Blackburn Rovers F.C.

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For the South African football club of the same name, see Blackburn Rovers FC (South Africa).
Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers.svg
Full name Blackburn Rovers Football Club
Nickname(s) Rovers
The Blue and Whites
The Riversiders[1]
Founded 1875; 139 years ago (1875)
Ground Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire
Ground Capacity 31,367
Owner Venky's London Ltd
Managing Director Derek Shaw
Manager Gary Bowyer
League The Championship
2013–14 The Championship, 8th
Website Club home page
Current season

Blackburn Rovers Football Club /ˈblækbɜrn ˈrvərz/ is an English professional association football club based in the town of Blackburn, Lancashire. The team competes in the Football League Championship from the 2012–13 season. They were relegated from the Premier League, the top tier of English football, at the end of the 2011–12 season. The club are currently managed by Gary Bowyer after previous manager Michael Appleton was dismissed on 19 March 2013. Appleton was the third manager to have lost his job in 6 months after Steve Kean and Henning Berg.

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 1965–66 was followed by 26 successive seasons of football outside the top flight.

In 1992, Blackburn gained promotion 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 Premier 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 the 1998–99 season, the club was relegated. It was promoted back to the Premier League two years later, in the 2000–01 season, just after Walker's death. During this time it has 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 marked the club's 72nd non-consecutive year in the top flight. Blackburn are currently one of only five clubs to have won the Premier League, along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Manchester City.

The club's motto is "Arte et Labore", which the club translates as "By Skill and Hard Work" in Latin.

History

Early years

The club was founded following a meeting, at the Leger Hotel, Blackburn, on 5 November 1875. The meeting was organised by two young men, namely John Lewis and Arthur Constantine. The purpose of the meeting was "to discuss the possibility of forming a football club to play under Association rules".[2] The first match played by Blackburn Rovers took place in Church, Lancashire on 18 December 1875 and was a 1–1 draw.[3]

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

On 28 September 1878, Blackburn Rovers became one of 23 clubs to form the Lancashire Football Association.[4] On 1 November 1879 the club played in the F.A. Cup for the first time, beating the Tyne Association Football Club 5–1.[4] Rovers were eventually put out of the competition in the third round after suffering a heavy 6–0 defeat by Nottingham Forest.[5]

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,[6] but the result was a 1–0 defeat by the Old Etonians.[7]

Rovers finally won the F.A. Cup on 29 March 1884 with a 2–1 victory over the Scottish team Queen's Park.[8] The same teams played the F.A. Cup final again the next season, with Blackburn Rovers again emerging victorious, with a 2–0 score.[8] Rovers repeated this success yet again the next season, winning the final replay 2–0 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.[8]

The 1885–86 season was the birth of the legal professional footballer, and Blackburn Rovers spent £615 on player wages for the season.[9]

Football League commences

Blackburn Rovers were founder members of the Football League in 1888.[10]

Blackburn Rovers again reached the F.A. Cup final on 29 March 1890 at the Kennington Oval.[11] 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.[12]

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

The 1890–91 season saw Blackburn Rovers win the F.A. Cup for the fifth time against Notts County with a 3–1 victory.[13] 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.[14] 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.

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 First Division champions in 1911–12 and 1913–14, and F.A Cup winners in 1927–28 with a 3–1 victory against Huddersfield Town, 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 2010–11 when Blackburn came fifteenth 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.

When the league resumed after the war, Blackburn Rovers were relegated in their second season (1947–48). At this time the tradition of burying a coffin began. The club 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 following an injury to Dave Whelan, who broke a leg.

There were brief hopes of a return to glory in the 1963–64 season, when a remarkable 8–2 away win over West Ham United in east London on Boxing Day took them to the top of the league. However, their lead of the league was short lived and they finished the season some way down the table as the title was seized by a Liverpool side who would record a further 12 league titles over the next 26 years, while Blackburn's fortunes took a very different route.[15] They were again relegated from the First Division in 1966 and began a 26-year exile from the top division.

