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The recent talk of the ESL and the changes made to the Champions League format got me thinking back to our Champions League campaign in the 1995/96 season.

I was a kid at the time and remember watching all of our European games on ITV that season. Of course, with the way things are looking there is little chance of Rovers playing in that competition again.

I've always wondered what the atmosphere was like at Ewood for those games in 1995. We had Spartak Moscow, Legia Warsaw and Rosenborg visit Ewood. My questions for those who attended the games are:

Did any of those teams bring a sizeable away following to Ewood?

Which of those visiting fans created the best atmosphere?

I thought I read somewhere that one of those sides only had 50 fans over and they were placed in the JW upper tier towards the Darwen End. Is that true?

As someone who has a vision of 5,000 Dortmund fans stood in silence in the Darwen End as Rovers stuff them (Ha!), I'm just curious to know what the atmosphere was like. After all, the only reason we are all unhappy with 15th in the Championship because we keep thinking about 1995. So why don't we go back there in this thread? 😁.

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Interesting thread. The whole thing was such a disappointment. I remember, in Ireland, RTE covering the initial Rovers' CL ties but giving up on them before the end of the group stages because they were such drab, non-events.

There was only 20,000 on at Ewood for the first game against Spartak Moscow. I remember David Batty, in his autobiography, saying that was when he knew he wanted out, he was disappointed that a bigger crowd hadn't turned out for a big European night.

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We played Legia in the UEFA Cup in 2007.  Only the away leg, they were soon banned for crowd trouble - as they often are.  So the leg at Ewood Park didn't take place.  No doubt the police chief of Blackburn would have gone out and got pissed when her heard the news.  He could stand down his riot police from the Galligreaves Estate.  Legia fans would have made Celtic's visit seem like a kiddies party.

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I attended all three of these. The gates were 20940 v spartak mosçow which i was in the blackburn end for. 20897 v legia warsaw which i was in the darwen end for with my eldest daughter who was 11 at the time seem to think the blackburn end was pretty full and getting two togethrr we ended up in the darwen end. What i recall of that match was the limited number of legia supporters preference for setting off red flares. 20677 for rosenborg which i watched from the riverside. These attendances were not too shabby bearing in mind the away support was very limited and the matches were live on tv. The cost of an adult ticket was £14. To put the attendances in context that season coca cola round 2 v swindon saw 16924 and fa cup round 3 v ipswich saw 19606. These attendances were significantly up on the 12000 or so who watched the trelleborg game

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Roving Mick said:

We played Legia in the UEFA Cup in 2007.  Only the away leg, they were soon banned for crowd trouble - as they often are.  So the leg at Ewood Park didn't take place.  No doubt the police chief of Blackburn would have gone out and got pissed when her heard the news.  He could stand down his riot police from the Galligreaves Estate.  Legia fans would have made Celtic's visit seem like a kiddies party.

We didn't actually play the away leg Mick, we were due to play there but as you say they got thrown out and replaced with Vetra at the last minute, so loads who had already booked flights had to sort out a bus to take them from Poland to Lithuania for the new game.

As for the Champions League, I was at the 3 home games watched them all from the Blackburn End. Although there was nothing on it that Rosenborg game was great, the other two games were a bit damp though. Remember Shearer missing a sitter in the last minute against Legia.

Edited by MarkBRFC
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Posted (edited)

I remember a few legia fans with their kids being in the Fox before the game having their pics taken with Rovers fans and Rovers scarves. I remember the actual games as being pretty low-key surprisingly.

Edited by Hasta
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2 hours ago, Rogerb said:

I attended all three of these. The gates were 20940 v spartak mosçow which i was in the blackburn end for. 20897 v legia warsaw which i was in the darwen end for with my eldest daughter who was 11 at the time seem to think the blackburn end was pretty full and getting two togethrr we ended up in the darwen end. What i recall of that match was the limited number of legia supporters preference for setting off red flares. 20677 for rosenborg which i watched from the riverside. These attendances were not too shabby bearing in mind the away support was very limited and the matches were live on tv. The cost of an adult ticket was £14. To put the attendances in context that season coca cola round 2 v swindon saw 16924 and fa cup round 3 v ipswich saw 19606. These attendances were significantly up on the 12000 or so who watched the trelleborg game

Thank you for the detailed response, Rogerb. It's interesting to read that the attendances for the Champions League games were not that much higher than those for domestic cup games. 20k sounds decent, though, when considering the low number of visiting fans and the tv factor.

