s and 1980s: More frustration

During the 1970s, Blackburn Rovers bounced between the Second and Third Divisions, winning the Third Division title in 1975, but never mounted a challenge for promotion to the First Division despite the efforts of successive managers to put the club back on track. They went up as runners up in the Third Division in 1980 and have remained in the upper two tiers of the English league ever since. In 1988-89 they mounted their first serious promotion challenge for many years, and reached the Second Division playoff final in its last-ever season of the home-away two-legged format - but lost to Crystal Palace. A defeat in the 1989–90 Second Division playoff semi-finals brought more frustration to Ewood Park, but the following season saw the club taken over by local steelworks owner and lifelong supporter Jack Walker (1929–2000).

1990s: The Jack Walker revolution

Back at the top (1991-1994)

Jack Walker's takeover was too late to save Rovers from finishing a dismal 19th in the Second Division at the end of the 1990–91 season, but the new owner had made millions of pounds available to spend on new players. Blackburn Rovers began the 1991–92 season with Don Mackay still manager, but he was soon sacked to make way for Kenny Dalglish - who had resigned as Liverpool manager some months earlier, after a six-year spell in charge had yielded five major trophies. Dalglish made several substantial signings during the season. After his appointment Rovers climbed the league, eventually opening up a significant gap at the top of the table. It seemed a foregone conclusion that Rovers would win the Second Division title, but an unexpected twist followed. Rovers lost six games in a row, causing them to fall out of the play-off places, but Rovers fought back and a 3–1 victory at Plymouth got Rovers to the final play off place. The club had got to the play-offs three times previously without success. The semi-final was against Derby County but Blackburn Rovers got off to a bad start as Derby went into a two nil lead. Rovers recovered strongly in the second half to win 4–2. A 2–1 Derby win in the second leg could not stop Blackburn Rovers reaching the play-off final at Wembley where they beat Leicester City 1–0 thanks to a Mike Newell penalty. Newell, a former Leicester striker, had missed most of the 1991–92 season due to a broken leg, but his stylish comeback was enough to book Blackburn Rovers place in the new Premier League for 1992–93, ending 26 years outside the top flight.

Rovers made headlines in the summer of 1992 by paying an English record fee of £3.5million for the 22-year-old Southampton and England centre forward Alan Shearer. Other expensive signings during the 1992–93 season included Chelsea defender Graeme Le Saux, Middlesbrough winger Stuart Ripley and Coventry striker Kevin Gallacher. An impressive Blackburn side remained in the title challenge for most of the season before finishing fourth in the final table, that season not quite enough for UEFA Cup place. Leeds midfielder David Batty and Southampton goalkeeper Tim Flowers were two key signings who helped Blackburn progress in 1993–94 and finish Premier League runners-up to arch rivals Manchester United. Rovers broke the English transfer fee record again a few weeks later when paying Norwich City £5million for 21-year-old striker Chris Sutton. Sutton's prolific striking partnership with Alan Shearer would be dubbed the "SAS", an abbreviation for "Sutton and Shearer" and the elite British special forces unit the SAS. Blackburn Rovers scored the 1000th goal in Premier League history. Mike Newell was on target in April 1993 in a 3–1 win at Nottingham Forest.

Premier League champions (1994–1995)

Early exits from the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup were frustrating for Rovers in 1994–95, but turned out for the best as they could concentrate on the league and the challenge with arch rivals Manchester United for the Premier League title. During the season Blackburn Rovers suffered two highly controversial defeats by Manchester United. Firstly Henning Berg was wrongly sent off at Ewood Park with Rovers leading 1–0 as TV replays clearly showed he had won the ball from Lee Sharpe, with Eric Cantona equalising with the resulting penalty and Manchester United going on to win 4–2, and secondly an equaliser from captain Tim Sherwood was disallowed controversially at Old Trafford when Alan Shearer was ruled to have fouled Roy Keane in the build up, with United taking the game 1–0. Rovers led for most of the season but a 2–1 defeat at Dalglish's old club Liverpool on the final day of the season looked to have blown the club's dreams to pieces. But the news came through that their arch rivals Manchester United could only manage a 1–1 draw at West Ham United and the league title was back at Blackburn Rovers for the first time since 1914. Jack Walker's dream had come true: within five years of buying the club, he had taken them from strugglers in the old Second Division to champions of the Premier League.

