Blackburn Rovers

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Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers.svg
Basic data
Surname Blackburn Rovers
Football Club
Seat Blackburn , England
founding 1875
Board Paul Agnew
First soccer team
Head coach Tony Mowbray
Venue Ewood Park
Places 31,367
league EFL Championship
2019/20 11th place

The Blackburn Rovers (officially: Blackburn Rovers Football Club ) - also known as The Rovers - are a football club based in the city of Blackburn , Lancashire , England . The team is currently playing in the EFL Championship . The club was founded in 1875 and was one of the founding members of the English Football League in 1888 . In 1890 the Rovers moved into their home stadium, Ewood Park . Prior to the formation of the Premier League in 1992, the Rovers' greatest successes came in the years before 1930, when the Rovers won the English Championship and the FA Cup several times .

A year after the steel tycoon Jack Walker acquired the club and hired Kenny Dalglish as coach, the club rose to the new Premier League in 1992 and within three years developed due to numerous investments of millions - including Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton - a team that in won the English championship in the 1994/95 season . After that, however, a rapid decline of the successful team set in, which found its low point in the descent in 1999. Shortly after Jack Walker's death, the Rovers returned to the English elite league two more years later. Since then, the club has achieved four qualifications for the UEFA Cup - once as a league cup winner , in two cases via sixth place in the championship and in 2007 via the UEFA Intertoto Cup . In November 2010, the association was taken over by Venky's London Limited, a subsidiary of the Pune- based company Venkateshwara Hatcheries Private Limited.

The Latin motto of the association "Arte et labore", which was used by the local city ​​council before the association was founded, means "through art and work" and is aimed at the interaction between sport and employment. In this case, the motto is usually translated with a reference to the equally important values ​​of “skills” and “hard work”.


The early history of the club

The idea of ​​starting a football club with the Blackburn Rovers can be traced back to John Lewis and Arthur Constantine . Lewis and Constantine were the driving forces behind the hour of birth in November 1875 during a gathering of 17 people in the “Leger Hotel”. Walter Duckworth was named the club's first secretary and Lewis was offered the office of treasurer. Many of the founding fathers were very wealthy and anchored in the social elite of the area, which enabled the club - in contrast to many other local clubs at the time - its continued existence and growth.

On December 18, 1875, the Blackburn Rovers completed the first game in Church ( Lancashire ) and ended the game with a 1-1 draw. Although the line-up was not officially recorded in the history books, the following line-up, playing on a 2-2-6 system, is generally considered to be the Rovers first team: Thomas Greenwood ( goalkeeper ), Jack Baldwin, Fred Birtwistle, ( defender ), Arthur Thomas, JT Sycelmore (defensive midfielders as "half-backs"), Walter Duckworth, John Lewis, Thomas Dean, Arthur Constantine, Harry Greenwood, Richard Birtwistle ( strikers ). In the early days, the club did not have its own venue and the sole income consisted of membership fees, which in the first season added up to a total of 2 pounds and 8 shillings .

During the 1876/77 season, the Rovers came to their first pitch after renting free farmland in Oozehead - to the west of the city. The ground was little more than a meadow with a large puddle of water in the middle that had to be covered with boards and peat before playing. As a result, the club received audience income for the first time, which amounted to 6 shillings and 6 pence for the entire season . At times, the club moved to the "Pleasington Cricket Ground".

At a later date, the Blackburn Rovers rented the "Alexandra Meadows", where the "East Lancashire Cricket Club" was normally at home. The first game there took place against Partick Thistle , who was the most prestigious opponent the Rovers had been able to compete with until then. After two goals from Richard Birtwistle, the Rovers retained the upper hand 2-1.

On September 28, 1878, the Blackburn Rovers formed the "Lancashire Football Association" (LFA) with 22 other football clubs. The first participation in the FA Cup took place on November 1, 1879, where the Rovers defeated the Tyne Association Football Club 5-1. With a heavy 6-0 defeat against Nottingham Forest , the team was then eliminated from the competition in the third round.

