Tag Archives: Blackburn Rovers

Memorable Matches: Crystal Palace 3-3 Blackburn Rovers (August 1992)

Goalscorers: Mark Bright 37, Stuart Ripley 42, Gareth Southgate 63, Alan Shearer 66, 81, Simon Osborn 90

Teams:

Crystal Palace: Nigel Martyn, Chris Coleman (Simon Osborn 81), John Humphrey, Richard Shaw, Gareth Southgate, Andy Thorn, Eric Young, Eddie McGoldrick, John Salako (Simon Rodger 73), Geoff Thomas, Mark Bright

Blackburn Rovers: Bobby Mimms, Tony Dobson, Colin Hendry, David May, Kevin Moran, Alan Wright (Chris Price 28), Mark Atkins, Tim Sherwood, Stuart Ripley, Mike Newell, Alan Shearer

Referee: Roger Milford, Attendance: 17,086

On the very first day of FA Premier League football, there was plenty of attention on an expensively assembled Blackburn Rovers squad as they made the trip to south London to take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Blackburn were fielding the most expensive player in British football as 22-year old Alan Shearer made his club debut after his summer switch from Southampton. He wouldn’t disappoint and nor would the match itself on day one of the new era.

Played in bright, blazing sunshine, it did take both teams a while to get to grips with the humid conditions and only sporadic half-chances were created in the first 35 minutes. Eight minutes before the interval though, Crystal Palace took the lead. Young full-back Richard Shaw produced a great cross and Mark Bright was in the right place with a downward header to beat Bobby Mimms in the Blackburn goal. It was one of Bright’s final contributions in a Crystal Palace shirt. He would be sold to Sheffield Wednesday a few weeks later.

Newly-promoted Blackburn were level though just five minutes later. Shearer, who had experienced a quiet first half, provided a cross which drifted over the penalty box but was rescued by his new strike partner, Mike Newell. Newell’s cross was spot-on and an unmarked Stuart Ripley scored a rare header on his Rovers debut to level the score at half-time.

After a cagey first 45 minutes, the second half was more open and entertaining. Ripley, a summer arrival for £1.3 million from Middlesbrough, was a menace all afternoon and the winger nearly got his second of the game early in the second half, launching a shot just over the crossbar after one of his trademark runs from out wide. Steve Coppell’s Eagles, who had finished 10th in the last season of the old First Division also had their moments. John Salako produced a fierce drive which Mimms did well to tip over the crossbar. However, the Blackburn goalkeeper was culpable for Palace’s second goal. His weak punch out from a corner was returned in spectacular fashion by 21-year-old Gareth Southgate. His volley from the edge of the penalty area found the back of the net for his first goal in senior football.

Then, Shearer made his first major repayment on the transfer fee Blackburn had forked out for him. From a long punt up the park on 66 minutes, Newell’s flick-on found Shearer and he demonstrated his qualities with a dipping, swerving volley over the top of Nigel Martyn for a spectacular equaliser. Blackburn’s first top-flight match in 26 years was turning into a gripping contest and with nine minutes to go, Kenny Dalglish’s side went infront for the first time with another marvellous goal from Britain’s new record signing. Chasing a hopeful ball from Tony Dobson, Shearer cut inside from the left-hand side and hit another special shot that once again gave Martyn no chance of saving.

However, Crystal Palace kept battling on and in truth deserved a point as they played a major role in how the match unfolded. With virtually the last action in the contest, Eddie McGoldrick won a free-kick and substitutes Simon Rodger and Simon Osborn combined to earn the home side an equaliser. Rodger’s free-kick was guided into the net by Osborn’s late header. Roger Milford blew the full-time whistle virtually straight after the restart of play to highlight how late this goal was.

It was a season of contrasting fortunes for these teams. Blackburn coped well with the expectation and finished fourth but Crystal Palace were relegated on the final day and Coppell resigned shortly after the season concluded.

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Shock Results: Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Blackburn Rovers (August 1995)

Goalscorers: Fabian de Freitas 21, Matt Holmes 61, Alan Stubbs 80

Teams:

Bolton Wanderers: Keith Branagan, Gudni Bergsson, Chris Fairclough, Scott Green, Alan Stubbs, Jason McAteer, Jimmy Phillips, Alan Thompson, Owen Coyle (David Lee 60), Fabian de Freitas, Mark Patterson

Blackburn Rovers: Tim Flowers, Henning Berg, Colin Hendry, Graeme Le Saux, Ian Pearce, David Batty, Matt Holmes, Stuart Ripley (Mark Atkins 84), Tim Sherwood, Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton (Mike Newell 78)

Referee: Keith Burge, Attendance: 20,253

The 1995-1996 Premier League season was Bolton Wanderers’ 117th season of existence and their first Premier League campaign following their exhilarating success over Reading in the First Division play-off final the previous May.

