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  1. So as we approach the January window, I figured it was time for a look back at our summer transfer dealings. I've done it the last few seasons now, and it's been fair to say that our transfer policy up till now has been a mixed bag. Below are my thoughts on how we did this summer and am interested in the opinions of others. Please note, this is an evaluation based on our half season so far, not just our current great run, nor our 6 game winless run, but hopefully a balanced look at the 5 months. Also factored in to my thinking is cost and squad balance and needs. Walton - 3 A poor signing as the clangers remain prevalent without the extraordinary saves of Raya to help him out. Poor distribution too. What makes this signing worse is that Walton is only on loan, meaning that even if he does eventually develop (doubtful imo) we won't be the ones who benefit. Add in he can be recalled, albeit that is only a drawback because of the incompetence of our understudy, and the fact it's not really building forward and progressing (new keeper next year) and you really question the sense of this signing. Tosin - 8 A few bits hit and miss but we are much more defensively solid with him in the side. Still think we needed a hard nut centre back of our own, but he's the next best thing. Quality distribution is a real plus, and is a big improvement defensively on Mulgrew and Rodwell. We don't have enough centre backs to take advantage of his versatility, and he is only on loan, but despite these minor gripes Tosin has been a great addition to the team. Cunningham - N/A He looked like he would be a good signing and boost the team but an injury early on means its unfair to rate him one way or another. Shame, as I suspect he would have made a big difference, but don't want to criticise or praise TM on an unknown. Johnson - 4 Started brightly but quickly fades. Seems to be the story of his season and every time he plays (bar the last game). A really promising start but attitude and lack of fitness have meant he's now below Evans, and I'm not sure he's much better in Bennett in that role too. Given his age means he's not a long term signing who will improve, and his overall lack of impact on the first team, this seems like a real waste of a wage. He's ok but given we had a couple of other players who can do a job as well if not better there, it doesn't seem like a step up improving the team. Funds would have been much better used supporting the defence then adding another ageing average centre mid in. Holtby - 8 Not fully hit the ground running due to fitness issues, but then if he didn't have said issues he wouldn't be at Rovers. A quality player on the ball, and fits well into our system. Think as his fitness improves we'll see more from him and a bargain on a free. A very clever signing. Downing - 9 A very clever signing. Not had a bad game yet, and done well in a couple of positions. He gives us balance and width on the left and a good supply of crosses for our strikers. He's also proved a reliable left back which is something we haven't had in the squad of late bar a brief dalliance with Cunningham. All in all, performing above and beyond expectations. Shame he is 35 and won't be around for that long. Had we got the rest of our transfer business right I feel that Downing would have been the final piece of the jigsaw that would push us towards promotion. Chapman - 2 Not sure whether it's attitude or fitness but given TM has worked with him before, this can't have come as a surprise. So just a waste of a wage, which was entirely avoidable. Gallagher - 4 Yes, there have been an improvement of late, and yes there are signs of hope. But we needed a replacement ready to take Graham's place and Gally isn't that (yet). Additionally only 3 goals isn't a great return for half a season. Not that TM helped by putting him on the wing on numerous occasions. There's been a fair number of indifferent and poor performances up front and on the wing and given we spent most our budget on him, this really isn't the sort of return that you need. The money could have been spent better - especially on the defence and keeper position, and he hasn't performed like what we should get for a £5 million striker. That said given we own him and his age, the promising signs mean that he could develop and become a good player. The problem is that wasn't what we wanted/needed this season. Overall imo another season of boom and bust. There are issues of the transfers we didn't do - namely a few more defenders and a back up keeper. It only took the Cunningham injury for us to look very thin on the ground, whilst our current keeper is safe as houses regardless of how he plays as he has no competition/competent back up. The positive is that the successes have been very successful, and there haven't been any absolute expensive flops such as Whittingham and Bereton. Some may think I've been overly harsh on Gally and Johnson but I think when fees are considered and what was needed, then they haven't matched up to what is required. That said neither is the utter flop of previous expensive failures, and aren't liabilities, so perhaps that is a step in the right direction. Overall though another season of 50:50 in the transfer window from TM.