In 1880 a somewhat precarious situation arose for the club for the first time, when the club - as a replacement for ailments - resorted to players who did not come from Blackburn. This was against the rules of the LFA and the situation took on a further sharpness in 1881 when the Rovers signed a football player from FC Darwen . The change led to great resentment between the two clubs and within the local population interested in football. The main subject of the allegations to the Blackburn Rovers was an inadmissible "professionalization", which consisted in the fact that the player concerned Fergus Suter was made an offer of "improved conditions". Before moving to Darwen in Scotland, Suter had given up the stonemason profession to pursue football there, which actually blurred the strict separation between professional and amateur sports. The encounters between the two clubs were very explosive in the further course, both on and off the field. When the two teams were drawn to each other in the fourth round of the "Lancashire Cup", both club leaders refused to agree on a game date, whereupon the LFA excluded both teams from the current competition. The dispute between the two clubs was only officially settled in 1885 with the legalization of professional sport.

During the 1881/82 season, the club continued to rent the “Alexandra Meadows” facility, but at the same time began to look for alternatives. As a leading association in the area, the impression grew that it also needed a home in its own possession. The Rovers leased a new pitch on Leamington Street and invested £ 500 in a new grandstand that would accommodate between 600 and 700 spectators. A wooden fence was erected around the square in order to avoid crowd clashes - like those that had taken place against FC Darwen. Entry to the square was also provided by a richly decorated archway, which was given the name of the club and the field.

The cup winning team from 1883/84

On March 25, 1882, the Rovers advanced to the final of the FA Cup for the first time, where - as the first “provincial team” in English FA Cup history - they faced the Old Etonians and lost 1-0. In the following season 1882/83 this success could not be repeated and the Rovers lost to FC Darwen in the second round with 0: 1. In addition, the Blackburn Olympic team, also based in Blackburn, was the first provincial team to win the FA Cup. But it only took another year before the Rovers could win the trophy themselves. In the final, the team at the Kennington Oval beat the Scottish club Queen's Park 2-1, although it should be noted that the Rovers would probably have dissolved without this success and Blackburn Olympic would have become the only big club in town. In the years that followed, the Rovers expected FC Queen's Park again and then West Bromwich Albion in the respective finals . The Blackburn team was able to make both games victorious, beating FC Queen's Park 2-0 and West Bromwich with the same result after a replay. For the achievement of having won the FA Cup three times in a row, the club received a specially made silver trophy plate and the privilege to present the club's coat of arms on its own corner flags.

The 1885/86 season was the birth of professional footballers and the Blackburn Rovers invested a total of 615 pounds in the season. Despite this development towards professional sport, the performance of the Rovers developed disappointingly after winning three cups. In addition to an unusually high number of defeats, the club was eliminated on December 4, 1886 in the second round of the FA Cup and lost 2-0 to the Scottish club Renton FC . This was followed by further defeats in other cup competitions this season.

The Football League and Ewood Park

On March 2, 1888, William McGregor , a Birmingham shopkeeper and Aston Villa committee member , sent a letter to five football clubs, including the Blackburn Rovers. There he suggested that twelve of the leading clubs should organize themselves to play a championship round - with home and away games of the participating teams against each other. With the introduction of professional play, it appeared to be more useful to steer the previously complex and chaotic system of friendly and competitive games into order. On March 22, 1888, John Birtwistle represented the Blackburn Rovers at a meeting in the London "Anderton Hotel" with officials from other English football clubs. This was to be the starting signal for a series of further gatherings that eventually led to the formation of the Football League - with the Blackburn Rovers as part of this union. The first season the Rovers finally finished in fourth place in the table and remained completely undefeated in home games.