Ray Harford era (1995–1997)

Kenny Dalglish moved upstairs to the position of Director of Football at the end of the Premier League winning season, and handed over the reins to his assistant Ray Harford.

Blackburn Rovers made a poor start to the 1995–96 season, and found themselves in the bottom half for most of the first half of the season. Rovers also struggled in the Champions League and finished bottom of their group with just four points. A 7-0 victory over Nottingham Forest on the day of the official opening of the redeveloped Ewood Park and a 4-1 win over Rosenborg (including a nine minute Mike Newell hat-trick, which is still the fastest hat-trick in Champions League history) were two highlights of an otherwise disappointing seasons. Alan Shearer was instrumental again, becoming the first striker to score more than 30 Premier League goals in three successive seasons. Blackburn Rovers improved as the season went on, finishing seventh in the Premier League and narrowly missing out on a UEFA Cup place.

Alan Shearer was top goalscorer at Euro 96 and was linked to domestic and international clubs. The main talk in the national media was of Shearer joining hated rivals Manchester United. However Shearer was sold to hometown club Newcastle United for a then world record fee of £15million in the summer of 1996, and Rovers were unable to find a suitable replacement.

A terrible start to the 1996–97 Premier League campaign saw Harford resign in late October with the club bottom of the division, having failed to win any of their first ten games. Relegation looked a real possibility, just two seasons after winning the league. The club immediately began the process of recruiting his replacement.[2]

On 16 December 1996 with Rovers hovering above the relegation zone, it was announced at an Ewood Park press conference that Sven-Göran Eriksson had signed an "unconditional contract" with Rovers to take over as manager at the end of the season on 1 July 1997 when his contract with Italian Serie A club U.C. Sampdoria expired. The Swede had already visited Ewood Park and the club training facilities at Brockhall as well as sending representatives to watch Rovers' Premier League clashes on his behalf.

It was hoped that the signing of Eriksson would usher in a new era of success after the continuing difficulties following Ray Harford's disappointing tenure as manager. "Not only do I want us to be a top club in this country, I want European football to be the norm for us", said club owner Jack Walker. "If we get support as high as we want it and the public back us in every way they can then we could even consider [redeveloping] the Walkersteel Stand".[3] Eriksson's move to Lancashire would not come to fruition, however.

Renewed hope and downfall (1997–1999)

Roy Hodgson joined the club from Inter Milan in the summer of 1997, and appeared to have had a positive effect on the club. He marked his arrival with the signings of highly rated Swedish striker Martin Dahlin and promising defender Stephane Henchoz. Chris Sutton and Kevin Gallacher led a prolific attack, and were able to help the team overcome the disappointing form of Dahlin, who struggled with a back injury. UEFA cup football was secured with a 6th place finish, and there were plenty of entertaining games, such as a 4–3 defeat to Leeds which saw all 7 goals coming within the first 32 minutes, and a 5–3 success over Leicester at Ewood Park. Although some of these results went against them, it summed up Hodgson's newly installed attacking ideology. With European football coming up, and the prospect of a title challenge on the horizon, things looked promising at the start of the 1998–99 season.

However, Rovers made a poor start to the campaign and Hodgson was sacked in December less than an hour after a 2–0 home defeat to bottom side Southampton, a result that locked Rovers in the relegation zone. The £7.5m signing of young Southampton striker Kevin Davies was a disaster, with Davies only netting once, against Charlton in a rare win, in 24 games. To make matters worse, team captain and midfield enforcer Tim Sherwood was sold to Tottenham Hotspur, leaving the side without a leader. Brian Kidd, the hugely successful Manchester United assistant manager, was named as Hodgson's successor. However, he could not save them as the club slipped away, relegation was confirmed with a scoreless draw at home to Manchester United in the penultimate game of the season. So, just four years after lifting the Premier League title, Blackburn Rovers were now back in the second tier of English Football.

2000s: Life after Walker

New millennium with Souness at the helm

1999–2000 was a massive disappointment for Rovers, who began the season as promotion favourites. Brian Kidd was sacked in October with the club hovering just above the Division One relegation zone, and first-team coach Tony Parkes was named caretaker manager once again. Parkes was eventually given the job on full-time time basis until the end of the season, but only remained in charge until March when the club appointed Graeme Souness as their new manager. The final humiliation of the season came in the form of a 1-4 home defeat to Manchester City, a result that secured them promotion, something Rovers should have but did not achieve.