  2. This week's "Accrington Observer" column takes a poetic turn.... ‘Twas the Night Before, the Night Before Christmas (with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore ) ‘Twas the night before, the night before Christmas and all round the ground, No home fans were singing, not even a sound, The passing was poor, not with enough care, Hoof it into the area, or somewhere near there. The fans were all settled, all snug in their seats, With visons of a home win as their Christmas treat, Mum in a bobble hat, dad in a cap, Well it was so dull, you had time for a nap. When a cross came in, Danny Graham was clattered, The referee saw nothing wrong with the matter, Fans stood up to shout, frustration to the fore, We could play here all night and still never score. Floodlights shining down on the well-tended grass, Wigan attacker falling down on his...behind, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear A shot hit on target, a goal seemed so near. With Holtby now on, so lively and quick, His passing composed and with time for a flick, No difference it made, the goal never came, Mowbray whistled and shouted and called them by name; "Now Darragh! Now Ryan! Now, Arma and Dacky! On, Danny! On, Stewart! Don't keep passing backy...” To the edge of the box, Put it over the wall, Now dash away Arma, dash away all! The passing remained poor though, all through the game, No matter which player, the end result the same, The ref whistled loud, again and again, The home crowd did groan, a familiar refrain. Bradders went down, clutching his knee, A sight no Rovers fan wanted to see, It didn't look good, he went down in great pain, He’ll receive our best wishes again and again. Wigan grew stronger, starting to feel bold, Cook on the touchline, no longer cold, Walton the hero, not once but twice, Frustrating old teammates must have felt nice. A goalless draw and a pretty poor game, Not what was ordered, a performance so lame, Seven changes it seems unsettled the team, But promotion or play-offs remain in our dreams. Mowbray sprang to his feet on the ref’s final whistle, All off down the tunnel and no doubt this’ll, Be what he said as he disappeared out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" We’ll all be back again on Boxing Day, “Big Club” from Brum the team that we’ll play, Let’s hope for three points and a well-deserved win, A late Christmas present to make the fans grin. Now it seems that all that is left to say, Is hope you enjoyed your Christmas Day, May the wins keep on coming, bringing great cheer, And make 2020 a very good year! Thanks for reading my various musings so far this season, hope you have enjoyed them and that you’ll continue to do so into the New Year. Have a very Merry Christmas from me & everyone at www.BRFCS.com. @ianherbert (Old Blackburnian) * special thanks to @St_Jimmy_77 for the photos...
  3. Bohinen 22

    Pie eaters

    What a classless bunch they are. Singing derogatory songs about a player as they're getting stretchered off. Cook swearing and arguing every decision. Morsy wandering around acting like the thug he is. I could go on. On the other hand, as much as I dislike Cook, he got his tactics spot on. Slowed down our transitions and passed it well and got stuck in. They'll be too good to go down.
  4. A slightly longer version of this week's "Accrington Observer" column... Everybody Look What’s Going Down At the end of a tortuous and hard-fought campaign, the candidates had put their records out there to be evaluated, making strong claims, though each arriving at this judgement day from fundamentally different positions. Irrespective of your personal opinions and preferences, the winner had to be respected, whilst all that was left for the loser was simply to learn from the experience and try harder next time. Marcelo Bielsa may have won the November Manager of the Month, but Tony Mowbray has perhaps won the intellectual argument. Mowbray remains in charge to oversee a period of mature reflection over his personal contribution, no doubt relieved that the curse of the award would be a burden for Bielsa to carry. The results from last Saturday certainly backed up that presumption. Rovers recent form has served to demonstrate that the Championship this season is far from cut and dried. The top two may have opened up a gap, but it is far from irretrievable; especially if the curse of the Manager of the Month continues to work its magic. Simply string a couple of wins together and a rise up the table is assured. Win five out of six and Robert may well be your mother's brother. At the time of writing, the points spread from third to thirteenth is six points – merely a couple of wins..! In hindsight, the Preston game might well prove to be a watershed moment in the season. All of Rovers’ foibles laid bare in one handy ninety-minute package. Vibrant, penetrative attacking, leading to fragile confidence and shambolic defending; would the real Blackburn Rovers please stand up ? Since then, something has definitely changed. In the words of the old Buffalo Springfield song;(this'll bring the teenagers flocking - ed) “There’s something happening here, What it is ain’t exactly clear...” First up, another resilient midweek performance, away to a sprightly Swansea City, one of the early favourites for promotion, who themselves had hit a rocky patch of form in November. Would Rovers provide their by now, surely patented, opposition rehabilitation service? Well no, not this time. In fact, had Bradley Dack not demonstrated a serious inability to calculate, (with the precision usually associated with his finishing); just when and how to secure a red card in order to ensure Christmas off, (it needed to be violent conduct Bradders, or wait until the Bristol City game); then all three points really ought to have been travelling north after the game. The opening goal from Graham, against one of his many former employers was a delight. A fluent move, slick inter-passing, prompted once again by the reborn Evans, to Dack and then Armstrong and a clinical finish from DG. Swansea responded quickly though; a corner led to Ayew being allowed a