5 hours ago, Roving Mick said:

We played Legia in the UEFA Cup in 2007.  Only the away leg, they were soon banned for crowd trouble - as they often are.  So the leg at Ewood Park didn't take place.  No doubt the police chief of Blackburn would have gone out and got pissed when her heard the news.  He could stand down his riot police from the Galligreaves Estate.  Legia fans would have made Celtic's visit seem like a kiddies party.

I had completely forgotten about that potential game in 2007. Maybe it's just as well that we didn't face Legia at the time. They are well known for having an element of their support whose main interest isn't the football on the pitch.

5 hours ago, Roverall said:

Interesting thread. The whole thing was such a disappointment. I remember, in Ireland, RTE covering the initial Rovers' CL ties but giving up on them before the end of the group stages because they were such drab, non-events.

Looking back now, it's so disappointing how our European campaign fizzled out. The only game where we performed was the last one, when it was too late. A great opportunity was missed to build the club up. We could have had Zidane and Dugarry in our side that summer too, ready to help us in the Champions League, but it wasn't to be.

Our time in the Champions League is remembered for two things: Le Saux and Batty fighting on the pitch in Moscow and Mike Newell's record setting hat-trick. A record which stood until 2011 and something that I had over non Rovers supporting mates 😁.

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Looking back, it's a shame to say that outside of Steve Kean, the Ray Harford appointment was the worst in Rovers history in terms of the long-term health of the club. It seemed the right decision at the time, but it heralded our descent from the elite. The woeful start to the season led to that CL campaign which was over way before the 4-1 Rosenberg win and Batty was off. From finishes of 4th, 2nd then champions to missing out on Europe all together. Shearer left and by the time Harford left, we were in a relegation scrap and needed Tony Parkes to rescue us, again.

Alas, taking us from champions to in the relegation scrap in just over a year...a disastrous appointment. Such a shame, a great assistant to Kenny but...what could have been if we'd gone for a bigger-named manager? We were, after all, English champions in the champions league at the time. We could have had our pick.

Ah well, all water under the Aqueduct bridge now...

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8 hours ago, TheRoversReturn said:

Looking back, it's a shame to say that outside of Steve Kean, the Ray Harford appointment was the worst in Rovers history in terms of the long-term health of the club. It seemed the right decision at the time, but it heralded our descent from the elite. The woeful start to the season led to that CL campaign which was over way before the 4-1 Rosenberg win and Batty was off. From finishes of 4th, 2nd then champions to missing out on Europe all together. Shearer left and by the time Harford left, we were in a relegation scrap and needed Tony Parkes to rescue us, again.

Alas, taking us from champions to in the relegation scrap in just over a year...a disastrous appointment. Such a shame, a great assistant to Kenny but...what could have been if we'd gone for a bigger-named manager? We were, after all, English champions in the champions league at the time. We could have had our pick.

Ah well, all water under the Aqueduct bridge now...

Agreed. Harford was a great coach but like many before and since he wasn't a manager. Dalglish had done his job and wanted out, Jack Walker could hardly say no. As you said, some terrible decision making.

Was the only close season signing Matty Holmes? When did Graham Fenton sign? Man U were able to call upon Beckham, Scholes, Butt, and the Neville's that summer. Rovers did not have such an opportunity. 

I went to the Spartak game at Ewood. It was eerily silent. Rovers fans didn't know what to think of it. There were extra advertising boards, ball boys wearing CL logo bibs, special music. All very corporate. 

The Champions League was still new in 1995. The format was only a couple of seasons old. That too played a part. 