Roy McFarland’s team were seen by many as the pre-season relegation favourites and two defeats in the opening week to Wimbledon and Newcastle United, conceding six goals in the process did nothing to silence those tipsters.

Bolton’s second match at their popular Burnden Park ground would welcome reigning champions Blackburn Rovers. There had been a major change at Rovers in pre-season. Kenny Dalglish had retired as first-team manager and moved into a Director of Football role. He was succeeded by his assistant, Ray Harford. It had been a tough start for Harford, whose side had already lost the Charity Shield to Everton and were beaten in the midweek round of fixtures by Sheffield Wednesday.

Both teams were unchanged from their midweek losses and buoyant by a fierce home support, it was the Premier League newcomers who looked the better side in the opening exchanges. As ever for a local derby, the tackling was competitive and genuine goalscoring opportunities were limited.

The Trotters broke the deadlock on 21 minutes thanks to some charitable defending from the champions. Henning Berg failed to sufficiently clear a Scott Green cross and when Alan Thompson headed the ball back into the danger area, Colin Hendry got in Tim Flowers’ way, nodding the ball out of the goalkeeper’s grasp. The Scotsman’s clearing header only found his compatriot Owen Coyle and Coyle guided the ball back to Fabian de Freitas, who didn’t make the cleanest contact but managed to stab the ball over the goal-line from almost underneath the crossbar.

Bolton’s opener was a real comedy of errors and there was some fortune about Blackburn’s leveller, which came just part the hour mark. After a period of pressure, midfielder Matt Holmes found a bit of space and his shot took a deflection off a defender and nestled in the bottom corner of Keith Branagan’s goal. It was Holmes’ first goal for Rovers since his summer arrival from West Ham United.

McFarland’s side refused to get down about conceding and came right back at their more illustrious opponents. Thompson whistled a shot just wide of the post after sloppy play from Graeme Le Saux and with 10 minutes left to play, they scored the decisive goal that ultimately won them the match. Mark Patterson’s curling free-kick was met by a marvellous header from Alan Stubbs. Stubbs timed his jump perfectly, beating Hendry to the ball and he guided his header wide of a stranded Flowers.

It was one of only two wins Roy McFarland managed as a Premier League boss. He left in early January and his assistant Colin Todd took over. He couldn’t prevent relegation but this was one of the brighter moments Bolton supporters can always enjoy from their first taste of Premier League action.

Great Goals: Fernando Torres – LIVERPOOL FC vs. Blackburn Rovers (April 2009)

Liverpool FC’s last Premier League home match before the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster was against Blackburn Rovers. Going for the league title against bitter enemies Manchester United, they made a fantastic start through the genius of Fernando Torres.

During his three-and-a-half year spell on Merseyside, ‘El Nino’ was at his best and was considered one of the best finishers in European football. He demonstrated this with his opener here against Blackburn.

Only five minutes had been played when from Jamie Carragher’s long ball, Torres controlled the ball brilliantly, turned and struck the sweetest of volleys that flew past Paul Robinson into the far corner of the net. Liverpool won the match 4-0 and although they finished four points shy of winning the title, they ended the campaign as the league’s top goalscorers, helped by special efforts like this from Torres.

Iconic Moments: Blackburn relegated (May 1999)

Four years earlier, Blackburn Rovers had ended an 81-year wait and became champions of England on a dramatic final day. Despite defeat at Anfield against Liverpool FC, Rovers became Premier League title winners because Manchester United failed to beat West Ham United at Upton Park.

Jack Walker’s millions had helped Blackburn towards their remarkable success but before the end of the 20th century, they had regressed into relegation trouble. Going into the final week of the 1998-1999 season, their fate was out of their own hands. A humiliating home defeat a few days earlier to already relegated Nottingham Forest meant they had to win both of their remaining two matches to have any chance of avoiding the drop.

Their final home game of the season was against Manchester United, who could be crowned champions with a victory. The game was a nervy, tense and sterile contest which ultimately ended in a 0-0 draw. In his first managerial job, Brian Kidd had been unable to steer the Lancastrians away from relegation. It was a tearful end to a wonderful chapter in the club’s history.

Blackburn spent two seasons outside of the top-flight before returning to the Premier League in 2001. Sadly, Jack Walker wouldn’t be round to see it. The popular owner died in August 2000 aged 71 after a battle with cancer.

Premier League Files: Morten Gamst Pedersen

Premier League Career: Blackburn Rovers (2004-2012)

Morten Gamst Pedersen is now back playing for the club where he initially made his breakthrough, Tromsø. Pedersen was successful for his international country, Norway. He was capped more than 80 times and spent eleven years on the international scene, scoring 17 goals.