On March 29, 1890, the Rovers moved again into an FA Cup final at the Kennington Oval and won the trophy for the fourth time in the club's history, after the opponent Sheffield Wednesday had been clearly defeated 6-1. Left winger William Townley contributed three of the six goals , becoming the first player to score three goals in an FA Cup final. Another big change took place that summer when the club found its new venue in Ewood Park, which is still used today for the club's home games. Ewood Park was built in 1882 - according to a plan by four business people from the region - and used for various sporting events. The Blackburn then bought the stadium in 1890 and invested an additional £ 1,000 to further improve the standard. The Rovers' first home game at Ewood Park ended on September 13, 1890 against Accrington FC with a 0-0 draw.

The fifth cup victory followed at the end of the 1890/91 season and was sealed by a 3-1 final win over Notts County . However, this was to be the last success for the time being and in the following period a sporty decline began. The club owed the relegation after the season 1896/97 in the First Division only to the fact that the number of participating teams increased. This year, however, the beginning of the career of Bob Crompton was marked, who would stay with the club for a total of 50 years and then win the FA Cup again as a coach after his time as a player.

At the end of the 19th century , the rovers were unable to post any major victories and often barely escaped descent.

The early 20th century

Even at the beginning of the 20th century , the club did not play for the top places, but was able to avoid the risk of relegation more often. For this purpose, Ewood Park was expanded by roofing over the “Darwen End” for 1,680 pounds in 1905 and also opening the “Nuttall Stand” grandstand on New Year's Day 1907. Led by team captain and right- back Bob Crompton, the team was able to prove its reputation as the top team in English football again in the second decade of the new century, winning the English championship in 1912 and 1914. It followed in 1928 - with Crompton as coach - the victory in the FA Cup, which should represent the last major trophy win for the next 67 years.

To the middle of the 20th century

Following the economic decline of the city, which manifested itself in the closure of factories and the closure of coal mines before the beginning of the Second World War , the first relegation of the Rovers from the top English league in 1936 also established the temporary end of membership in top domestic football. During the next 35 years the club shuttled steadily between the two top leagues, with the renewed ascents in 1939 and 1958 opposing the respective transition to the second division after the seasons 1947/48 and 1965/66.

During this time, the club was rarely close to winning another title. The highlight was only in 1960 when they reached the FA Cup final, which the Rovers lost 3-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers , with the team - after a broken leg by David Whelan - had to make do with ten players for almost the entire game (substitutions were not yet allowed according to the rules in force at the time). Although the Rovers had some national players in their ranks again in the 1960s , the club rose again in 1966 and was to stay away from the top division for 26 years in the following period.

The 1970s and 1980s: The problems are increasing

The first descent into the third division after the 1970/71 season initiated the next level on the athletic path down. Although the club was able to return to the second highest division in 1975 with the championship title of the third division , the English elite league should always be well out of reach. In 1979 he even went back to the Third Division, which was followed by direct promotion as runner-up.

Only in 1989 did the Rovers develop into a serious candidate for promotion to the First Division again after many years of lean spell and reached the play-off final, which was played back and forth for the last time this year. The Rovers lost to Crystal Palace in this encounter . Only a year later, the club was able to qualify again for the qualifying games, but lost there in the semi-finals. The takeover of the club in the following season by the domestic steel mill owner and Rovers supporter Jack Walker should be far more trend-setting .

The 1990s: "Jack Walker Revolution"

Back to top English football (1991–1994)

Even under the leadership of Walker, a disappointing 19th place in the table at the end of the 1990/91 season could not be prevented, but the numerous million investments that the new owner made in new players began to initiate a steady sporting high-altitude flight. The Rovers began the 1991/92 season initially with coach Don Mackay , who was then replaced early by Kenny Dalglish . Dalglish had resigned from his position as sporting director of Liverpool a few months earlier, ending a six-year success story with five major titles. During the current season, Dalglish strengthened the Rovers team with a few new players and reached the play-off final. There the club defeated Leicester City 1-0 after a penalty from Mike Newell . Newell - ironically previously active as a striker at Leicester City - was out for most of the season due to a broken leg and this important goal ended the Rovers' 26-year absence from the top division. In addition, the club secured its place as a founding member of the newly created Premier League.