I suspect Batty leaving had more to do with his televised punch up with Le Saux rather than his lack of enthusiasm for the Ewood crowd size.

 

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only game i attended was vs spartak moscow and they were a really good side and in true european style did`nt give the ball away at all,their front two,yuran and kulkov gave us endless problems and they pretty much had the game killed by half time,our style of play at the time definately was`nt suited to european football,at least utd got knocked out in the group stage as well which gave me much amusement!!

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1 hour ago, simongarnerisgod said:

only game i attended was vs spartak moscow and they were a really good side and in true european style did`nt give the ball away at all,their front two,yuran and kulkov gave us endless problems and they pretty much had the game killed by half time,our style of play at the time definately was`nt suited to european football,at least utd got knocked out in the group stage as well which gave me much amusement!!

Did Yuran score a cracker? I have a vague memory of one.

You are also right about the style of play. Rovers had a very English way of playing; get it up front quickly, get the ball wide from there, and supply the strikers. It took all English teams a good few years to work out how to play in Europe after the Heysel ban. Ferguson talked about it regularly. I remember Arsenal getting the run around by Benfica one year. They made Arsenal dizzy with all their passing.

Who knows how it would have looked if the ban hadn't happened. Would Dalglish's Liverpool team have given Gullit's Milan a game? 

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3 hours ago, Southside Rover said:

I may have dreamt it but of I recall Sergei Yuran lobbed an onrushing Flowers for the winner in the Spartak game.

I remember a Uefa cup game against Lyon when Jacek Bak scored an absolute screamer.

Yes, that's right. Yuran lobbed Flowers for their goal. I've posted that goal below:

Extended highlights of that Spartak game below if anybody is interested. With Russian commentary, however.

I remember being excited about that Lyon game being shown live on the BBC. It was a corker from Bak to be fair.

 

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Think part of the problem was a pretty dull group.

A group with say, AC Milan or Barca would’ve really put a rocket under it all... though that being said a relatively weak draw should’ve enabled us to get into the knock outs and then face the big guns.

All a bit of anti-climax, but then the club and team was treading water when we should’ve been moving forward like top clubs do after success. 

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On 14/05/2021 at 16:58, Roverall said:

Interesting thread. The whole thing was such a disappointment. I remember, in Ireland, RTE covering the initial Rovers' CL ties but giving up on them before the end of the group stages because they were such drab, non-events.

There was only 20,000 on at Ewood for the first game against Spartak Moscow. I remember David Batty, in his autobiography, saying that was when he knew he wanted out, he was disappointed that a bigger crowd hadn't turned out for a big European night.

That's shocking. Why such a crap crowd? 

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1 hour ago, Mattyblue said:

Think part of the problem was a pretty dull group.

A group with say, AC Milan or Barca would’ve really put a rocket under it all... though that being said a relatively weak draw should’ve enabled us to get into the knock outs and then face the big guns.

All a bit of anti-climax, but then the club and team was treading water when we should’ve been moving forward like top clubs do after success. 

Shouldn't really have mattered though for a club starved of European football for so long. I'm actually shocked the attendances were that low. I never realised that. 

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Bigdoggsteel said:

Shouldn't really have mattered though for a club starved of European football for so long. I'm actually shocked the attendances were that low. I never realised that. 

We’d been in Europe the year before.

The club did a ‘Premium season ticket’ that covered the extra CL games, that just didn’t particulate sell well, in comparison to the standard PL ST that  we pretty much sold out of. But there were still 20,000+ home fans on, which wasn’t massively down on standard league games.

We probably should’ve had a few more on, but my memory was that the group just didn’t grab the public attention.

Edited by Mattyblue
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I'll never forget the feeling going down to Ewood for our first ever game in Europe against Trelleborg, UEFA Cup 94?

I was excited for weeks in the run up, I walk through the turnstiles and the place is empty, I thought the game must have been called off. Eventually it filled up a bit, 13k I think the gate was, an awful turnout by the fans, pathetic and this was the season before we won the Premeirship, the club was riding high, the fans just couldn't be bothered.