Pedersen made his breakthrough in the Norwegian Premier League with Tromsø, scoring seven goals in the 2004 season before he made the move into English football with Blackburn Rovers, spending the next eight years with the former Premier League champions. It was Graeme Souness who signed Pedersen and he made his debut in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at the end of August. However, Souness left shortly afterwards to take the job at Newcastle United. His successor, Mark Hughes didn’t select Pedersen in any of his early matches, preferring to trust players with Premier League experience to climb Blackburn away from relegation trouble.

Seen as the long-term natural successor to Damien Duff, Pedersen’s breakthrough year at Blackburn came in 2005. In January, he scored in three successive matches, including a crucial winner in an away encounter at Portsmouth. He finished the season having appeared 27 times in all competitions, scoring eight times. He made a spectacular start to the 2005-2006 season, scoring a fabulous volley in a home victory over Fulham which won the BBC Goal of the Month award for August 2005. A month later, Morten scored both goals in Blackburn’s excellent 2-1 victory at Old Trafford against Manchester United. He made the left-side position in midfield his own, scoring nine goals as Blackburn finished in a brilliant sixth position in the Premier League table.

Six goals followed in 2006-2007 but Pedersen’s most prominent days as a key matchwinning figure for Blackburn had already passed him by. In Paul Ince’s short reign in 2008, Pedersen found himself more often out of the team and scored just once all campaign and that wasn’t until May in a victory against Portsmouth. Against Arsenal that season, he produced one of the most ridiculous diving incidents ever seen in the Premier League which won him no fans from neutrals of the game who are desperate to see diving stamped out of football.

In 2009-2010, Pedersen was given the opportunity to leave Blackburn but he eventually went on to sign a four-year contract extension at the end of the season. He rediscovered some of his 2005 form during November 2010, scoring four times in the month, including an outstanding free-kick from a virtually impossible angle in a 2-0 home win over Aston Villa.

Blackburn were relegated from the top-flight in 2012 and after one further campaign playing in the Championship, he was allowed to leave. After a protracted move to FC Copenhagen broke down, Morten moved to Turkish outfit Karabükspor on a free transfer. He made 288 appearances in all competitions for Blackburn on his departure from Lancashire. After just 10 appearances with them, he returned to his homeland, signing for Rosenborg in March 2014. In February 2016, he returned to Tromsø, initially on a one-year contract but his form has seen him stay with the club ever since.

Premier League Rewind: 16th-17th September 1995

Results: Arsenal 1-0 West Ham United, Aston Villa 2-0 Wimbledon, Chelsea 3-0 Southampton, Leeds United 1-3 Queens Park Rangers, Liverpool FC 3-0 Blackburn Rovers, Manchester United 3-0 Bolton Wanderers, Middlesbrough 2-1 Coventry City, Newcastle United 3-1 Manchester City, Sheffield Wednesday 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur, Nottingham Forest 3-2 Everton

There were early signs in the 1995-1996 title race that Newcastle United and Manchester United were destined to be involved in a huge two-way scrap for the championship. Six games into the season and they were equal on points, victories and defeats. Those records were maintained in this round of action in mid-September.

Newcastle bounced back from a disappointing defeat in their previous fixture away to Southampton. The Geordies were far too strong for a hapless Manchester City side at St James’ Park, losing 3-1 to remain at the foot of the table with just one point to their name so far. The visitors’ cause wasn’t helped by Richard Edghill’s cheap dismissal and Les Ferdinand added another two goals to his tally. Ferdinand had made a brilliant start to his Newcastle career and had now scored six goals in his first six games for the club.

After their own slack opening to the season at Villa Park, Manchester United were starting to find their form. Alex Ferguson’s team made it five successive victories as newly-promoted Bolton Wanderers were simply no match for the Red Devils at Old Trafford. Paul Scholes scored twice and Ryan Giggs added his name to the scoresheet. United were still missing Eric Cantona who was a fortnight away from completing his eight-month suspension for a kung-fu kick at a Crystal Palace supporter.

The defending champions were Blackburn Rovers but they were well off the pace and looking more like relegation candidates. They returned to Anfield just four months after lifting the title there in the previous season and were crushed by Liverpool FC. Liverpool scored three times in the first 29 minutes, courtesy of Robbie Fowler’s diving header and long-range efforts by Jamie Redknapp and Stan Collymore. Henning Berg’s second half dismissal compounded to a miserable afternoon for the champions who had just four points to their name from six games and were only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

Liverpool FC finished the weekend in fourth place, one point adrift of Aston Villa. Villa had struggled throughout the previous season but were keen for this to be an anomaly. Mark Draper and Ian Taylor scored the goals in their 2-0 home victory over an inconsistent Wimbledon.

Only two sides were unbeaten at this stage of the season and they sitting pretty in the top six. The sides in question were Arsenal and Nottingham Forest. The Gunners hadn’t really sparkled under new manager Bruce Rioch so far and Dennis Bergkamp was still goalless since his summer arrival from Inter Milan. It was Ian Wright’s penalty that was good enough to edge out West Ham United 1-0 at Highbury.