1970s and 1980s

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, and fell back into the Third Division in 1979. 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. A second successive promotion was nearly achieved the following year, but the club missed out on goal difference, and promotion-winning manager Howard Kendall moved to Everton that summer. Kendall's successor, Bobby Saxton only managed mid-table finishes for the next three seasons, then nearly achieved promotion in the 1984–85 season, but a poor finish the following year (just one place above relegation) followed by an abysmal start to the 1986–87 season cost Saxton his job.

Saxton was replaced by Don Mackay, who steered them to a decent finish that season and also victory in the Full Members Cup. In the following three seasons Mackay re-established Blackburn as promotion contenders, but they fell just short of promotion each time; the closest they came was in 1988–89 reached the Second Division play-off 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).[16]

1990s

Following the Walker takeover Rovers finished 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 and appointed Kenny Dalglish as manager in October 1991.[17] Blackburn secured promotion to the new FA Premier League at the end of 1991–92 season as play-off winners, ending 26 years outside the top flight.[18]

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.[19] After finishing fourth in 1992–93 [20] and runners-up in 1993–94,[21] they went on to win the Premier League title in 1994–95.[22] The title chase went down to the last game of the season, but despite Rovers losing to Liverpool they edged out rivals Manchester United to win the championship.

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.[23] 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.[24] 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. After an abortive attempt to bring in Sven-Göran Eriksson as manager, long-serving coach Tony Parkes took over as manager for the rest of the campaign, narrowly steering the side to survival. That summer, the manager's job was taken by Roy Hodgson, who joined the club from Internazionale.[25] UEFA Cup football was secured with a 6th place finish. However, Rovers made a poor start to the 1998–99 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.[26] He was replaced as manager by Brian Kidd.[27] 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.

2000s

The Jack Walker Stand during a match

In 1999–2000 Rovers began the season as promotion favourites, but with the club hovering just above the Division One relegation zone Brian Kidd was sacked in October[28] and replaced in March by Graeme Souness.[29] Jack Walker died just after the start of the 2000–01 season,[30] and the club dedicated its promotion challenge in memory of their benefactor. Fittingly, they returned to the Premier League after a much improved season, finishing second behind Fulham.

In 2001–02, Blackburn record signing Andy Cole was bought in for £8million,[31] and Rovers won their first-ever League Cup by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2–1 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Cole scoring the winner in the 69th minute.[32] The following season Rovers finished sixth to qualify for the UEFA Cup for the second season running. Souness left just after the start of 2004–05 to take charge at Newcastle,[33] and he was replaced by Welsh national coach Mark Hughes.[34] 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. He led the team to sixth the following season and Rovers's third European qualification in five years.

Rovers reached the semi-final of the 2006–07 FA Cup, but lost to Chelsea in extra time, and finished that season's league in tenth, qualifying for the Intertoto Cup, which led to a short run in the 2007–08 UEFA Cup. In May 2008, Mark Hughes left Blackburn Rovers for the vacancy at Manchester City. He was replaced by Paul Ince,[35] Ince's first job was to persuade some of the wantaway players to stay.[36] with Archie Knox coming in as his assistant.[37] Ince's time in charge started well, but following a run of eleven games without a win he was sacked in December 2008.[38] Sam Allardyce was appointed as Ince's replacement[39] and in 2009–10 he led the team to a tenth place finish and a League Cup semi-final.

In November 2010 the Indian company V H Group bought Blackburn Rovers under the name of Venky's London Limited for £23 million.[40] The new owners sacked Allardyce and replaced him with first-team coach Steve Kean, initially on a temporary basis.[41]

In December 2011 it was announced that Blackburn Rovers posted an annual pre-tax loss of £18.6m for the year ending 30 June 2011. Despite this the owners of Blackburn Rovers provided assurances over the continued funding of the club, even if they were relegated.[42]

On 7 May 2012, the club was relegated to the Championship after being defeated at home by Wigan Athletic at home in the penultimate game of the season, ending 11 years of being in the English Premier League.[43]

Players

Current squad

As of 8 August 2014[44]