In a very high-profile campaign, the club paid the then record transfer fee of £ 3.5 million for the 22-year-old center forward of Southampton FC and England's national team Alan Shearer in the summer of 1992 . Other spectacular signings during the 1992/93 season included defender Graeme Le Saux from Chelsea , winger Stuart Ripley from Coventry City and striker Kevin Gallacher from Coventry City. The upgraded team played for the English championship straight away and fell but then at the end of the day down to fourth place, which wasn't even enough to qualify for the UEFA Cup . The successful return to top English football should be expanded and for this purpose two new key players were bought with goalkeeper Tim Flowers and midfielder David Batty . At the end of the 1993/94 season, the Rovers finally won the runner-up behind arch-rivals Manchester United. A few weeks later, the club broke the record transfer fee again, signing 21-year-old Chris Sutton for £ 5 million from Norwich City . His storm partnership with Shearer was henceforth to celebrate great fame in the domestic media as "SAS" ("Sutton and Shearer"), whereby the term SAS as an abbreviation for Special Air Service refers to a special unit of the Royal Air Force .

The championship in the 1994/95 season

The 1994/95 season began with some disappointments when the Rovers were eliminated early from the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup . This enabled the team to concentrate exclusively on the championship games, competing with Manchester for the title and leading the table for almost the entire season. On the final day of the match, the Rovers lost 2-1 at Liverpool FC and the championship ambitions seemed to be over until the news arrived that Manchester United could not achieve the victory they needed with a 1-1 draw at West Ham United and thus their competitors to the first championship title since 1914. Jack Walker had thus led the Rovers from a second division relegation candidate to the championship in the Premier League in just five years since he took over the club.

The "Ray Harford Era" (1995–1997)

Following the championship season, Dalglish moved within the club to an official post and handed the coaching business to his assistant Ray Harford .

The goal of defending the title quickly fell out of sight in the 1995/96 season, when the Rovers found themselves mostly in the lower half of the table in the first half of the season. Even in the Champions League , for which they had qualified for the first time, the team could not convince and dropped out of the competition early with only four points as bottom of the table in the group stage. In the overall disappointing season, only a 7-0 win on the day the newly renovated Ewood Park opened against Nottingham Forest and a 4-1 win against Rosenborg Trondheim - Mike Newell scored three goals in just nine minutes - the few highlights at this time. In the further course, the club improved continuously and ended up in seventh place in the table, which, however, missed a starting place for the UEFA Cup. Significantly responsible for the upward development to seventh place was again Alan Shearer, who scored more than 30 goals in three consecutive seasons. For the new record sum of 15 million pounds, he then moved to his home club Newcastle United in the summer of 1996 and the Rovers should not find an adequate replacement for this departure in the following period.

After a very disappointing start to the 1996/97 season, Harford resigned in late October when the club was bottom of the table and had not yet won any of the initial ten games. Just two years after the championship, even relegation suddenly seemed to be a realistic scenario again. With the new interim coach Tony Parkes, however, the team found their way back to better form and finally secured relegation with 13th place.

On December 16, 1996, the club's management had previously announced during a press conference that Sven-Göran Eriksson had signed an "unconditional contract" with the Rovers, which included taking over the coaching business after the season - and his then ending employment with the Italian club Sampdoria Genoa - provided on July 1, 1997. Eriksson himself had also visited Ewood Park, had the team watched at the games and said he was "pleased and honored to come to Blackburn Rovers next July". With the engagement of this world-renowned coach, who had previously won the UEFA Cup, the Portuguese Championship and the Italian Cup, the Rovers' management hoped to have landed a coup in order to continue their national successes on the European one To be able to establish a permanent stage. In the event of success, Ewood Park, and especially the “Walkersteel Stand”, should be further modernized. The move from Eriksson ultimately failed because the Swede wanted to continue living in Italy in order to spend more time with his children after the divorce. Instead of Blackburn Rovers, he then moved to Lazio in 1997 , with whom he would later win the Italian championship and the European Cup Winners' Cup .