Jack Walker died just after the start of the 2000–01, and the club dedicated its promotion challenge in memory of their benefactor. Fittingly, they returned to the Premier League after a much improved season, albeit that they finished second to Fulham. Blackburn Rovers relied on the form of their young stars Matt Jansen, Damien Duff and David Dunn and on the performances of goalkeeper Brad Friedel, whom Souness had previously coached at Galatasaray and whom he signed on a free transfer when he arrived at Rovers.

A statue now stands in the shadows of the Blackburn End, as a permanent tribute to Jack Walker.

Return to the Premier League and League Cup success

The Jack Walker Stand during a match

In 2001–02, Blackburn record signing Andy Cole was bought in for £8million, as was Turkish playmaker Tugay Kerimoglu, Italian hotshot Corrado Grabbi and full back Lucas Neill were signed to strengthen an already solid squad. With David Dunn and Damien Duff both shining, the season was a memorable one. More significantly, Blackburn Rovers won their first-ever League Cup by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2–1 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff - where Cole proved his worth by scoring the winning goal in the 69th minute after Matt Jansen had put Rovers in front. Their cup success meant a place in the UEFA Cup for 2002-03

The following season, Souness signed Dwight Yorke from Manchester United, as Matt Jansen was involved in a motor cycle accident during pre-season that left him with serious head injuries. Blackburn Rovers progress continued as they finished sixth on the last day, with an impressive 4–0 win away at Tottenham, to qualify for the UEFA Cup for the second season running. Again it was Duff and Dunn who shone brightest, while goalkeeper Brad Friedel was one of the league's best players, However, the club had to be content with a disappointing exit from the UEFA Cup to eventual finalists Celtic, despite this, the club went into the 2003-04 with great expectations.

At the start of 2003–04 the sale of fan favourites Damien Duff and David Dunn meant that Rovers were always going to struggle to emulate the previous season's form. With transfer funds would be available, Souness replaced Duff with the highly rated Australian winger Brett Emerton from Feyenoord and Stephen Reid, while Lorenzo Amoruso, the Rangers defender, was also signed. Henning Berg was among the other departures. The season started promisingly, as newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers were defeated 5-1 at Ewood. The signing of Rangers captain Barry Ferguson for £7.5 million prompted talk of a surprise title challenge. However, results dipped, and the club began a long sequence of home defeats that left them in towards relegation danger. Souness's job was put on the line, and the club eventually were left needing a late turnaround, inspired by little known striker Jon Stead, to avoid relegation back to the English first division. 15th place was secured by a run of 4 wins from the final 6 games, sparked by a 4-3 victory at Fulham.

Mark Hughes era (2004–2008)

Souness left just after the start of 2004-05 to take charge at Newcastle. Rovers appointed Welsh national coach Mark Hughes as his successor, a key player in the club's promotion and League Cup successes a few seasons earlier. Hughes secured Rovers Premier League survival for the 2004–05 season as well as an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal, with Rovers finishing 15th once again, with Hughes's arrival coinciding with the team becoming one of the most solid teams in the league, thanks to astute signings such as Ryan Nelsen and Aaron Mokoena, and good motivational skills. He was able to strengthen the setup for 2005–06 with the £3.2 million transfer of much sought-after Wales international striker Craig Bellamy from Newcastle United. Following a 1–0 victory over league champions Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers secured the 6th place in the league and a spot in the UEFA Cup for the 2006–07 season - their third European qualification in five years, and their sixth foray into Europe since 1994.

After qualifying for Europe, Rovers signed South African striker Benni McCarthy from Porto as a replacement for the departing Craig Bellamy. Blackburn Rovers finished top of their group and were drawn against Bayer Leverkusen; they suffered a narrow 3–2 defeat in the first leg of their tie against Bayer Leverkusen, but a 0–0 draw in the second leg saw them bow out of the competition. The club was busy during the January transfer window, signing David Dunn, Stephen Warnock, Christopher Samba and Bruno Berner. Rovers reached the Semi Final of the FA Cup in 2007, they defeated Everton, Luton, Arsenal (after replay) and Manchester City. However they would go on to be defeated by Chelsea in the semi-final, with the game going into extra time. Rovers finished the season 10th in the league, with McCarthy netting 18 league goals. The club also qualified for the Intertoto Cup, which they successfully came through.