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

No. Position Player
1 England GK Paul Robinson
2 Wales DF Adam Henley
3 England DF Tommy Spurr
4 England DF Matthew Kilgallon
5 Scotland DF Grant Hanley (captain)[45]
6 England MF Jason Lowe
7 Norway FW Joshua King
8 England MF David Dunn
9 England FW Chris Brown
10 Scotland MF Tom Cairney
11 Scotland FW Jordan Rhodes (vice-captain)
12 England MF Ben Marshall
13 England GK Simon Eastwood
14 Sweden MF Marcus Olsson
No. Position Player
15 England DF Alex Baptiste (on loan from Bolton Wanderers)
16 England FW Luke Varney
17 England MF Lee Williamson
19 England MF Chris Taylor
20 Cameroon DF Yann Songo'o
22 Republic of Ireland DF Shane Duffy
25 England MF Ryan Tunnicliffe (on loan from Fulham)
26 Republic of Ireland MF Darragh Lenihan
29 Northern Ireland MF Corry Evans
30 England GK Jason Steele (on loan from Middlesbrough)
31 England MF Connor Mahoney
32 Scotland MF Craig Conway
34 England GK Jake Kean
39 Benin FW Rudy Gestede

For recent transfers, see 2014–15 Blackburn Rovers F.C. season.

Out on loan

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

No. Position Player
18 Republic of Ireland MF John O'Sullivan (at Accrington Stanley until 4 January 2015)
21 England DF Jack O'Connell (at Rochdale until 3 January 2015)
26 Republic of Ireland MF Darragh Lenihan (at Burton Albion until 22 November 2014)
28 Republic of Ireland DF Anthony O'Connor (at Plymouth Argyle until 10 January 2015)
33 Spain GK David Raya (at Southport until 4 January 2015)
No. Position Player
England DF Bradley Orr (at Toronto until 31 December 2014)
England DF Josh Morris (at Fleetwood Town until 3 January 2015)
Republic of Ireland FW Leon Best (at Derby County until 31 July 2015) *
England FW Jordan Slew (at Port Vale until 3 January 2015) *
  • Please note that player highlighted with (*) symbol denotes player transfer listed

Reserve/Academy squad

For more details on the reserve and academy squads, see Blackburn Rovers F.C. Reserves and Academy.

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.

Awards

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 Republic of Ireland Damien Duff Birmingham City St. Andrew's First Division February 2001
2001–02 Republic of Ireland Damien Duff Ipswich Town Ewood Park Premier League 13 March 2002
2002–03 England Andy Cole Liverpool Anfield Premier League 26 December 2002
2003–04 Turkey Tugay Kerimoğlu Birmingham City St. Andrew's Premier League 6 December 2003
2004–05 Norway Morten Gamst Pedersen Burnley Ewood Park FA Cup 5th Round 1 March 2005
2005–06 Republic of Ireland Steven Reid Wigan Athletic JJB Stadium Premier League 31 December 2005
2006–07 South Africa Benni McCarthy Arsenal Ewood Park FA Cup 5th Round 28 February 2007
2007–08 Turkey Tugay Kerimoğlu Reading Ewood Park Premier League 20 October 2007
2008–09 South Africa Aaron Mokoena Sunderland Ewood Park FA Cup 4th Round 4 February 2009
2009–10 Sweden Martin Olsson[46] Aston Villa Villa Park League Cup Semi-final 20 January 2010
2010–11 Canada David Hoilett WBA Ewood Park Premier League 23 January 2011
2011–12 Spain Rubén Rochina Fulham Craven Cottage Premier League 11 September 2011
2012–13 England David Dunn Burnley Ewood Park Football League Championship 17 March 2013
2013–14 England Jason Lowe Middlesbrough Ewood Park Football League Championship 2 November 2013

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
2009–10 France Steven N'Zonzi Midfielder
2010–11 England Paul Robinson Goalkeeper
2011–12 Nigeria Yakubu Aiyegbeni Striker
2012–13 Scotland Jordan Rhodes Striker
2013–14 Scotland Tom Cairney Midfielder

Club honours

League

    • Runners-up (2): 1957–58, 2000–01
    • Play-off winners (1): 1991–92
    • Runners-up (1): 1979–80

