Unreliable History

The Lancashire club was formed in 1875 , turned professional in 1880 and two years later reached the FA Cup final where they were defeated by the (not any) Old Etonians. This setback did not perturb the Rovers, who went wild, winning the Cup in 1884, 1885 and 1886. Not content with that, they came back for more in 1890, 1891 and 1928 to complete their tally to date. Finals in those days entailed a trek South for the fans of the Blue and Whites. They were decidedly up for the Cup on the way down taking brass bands with them for entertainment and fireworks, which used to startle the Londoners into a state of confusion, as the Lord Mayor’s parade wasn’t until November.

One of their early grounds featured a “cow pit”, which was a drainage pool that had to be covered by planks and turf by the players to allow matches to take place. Unfortunately, two Bury stars required hospitalisation after plunging into the pit when the boarding collapsed during a rainstorm. Further problems arose after the move to Ewood Park. Darwen were the visitors, just after the four FA Cup victories had been achieved. The fans of the away team were enraged to discover that only three of the first choice Blackburn players had been included in the side and went on the rampage, uprooting goalposts, breaking windows and ruining some carpets. They also spilled some cups of tea, emptied out the waste paper bins and threw the corner flags, javelin-style, a distance of 90 yards.

League success came for Blackburn in 1912 and 1914 with First Division Championships, but the war became a watershed in Rovers’ fortunes. They ebbed with the side and they were sunk when relegation followed in 1936. Three years later, a Second Division title saw them regain their top flight status, but they were then interrupted by Adolf Hitler. Despite the inconvenience of the intervention, they were back in the 1st Division between 1957 and 1966, before a decline set in and found them at an all time low in1979, when they fell into the Division 3. The long climb up the league ladder began straight away and culminated in a Full Members Cup triumph in1987. There was anti-climax when promotion was missed in the play-off final against Leicester, but the next year they went into the Premier League under the guidance of Kenny Dalglish and the financial tutelage of Jack Walker. Alan Shearer was purchased from Southampton for in excess of £3 million and he proceeded to shoot for the stars and in 1995 the Premier League title was secured. However, things were far from stable – a disastrous European Cup campaign preceded a battle to retain their place in the Premiership. The acquisition of the experienced ex-Switzerland boss, Roy Hodgson has seen a revival for the side this season, but strangely, they are never feted by the media.

The fans of the club have had a major influence on the game as the supporters in the early days did something that would spark a craze more than 100 years later. The followers of the side, when the club was formed, were not well off – toiling in the dark satanic cotton mills of the North-West, but wanted to display their loyalty to the Rovers. So, two fans bought one home shirt and one away shirt and cut them in half, sewing the one half of each shirt together . The club were so impressed, that they adopted this as their, now famous blue and white halved home shirt and immediately produced a new second kit, thus introducing the first replica kit merchandising rip-off. Although the half-and-half shirt fad resurfaced in the late 1980’s, it was never to have such a lasting impact as the original version.

More latterly, the club have shed the inexperienced Kidd and gone for Souness to lead them on.  This has resulted in a return to the Premiership, with promotion gained automatically with a second place finish. The hard work was for Souness in trying to keep the Rovers up in the top division, which he succeeded in doing, but was replaced by Mark “Sparky” Hughes – nicknamed as such because he had terrible problems generating static electricity on the new textured berber carpets at Ewood Park.  Well, they have to get some electric atmosphere in the stadium somehow.

He didn’t last too long before being tempted by Manchester City, only to be replaced by Paul Ince, who dropped his sobriquet of the “Guv’nor” to take the boss’s role at Ewood Park, but it was not for long before the Rovers board took a last throw and his boots were filled by a bigger man in “Big” Sam Allardyce and then Steve “Who ?” Kean.  The fans had the opinion that Kean wasn’t good enough for their club and hounded him out, only for him to be replaced with former player Henning Berg, who they did the same to after 57 days and then he was replaced by Michael Appleton (nicked from Blackpool) who lasted 67 days.  As the Rovers fans awaited the appointment of a big name boss, everyone else was secretly hoping, in logical numerical patterns, that he would last 77 days days in charge.  Disappointingly, Gary Bowyer lasted nearly two years.

