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Second midfielder


We're looking for a "great", to partner a "great"  

181 members have voted

  1. 1. We're looking for a "great", to partner a "great"

    • Tim Sherwood
    • David Batty
    • Mark Atkins
    • Tony Parkes
    • Howard Kendal
    • Stuart Metcalfe
    • Jimmy forrest
    • Simon Barker
    • Eddie Latheron
    • Harry Healess
    • Eddie Quigley

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The result of this vote has seen an overwhelming win for a certain Ronnie Clayton.

Ronnie won by a landslide, recieving 109 votes. That follows Bryan Douglas as the only other player as yet, to win over 100 votes. Thanks for everyone's contributions towards the debate. It's the contributions that make this whole exercise, worthwhile.

Result: [number of votes, followed by percentage of the vote]:

Ronnie Clayton,..........[ 109 ] [67.28%]

Tim Sherwood.............[ 23 ] [14.20%]

David Batty.................[ 8 ] [4.94%]

Mark Atkins.................[ 5 ] [3.09%]

Tony Parkes................[ 5 ] [3.09%]

Howard Kendal............[ 3 ] [1.85%]

Stuart Metcalfe............[ 2 ] [1.23%]

Jimmy forrest...............[ 2 ] [1.23%]

Simon Barker...............[ 2 ] [1.23%]

Eddie Latheron............[ 1 ] [0.62%]

Harry Healess..............[ 1 ] [0.62%]

Eddie Quigley...............[ 1 ] [0.62%]

Total Votes: 162

The next move is to vote in Claytons' midfield partner. I'll put the poll up in the next few days, but remember, we're looking for a rovers "GREAT" smile.gif

There are 109 people who voted for Ronnie Clayton, who can make this second midfielder vote very interesting ohmy.gif

Feel free to discuss.

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Not at all sure about this one den, I'm torn between Super Atko and Sherwood both great players for Rovers in our recent history. I await the arguements with real interest.

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A plea to include Duncan McKenzie in the list.

The contributions on this have been brilliant. Much as I liked Tim Sherwood personally and as a player, the contributions of Forrest and Latheron were much greater in terms of putting silverware on the Rovers' list of honours (five FA Cups and two Championships respectively).

Both were automatic international choices and undisputed best in their position in their era. For all Tim's value to the Premiership side, those are not attributes Tim posessed.

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Paul - you're not sure? Neither am I. blink.gif Have you changed your mind about Simon Barker?

Philipl - I can't include McKenzie for two reasons. 1, people on here persuaded me to include him as a striker. 2, The vote has to be from the list above, minus Ronnie Clayton. Sorry Philip. I know where you're coming from with McKenzie though, the man was a born entertainer. Pity we don't see his like now.

Feel free to push him for the striker position though. smile.gif

Edited by den
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Please not Mark Atkins guys. Can you really be serious about him being a Rovers GREAT.

He was never more than a journeyman and the 'Super' tag was sarcastic not realistic.

Please think carefully. I'm not sure yet who it should be but to include Atkins makes a mockery of this 'Greats' team. (as does Le Seaux)

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Paul - you're not sure? Neither am I. blink.gif Have you changed your mind about Simon Barker?

Ah no I haven't forgotten Simon but my post about him said he deserved a mention in the debate to recognise his contribution to Rovers in the dark days. I don't think he's one of our greats but he is fondly remembered by this fan.

I didn't vote for him last time and won't this time.

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Having voted for Clayton the first time around, I'm now at a loss as to who to go for now. In my opinion, Sherwood, Batty and Atkins could not be termed great - don't get me wrong, they were good players, but not of the calibre of others who have made it in so far - and I'd like to hear more about the Parkes' and Forrest's who I've never seen play.

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Forrest? I must have missed the write up on him. Good was he? I know about Latheron.

Sherwood and Atkins, great? Come off it. It looks like Atkinsd in particular is going to make a run for it. It will get interesting.

If anyone could post some information on Forrest I'd appreciate it. Latheron is still strong if only for his war hero status.

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Latheron is still strong if only for his war hero status.

Are you joking mate? blink.gif

Take away the so called 'sympathy vote' for Latheron and compare his record at Rovers to others now in that list..they dont come close.In my opinion a vote for either Atkins,Sherwood,Barker or Parkes ahead of Latheron is a vote of complete ignorance of fact.

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Latheron is still strong if only for his war hero status.

Are you joking mate? blink.gif

Take away the so called 'sympathy vote' for Latheron and compare his record at Rovers to others now in that list..they dont come close.In my opinion a vote for either Atkins,Sherwood,Barker or Parkes ahead of Latheron is a vote of complete ignorance of fact.