Cups

    • Runners-up (2): 1882, 1960
    • Runners-up (3): 1928, 1994, 1995
  • Lancashire Senior Cup
    • Winners (18): 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1896, 1901, 1902, 1904, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1945, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 2007, 2011
    • Runners-up (3): 1998, 2000, 2012
    • Runners-up (1): 1940

European

Season-by-season record

UEFA rankings

Club coefficient

As of 27 October 2013[50]
Year Rank Points Highest Ranking Club Points
2013–14 No Rank - FC Barcelona 139.485
2012–13 No Rank - FC Barcelona 157.605
2011–12 99 18.882 FC Barcelona 157.837
2010–11 66 30.157 Manchester United 151.157
2009–10 70 29.371 FC Barcelona 136.951
2008–09 70 28.899 FC Barcelona 121.853
2007–08 63 38.996 Chelsea FC 124.996
2006–07 68 36.618 AC Milan 133.808
2005–06 99 23.950 AC Milan 129.020
2004–05 96 23.864 Real Madrid CF 131.326

Managerial history

Period Manager Assistant manager(s) Notes
1884–1896 Scotland Thomas Mitchell Won 5 FA Cups (1884, 1885, 1886, 1890 & 1891)
1896–1903 England Joseph Warmsley
1903–1925 England Robert Middleton Won League Titles (1911–12 & 1913–14) and Charity Shield (1912) longest serving manager (22 years & 3 months)
1922–1926 England Jack Carr
1926–1930 England Bob Crompton Won FA Cup (1928)
1931–1936 England Arthur Barritt
1936–1938 England Reg Taylor
1938–1941 England Bob Crompton Won Division 2 Title (now Championship 1938–39)
1946–1947 England Eddie Hapgood
1947 England Will Scott
1947–1949 England Jack Bruton
1949–1953 England Jackie Bestall
1953–1958 Republic of Ireland Johnny Carey First manager from outside the United Kingdom
1958–1960 Scotland Dally Duncan
1960–1967 England Jack Marshall
1967–1970 England Eddie Quigley
1970–1971 Republic of Ireland Johnny Carey
1971–1973 England Ken Furphy England Richard Dinnis
1974–1975 England Gordon Lee England Richard Dinnis Won Third Division (now League One 1974–75)
1975–1978 England Jim Smith
1978 England Jim Iley England John Pickering
1978–79 England John Pickering
1979–1981 England Howard Kendall Runners up/Promoted from Third Division to Second Division 1979–80 season.
1981–1986 England Bobby Saxton
1987–1991 Scotland Don Mackay Won Full Members Cup (1987)
1991–1995 Scotland Kenny Dalglish England Ray Harford Won Premier League Title (1994–95)
1995–1996 England Ray Harford Assistant manager under Kenny Dalglish for Premier League winning Title season.
1997–1998 England Roy Hodgson
1998–1999 England Brian Kidd Scotland Brian McClair Relegated from Premier League to Division One 1998–99 season
1999–2000 England Tony Parkes Caretaker of club on 4 separate occasions
2000–2004 Scotland Graeme Souness England Tony Parkes Runners up/Promoted from Division One to Premier League 2000–01 season. Won League Cup (2002)
2004–2008 Wales Mark Hughes Wales Mark Bowen
2008 England Paul Ince England Ray Mathias
2008–2010 England Sam Allardyce Scotland Neil McDonald
2010–2012 Scotland Steve Kean DenmarkJohn Jensen, England Paul Clement, Scotland Eric Black Relegated from the Premier League 2011–12 season
2012 Norway Henning Berg None Shortest-serving manager (57 days), sacked 27 December 2012.
2013 England Michael Appleton England Ashley Westwood Second shortest serving manager in club's history (67 days), sacked 19 March 2013.
2013– England Gary Bowyer England Terry McPhillips Has been Caretaker Manager on two separate occasions. Appointed full-time manager 24 May 2013.