To prepare for the 2007–08 season Rovers invested in three new players, signing Paraguay international Roque Santa Cruz from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, Dutch under-21 star Maceo Rigters and young goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen. Blackburn would be knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Greek team Larissa, and also suffer a defeat to Coventry, in the FA Cup. Rovers confirmed an application to the following season's Intertoto competition. However, Blackburn lost 4-1 to Birmingham City on the final day of the season to deny them the Intertoto spot, which went to Aston Villa. Rovers ended in a respectable 7th position in the Premier League, their third consecutive top half finish.

Paul Ince spell (2008)

In May 2008, Mark Hughes left Blackburn Rovers for the vacancy at Manchester City. Several names were mooted to replace Hughes, including former players Mike Newell and Alan Shearer. Other managers linked included former England Manager Steve McClaren and former Rangers boss Dick Advocaat, former Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce and Paul Ince, who took Milton Keynes Dons to the League Two title in 2007–08, was also linked with the manager's job. On 22 June 2008, it was officially confirmed by the Blackburn Rovers website that Ince had indeed been brought in to manage Rovers, signing a three-year deal with the club.[4] Ince's first job was to persuade some of the wantaway players to stay.[5]. On 4 July, Ince signed experienced coach Archie Knox as his assistant.[6]

Before the start of the 2008–09 season, regular goalkeeper Brad Friedel (Aston Villa) and England international winger David Bentley (Tottenham Hotspur) left the club for a combined fee of around £19.5 million. Goalkeeper Paul Robinson then became Ince's first signing on the 25 July for a fee of £3.5 million.

Although the 2008–09 Premier League season began well for Ince and Blackburn, with a win over Everton, other results were not as good and on 16 December, following a run of eleven games without a win, Ince was relieved of his duties at Blackburn.[7]

Sam Allardyce era (2008-present)

On 17 December, it was announced that Sam Allardyce had been appointed as Ince's replacement at Blackburn Rovers on a three-year contract.[8]

Club future

In January 2008, the Dan Williams-led consortium interested in taking the club over withdrew interest. The club are prepared to sell and other groups are still interested.[9]

On Sunday 20 April 2008, Blackburn Rovers were yet again linked with another consortium led bid. This time from new JJB Sports owner Chris Ronnie, and an Icelandic based consortium. Whether this will lead to a formal bid being presented to the Walker Trustees, is still yet to be seen.[10]

On Sunday 8 June 2008, Blackburn Rovers were again linked to Chris Ronnie's consortium in the National Press. In which the Sunday People reported "Chris Ronnie is closing in on his takeover of Blackburn Rovers", the aritcle also went on to say "Ronnie has had four (4) meetings with Rothschilds, the financiers selling the club for the Jack Walker Trustees, and there has been 'significant progress."

However, on 6 July, it was revealed that Ronnie had pulled out of a bid to buy the club, and that Chowdery had a bid of £30 million pounds rejected.[11]


Current squad

First team

As of 28 January 2010[12]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Paul Robinson
2 Denmark DF Lars Jacobsen
4 Republic of the Congo DF Christopher Samba
5 France DF Gaël Givet
6 New Zealand DF Ryan Nelsen (captain)
7 Australia MF Brett Emerton
8 England MF David Dunn (vice-captain)
9 Grenada FW Jason Roberts
11 Australia MF Vince Grella
12 Norway MF Morten Gamst Pedersen
14 Algeria MF Amine Linganzi
15 France MF Steven N'Zonzi
No. Position Player
17 Republic of Ireland MF Keith Andrews
18 Senegal MF El Hadji Diouf
20 Turkey MF Yıldıray Baştürk
21 Sweden DF Martin Olsson
22 Croatia FW Nikola Kalinić
23 Canada FW David Hoilett
26 Argentina FW Franco Di Santo (on loan from Chelsea)
27 Spain DF Míchel Salgado
28 England DF Phil Jones
30 Netherlands FW Maceo Rigters
32 Wales GK Jason Brown
38 England GK Mark Bunn
39 France DF Pascal Chimbonda
Out on loan
As of 28 January 2010[12]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
13 Georgia (country) DF Zurab Khizanishvili (on loan at Reading)
16 Republic of Ireland MF Steven Reid (on loan at West Brom)
19 Republic of Ireland FW Aaron Doran (on loan at Leyton Orient)
25 Republic of Ireland MF Alan Judge (on loan at Plymouth Argyle)
29 Republic of Ireland DF Gavin Gunning (on loan at Rotherham United)
34 England GK Frank Fielding (on loan at Rochdale)
No. Position Player
36 England FW Marcus Marshall (on loan at Rotherham United)
41 England MF Andy Haworth (on loan at Rochdale)
Nigeria FW Osahon Eboigbe (on loan at Leuven)
Northern Ireland DF Johnny Flynn (on loan at Accrington Stanley)