I agree with you. I guess it came out wrong, I'd vote for Latheron on just his war service. To put Sherwood and Atkins ahead of him is a joke.

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Atm I don't think I'd vote for Sherwood or Atkins. Atkins was a loyal servant but great? The reason I don't think I'll vote for Sherwood is similar to why I didn't vote for Le Saux; the way he left the club and stirred things.

At the moment I think Forrest must take my vote. Rovers were the best team in the country in the 1880s. I believe he was one of the first professionals, at a time when everyone was amateur. He had a "day job" working somewhere else but Rovers were paying him money to play for him. He seems to be the most well known player from that time and that can't be for nothing. Many are talking about how greats from the 60s are being excluded by ignorant youngsters like me. What about the greats from the 19th Century? If someone's willing to have a look in the history section (I will tomorrow but it's late now and I need sleep) there's probably loads of info in there.

I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise though...

May I suggest that the topic and vote is open a for a decent length of time rather than the three days or so we had for the second centre-back slot. There's loads to discuss here.

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I do like the idea of a presentation of sorts. Surely the club programme or the LET would take note if a well-penned summary of the scheme with the final team was sent in. It can't hurt to do so anyway. A best 11 is something everybody will have an opinion on so it would be good for people outside the website to read what we've voted on and compare it to their own.

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On the original midfielder thread I put forward a case for Sherwood but having thought about it some more I must admit that I've changed my mind and I now don't think he deserves a place in a 'Greatest Ever Rovers XI', sure he captained us to the title but he wasn't that great; unappreciated maybe but not one of our eleven greatest ever players. Colin has made an excellent case for Atkins and deserves credit for battling hard but let's be honest; Atkins just isn't good enough. Hard working, unselfish, loyal yes but great? No chance.

So who does that leave? Forrest? Latheron? They are certainly the most succesful of those on offer and were viewed as the attacking driving forces in two of the great Rovers sides (or rather three, as Forrest was a major star of two different great Rovers line ups). Not too sure who to go with...the man whose five FA Cup winners medals have never been bettered by another player since or Latheron, a career cut short yet still one of double title glory. Tough choice but maybe we should have one representative of the cup winning glory days of the nineteenth century?

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I didn't intend doing this, but I'm going to bring back the best post in favour of some [not all] of the leading candidates. The first one is Tim Sherwood.

From Brownie:

Tim Sherwood's career at Rovers could not have started any lower and could not have reached higher levels.

Kenny Dalglish signed Sherwood from Norwich's reserves, after an argument with the boss about how football should be played he was dumped into the second string.

He'd already represented England under 21's but his strong personality even at that early stage of his career saw him being allowed to leave and join the then 2nd Division Blackburn.

From day one at Blackburn he was up against it- he was a cockney with long hair called Timothy- and the Rovers fans did not take to him.

Dalglish tried to squeeze him into the side playing him right wing which was a mistake considering his distinct lack of pace.

Left out of the side he was not even on the bench for the Play Offs and seemed on his way out.

With promotion achieved, Sherwood was then restored to the side and adapted to Premiership football far easier than the Nationwide.

His ability to come deep for the ball, maintain posession and link defence with attack, and cover every blade of grass every game saw him slowly but surely win the fans over.

In my opinion he had a touch of class, matched with a fiery determination which was recognised by Dalglish when he made him Skipper.

Once captain of the side, the team and Sherwood never looked back.

Terry Venables once pointed out that Sherwood had the ability to release the ball quickly allowing his team-mate time on the ball, Dave Bassett labelled him the best 'nuts and bolts' midfielder in the country.

In 1994/95 he formed formidable partnerships with Mark Atkins and David Batty and at times carried the Rovers side through tough games.

Those that travelled away from home in the 94/95 season will have noticed Sherwood screaming at his players to lift them particularly after conceding goals in the midst of cauldron atmospheres. I thought Sherwood's captaincy throughout that season was a major factor in our success.

It's for this reason that I will vote for Tim Sherwood, not the greatest midfielder the club has ever had, but in recent times I feel the most important.

Sherwood went on to win England caps his career deserved after joining Spurs from Blackburn and I would suggest if business interests don't rule his future would make an excellent manager.

Tim Sherwood will always symbolise the greatest day of my life, Sherwood's hands were the first Blackburn hands to hold the Premiership Trophy and may well be the last for the long and distant future.

Vote Sherwood for the Spirit of 95.

Remember, we're looking for a "great". Does that make Sherwood a great. Anyone?

