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BRFCS .com members have decided on the goalkeeper to be the first nomination for the "best ever team" The outright winner is:

Brad Friedel

Final figures:

Brad Friedel 65 votes [40.88%]

Tim Flowers 45 votes [28.3%]

Terry Gennoe 24 votes [15.09%]

Roger Jones 16 votes [10.06%]

Fred Else 5 votes [3.14%]

Harry Leylans 3 votes [1.89%]

Jim Arnold 1 vote [0.63%]


Now we come to the list of nominations for the brfcs.com best ever right back. These are the contenders as far as we can see:

Bob Crompton. 1896 - 1920, 608 apps.

John Bray 1954 - 1965, 184 apps.

Keith Newton 1958 - 1969, 357 apps.

Kevin Hird 1970 - 1979, 154 apps

Jim Branagan 1979 - 1987, 334 apps

Chris Price 1986 - 1988 and 1992 - 1993, 114 apps

Mark Atkins 1988 - 1995, 272 apps

David May 1986 - 1994, 150 apps

Jeff Kenna 1995 - TBC,

Seb Perez 1998 - 1999, 7 apps

Henning Berg 1993 - 1997 and TBC, apps TBC.

Lucas Neill 2001 - still at club.

There are still some appearance details to be included in the above players stats. I'll edit them in when I get them.

This is open for discussion for a few days. Hopefully, some of you folks can come up with recommendations and references for your favourite right back.

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First off, no-one here except Jim, have seen Bob Crompton play. That shouldn't count against him [bob, not Jim], in any way.

Here's why. This reference to Bob Crompton was written a few days ago, for this topic, by FourLaneBlue

Bob Crompton

“Mr Blackburn Rovers” – The Greatest Rover of all time

Whenever these kind of ‘greatest ever’ polls trundle along, whether it be regarding musical taste, films, politicians, kings, military tacticians or even Greatest Ever Plumber, they are always skewed towards the modern. As such you can find lists where inside can be found battles between the last release by Busted and Revolver by The Beatles in a tussle for greatest ever album. Maybe the Spice Girls knocking Led Zeppelin into second place on the greatest bands list. Or even ‘Dude where’s my car?’ putting one over on Citizen Kane in the greatest movie list.

When it comes to rating footballers, the old timers come off even worse. At least you can see old films or listen to albums from the sixties. Old footballers from the time before television only remain in the memory. Those memories soon go the way of the footballers though and end up in the stadium in the sky. So what do we have left? We have the legend. The greatest legend Rovers have ever had is Bob Crompton. Once when I was having a heated debate with some West Ham-supporting friends the talk got on to honours each of our clubs had won. They mentioned the three FA Cup wins in the last forty or so years. To which I said…big deal, Rovers once won three FA Cups in a row. When was that they asked? 1884 to 1886 I said. It took a few minutes for them to stop rolling around the floor howling with laughter. Yet why should we be embarrassed about the past? Rather, we should be proud of it and trust the legends and the views of Roverites throughout the ages, many of whom are no longer with us.

Born in Blackburn in 1879, the same year as Einstein, Stalin and Trotsky entered the world and Thomas Edison unveiled the light bulb to an awed public; Crompton was something you don’t see any longer. A hometown club man and only ever represented the one club and the one country (he did also play some friendlies for Blackpool when stationed there as a PE instructor in the war). The likes of Tony Adams may play for Arsenal but then move onto the likes of Wycombe but Crompton was at Rovers in various capacities for half a century. After his debut for Rovers in 1897 as a seventeen year old he played as right back for 23 years, making over 600 appearances in a career and would have had more were it not for World War I. In 1902 he made his debut as England right back and was the first name on the international team sheet until war broke out. Crompton is the only player Rovers have had that has regularly been thought of as the greatest player in the world. It’s a shame we couldn’t have seen him but his legend lives on. Quite simply Crompton was so involved with the club that his nickname was ‘Mr Blackburn Rovers’.

- Bob Crompton is still the most capped England player while playing at Rovers (41). With so few internationals being played then, that is probably equivalent to about 120 caps in modern times. Certainly he held the record for a few more decades.

- Crompton was the first ever professional England captain. It was thought that only amateurs should captain the country but Bob was so good he couldn’t be ignored and captained England for a decade on his way to setting the appearance record.

Enough about England though, it’s Rovers we care about, just like Bob who was captain for over a decade. As regards playing style, he was an excellent tactician, rarely beaten in the air and had the kind of leadership abilities that were associated with the imperial builders and empire makers around the globe. The man who was king at Ewood. Crompton was the rock and driving force behind the most successful side Rovers have had in the league. In the last four seasons before the ‘War to End All Wars’ (a title it never lived up to) Rovers finished first, fifth, first and third. The first two titles and the last time they have been the truly dominant force in football. Rovers also went on tour to Austria and Hungary (thought as the most progressive football countries outside of the home nations) and won their games with ease and left the central European supporters spellbound with amazement and admiration. Crompton was the star of this Rovers side and has to be in a Greatest Rovers Side unless we are saying we don’t care about the traditions of the club and only want those players from the last ten years or so. Do others care who the greatest player is that you actually saw yourself in the flesh? I seriously doubt it, I’m not even that interested in who the best one was that I saw!!! We have enough ‘best XI’s’ on this board to last a lifetime; be nice if we actually kept an open mind on this one for once. If we are going for greatest ever though we need to look at the whole picture and use imagination. Trust in secondary evidence such as what generations before us believed and trust that the legendary figures of our club should be remembered as well as being proud that our club has such great traditions.