Athletic crash (1997-1999)

Instead of Eriksson, Roy Hodgson was appointed Blackburn's new coach in the summer of 1997. The move should also initially prove successful when Hodgson qualified for the UEFA Cup after the end of his first coaching season. But by December 1998 the Rovers were back in the bottom half of the Premier League, which resulted in Hodgson's dismissal. With Brian Kidd , the previously very successful assistant coach of Manchester United was then committed, but he was no longer able to implement a trend reversal. On the penultimate matchday, Blackburn said goodbye with a 0-0 win against Manchester United from the top English division and at the same time enabled the opponent to take a step towards the triple . The Blackburn Rovers were the first former Premier League champions to be relegated.

The way into the new millennium

Two years in the second class

Although started as a promotion favorite, the 1999/2000 season was difficult for the Rovers in the second division. Kidd was sacked in October 1999 when the club stayed just above the relegation zone. Tony Parkes took over the position as assistant coach again and kept this interim post until the commitment of Graeme Souness in March 2000. Shortly after the beginning of the 2000/01 season, Jack Walker died and the club devoted the former major sponsor to its promotion campaign in the following years. As runners-up behind Fulham FC , they finally returned to the Premier League at the end of the season.

Cup success and the way back to Europe

The Rovers were able to reach tenth place straight away in the 2001/02 season. Much more significant, however, was the first-time win of the League Cup after a 2-1 final win over Tottenham Hotspur at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff . The team continued to develop positively under the leadership of Souness and finished the 2002/03 season in sixth place in the table, with this qualifying place for the UEFA Cup - which was reached for the second time in a row - only secured on the last match day.

Another step backwards

The good trend did not continue in the further course and the Blackburn Rovers ended the 2003/04 season on a disappointing 15th place. Souness left the club shortly after the beginning of the following season to take over as coach at Newcastle United . As a successor, the club's management signed Mark Hughes, a former Welsh international and key player in the club's league cup win and promotion in previous years. Under Hughes, the Rovers were able to secure relegation in fifteenth place in the 2004/05 season and the team also moved into the semi-finals of the FA Cup against Arsenal . For the following season, the squad was upgraded, the most spectacular commitment being the coveted Welsh international Craig Bellamy of Newcastle United, for whom the Rovers paid a transfer fee of 4.5 million pounds.

Another UEFA Cup participation

A 1-0 win against champions FC Chelsea at the end of the 2005/06 season meant qualifying for the UEFA Cup again by finishing sixth - the third in five years and the sixth European participation since 1994. In In the 2006/07 UEFA Cup round, after beating FC Red Bull Salzburg in the first main round, the club finally won Group E against Wisła Krakow , FC Basel , Feyenoord Rotterdam and AS Nancy . In February 2007, the club faced German representatives Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the round of the last 32 teams . The first leg in Leverkusen on February 14th was lost 3-2. In the second leg, both teams separated 0-0, Leverkusen was one round further and the Rovers eliminated.

In the FA Cup, the club moved up to the semi-finals in the 2006/07 season after victories against, among others, Everton FC, Arsenal FC and Manchester City, where after a goal by Michael Ballack in stoppage time, they narrowly defeated Chelsea FC 1 2 was subject. In the championship, the team finished tenth and qualified for the UI Cup . There the Rovers defeated the Lithuanian representative FK Vėtra , but later lost to AE Larisa from Greece in the third UEFA Cup qualifying round .

At the beginning of the 2007/08 season, the club invested in three new players, with Maceo Rigters and the young goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen especially the Paraguayan international Roque Santa Cruz celebrating his breakthrough and ultimately scoring 19 Premier League goals. Another qualification for a European competition seemed possible for a long time, until finally the 1: 4 defeat at relegated Birmingham City meant that not even the new UI Cup qualification succeeded.