virtually free header at the edge of the six-yard box. Gallagher created a great chance for himself towards the end but was foiled by the keeper. With Dack’s foolish dismissal evening things up, Rovers were unable to capitalise fully on a man advantage, a draw was probably a fair result. Last season, the trip to Ashton Gate proved to be one of the horror show away performances that have punctuated the last year or so. It was in fairness a horrible performance and I suspect that many travelling fans heading south this time around, did so in hope rather than expectation. Once the team-sheet was published, showing six changes, then it seemed that “Tony’s Tombola” was in full use. “Courageous”, “foolhardy”, “reckless”, “ballsy”; you pays your money you takes your choice as to how to describe the selection. From my perspective, it was brave, but it served to reduce my expectations of a decent result come 5pm. Mowbray called it spot on though. He sees the players day in day out, he knows who is in or is approaching the "red zone", his decision is final. In what was proving to be a great week for Johnsons, Bradley of the Ewood parish seized the opportunity provided, by scoring a belter early on from a smart corner routine from Holtby. How nice it was to see Rovers score a training ground move rather than concede one. Through some robust midfield tackling on his part, Johnson capped off a fine performance by setting up the second for substitute Armstrong to finish coolly, late in the second half. His early celebration of the impending goal, captured on the camera behind the goal was a delightful cameo. City had two glorious gilt-edged chances, one in each half and taking just one of them clearly would have potentially changed the outcome of this encounter. But Rovers capitalised on these errors and with a clean sheet to boot, this was a very different outcome than 2018’s vintage. It was pleasing to see a side accommodate six changes yet still play with cohesion, confidence and no little style. No problems with impending cabinet reshuffles here. Each player knew his portfolio and much like an underwear model, had been well briefed. Special mention to Christian Walton who seems a lot happier playing behind this new-look defence. The return of Lenihan and Nyambe has certainly provided solidity, but one of the most pleasing features has been the performances of Amari’i Bell – much maligned and in fairness, not entirely without justification, he has blossomed in recent weeks when called into action. Long may his performances chime with the Rovers fans. Since the Deepdale disaster, it’s six wins, one draw and one defeat. That’s promotion form...if it sustains over the second half of the season of course and that is the key question. I’m not sure who the real Blackburn Rovers are, but I do rather like this incarnation and there is certainly something happening here. The song continues : “A thousand people in the street Singing songs and carrying signs Mostly say, hooray for our side...” The Christmas and New Year programme is renowned for its unlikely scorelines. It seems just the whiff of basting turkey or mince pies causes football teams to do crazy things, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but that said, we should not fear any of our upcoming opponents. It just remains to wish you, our lovely readers, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year; may 2020 bring you and your's health and happiness (and may Mrs Old Blackburnian’s recovering broken ankle soon have her back in first-team contention!).
  5. As the decade draws to a close which has been a very turbulent time to be a rovers supporter but thankfully there does seem to be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Granted we have spent a significant amount of time outside the premier league. What’s everyone’s team of the decade.. thoughts? Robinson Salgado Samba Nelsen Olson Phil Jones Jermaine Jones Dunn Pedersen Yakubu Rhodes
  6. Think that picking a player of the Decade is quite hard. Mainly because you have to plough thru the period from 2010 to 16 at least....and wince. SO what is the worst team of the decade? The one with all the wastrels in. The one that cost all the money or the players who were always injured. Captain : Danny Murphy Dickson Etuhu (wince) Bradley Orr Vince Grella (sicknote) Maybe Jason Steele (never saved anything) That Centre Forward that came on at Watford Away in the 85th minute and got sent off Jordan Slew Maybe: Ben Goodwin (saw him at Morecambe and looked good) Numerous Portuguese players who never played Manager: Steve K***** (undisputed) What do you think? I suppose if we put them in formation they would not stick to it.
  7. philipl

    Lancashire Telegraph

    https://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/sport/football/rovers/news/17664143.what-we-can-learn-from-the-stats-around-rovers-right-back/ The discussion about the right back position is on the appropriate thread but just a shout out for Rich Sharpe and the LT. This sort of analysis article is exactly the sort of quality journalism that keeps local papers alive. I find myself clicking onto the LT for news and views about Rovers increasingly. Great stuff- long may it continue.
  8. We've had Team Of The Decade... We've had Player Of The Decade... and seeing as we all agree on both so clearly (not ) I thought why not throw a spanner in the works with GOAL Of The Decade. Very tough because there's so many to remember and so many easily forgotten. Anybody have any suggestions or favourites? To Help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twWxBlCxViQ [2018/19] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F38Lhk0lNg&t=29s [2017/18] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeIeXZ8yH88 [2016/17] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXmsEbDYSIw [2015/16] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzNchl3PKQM [2014/15] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlD0xN0Ox5s [2013/14] Nothing further back than 2013 in terms of a Blackburn produced video that I can find, so for those three years "2010-13" you're on your own!