Bob Crompton as greatest Rovers player ever? Quite probably.

Bob Crompton as greatest Rovers right back ever? Definitely.

Finally, just to mention…after his legendary spell as a Rovers player (and come on, he must have been awesome if he is still remembered a century later) Crompton did another great job for Rovers- as possibly our greatest manager. In his first spell he led us to the FA Cup in 1928, the only time we have won it in the last eleven decades(!) before retiring. Not that he could rest for long however as without Crompton Rovers were relegated for the first time ever in the 1930s and struggled in the second division. Crowds were down and Rovers finished sixteenth in the second division; their lowest ever finish at that point. What else could they do but beg Superman to return? Back came ‘Mr Blackburn Rovers’ and won the second division to take us back to top flight and allow for a World War to once again intervene. The greatest Rover of all died in March 1941, still at the club and supervising wartime activities almost fifty years after first joining. The last match he was in charge of says it all about Crompton and was a fitting end to a true local hero. Rovers played Burnley in a wartime game. In Crompton’s last ever present to the club, he led them from the touchlines to a 3-2 victory. A winner to his dying day and a proud servant of the club he loved so much he gave his life to it.

I’ve obviously never watched Crompton play or even know anyone who remembers when he was manager but I tell you what...I know a bloody legend when I see one!!!

Now, the best right back I've ever seen at ewood is Keith Newton, but even he can't live up to that billing. smile.gif Crompton must go into the best ever team.

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I obviously never saw Bob Crompton play but anyone who makes 608 appearances for the club must have been doing something right.

As for the ones I did see, Chris Price was probably the most exciting and the one who I remember the most fondly. I'd say Atkins was a better midfielder and Berg was a better centre-half.

May, Perez, Kenna and Branagan were average at best and Lucas needs to pull his finger out this season before he even becomes worthy of consideration.

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Chris Price for me.

He was certainly the most attacking full back I've seen and as a result used to score loads of goals for a right back. I also remember us being defensively sound with him in the team as well so he gets my vote, although he didn't have quite the same impact when he came back for the second spell.

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will Berg not be in the centre-half section??

If a player played for rovers in two positions, ala Berg, then if he's not elected at full back, he'll be up for nomination for C.H.

However, good a player as he was, if he's not the best full back and not one of the best two C.H's, he wont be in the team.

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I never saw Bob Crompton play, even at my age, and we all know that statistics alone tell us nothing.

In those days there was only one centre back and the full backs were purely defenders much like the modern three at the back centre halves system.

Keith Newton on the other hand, whose whole career I have witnessed (apart from at Burnley which I would like to forget because by that time he was a spent force) was strong, fast and dependable in defence and a real force in attack. Even chipped in with a few goals.

Probably one of the best attacking full backs ever to play for England too.

For these reasons I nominate Keith Newton for my vote. He was the absolute epitome of what a full back should be, even back when he was in the youth cup winning side that produced so many great internationals.

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As with Scotty and Alex Sc fi, best I have seen play is Pricey - exciting in his time with his bombing runs down the line and goals to boot which wasn't bad for a right back - remember his first game back the second time at Grimsby as well and as mentioned always appeared to add a bit of defensive stability.

However got to be Mr Crompton for me - still admired and respected to this day and his record speaks for itself.

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Of the players I ahve seen I would say that only three really stand out Kevin Hird (but he later turned into a Dingle so he's out), Chris Price (mainly excellent in first division - not as good on his return) & Henning Berg. Berg played more international games whilst with us then any other Rover has every done & although he was not the most exciting full back I think he would have to be my choice of the players I have seen.

HOWEVER one cannot argue with the contribution of Bob Crompton who not only played all his career with us but also went on to managethe club.

So Bob gets my vote. Speaking of which where is the voting form?

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The list seems to show we haven't been as fortunate with right backs as with keepers. The likes of Neill and Kenna have never been more than solid team members. However I guess this is compensated by the presence of Crompton and Newton, who both sound worthy of being fondly remembered. It surely has to be Crompton for his all round service though.

I wonder if he will end up appearing twice, as a player and manager?

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After his debut for Rovers in 1897 as a seventeen year old he played as right back for 23 years, making over 600 appearances in a career and would have had more were it not for World War I.

A superb , well researched piece on Crompton , FLB - 23 years at right back ! Good grief .

My vote goes to Perez unsure.gif

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Berg was the best I've actually seen at Ewood, but perhaps my current mindset is biased towards solidity over attacking flair given last season/this season.

However, it seems wrong to overlook a legend like Crompton just because I haven't seen him play, so he gets my vote.

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