A day later, Nottingham Forest beat Everton 3-2 on Super Sunday. Ian Woan’s long-range effort was the pick of the goals as Forest recorded their first win since the opening day of the season. Everton were about to embark on a seven-match winless run that would prove damaging to their chances of launching a top three challenge. Having achieved 10 points from four matches in August, Leeds United lost back-to-back games in September. They were surprisingly beaten 3-1 at home by Queens Park Rangers.

What else happened in September 1995?

  • Frank Bruno defeats Oliver McCall on points to finally win the WBC World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Regular DAB radio broadcasting begins courtesy of the BBC from the Crystal Palace transmitting station.
  • Led by Bernard Gallacher, Europe regain The Ryder Cup, beating USA at Oak Hill 14 ½ to 13 ½.
  • Despite attempts to bring an end to the conflict, the Bosnian War continues with NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serb forces.
  • Accused of Mafia connections, the trial begins of former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti.
  • British racing driver Kieth O’dor, who won the 1993 British Touring Car Championship race that supported the British Grand Prix, is killed in a touring car race in Berlin. He is just 33-years-old.

Premier League Files: Jason Wilcox

Premier League Career: Blackburn Rovers (1992-1999), Leeds United (1999-2004)

Jason Wilcox was one of the unsung heroes of Blackburn Rovers’ title-winning success in 1995. A product of Blackburn’s youth academy, he enjoyed his career with Rovers, being on their books for a decade. On his departure in December 1999 for Leeds United, he was the club’s longest-serving player. It was during this period that he managed to win three caps for England.

He joined Blackburn at the age of 16. His youth team manager at the time, Jim Furnell described him as “one of the best young midfielders in English football.” He would eventually make 271 league appearances for Blackburn, captaining the side on occasion too. It was at a time where Jack Walker’s multi-millions saw the club emerge from also-rans in the Second Division to become serious challengers for the Premier League title. Walker signed the likes of Alan Shearer, Stuart Ripley and Tim Flowers for vast sums of money but Wilcox was a proven success from Blackburn’s academy and was well-trusted by the management team at Ewood Park of Kenny Dalglish and Ray Harford.

Playing on the left wing of Blackburn’s 4-4-2 formation, he formed an excellent understanding on the left-side of the field with Graeme Le Saux. It was Wilcox’s job to provide the crosses and key passes for the original SAS’ partnership of Shearer and Chris Sutton to gobble up the goals. In the 1994-1995 title-winning campaign, he picked up two early season red cards in away matches against Arsenal and Nottingham Forest. However, he eventually settled down, popping up with some crucial goals and a number of assists to help Blackburn end their 81-year wait for a top-flight championship. Whilst it was the likes of Shearer, Sutton and skipper Tim Sherwood who took the plaudits, it was the likes of Wilcox that played just as a pivotal part to help them to their success.

Unfortunately, lengthy injury problems restricted Jason’s impact on the first-team spotlight in the seasons to come and eventually, Blackburn’s decline saw them slip out of the Premier League just four seasons after winning the title. With the emergence of the promising Damien Duff, Blackburn elected to cash in on Wilcox just before the end of the 20th century and Leeds paid £4 million for his services.

He scored on his Leeds debut and his excellent initial form saw him called into Kevin Keegan’s provisional squad for the 2000 European Championships, winning caps in pre-tournament matches against France and Argentina. Unfortunately, injury denied him his place in the competition as he was replaced by Gareth Barry.

Jason bounced back from this crushing disappointment and helped his club side reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2001. Leeds though couldn’t take their promise onto the next level and eventually, crippling financial pressures saw them being forced to sell their top stars. In 2004, the inevitable happened and they were relegated. Wilcox was released following their demise from the Premier League and he joined Leicester City on a one-year deal. He finished his career with Blackpool in 2006.

After retiring from football, he took time out from the game before joining the commentary staff of BBC Radio Lancashire for a year, as well as having his own weekly column in the Lancashire Telegraph. In 2013, he joined Manchester City as an Academy Director which is a position he still holds today.

Iconic Moments: Shearer reaches the century (December 1995)

Alan Shearer remains the leading marksman in Premier League history, scoring over 250 goals for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United between 1992 and 2006. The former England skipper was once the most expensive player in world football when he moved to his boyhood club, Newcastle in the summer of 1996.

In his final season with Blackburn, he made a piece of Premier League history on the final day of football action in 1995. At home to Tottenham Hotspur, his strike into the top corner not only guided the reigning champions to a 2-1 victory but also ensured he became the first player to reach the landmark of 100 Premier League goals.

28 players have reached the milestone since but only Wayne Rooney has reached the 200 club alongside Shearer. Alan, who is now the senior football pundit for the BBC, remains the only player to have scored 100 Premier League goals for two different clubs. His final total of 260 goals looks like it is a record that could remain for many years to come.