For the 2008/09 season Paul Ince took over as coach in Blackburn. The Rovers gave him permission to take over the team despite lacking a coaching license. Condition: Ince must have completed the training within two years at the latest. This cleared the last hurdle in signing the former captain of the English national team. Ince will succeed Mark Hughes, an old companion from Manchester United . He had left Ewood Park in early June to take on the coaching position at Manchester City that had become vacant after Sven-Göran Eriksson's dismissal . Ince was released in mid-December after Blackburn slipped to penultimate place in the table. He was succeeded by Sam Allardyce .

Relegation from the Premier League

On May 7, 2012, after a home defeat against Wigan Athletic on the penultimate match day, relegation from the Premier League after 11 years of membership in the first division was certain. In the second-rate League Championship they only achieved a disappointing 17th place in the 2012/13 season. In the 2016/17 season they were relegated to the third-rate EFL League One due to the poorer goal difference against Nottingham Forest . In 2017/18 they managed to get back up straight away.


date Stadion
1876-1877 Oozehead Ground
1877-1878 Pleasington Cricket Ground
1878-1881 Alexandra Meadows
1881-1890 Leamington Road
1890 – today Ewood Park



Period of time Trainer
1887-1896 Thomas Mitchell
1896-1903 J Warmsley
1903-1925 RB Middleton
1925-1926 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 Quiqley
1970-1971 Johnny Carey
1971-1973 Ken Furphy
1974-1975 Gordon Lee
1975-1988 Jim Smith
1978 Jim Iley
1978-1979 John Pickering
1979-1981 Howard Kendall ( player-manager )
1981-1986 Bobby Saxton
1987-1991 Don Mackay
1991-1995 Kenny Dalglish
1995-1997 Ray Harford
1997-1998 Roy Hodgson
1998-1999 Brian Kidd
1999-2000 Tony Parkes
2000-2004 Graeme Souness
2004-2008 Mark Hughes
2008 Paul Ince
2008-2010 Sam Allardyce
2010–2012 Steve Kean
2012 Henning Berg
2013 Michael Appleton
2013-2015 Gary Bowyer
2015-2016 Paul Lambert
2016-2017 Owen Coyle
2017– Tony Mowbray

Former players

(Status: end of the 2018/19 season)

The following list shows the ten players with the most competitive appearances and goals in the history of the Blackburn Rovers. Relevant competitive games include appearances in the English league, FA Cup, League Cup, European Cup, Full Members Cup, FA Community Shield and in play-off games.

1 EnglandEngland Derek Fazackerley 1969-1987 674
2 EnglandEngland Ronnie Clayton 1949-1969 665
3 EnglandEngland Bob Crompton 1896-1920 576
4th EnglandEngland Simon Garner 1976-1992 565
5 EnglandEngland Bryan Douglas 1952-1969 503
6th EnglandEngland Stuart Metcalfe 1966-1983 434
7th EnglandEngland Bill Eckersley 1947-1961 432
8th EnglandEngland Billy Bradshaw 1903-1920 426
9 EnglandEngland Glenn Keeley 1976-1987 418
10 ScotlandScotland Colin Hendry 1987-1998 408
1 EnglandEngland Simon Garner 1976-1992 192
2 EnglandEngland Tommy Briggs 1952-1958 143
3 EnglandEngland Alan Shearer 1992-1996 130
4th EnglandEngland Ted Harper 1923-1935 122
5 EnglandEngland Jack Southworth 1887-1892 121
6th EnglandEngland Bryan Douglas 1952-1969 115
= EnglandEngland Jack Bruton 1929-1943 =
8th EnglandEngland Eddie Latheron 1906-1917 104
= EnglandEngland Peter Dobing 1955-1961 =
10 IrelandIreland Andy McEvoy 1956-1967 103

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