An early exit from the League Cup at the hands of Division Two side Stockport County was the final straw for manager Ray Harford, who stepped down on 25 October with Rovers also bottom of the Premiership with no wins from their opening 11 games. 18 months earlier, they had been league champions. Long-serving coach Tony Parkes was appointed caretaker, remaining in the post until the end of the season, when he handed over the reins to Roy Hodgson after Sampdoria's Sven-Göran Eriksson changed his mind about accepting the manager's job and joined Lazio instead. Parkes steered Blackburn to safety as they finished 13th.
The world record £15 million sale of striker Alan Shearer to Newcastle United was seen as the biggest factor in Blackburn's lowest top flight finish since they returned to the elite in 1992. However, his strike-partner Chris Sutton helped keep the club alive after recovering from a drastic loss of form triggered by a spate of injuries the previous season. The acquisition of Swedish striker Martin Dahlin at the end of the season enhanced Blackburn's attack and gave fans hope for a higher finish next time round.
Updated to games played on 11 May 1997.
Source: Premier League
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored 1 Chelsea qualified for the Cup Winners' Cup as FA Cup winners. 2 Leicester City qualified for the UEFA Cup as League Cup winners. 3 Middlesbrough were docked three points for failing to fulfil a fixture. (C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished: (Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament. Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points