Shock Results: Blackburn Rovers 2-3 Manchester City (April 1995)

Goalscorers: Alan Shearer 7, Keith Curle 32 PEN, Colin Hendry 39, Uwe Rosler 57, Paul Walsh 71

Teams:

Blackburn Rovers: Tim Flowers, Henning Berg, Colin Hendry, Ian Pearce, Jeff Kenna, Graeme Le Saux, Mark Atkins (David Batty 78), Stuart Ripley, Tim Sherwood, Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton

Manchester City: Tony Coton, Keith Curle, Richard Edghill, John Foster, Alan Kernaghan, Garry Flitcroft, Fitzroy Simpson, Nicky Summerbee, Niall Quinn, Uwe Rosler, Paul Walsh (Peter Beagrie 78)

Referee: Keith Cooper, Attendance: 27,851

Blackburn Rovers were closing in on their first top-flight title in 81 years. After Manchester United’s disappointing goalless draw earlier on Easter Monday at home to Chelsea, Blackburn knew they could open up an eight-point lead at the top of the table with just four games left to play. They faced Manchester City who were amidst a group of sides firmly in a relegation dogfight. For once, the city of Manchester was cheering for one team only.

Brian Horton’s team were one of the leading scorers in the bottom half of the table and always looked capable of scoring, especially with an attack that consisted of Niall Quinn, Uwe Rosler and Paul Walsh. However, they struggled to keep clean sheets and another shutout at Ewood Park would elude them inside of seven minutes. City skipper Keith Curle played the ball back to his goalkeeper, Tony Coton. Coton’s kick was dreadful and it went straight to Alan Shearer. His reaction was instant, sticking the ball straight into the back of the net. It was a late Easter treat for the Premier League’s top goalscorer and the league leaders were 1-0 ahead.

City had beaten Liverpool FC on Good Friday, so they came into the match with a bit of momentum and as the rain lashed down on the Ewood Park turf, they found a controversial way back into the match. Nicky Summerbee’s deep cross was well-collected by Tim Flowers. However, referee Keith Cooper had spotted an infringement on Quinn, who had claimed his shirt was tugged. There were arguments from Blackburn players but Curle made no mistake from 12-yards to level the scores.

The Citizens were level for just seven minutes. A Blackburn corner was headed out into the path of Colin Hendry. He slipped as he took the strike but the ball picked up speed across the muddy surface and somehow squirmed through Coton’s body, then the legs of John Foster on the goal-line. It was another error from Coton who was experiencing a difficult evening and Blackburn were back infront.

The rain might have stopped for the second half but the pitch wasn’t playing very well. This did lead though to plenty of mistakes. Hendry was the next to make a crucial error. His clearing header on 57 minutes had no power on it and Rosler punished him with a decisive strike into the bottom corner to score his 21st goal of the season in all competitions. Blackburn looked more nervous as the game continued and it was Horton’s side that looked the more dangerous. Midfielder Garry Flitcroft was denied by Flowers before the winner arrived on 71 minutes. Quinn drew Hendry out wide before playing through Summerbee. His shot was well-saved by Flowers but the rebound favoured Paul Walsh who made no mistake to score the winning goal.

It was only Blackburn’s second home defeat of the season but despite this result and a further defeat at West Ham, they held off Manchester United on the final day to become champions. Manchester City finished 17th and just two places above the relegation zone, parting company with Brian Horton as first-team manager once the season was over.

The Managers: Steve Kean

Premier League Clubs Managed: Blackburn Rovers (2010-2012)

Blackburn Rovers were relegated from the Premier League under the guidance of Steve Kean in 2012. Kean was never a popular figure with the Rovers supporters who constantly chanted for him to step down as first-team manager. His two years at the helm at Ewood Park were very difficult to say the least.

Coaching apprenticeship alongside Coleman

Kean grew up on the outskirts of Glasgow and upon leaving school; he signed professional forms with Scottish giants Celtic. He was hoping to make the grade with the Bhoys but it didn’t work out. Celtic had powerful midfielders in the 1980s like Murdo MacLeod and Tommy Burns. He failed to make a single first-team appearance for the Glasgow side.

He joined Swansea City on-loan in 1987 and formed a friendship with his teammate Chris Coleman which would grow into a later coaching apprenticeship alongside the Welshman. Like at Celtic, the winger made little impact on the team at Swansea and likewise at Alloa Athletic back in Scotland. In fact, his best time as a player was in mainland Europe with Portuguese side Academica Coimbra. He learned the Portuguese language and scored his one and only goal in his senior career during his time there.

Realising that playing wasn’t working for him, Steve retired in 1994 and became a coach. He began his coaching days with Reading but became Coleman’s assistant manager when he became permanent Fulham boss in the summer of 2003. He spent four seasons as Coleman’s no.2 at Craven Cottage and would also work with the Welshman during management spells with Real Sociedad and Coventry City.