Team colours and badge

Unlike most teams, Blackburn Rovers have only ever had one design to their home kit. The distinctive blue and white halved jersey is widely acknowledged as the "town colour". Although the design has remained the same, the side in which the colours fall has often changed. Blue has resided on the wearers left since 1946 however prior to this regulation the blue and white often switched order almost yearly.

Blackburn Rovers' first ever kit is however indefinite. The 1905 book; Book of Football by Jonathan Russell describes Blackburn Rovers' first kit as a white jersey with Maltese Cross on the wearers left breast, Trousers and a blue and white skull cap. The Maltese Cross notorious with the public schools in which the founders of the club were educated. In contrast an account from the Blackburn Standard on 6 January 1894 accounts the first kit as navy blue and white quartered jersey (quartered accounting for the shirts four panels front and back), white knickers and navy hose. This account is much more synonymous with the kit today. Photographic evidence from 1878 shows the team in Blue and white halved (quartered) jerseys, white shorts and blue socks, complete with blue and white cap and Maltese Cross.

Through its history the club has adopted four badges as its crest; the Maltese Cross, the towns coat of arms, Lancashire Rose and the present day Blackburn Rovers Badge. From 1875–~1882 The Maltese Cross was present on the clubs first ever home kit and was worn by both the Shrewsbury and Malvern school teams. Two former Malvernians and two former Salopians played in that first team, so there is a clear link with these public schools.

During F.A. Cup finals it is tradition for the club to adopted the towns coat of arms as their badge. This tradition has carried through all eight F.A. Cup finals the cup has been a part of all the way to their last FA Cup final against Woverhampton Wanderers in 1960.

From roughly 1882 and excluding cup finals the club didn't use a badge until 1974. In this year the club opted for an embroidered Lancashire Rose with the clubs initials "B.R.F.C." below. This badge lasted unchanged for 15 years until it was 1989 due to visibility issues of the dark red rose on the dark blue of the shirt.

From 1989 to the present day the current Blackburn Rovers badge has been used. It has encompassed the previous badge in a newer design for the Lancashire Red Rose. Circling the rose is the team name "Blackburn Rovers F.C." and the date in which the club was founded "1875". At the base of the badge is the club motto, "Arte Et Labore" which translated means, "by skill and by labour". This motto has been taken from the town motto which was adopted in 1852.

Kit

Past and present shirt sponsors

Past and present technical sponsors

  • Umbro (1974–1981)
  • Spall (1981–1988)
  • Ellgren (1988–1990)
  • Ribero (1990–1992)
  • Asics (1992–1998)
  • Uhllsports (1998–2000)
  • Kappa (2000–2004)
  • Lonsdale (2004–2007)
  • Umbro (2007–2013)
  • Nike (From 2013–14)[51]

Grounds

Main articles: Leamington Road and Ewood Park

Oozehead Ground 1875–1877

Blackburns first home ground was a field at Oozehead on Preston New Road to the north west of the town. This field was farmland and was owned by a local farmer, when Blackburn Rovers weren't using the field it was used to graze cows. In the centre of the field was a large watering hole, which on match days was covered with timber and turf.[52]

Pleasington Cricket Ground 1877

Due to the rough conditions at Oozehead, the committee felt an established sports ground would be best to play on. Therefore during the 1877 season they acquired the use of Pleasington's cricket ground to the south west of the town. Play stopped on this ground after Henry Smith of Preston North End died of a heart attack whilst playing.[52]

Alexandra Meadows 1877–1881

Still adopting cricket grounds, the committee acquired the use of the East Lancashire Cricket Club's ground in the centre of the town, Alexandra Meadows. Sources differ as to the date of the first match played by Blackburn at Alexandra Meadows. A programme from Clitheroe F.C. states that Clitheroe was the first team to beat Blackburn at Alexandra Meadows on 17 November 1877.[53] Other sources indicate that the first match took place on 2 January 1878 with a Blackburn victory against Partick Thistle.[54][55] It was on this ground Blackburn Rovers played for the first time under artificial light against Accrington on 4 November 1878.[52]