  • As of 28 January 2010[13]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England GK Jake Kean
England DF Callum O'Connor
England DF Phil Jones
England DF Michael Hall
Republic of Ireland DF Gavin Gunning
Republic of Ireland MF Aaron Doran
No. Position Player
England MF Andy Haworth
England MF Jason Lowe
Republic of Ireland MF Gearoid Morrissey
England MF Zac Aley
Paraguay FW Julio Santa Cruz
England FW Nick Blackman


  • As of 28 January 2010[14]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England DF Damilola Ajagbe
England FW Jason Banton
England DF Alex Billington
England FW Jordan Bowen
England FW Micah Evans
Scotland DF Grant Hanley
England FW Tom Hitchcock
Northern Ireland MF James Knowles
New Zealand DF Cameron Lindsay
No. Position Player
England MF Josh Morris
England MF Tom Murray
Republic of Ireland DF Anthony O'Connor
England DF Andy Parry
England DF Matthew Pearson
England FW Michael Potts
England DF Jackson Ramm
England GK Josh Swann
Austria FW Toni Vastić

Notable former and existing players

For a list of notable Blackburn Rovers players in sortable-table format see List of Blackburn Rovers F.C. players.


Goal of the season

The Peter White Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player winning the goal of the season competition, which started in season 2000–01. Winners are as follows:

Season Scorer Opposition Stadium Competition Date
2000–01 Damien Duff Birmingham City St. Andrews 1st Division February 2001
2001–02 Damien Duff Ipswich Town Ewood Park Premier League 13 March 2002
2002–03 Andy Cole Liverpool Anfield Premier League 26 December 2002
2003–04 Tugay Kerimoğlu Birmingham City St. Andrews Premier League 6 December 2003
2004–05 Morten Gamst Pedersen Burnley Ewood Park FA Cup 5th Round 1 March 2005
2005–06 Steven Reid Wigan Athletic JJB Stadium Premier League 31 December 2005
2006–07 Benni McCarthy Arsenal Ewood Park FA Cup 5th Round 28 February 2007
2007–08 Tugay Kerimoğlu Reading Ewood Park Premier League 20 October 2007
2008-09 Aaron Mokoena Sunderland Ewood Park FA Cup 4th Round 4 February 2009

Player of the season

Year Winner Position
2005–06 Wales Craig Bellamy Striker
2006–07 England David Bentley Midfielder
2007–08 Paraguay Roque Santa Cruz Striker
2008-09 England Stephen Warnock Defender/Midfielder

Club honours

Date Honours
1994-1995 Premier League Champions
1884, 1885, 1886, 1890, 1891, 1928 FA Cup winners
1882,1960 FA Cup runners-up
1959 FA Youth Cup winners
1998, 2000 FA Youth Cup runners-up
2002 League Cup winners
1987 Full Members Cup winners
1912 Charity Shield winners
1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1896, 1901,
1902, 1904, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1945
1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 2007
Lancashire Senior Cup winners
1993-94 Premier League runners-up
1911-12, 1913-14 League Division 1 (now Premier League) champions
2000-01 League Division 1 (now the Championship) runners-up
1938-39 League Division 2 (now the Championship) champions
1957-58 League Division 2 runners-up
1974-75 League Division 3 (now League One) champions
1979-80 League Division 3 runners-up

Premier League record

The table below shows Blackburn Rovers's final standings in past seasons:

Season P W D L F A GD Pts Pos Qualified for
1992–93 42 20 11 11 68 46 +22 71 4
1993–94 42 25 9 8 63 36 +27 84 2 UEFA Cup
1994–95 42 27 8 7 80 39 +41 89 1 UEFA Champions league
1995–96 38 18 7 13 61 47 +14 61 7
1996–97 38 9 15 14 42 43 -1 42 13
1997–98 38 16 10 12 57 52 +5 58 6 UEFA Cup
1998–99 38 7 14 17 38 52 -14 35 19 Relegated
1999–00 - - - - - - - - -
2000–01 - - - - - - - - -
2001–02 38 12 10 16 55 51 +4 46 10 UEFA Cup [via League Cup win]
2002–03 38 16 12 10 52 43 +9 60 6 UEFA Cup
2003–04 38 12 8 18 51 59 -8 44 15
2004–05 38 9 15 14 32 43 -11 42 15
2005–06 38 19 6 13 51 42 +9 63 6 UEFA Cup
2006–07 38 15 7 16 52 54 -2 52 10 UEFA Intertoto Cup
2007–08 38 15 13 10 50 48 +2 58 7
2008–09 38 10 11 17 40 60 -20 41 15


Period Manager
1884-1896 Thomas Mitchell
1896-1903 Joseph Warmsley
1903-1925 Robert Middleton
1922-1926 Jack Carr
1926-1930 Bob Crompton
1931-1936 Arthur Barritt
1936-1938 Reg Taylor
1938-1941 Bob Crompton
1944-1947 Eddie Hapgood
1947 Will Scott
1947-1949 Jack Bruton
1949-1953 Jackie Bestall
1953-1958 Johnny Carey
1958-1960 Dally Duncan
1960-1967 Jack Marshall
1967-1970 Eddie Quigley
1970-1971 Johnny Carey
1971-1973 Ken Furphy
1974-1975 Gordon Lee
1975-1978 Jim Smith
1978 Jim Iley
1978-1979 John Pickering
1979-1981 Howard Kendall
1981-1986 Bobby Saxton
1987-1991 Don Mackay
1991-1995 Kenny Dalglish
1995-1996 Ray Harford
1997-1998 Roy Hodgson
1998-1999 Brian Kidd
2000-2004 Graeme Souness
2004-2008 Mark Hughes
2008 Paul Ince
2008- Sam Allardyce

Team colours and badge

The Rovers kit have always been fundamentally the same; two team colours split across the shirt. One sleeve and one side of the shirt would be each colour. The shorts started white and the socks dark blue. Although the sock pattern and colours would change, everything else, for the most part, has not been touched since 1905. Since changing to white shorts in recent years, the home kits have had dark blue shorts since 1904, when they were changed for a year, then rejected and changed back. Blackburn Rovers colours for 2007-08 as voted for by fans. For 2007-08 the traditional blue and white remains, however the away kit is a brand new idea using the existing away colours (black & red) for the first time in a halved formation.

During the 2007-08 season the club were sponsored by Bet24 and their technical sponsors were Umbro. 12 March 2008 The club announced that Crown Paints would be their new club sponsor as of 2008–09, the Lancashire based company signed a three year deal with the club.[15] For the 2008/09 season, the club decided to relegate the Black and Red halved kit to being their 3rd kit, and had an all Black (shirt and shorts) kit as their away kit, with a small blue and white halved patch directly underneath the chin at the top of the shirt.

Previous shirt sponsors:


Blackburn played at Leamington Road from 1881 until 1890, when they moved to their current home, Ewood Park. Ewood is the oldest consecutive home of a Premier League team, Blackburn having been there longer than Chelsea and Liverpool have been at their present homes, even though their stadia were constructed first. This stadium sits on the bank of the River Darwen in Blackburn, Lancashire. Blackburn is one of only two football clubs (the other being the Wanderers) to win the FA Cup for three seasons in a row, retaining the exclusive right to place their club logo on the corner flags, despite these victories being achieved at their previous stadium. Ewood Park is also the only football ground in the Premier League to have a multi-faith prayer room.[16]


Blackburn Rovers supporters have formed several support clubs related to the team, and almost all of them are partially focused on making trips to Ewood Park easier. In addition, although Rovers home games are the least attended in the Premier League for the size of the stadium, on average nearly an amount equal to a fifth of Blackburn (pop. approximately 100,000). Blackburn also have a very vocal support group when it comes to big decisions being made for the club, a support group created on a media site, objecting to the appointment of Sam Allardyce as replacement for outgoing boss Mark Hughes for instance.