As for the Champions league, those gates aren't to bad really, midweek games, just what you'd expect for me.

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3 hours ago, Mattyblue said:

We’d been in Europe the year before.

The club did a ‘Premium season ticket’ that covered the extra CL games, that just didn’t particulate sell well, in comparison to the standard PL ST that  we pretty much sold out of. But there were still 20,000+ home fans on, which wasn’t massively down on standard league games.

We probably should’ve had a few more on, but my memory was that the group just didn’t grab the public attention.

The season before, but not much prior to that. I'm sure there were walk ons allowed too? More recently all of Leicester's were a sell out when they got the CL 

I think it goes to show that the stadium was and is too big for what is required. Always thought 22-25,000 would suffice 

Not going to be any change with that any time soon though! 

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On 16/05/2021 at 11:34, Gav said:

I'll never forget the feeling going down to Ewood for our first ever game in Europe against Trelleborg, UEFA Cup 94?

I was excited for weeks in the run up, I walk through the turnstiles and the place is empty, I thought the game must have been called off. Eventually it filled up a bit, 13k I think the gate was, an awful turnout by the fans, pathetic and this was the season before we won the Premeirship, the club was riding high, the fans just couldn't be bothered.

As for the Champions league, those gates aren't to bad really, midweek games, just what you'd expect for me.

The Trelleborg game was actually in the season we won the Premiership, and have to agree the turnout wasn't very good at all.

The opposition, a team of part timers just didn't capture the imagination. I was in one of the box's in the JW for this game, only time I've ever done it.

The Champions League games, were about right attendance wise, and has been said, I think it really needed that big side in the group to capture the imagination of the public.

 

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On 16/05/2021 at 06:34, Gav said:

I'll never forget the feeling going down to Ewood for our first ever game in Europe against Trelleborg, UEFA Cup 94?

I was excited for weeks in the run up, I walk through the turnstiles and the place is empty, I thought the game must have been called off. Eventually it filled up a bit, 13k I think the gate was, an awful turnout by the fans, pathetic and this was the season before we won the Premeirship, the club was riding high, the fans just couldn't be bothered.

As for the Champions league, those gates aren't to bad really, midweek games, just what you'd expect for me.

Rovers had no European history so fans didn't know what to think about it all. Trelleborg were, as you said, part time no names. They convincingly won the tie though. Rovers were shocking. 

The same happened the year after. As I remember it there was no excitement going into 95-96. Dalglish going upstairs took the wind out of everybody's sails.

These are all my own fantasyland thoughts but I think that winning the title in 94-95 hurt the club long term. It may have been a season too early. Imagine if Man U would have won it on the last day? Dalglish wouldn't have been happy, and would have stayed on. Jack Walker would have been the same way and sanctioned buying better players than Matty Holmes. The fans would have felt it all so would want to see a title. Rovers win it in 96, Shearer stars at the Euro's, and a CL bound team attracts even more good players. Shearer stays.

Anyway, back to reality and Mowbray's Championship mid table mediocrity.

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Posted (edited)

Oh without doubt, if Andy Cole had put one of those chances away at Upton Park, Jack would’ve gone for it that summer. 

Cole didn’t and Jack didn’t and the club very quickly fell back, and our chances of a few years of competing for every trophy (until the oil money would eventually dwarf us) had gone.
 

Edited by Mattyblue
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None of the European ties were great at home, but made for some great away trips and glad I was able to attend some. I nearly lost my bloody job queuing for tickets at something daft like 6am for the Celtic away tie, I'll still never understand how we didn't win that night either! Less said about the return home leg the better.

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12 minutes ago, Ossydave said:

None of the European ties were great at home, but made for some great away trips and glad I was able to attend some. I nearly lost my bloody job queuing for tickets at something daft like 6am for the Celtic away tie, I'll still never understand how we didn't win that night either! Less said about the return home leg the better.

Rovers passed it around well at Celtic Park but we didn't really create anything of note despite the possession. Celtic did a number on us in the second leg, sitting Chris Sutton on Tugay was a masterstroke by O'Neill.

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