In 2008, it was rumoured that Kean might land a coaching job with Chelsea following the appointment of Luiz Felipe Scolari as the club’s manager. This was because of his Portuguese speaking background. There was interest but nothing ultimately materialised.

Learning, then succeeding Big Sam

Just over a week before the start of the 2009-2010 Premier League season, Kean was appointed first-team coach by Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers. He succeeded Karl Robinson, who was making his first steps into management with Milton Keynes Dons. Allardyce would later say in his autobiography that he took Kean on following a strong recommendation of his coaching skills from Coleman.

In December 2010, Blackburn lost late on in a Lancashire Derby at Bolton Wanderers, beaten 2-1 by Stuart Holden’s winner. They were still sitting comfortably in mid-table, so everyone was stunned when Blackburn’s new owners, the Venky’s decided to sack Allardyce. Kean was put in temporary charge initially but just one month later, was given a two-and-a-half year contract.

The fans were unimpressed, not only with the decision to dispense with Big Sam’s services but for the owners to appoint a manager with no managerial experience whatsoever. It became clear that it was more than being given a chance behind this decision. Kean’s agent Jerome Anderson had played a major role in advising Venky’s during their protracted interest in taking over the ownership of the club.

He actually started well in the job and a 2-0 triumph over West Bromwich Albion in mid-January took Blackburn into 7th spot in the table. However, a 10-game winless sequence followed and Rovers were still not guaranteed safety before the final day of the season. A final day 3-2 victory at Molineux over Wolverhampton Wanderers ensured their Premier League status but it left for plenty of worries from the supporters about the club’s future. Sadly for them, they were to be proven right.

Losing faith

Blackburn made a dreadful start to the 2011-2012 season, losing their first three matches and although there was a 4-3 victory over Arsenal, it was the only win in the opening three months of the campaign. Protests by large sections of the Ewood Park faithful for the manager to be removed from his post continued throughout the autumn and the problems continued to mount. They were in big trouble and defeat to Bolton Wanderers just before Christmas ensured Blackburn would spend Christmas Day at the foot of the table.

A shock 3-2 victory on New Years’ Eve over Manchester United at Old Trafford offered a faint glimmer of hope and form did improve in the second half of the campaign. However, the unrest between supporters and manager continued. They had lost total faith in what they were seeing on a weekly basis. Five successive defeats in April dragged them back into the bottom three and having recorded a meekly 12 wins from his 55 games as a top-flight boss, Blackburn were relegated on a rain-soaked evening at home to Wigan Athletic in May 2012. Their 11-year stay in the top-flight was over.

14 points from the first seven matches of the Championship season hinted an immediate return could follow but the fans were now beginning to boycott home matches until the Scot had parted company. Days after the club’s first loss of the season – a 2-1 home defeat to Middlesbrough which was watched by a paltry crowd of 13,405, Kean resigned from his position.

A statement through his lawyers read: “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.”

In total, he won 21, drew 16 and lost 37 of his 74 matches’ in-charge of the Lancastrians.

Less than three months after his departure, a recording emerged of him drinking at a bar on a Blackburn pre-season tour to Hong Kong claiming Allardyce had been sacked as manager because he was “a crook.”

Allardyce sued him and eventually accepted damages after Kean accepted the allegation he made was completely untrue, withdrew it and agreed to pay an undisclosed sum. Blackburn apologised to Allardyce for the embarrassment this caused.

Since then, Kean has been coaching in Asia and won the Singapore professional league championship with DPMM FC in 2015. He left the club in November 2017, one year earlier than the end of his contract with them.

He is contemplating a return to British football despite the hostility he received at Blackburn but seems to have found a coaching base in Asia and looks set to build on his recent success on the continent.

Seasonal Records: 2010-2011

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2010-2011 Premier League campaign. Manchester United made history by becoming the most successful club in English top-flight history, achieving their 19th championship.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 23 11 4 78 37 +41 80
2 Chelsea 38 21 8 9 69 33 +36 71
3 Manchester City 38 21 8 9 60 33 +27 71
4 Arsenal 38 19 11 8 72 43 +29 68
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 16 14 8 55 46 +9 62
6 Liverpool FC 38 17 7 14 59 44 +15 58
7 Everton 38 13 15 10 51 45 +6 54
8 Fulham 38 11 16 11 49 43 +6 49
9 Aston Villa 38 12 12 14 48 59 -11 48
10 Sunderland 38 12 11 15 45 56 -11 47
11 West Bromwich Albion 38 12 11 15 56 71 -15 47
12 Newcastle United 38 11 13 14 56 57 -1 46
13 Stoke City 38 13 7 18 46 48 -2 46
14 Bolton Wanderers 38 12 10 16 52 56 -4 46
15 Blackburn Rovers 38 11 10 17 46 59 -13 43
16 Wigan Athletic 38 9 15 14 40 61 -21 42
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 38 11 7 20 46 66 -20 40
18 Birmingham City 38 8 15 15 37 58 -21 39
19 Blackpool 38 10 9 19 55 78 -23 39
20 West Ham United 38 7 12 19 43 70 -27 33