  9. Make no mistake, it's not been the best decade for Rovers. In the 90s there'd have obviously been plenty of candidates for this. 2000s likewise - Friedel and Tugay both had pretty much the whole decade with us, while we had good, solid PL players like Nelsen, Emerton, Pedersen, Dunn etc with us for years. Bit trickier between 2010 and now. Dunn was with us for half of it but probably also spent half that time unavailable, Rhodes was here for three and half years and more than did his bit. Conway will go down as a decent player for us, Hanley was a decent regular for years but meh....I guess Dack's had an excellent couple of years so far......what are we saying?
  10. Thanks to Mrs Old Blackburnian "doing an Andre Gomes" to her right ankle last Friday night, there isn't an Old Blackburnian column as such this week as I've been otherwise engaged. Instead, here is a piece from the latest @4000Holes magazine to fill the gap. Hopefully back to normal next week...the column, not Mrs OB's ankle...oh, go buy 4000 Holes, it's terrific..! Saturday Kitchen with Tony Mowbray (as watched by BRFCS.com’s @IanHerbert) Saturday Kitchen: Tony welcome to the show, great pleasure to have you on the programme...are you a dab hand in the kitchen then? Tony Mowbray (for it is he): Aye...well I’m partial to a chicken parmo as a rule and they do a lovely “croque monsieur” in the Costa in Yarm...one of Danny’s favourites that, so I like to think my tastes are cosmopolitan...Normally wor lass does the cooking but I like to help out every now and then... SK: and I understand that you have a signature dish that you are going to show us today? TM: That’s right...it’s my own, unique take on the staaaple dish of students the world over...Spaghetti Bolognese... SK: I see, but with a twist Tony? TM: Aye...nothing frustraaates me more than seeing good food and spices going to waste, especially if they’re my old favourites....so I like to add them to the mix so they feel part of the recipe. They rarely let me down and I feel that you’ve got to trust them to do their job you know...when to sit back in the flavour...when to combine with the vegetables...when to pep up the stock...that kind of thing... SK: Well Tony, I am intrigued so let’s get you over here to the hob and get yourself started... TM: First thing is to choose your pan...now most people use a heavy bottomed frying pan to fry but for me; your milk pans, your saucepans, your casseroles...they deserve respect and I often brown off my mince in a milk pan like this... SK: Tony, that is unusual to say the least... TM: It's the versatility I admire...your milk pan here can warm up milk for sure but it can slot into the back, the middle or the front of the hob here and be equally effective in any position... SK: But Tony...most people use a frying pan or even a wok are you sure that... TM: (interrupts) Now I have been in this game for many years and I have cooked faggots and peas in the Black Country, haggis in Glasgow and of course a chicken parmo back in my beloved Teesside so I think I can knock up a solid Bolognese here... SK: Well if you are sure Tony... TM: So we’ll start by chopping some onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and celery to make a solid back four to build on. Except we don’t seem to have any onions or celery...I had borrowed some from celery from my mate Colin in Cardiff but if you ask me it looked more like leeks but anyhow...I can make do and mend here with some baked beans, tomato ketchup and maybe a bit of black pepper... SK: You value versatility Tony clearly...when you’re cooking wouldn't you find it to be a better idea to have a fully stocked store cupboard with all the necessary ingredients? TM: You’d think so wouldn't you? But what I like is start a recipe without truly being fully certain of how it’s going to turn out. For instance, I started making a cracking Lancashire HotPot a few weeks back and as I was slowly braising some lamb I’d borrowed and slicing the potatoes it all looked fabulous and smelt terrific...I’m not sure what went wrong...my sous chef dropped the casserole dish, another 45 minutes in the oven and it all seemed to dry up and lose its flavour proving to be an utter disappointment. The family weren’t keen on it so I ended up giving it to the dogs. It was a proper dog’s breakfast you might say... SK: You don’t follow a recipe book then Tony? TM: Well I have some standard approaches to the kitchen and some “go to” recipes that I can feel I can rely upon in difficult circumstances...but as I say, I do like to throw in a curve ball every now and then... SK: Well I can see that Tony...you’re now adding...is that corned beef? To the baked beans and you’re smothering it in strawberry jam... TM: The jam has really impressed me at breakfast...performing exceptionally on toast...white at home and seeded brown away... but it’s time to see if it can step up to the challenge of contributing to a Bolognese...Many chefs wouldn’t do it this way but I think the jam can learn from the experience and become a better preserve... SK: Tony...where’s your pasta ? TM: Aye...well Steve says that our European supermarket scouting network is still being set up and so I prefer to use more traditional domestic produce...I mean post-Brexit that might be all we can use you know, so growing our own carbohydrate is crucial just in case the fancy foreign ingredients prove to be too expensive... SK: So you’re not actually using pasta Tony ? TM: No. *pauses* Potatoes. Very versatile your spud, it can make your mash, your roasties, your new potatoes...chips of course...what’s not to like ? I think potatoes need to be included in every menu personally...they’re definitely a favourite of mine... SK: Now it’s all coming together there Tony...you have baked beans, corned beef, strawberry jam and...a jacket potato...what are you doing now Tony? TM: Well thinking about it...the strawberry jam doesn't really go does it? SK: Well I didn't like to say to be honest... TM: No...it’s lonely, isolated and struggling to integrate....so what I’ll do is put some mustard alongside it, take off the potato and ask the corned beef to play dessert...so there you have it... “Mowbray Spaghetti Bolognese” SK: Well Tony...I can safely say that’s the most unusual Spaghetti Bolognese I think I’ve ever seen...do you get asked back to cook often? TM: Not really, no. SK: Thanks Tony.