The purchase of the club by Venky’s stirred up a whole lot of trouble at the club, with protests and boycotts about them running Blackburn Rovers down by two successive relegations.  With former Bolton striker Owen Coyle taking Rovers down to League One, Tony Mowbray took over as manager and has re-instated them in the Championship and stabilised things on the field, while questions are still being asked about the owners’ commitment to the club.

FAMOUS PLAYERS: – Tugay, Derek Fazakerley, Alan Shearer, Bryan Douglas, Bill Eckersley, Benni McCarthy, Uriah N. Luckey, Keith Newton, Ronnie Clayton, Barrington Heckerslike, Howard Kendall, Douglas Bryan, Brad Friedel.

FAMOUS FANS : – Jim Bowen (TV Game Show host), Wayne Hemingway (Fashion designer – Red Or Dead), Stephen Pinder (Actor – Brookside, Emmerdale)


Club Records

Formed 1875

Turned Professional 1880

Became a Limited Company 1897

Previous names Blackburn Grammar School Old Boys

Previous grounds Oozehead Ground = 1875-1876
Pleasington Ground = 1876-1877
Alexandra Meadows = 1877-1880
Leamington Road = 1880-1890

Nickname “ROVERS”


Club Colours
[Images courtesy of the wonderful Colours of Football website]


Record Football League Win 9-0  v  Middlesbrough    Division 2    06.11.1954 

Record Football Premier League Win 7-0  v  Nottingham Forest  (Home)   18.11.1995

Record Football League Defeat 0-8  v  Arsenal    Division 1    25.02.1933

Record Premier League Defeat 1-7  v  Manchester United  (Away)   27.11.2010
1-7  v  Arsenal  (Away)   04.02.2012

Record Cup Win 11-0   v Rossendale    FA Cup First Round   13.10.1884

Record Fee Paid £8 million to Manchester United for Andy COLE (December 2001)
£8 million to Huddersfield Town for Jordan RHODES (August 2012)

Record Fee Received £18 million from Manchester City for Roque SANTA CRUZ (June 2009)

Record Appearances 596  –  Derek FAZACKERLEY  (1970-1987)

Record League Appearances 596  –  Derek FAZACKERLEY  (1970-1987)

Record Premier League Appearances 261  –  Brad FRIEDEL  (2001-2008)

Record League goal-scorer 168  –  Simon GARNER  (1978-1992)

Record Premier League goal-scorer 112  –  Alan SHEARER  (1992-1996)

Record all-time goal-scorer 194  –  Simon GARNER  (1978-1992)

Record goal-scorer in a League season 43  –  Ted HARPER    Division 1   (1925-1926)

Record goal-scorer in a Premier League season 34  –  Alan SHEARER  (1994-1995)

Most goals scored in a League match 7  –  Tommy BRIGGS  v  Bristol Rovers  (Division 2)  05.02.1953

Record Home Attendance 62,522  v Bolton Wanderers    FA Cup Sixth Round  02.03.1929

Record total of goals in a League season 114  –  Division 2  (1954-55)

Record total of goals in a Premier League season 80  –   1994-1995

Record League points total 3 pts for a win : 91  Premier League  (2000-2001)  (46 games)
2 pts for a win : 60  Division 3 (1974-75)  (46 games)

Record Premier League points total 89  –  1994-1995  (42 games)

Most Capped Player while at club Bob CROMPTON  41 (England)

Youngest Player Harry DENNISON  16 years and 155 days   v  Bristol City  (Division 1)   08.04.1911

Oldest Player Bob CROMPTON –  40 years and 150 days  v  Bradford   (Division 1)  23.02.1920


Stadium details 

Address :   Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire BB2 4JF

Telephone :  01254 372001
Ticket Office :  01254 372000

Capacity :  31,367
Away Allocation :   Around 4,000
Pitch size :  105m x 69m  (115 yards  x 76 yards)
Official website :   www.rovers.co.uk


There are good directions to Ewood Park on the Blackburn Rovers website and more information on the Away Days website.