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1063
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester City (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Europa League)

Fulham (UEFA Europa League)

Stoke City (UEFA Europa League)

Birmingham City (UEFA Europa League)

Longest winning run 5 games (Chelsea)
Longest unbeaten run 24 games (Manchester United)
Longest winless run 10 games (Blackburn Rovers)
Longest losing run 5 games (West Bromwich Albion, Bolton Wanderers, Blackpool & West Ham United)
Highest attendance 75,486 (Manchester United vs. Bolton Wanderers)
Lowest attendance 14,042 (Wigan Athletic vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
PFA Young Player of the Year Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Football Writers’ Award Scott Parker (West Ham United)
PFA Team of the Year Edwin van der Sar, Ashley Cole, Bacary Sagna, Vincent Kompany, Nemanja Vidic, Jack Wilshere, Nani, Samir Nasri, Gareth Bale, Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Premier League Goal of the Season Wayne Rooney (MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Manchester City)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Didier Drogba Chelsea vs. West Bromwich Albion 6-0 14th August 2010
Theo Walcott Arsenal vs. Blackpool 6-0 21st August 2010
Andy Carroll Newcastle United vs. Aston Villa 6-0 22nd August 2010
Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United vs. Liverpool FC 3-2 19th September 2010
Kevin Nolan Newcastle United vs. Sunderland 5-1 31st October 2010
Dimitar Berbatov (5) Manchester United vs. Blackburn Rovers 7-1 27th November 2010
Mario Balotelli Manchester City vs. Aston Villa 4-0 28th December 2010
Leon Best Newcastle United vs. West Ham United 5-0 5th January 2011
Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United vs. Birmingham City 5-0 22nd January 2011
Robin van Persie Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic 3-0 22nd January 2011
Carlos Tevez Manchester City vs. West Bromwich Albion 3-0 5th February 2011
Louis Saha (4) Everton vs. Blackpool 5-3 5th February 2011
Dirk Kuyt Liverpool FC vs. Manchester United 3-1 6th March 2011
Wayne Rooney West Ham United vs. Manchester United 4-2 2nd April 2011
Maxi Rodriguez Liverpool FC vs. Birmingham City 5-0 23rd April 2011
Maxi Rodriguez Fulham vs. Liverpool FC 5-2 9th May 2011
Somen Tchoyi Newcastle United vs. West Bromwich Albion 3-3 22nd May 2011

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1= Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United 20
1= Carlos Tevez Manchester City 20
3 Robin van Persie Arsenal 18
4 Darren Bent Sunderland & Aston Villa 17
5 Peter Odemwingie West Bromwich Albion 15
6= Javier Hernandez Manchester United 13
6= Florent Malouda Chelsea 13
6= Rafael van der Vaart Tottenham Hotspur 13
6= Dirk Kuyt Liverpool FC 13
6= Andy Carroll Newcastle United & Liverpool FC 13
6= DJ Campbell Blackpool 13
12= Clint Dempsey Fulham 12
12= Kevin Nolan Newcastle United 12
12= Charlie Adam Blackpool 12
15= Wayne Rooney Manchester United 11
15= Didier Drogba Chelsea 11
17= Frank Lampard Chelsea 10
17= Samir Nasri Arsenal 10
17= Roman Pavlyuchenko Tottenham Hotspur 10
17= Salomon Kalou Chelsea 10
17= Fernando Torres Liverpool FC & Chelsea 10
17= Asamoah Gyan Sunderland 10
17= Johan Elmander Bolton Wanderers 10
17= Maxi Rodriguez Liverpool FC 10
17= Steven Fletcher Wolverhampton Wanderers 10

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Manchester United 7-1 Blackburn Rovers 27th November 2010
Chelsea 6-0 West Bromwich Albion 14th August 2010
Wigan Athletic 0-6 Chelsea 21st August 2010
Arsenal 6-0 Blackpool 21st August 2010
Newcastle United 6-0 Aston Villa 22nd August 2010
Manchester United 5-0 Birmingham City 22nd January 2011
Manchester City 5-0 Sunderland 3rd April 2011
Liverpool FC 5-0 Birmingham City 23rd April 2011
Newcastle United 5-0 West Ham United 5th January 2011
Newcastle United 5-1 Sunderland 31st October 2010