International Venue

26 February 1881 England 0 Wales 1

Leamington Road 1881–1890

Due to the increasing demand in football in the area and in particular for Blackburn Rovers the committee felt that a private ground was more fitting. Therefore in 1881 the club moved to Leamington Road, Blackburn Rovers' first purpose built ground including a £500, 700 people capacity seated grandstand. The first game played at this ground was held on 8 October 1881 against Blackburn Olympic resulting in a 4–1 win for Rovers. Whilst at Leamington Road and under Thomas Mitchell the club won three FA Cups and was inaugurated into the Football League as a founding Member in 1888. However regardless of the club's success they had to leave Leamington Road due to increases in lease costs.[52]

International Venue

14 March 1885 England 1 Wales 1 19 March 1885 England 2 Scotland 3

Ewood Park 1890 – present

Built in April 1882 as Ewood Bridge. The ground was an all purpose sporting venue hosting football, athletics and dog racing. The Blackburn Rovers committee felt this was the ideal venue for the club after already playing their for numerous games in 1882. The first game played at the new Ewood Park ground was on 13 September 1890 against Accrington, the 0–0 draw was viewed by 10000 people and on 31 October 1892 artificial lights were installed.[52] 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.[56]

Supporters

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. Although Rovers home games were the least well attended in the Premier League (for the size of the stadium), on average their crowds were 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.

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.

Famous supporters

Entertainment: Matt Smith, comedians Jim Bowen and Lee Mack, actors Steven Pinder and Steve Pemberton, and musician Faris Badwan (The Horrors).

Politics: Margaret Thatcher (Honorary vice-chairman in the 1980s), Jack Straw (former Justice Secretary), Tim Farron (President of the Liberal Democrats and MP)[57]

Sport: Footballers (past and current) David Dunn (Blackburn Rovers), Ronnie Clayton (Blackburn Rovers), Brian Douglas (Blackburn Rovers), Robbie Savage, Phil Jones (Manchester United), James Beattie (Accrington Stanley F.C.), Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City), Carl Fogarty (former World Superbike champion), Colin Miller (Australian Cricketer), Shane Williams (Wales Rugby Union International), Bill Beaumont (Former Captain of England Rugby team), Stephen Hendry (Snooker player).

Other: Prince Albert of Monaco, Wayne Hemingway (Fashion Designer).

Main rivals

  • In an extensive census on FootballFanCensus.com in December 2003, the surveyed fans placed Burnley as a rival of Blackburn Rovers.[58] When the two teams play each other, it is known as the East Lancashire Derby.[59] This derby dates back to the 19th century. The two clubs are 8 miles (13 km) apart and on some occasions violence has broken out.[60]
  • Manchester United is another team located close by to Blackburn Rovers and so are considered a rival by the fans.[58] The rivalry was fiercest in the mid-90s when Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United fought closely for the Premier League title[61]
  • 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[62]

Statistics and records

As of and including 1 September 2011[63]

Records

  • 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
£8m to Huddersfield Town for Jordan Rhodes in August 2012

  • 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[64]

  • 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):

31 (2011–12)[65]

  • 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 16 yrs and 155 days against Bristol City, Division 1, 8 April 1911

  • Oldest player to appear for Rovers:

Bob Crompton, 40 yrs 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[66]

References

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  15. ^ Boxing Day Massacres
  16. ^ "History of Jack Walker". The Guardian. 19 August 2000. 
  17. ^ "Kenny Dalglish at Blackburn". The Independent. 23 August 1996. 
  18. ^ BBC Sport – How Kenny Dalglish turned a six-game losing run into glory
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  34. ^ "Blackburn appoint Hughes". BBC Sport. 16 September 2004. 
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  42. ^ "Venky's stress commitment to Blackburn despite £18.6m pre-tax loss". The Guardian (UK). 28 December 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  43. ^ Blackburn Rovers relegated after defeat to Wigan
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  47. ^ Upon its formation in 1992, the Premier League became the top tier of English football; the First and Second Divisions then became the second and third tiers, respectively. The First Division is now known as the Football League Championship and the Second Division is now known as Football League One.
  48. ^ The trophy was known as the Charity Shield until 2002, and as the Community Shield ever since.
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  66. ^ 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