Premier League Champions (Top Tier) 1994-1995

Premier League Runners-up  (Top Tier) 1993-1994

Division One Champions (Top Tier) 1911-1912, 1913-1914

Division One Runners-up (Top Tier) 2000-2001

Division Two Champions  (Second Tier) 1938-1939

Division Two Runners-up  (Second Tier) 1957-1958

Division Three Champions  (Third Tier) 1974-1975

Division Three Runners-up  (Third Tier) 1979-1980

League One Runners-up  (Third Tier) 2017-2018

League Cup Winners 2001-2002

FA Cup Winners 1884, 1885, 1886, 1890, 1891, 1928

FA Cup Finalists 1882, 1960

FA Charity Shield Winners 1912

FA Charity Shield Runners-up 1928, 1994, 1995

Full Members Cup Winners 1987



James FIELDING 1884 – 1887

Thomas MITCHELL 1887 – 1896

Joseph WARMSLEY 1896 – 1903

Robert MIDDLETON 1903 – 1925

Jack CARR 1925 – 1926

Bob CROMPTON 1926 – 1930

Arthur BARRITT 1930 – 1936

Reg TAYLOR 1936 – 1938

Bob CROMPTON 1938 – 1941

Eddie HAPGOOD 1946 – 1947

Will SCOTT 1947

Jack BRUTON 1947 – 1949

Jackie BESTALL 1949 – 1953

Johnny CAREY 1953 – 1958

Dally DUNCAN 1958 – 1960

Jack MARSHALL 1960 – 1967

Eddie QUIGLEY 1967 – 1970

Johnny CAREY 1970 – 1971

Ken FURPHY 1971 – 1973

Gordon LEE 1974 – 1975

Jim SMITH 1975 – 1978

Jim ILEY 1978

John PICKERING 1978 – 1979

Howard KENDALL 1979 – 1981

Bobby SAXTON 1981 – 1986

Don MACKAY 1986 – 1991

Kenny DALGLISH 1991 – 1995

Ray HARFORD 1995 – 1996

Roy HODGSON 1997 – 1998

Brian KIDD 1998 – 1999

Tony PARKES 1999 – 2000

Graeme SOUNESS 2000 – 2004

Mark HUGHES 2004 – 2008

Paul INCE 2008
Sam ALLARDYCE 2008 – 2010

Steve KEAN 2010 – 2012

Henning BERG 2012

Michael APPLETON 2013

Gary BOWYER 2013 – 2015

Paul LAMBERT 2015 – 2016

Owen COYLE 2016 – 2017

Tony MOWBRAY 2017 – 

??  – 


League Record

The Football League structure has historically been as follows …

1888-1892 1892-1920 1920-1921 1921-1958 1958-1992 1992-2004 2004 to date
First tier Football League Division One Division One Division One Division One Premiership Premier League
Second tier Division Two Division Two Division Two Division Two Division One Championship
Third tier Division Three Division Three
(North) and (South)
Division Three Division Two  League One
Fourth tier Division Four Division Three League Two

Elected to Football League  (Top Tier) 1888

Football League  (Top Tier) 1888-1892

Division One  (Top Tier) 1892-1936

Division Two  (Second Tier) 1936-1939

Division One  (Top Tier) 1939-1948

Division Two  (Second Tier) 1948-1958

Division One  (Top Tier) 1958-1966

Division Two  (Second Tier) 1966-1971

Division Three  (Third Tier) 1971-1975

Division Two  (Second Tier) 1975-1992

Premier League  (Top Tier) 1992-1999

Division One  (Second Tier) 1999-2001

Premier League  (Top Tier) 2001-2012

Championship  (Second Tier) 2012-2017

League One  (Third Tier) 2017-2018

Championship  (Second Tier) 2018-