I can do the same with the other leading players and if anyone wants someone in particular bringing back up, then say so.

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Colin, for Mark Atkins:

Let's start with some statistics:

He is at number 29 in the number of games played for Rovers since the records began in 1888.

He played 272 games in all.

Just for comparison, this puts him well above (say) David Batty (70); Alan Shearer (165) and Tim Flowers (214.)

He scored 39 goals in those games. This despite spending much of his time at right back, and then at central midfield. Although at a push he could play just about anywhere, and he was capable of playing anywhere. He made a decent effort at playing on the right wing more than once.

He was at Rovers for 7 years.

The season we won the league he was the joint third highest scorer.

Deep intake of breath..............

And his name is Mark Atkins

A Bit Of History & Details

Super Atko made his league debut for Scunthorpe United whilst still a schoolboy and appeared in over sixty matches for that club (as well as playing for England schools) before Don MacKay bought him in 1988 for £45,000 Although he spent much of his early career at Ewood Park at full-back, he continually demonstrated an eye for goal.

Under the managership of Kenny Dalglish, he developed into a battling midfield player whose boundless energy and appetite for work made him the ideal partner for those around him.

Eventually, with Batty and Sherwood holding down the midfield positions at Blackburn, he moved to Wolverhampton Wanderers in September 1995.

He then went on to play for Doncaster, Shrewsbury (where he was temporary manager) and was last seen at Harrogate Town.

Atko At His Best

25th May 1992. Rovers v Leicester in the first division play-off at Wembley. A very hot day. Rovers were 1-0 in the lead after David Speedie tripped over a daisy and Mike Newall converted the penalty. A nervous moment, as Newall was notorious for his erratic penalty taking.

Then: after 85 minutes a break from midfield. A lone figure in yellow sprints to get to the stray ball leaving all others in his wake. He is storming forward like a horny stallion chasing a "my little pony" on heat. The Leicester keeper brings him down. Super Atko has sealed it for us. Yeh! Super Atko!

But Newall skies the penalty and reduces us to nervous wrecks for the last five minutes. Thanks Mike. Now go forth and manage Luton Town.

So, why should you vote for Mark Atkins

Atko never played for England. He was never collared in the tunnel for a post-match interview. He was never the subject of a tabloid shocker. No-one ever asked him to "write" a column for a newspaper. He was never in a "bust-up" with a manager. He was simply a professional footballer who got on with his job.

From his origins from Scunthorpe, he slipped into the Rovers' team where he would be a lynchpin for seven years. Older readers will remember Atko storming up and down the quagmire that was Ewood Park at the time.

After Uncle Jack arrived on the scene the squad grew, expensive signings joined the dressing room and it seemed that Atko would be perpetually in the reserves. Did this bother him? It did not. He just carried on grafting and working.

In the three years that he was with Rovers after we got promoted he played:

(1) 31 games and scored 6

(2) 9 games and scored 1

Then, when injury forced David Batty to miss the majority of the 1994-95 season, it was Atko who filled the void and formed a central midfield partnership with Tim Sherwood.

(3) 37 games and scored 6 - and that was when we won The Premiership.

It was a bit of an injustice when Atko was forced to sit out the final three games of the season following the return of Batty. However, there were no complaints from him as he once again proved himself a loyal servant to the club.

He represents everything that is good about our football club and pretty much all that can be good about professional footballers. In a nutshell he was the antithesis of the diving, prancing prima-donnas who seem to have taken over the game.

No bull, no hissy fits, no sulks, no boot deals, no MacDonalds adverts, no deliberate sendings-off. Probably the only agent he ever had was his newsagent.

He kept his gob shut and played his heart out for the club. Maybe he wasn't the most skilfull but for what he lacked in that department he made up with guts and effort and comittment . He had a heart as big as a bucket. He never shirked a tackle, he might have missed the ball ever so slightly once or twice, but no-one got hurt.

He won a Premiership Champions medal after contributing to 30 of the 42 league games in the season when we won the title. That is not a coincidence. He deserved that medal.

In a team that was seen at the time (and has mistakenly been seen ever since) to have been compiled from Jack Walkers money, he was a refreshing bargain-basement buy.

And he was one of only a few ex-players to be bothered to get his kit on for Garner's testimonial. For me that speaks volumes.

Anyhow here's a piccy of Super Atko, sadly not in the B & W but in Wolves Old Gold

Mark Atkins

Finally. You will have noted that time is slipping away for some kind of choice for the remaining players. I reckon it's a certainty who will be slipping into the two strikers and left wing places.