There are also several official/non-official Rovers message boards which are frequented by supporters from all over the world, such as:

In January 2006, Blackburn Rovers Supporters Football Club (BRSFC) was formed by a group of Blackburn Rovers supporters through the clubs official message board. This team is not one of a group of breakaway teams such as FC United of Manchester (Manchester United) which was created by disgruntled fans in the wake of Malcolm Glazer's takeover at Old Trafford. BRSFC enjoys an affiliation with Blackburn Rovers Football Club and are registered with the Lancashire Football Association.

Main rivals

  • In an extensive census on in December 2003, the surveyed fans placed Burnley as a rival of Blackburn Rovers.[17] The match is considered a local derby and Burnley are currently the closest located team to Blackburn in the Premier League. This derby dates back to the 19th century. The two clubs are eight miles apart and on some occasions violence has broken out.[18] When the two teams play each other, it is known as the East Lancashire Derby.[19]
  • Blackburn also have a long term rivalry with Bolton Wanderers[17]
  • Manchester United is a team located close by to Blackburn Rovers and so are considered a rival by the fans.[17] The rivalry was fiercest in the mid nineties when Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United fought closely for the Premier League title[20]
  • Other Premier League clubs nearby include Manchester City
  • The local rivalry between Blackburn and Preston North End goes back over one hundred years. In 1888 Preston refused to play a match against Blackburn due to their reception by the Blackburn fans[21]

Statistics and records

As of and including 2 May 2009 [22]

Premier League appearances

Statistics from The Premier League only (1992-99, 2001-)

Name Appearances Goals
1 United States Brad Friedel 261 1
2 England Tim Sherwood 235 25
3 Turkey Tugay Kerimoğlu 233 10
4 Scotland Colin Hendry 204 8
5 England Jason Wilcox 192 27
6 Australia Brett Emerton 191 9
7 Australia Lucas Neill 188 5
8 England Stuart Ripley 187 13
9 England Garry Flitcroft 186 11
10 England Tim Flowers 177 0
11 Norway Morten Gamst Pedersen 159 24
12 Scotland Kevin Gallacher 139 46
13 Republic of Ireland Jeff Kenna 138 1
14 England Alan Shearer 138 112
15 England Chris Sutton 130 47
16 England Graeme Le Saux 129 7
17 England David Dunn 125 18
18 Republic of Ireland Damien Duff 113 21
19 New Zealand Ryan Nelsen 115 1
20 England Mike Newell 110 22

Premier League goals

Statistics from The Premier League only (1992-99, 2001-)

Name Goals Appearances
1 England Alan Shearer 112 138
2 England Chris Sutton 47 130
3 Scotland Kevin Gallacher 46 139
4 South Africa Benni McCarthy 36 95
5 England Andy Cole 27 83
6 England Jason Wilcox 27 192
7 England Tim Sherwood 25 235
8 Norway Morten Gamst Pedersen 24 159
9 Paraguay Roque Santa Cruz 23 57
10 England Mike Newell 22 110
11 Republic of Ireland Damien Duff 21 113
12 England David Dunn 18 125
13 England Matt Jansen 17 83
14 Scotland Paul Dickov 14 50
15 Wales Craig Bellamy 13 27
16 Grenada Jason Roberts 13 70
17 England David Bentley 13 102
18 England Stuart Ripley 13 187
19 Trinidad and Tobago Dwight Yorke 12 60
20 England Mark Atkins 12 84


  • Most League appearances:

Derek Fazackerley, 593+3sub, 1970/71 to 1986/87

  • Record goalscorer:

Simon Garner, 194 goals (168 league), 1978/79 to 1991/92

  • Record attendance at Ewood Park:

62,255 v Bolton Wanderers, FA Cup 6th round, 2 March 1929

  • Transfer Fee Paid:

£8m to Manchester United for Andrew Cole in December 2001

  • Transfer Fee Received:

£18m from Manchester City F.C. for Roque Santa Cruz in June 2009

  • Record win:

11-0 v Rossendale United, Ewood Park, FA Cup 1st round 13 October 1884

  • Record League win:

9-0 v Middlesbrough, Ewood Park, Division 2, 6 November 1954

  • Record away win:

8-2 v West Ham United, Division 1, 26 December 1963

  • Record League defeat:

0-8 v Arsenal, Division 1, 25 February 1933 0-8 v Lincoln City, Division 2, 29 August 1953

  • Record home League defeat:

1-7 v Notts County, 14 March 1891 1-7 v Middlesbrough, 29 November 1947

  • Record aggregate League score:

13: 5-8 v Derby County, 6 September 1890

  • Most points gained in a season (2pts):

60 (1974/75)

  • Most points gained in a season (3pts):

91 (2000/01)

  • Least points gained in a season (2pts):

20 (1965/66)

  • Least points gained in a season (3pts):

35 (1998/99)

  • Most consecutive League appearances:

Walter Crook, 208 (1934-46)

  • Most goals scored by a player in a season:

Ted Harper, 43, Division 1, 1925/26

  • Most goals scored by a player in a match:

Tommy Briggs, 7 v Bristol Rovers, Ewood Park, Division 2, 5 February 1955

  • Most hat-tricks in a season:

8, 1963/64

  • Most individual hat-tricks:

13, Jack Southworth, 1887-1893

  • Most FA Cup appearances:

Ronnie Clayton, 56, 1949-1969

  • Most League Cup appearances:

Derek Fazackerley, 38, 1969-1987

  • Youngest player to appear for Rovers:

Harry Dennison, aged 16yrs and 155 days against Bristol City, Division 1, 8 April 1911

  • Oldest player to appear for Rovers:

Bob Crompton, 40yrs and 150 days against Bradford, Division 1, 23 February 1920

  • Longest undefeated FA Cup run:

24 games including 3 consecutive FA Cup wins, 1884-86. Still an FA Cup record

Reference for above facts[23]


  1. ^ "Nicknames". Club Nicknames. 2 August 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  2. ^ "Who's next after Harford?". Lancashire Evening Telegraph. Newsquest Media Group. 25 October 1996. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  3. ^ p.32, Lancashire Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 17 December 1996
  4. ^ "Paul Ince Rovers New Manager". Rovers official website. 22 June 2008.,,10303~1332318,00.html. 
  5. ^ "Exciting times to come - Warnock". BBC Sport. 23 June 2008. 
  6. ^ "Ince appoints Knox at Blackburn". BBC Sport. BBC. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2008. 
  7. ^ "Club Statement". Blackburn Rovers FC. 16 December 2008.,,10303~1489931,00.html. 
  8. ^ "Allardyce named Blackburn manager". BBC Sport. 17 December 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2008. 
  9. ^ "Investor confirms Blackburn talks". BBC Sport. 19 June 2007. 
  10. ^ Neild, Andy (21 April 2008). "Blackburn Rovers in dark over Chris Ronnie 'takeover' report". This Is Lancashire. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  11. ^ "Ronnie Loses Interest/Chowdery bid rejected". Sunday People. 6 July 2008. 
  12. ^ a b "1st Team Profiles". Blackburn Rovers FC.,,10303~1745944,00.html. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "2009/10 Reserve Profiles". 2010.,,10303~1063586,00.html. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  14. ^ "2009/10 Academy Under 18 Profiles". 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  15. ^ Neild, Andy (12 March 2008). "Rovers seal new sponsorship deal". Retrieved 12 March 2008. 
  16. ^ "Prayer room opened at Ewood Park". Lancashire Telegraph. 12 August 2008. 
  17. ^ a b c "FootballFansCensus - Derbies" (PDF). December 2003. Retrieved 11 February 2008. 
  18. ^ "The East Lancashire Derby". Retrieved 11 February 2008. 
  19. ^ "Police combat April footy fools". Lancashire Evening Telegraph. Newsquest Media Group. 21 December 2000. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  20. ^ "Premier League - Parker:". Eurosport. 3 November 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2008. 
  21. ^ Russel, Dave (2004) (PDF). Looking North: Northern England and the National Imagination. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0719051789. Retrieved 12 February 2008. 
  22. ^ "Player by Team by Year Overall". PremierSoccerStats. 25 October 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2008. 
  23. ^ Blackburn Rovers Official - club Records

External links

Coordinates: 53°43′42.85″N 2°29′21.14″W / 53.7285694°N 2.4892056°W / 53.7285694; -2.4892056


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