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Manchester United 7-1 Blackburn Rovers 27th November 2010
8 Newcastle United 4-4 Arsenal 5th February 2011
8 Everton 5-3 Blackpool 5th February 2011
7 Fulham 2-5 Liverpool FC 9th May 2011
7 Manchester City 4-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 15th January 2011
7 Wigan Athletic 4-3 Blackburn Rovers 5th February 2011
7 Blackpool 4-3 Bolton Wanderers 14th May 2011
6 Chelsea 6-0 West Bromwich Albion 14th August 2010
6 Wigan Athletic 0-6 Chelsea 21st August 2010
6 Arsenal 6-0 Blackpool 21st August 2010
6 Newcastle United 6-0 Aston Villa 22nd August 2010
6 Newcastle United 5-1 Sunderland 31st October 2010
6 Bolton Wanderers 5-1 Newcastle United 20th November 2010
6 West Ham United 2-4 Manchester United 2nd April 2011
6 Sunderland 2-4 Chelsea 1st February 2011
6 Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal 27th November 2010
6 Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 Blackburn Rovers 13th November 2010
6 Sunderland 4-2 Wigan Athletic 23rd April 2011
6 Bolton Wanderers 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur 6th November 2010
6 Manchester United 4-2 Blackpool 22nd May 2011

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Josh McEachran Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea 17 years, 6 months, 27 days 25th September 2010
Jack Robinson Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool FC 17 years, 7 months, 16 days 17th April 2011
Louis Laing Sunderland 1-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 years, 2 months, 8 days 14th May 2011
Abdul Razak Manchester City 3-0 West Bromwich Albion 18 years, 2 months, 25 days 5th February 2011
Jon Flanagan Liverpool FC 3-0 Manchester City 18 years, 3 months, 10 days 11th April 2011
George Thorne Newcastle United 3-3 West Bromwich Albion 18 years, 4 months, 18 days 22nd May 2011
Phil Jones Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Everton 18 years, 5 months, 24 days 14th August 2010
Jack Wilshere Liverpool FC 1-1 Arsenal 18 years, 7 months, 14 days 15th August 2010
Jonjo Shelvey Liverpool FC 2-1 Blackburn Rovers 18 years, 7 months, 27 days 24th October 2010
Chris Wood Liverpool FC 1-0 West Bromwich Albion 18 years, 8 months, 22 days 29th August 2010

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Jens Lehmann Blackpool 1-3 Arsenal 41 years, 5 months 10th April 2011
Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 4-2 Blackpool 40 years, 6 months, 23 days 22nd May 2011
Brad Friedel Aston Villa 1-0 Liverpool FC 40 years, 4 days 22nd May 2011
Mike Pollitt Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Wigan Athletic 38 years, 10 months, 7 days 5th January 2011
Mark Schwarzer Fulham 2-2 Arsenal 38 years, 7 months, 16 days 22nd May 2011
Marcus Hahnemann Blackpool 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 38 years, 5 months, 5 days 20th November 2010
Kevin Phillips Birmingham City 0-2 Fulham 37 years, 9 months, 20 days 15th May 2011
Carlo Cudicini Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Birmingham City 37 years, 8 months, 16 days 22nd May 2011
Robert Pires West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Aston Villa 37 years, 6 months, 1 day 30th April 2011
Ryan Giggs Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Manchester United 37 years, 5 months, 15 days 14th May 2011

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Joe Hart Manchester City 18
2 Petr Cech Chelsea 15
3= Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 14
3= Pepe Reina Liverpool FC 14
5 Mark Schwarzer Fulham 11
6= Tim Howard Everton 9
6= Ben Foster Birmingham City 9
8= Simon Mignolet Sunderland 8
8= Asmir Begovic Stoke City 8
8= Paul Robinson Blackburn Rovers 8

Iconic Moments: Shearer comes home (July 1996)

In July 1996, Newcastle United were still reeling from having thrown away a glorious opportunity to become champions of England. They held a 12-point lead over Manchester United in January, yet had somehow presided to lose the title to the men from Old Trafford by May. Kevin Keegan wanted to have one final throw at the dice to give the Geordie supporters the silverware they craved.

Alan Shearer was one of the hottest properties in world football. He had finished as top Premier League scorer for the past two seasons and just claimed the Golden Boot honours at the 1996 European Championship for England. It looked certain that he was going to leave Blackburn Rovers after his international heroics but where was he going to go?

Manchester United wanted to sign Shearer after missing out on him in 1992 and entered the race to get his signature. However, United chairman Martin Edwards stated that Blackburn refused to do any business with their former title rivals. However, Blackburn did decide to do business with Newcastle United.

It was Shearer’s boyhood club and his hero growing up was Kevin Keegan. On 30th July 1996, Blackburn received a world-record transfer fee of £15 million from Newcastle for Shearer’s services. He was coming home to Tyneside.

He became Newcastle’s record all-time goalscorer before retiring in 2006 but would never win any silverware for his hometown club. However, this signing was for the fans and Keegan’s last gift to them. He would resign as first-team manager in January 1997.