This leaves only two central midfield roles to be filled. Maybe, just maybe, one of these deserves to be filled by some one who was just an ordinary bloke. No frills, no caps, he just pulled on his boots and for seven years he had a blue & white heart.

Ladies and gentlemen, I offer you Mark Atkins. Vote for him. You know we need an honest grafter in there.

Thank you.

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SG194, for Eddie Latheron:

Edwin Gladstone Latheron was born in Grangetown,North East England and joined Blackburn Rovers in 1906 almost by accident.He was discovered when visiting Blackburn to play for Grangetown against Blackburn Crosshill in an FA amatuer cup tie.Rovers had originally gone to watch another player but it was Latheron who caught their eye and Rovers paid £25 to bring him to Ewood!

A skilful inside forward who,despite his lack of height, was good in the air he possessed fantastic ball control coupled with a fine shot on him.... he quickly established himself as a fans favourite with the Blackburn public.A prolific goalscorer himself, he was claimed never to be a selfish player and always prepared to do the 'fetching and carrying' for other team mates.

Without question a driving force(alongside Crompton) behind the all conquering pre war Rovers Championship sides of 1912 and 1914 he was capped twice by England and represented the football League.

At the height of his powers Eddie played his last game for Rovers on March 17th 1917.Five days later he went to fight for Queen and Country in the trenches of France and tragically just seven months later he was killed by a German shell.He left a widow and a young child.....he was just 28.

Played league football for Rovers between 1906-1915, made a total of 282 appearances in all competitions and scored an impressive 104 goals.

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Speeeeeedie's assessment of Batty:

I first saw Batty when he played for Leeds, we tubbed them 3-1 at Ewood in our first season up. It was the game when Shearer did his knee. Wilcox ran Mel Sterland ragged. I remember then watching him and thinking what class he had, simple but very effective. Allegedly Dalglish went to Leeds asking for McCallister, they said no, so he asked for Batty instead. He won player of the year in his first season with us, ahead of Shearer and his 30 goals. He did everything simple, kept the ball well and broke up attacks well. He was brilliant, far better than Sherwood, and also never scored, but injuries and his Le Saux fight marred him. Won plenty of England caps, missed a penalty in 1998.

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FLB's assessment of Jimmy Forest:

If we are looking at players who won the most for our club we are ignoring the one player who more with Rovers than any other...Jimmy Forrest. An England international, capped eleven times (games were so few in the 1880/90s that it made him a regular in the national side for six years!) he also went on to win not one, not two but five (count 'em!) FA Cup medals for Rovers. No other player has ever won more FA Cup medals than Forrest. Not only that, he captained us in the last two triumphant cup runs.

There is absolutely no doubt that in those days that the FA Cup was far, far more important than the league. A cup win was everything and even until after the second world war that remained the case. The national champions were the FA Cup winners. Forrest was a driving force in a side that were the champions of England, scoting in two of the finals (and indeed Britain for the first three wins when Scottish, Irish and Welsh teams took part) and a great leader. Maybe most won't vote for him but we should spare a thought for a true Rovers legend, the most decorated player of the greatest team in the world. Alright it was bloody ages ago (and fans of other clubs wet themselves if we go on about the nineteenth century) but it's still something to be proud of.

5 FA cup medals for rovers!

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Harry Healess, by Bazza:

Here's a snippet about Healless taken from "Things about Blackburn Rovers" by Harry Kay, published in 1948.

" Harry Healless is a native of Blackburn, and he was the only Blackburn man in the Cup winning team he captained in 1928. He first played for Blackburn Trinity, and then for the Rovers as an amateur in 1914-15, becoming a professional in May, 1919. His last league appearance for the Rovers was against Chelsea at Ewood on December 31, 1932, and his last match with the Reserves was at Stoke on April 15th, 1933.

Harry was one of those footballers who did not develop early; in fact, far from being a star in his teens, he was unknown. When he became a professional for the Rovers he was a centre forward. He played in six other positions. After a period as leader of the attack he went outside right, and later he was right full back, right half, centre half, left half and inside right. In those various berths he was usually good but seldom brilliant. Eventually he became centre-half, and, when big "Billy" Rankin came from Dundee, Healless moved to right half.

During his long career with the Rovers, Harry was capped by England twice.

His capable generalship often pulled the Rovers through when things seemed to be going badly against them. He could last through the most arduous game, and the team often derived encouragement from the fact that he never seemed to tire.

In summer he likes a game of cricket, and was one of the leading batsmen in the Alice Street Wesleyan team, who played in the Blackburn Sunday School League."

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