  11. Nelsonthedog


    Does anyone else miss this formation? 2 CF gives a better chance of scoring goals imo. Why has it been abandoned in the modern game?
  12. A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column Who is Rovers Greatest Manager (...of the last 50 years) ? On an international weekend without club football, thank goodness for Twitter. Last week a Tweet asked “Who is your club’s greatest-ever manager?”. My first reaction ? Bingo, this week’s column sorted..! My Rovers viewing started in 1969, therefore I’m going to restrict consideration here to the last fifty years so that my first-hand experience of watching Rovers can inform the commentary. The downside of this approach means that Bob Crompton’s FA Cup winning reign from 1926-1931, Johnny Carey’s first spell in charge from 1953-1958 which saw Rovers return to the top-flight and Dally Duncan leading Rovers to the 1960 FA cup final are all ineligible, though worthy achievements. This will be of course, entirely a matter of subjective opinion and heavily influenced by personal biases as you shall see. Any comparison of achievements must also consider the context of those achievements; notably the resources available, how they were used and the personal impact of the manager in question. In true “Top Of The Pops” style, let’s count down from five to one...if at this point you are hearing Alan Freeman’s dulcet tones over the legendary theme, “At The Sign Of The Swinging Cymbal”; then my friend, we are on the same page... 5. Mark Hughes Hughes joined Rovers as a player in October 2000 on a free transfer from Everton, one of many Rovers signings over the years that I have vocally questioned, only to have the evidence of my poor (and premature) judgement rammed down my throat. Two goals on his debut against Tranmere indicating that perhaps Souness knew what he could add. However, it is his managerial record we are considering and Hughes returned to Ewood in 2004 to take over a side bereft of confidence and potentially on the road to relegation. Hughes subsequently led Rovers to two FA Cup semi-finals, UEFA cup qualifications and fashioned a side of skill allied to strength, leading the Guardian to christen us “Blackeye Rovers” in their “The Fiver” column, following the clash between Andy Todd and Robin van Persie in the Cardiff FA Cup semi final. A team that contained the likes of Robbie Savage, Roque Santa Cruz and David Bentley gave Rovers fans some great moments. Arguably, his reign at Rovers was to prove to be the high-water mark of Hughes as a manager, as despite his promising start, subsequent appointments failed to live up to the hype. High Point: 4-3 win at Ewood over Manchester United in 2006 4. Graeme Souness Souness, initially at least, was exactly the right man, at the right club at the right time. Rovers were in danger of being cast adrift in the second tier, or perhaps even worse and the whole club seemed to need a shake-up. The iron-man image of Souness was just what was required to reinvigorate an ailing set-up on and off the pitch. Souness built on the young talent at his disposal, namely the exciting triumvirate of Duff, Dunn and Jansen and added to it some quality and experience with the likes of Berg, Hughes and of course, the inimitable Tugay. For signing Tugay alone, Souness could be regarded as something of a messiah. Promotion was soon followed by a triumph in the League Cup, ensuring Rovers joined the pantheon of clubs to have won all three main domestic trophies. The signings of Andy Cole and then Dwight Yorke creating a buzz, the future seemed bright. However, slowly and surely, the abrasive side of Souness seemed to alienate some of his key players - most memorably Yorke in a 5 a-side match. When Newcastle came calling, many suspected that the timing salvaged his reputation and prevented Rovers having to dismiss him following a poor start to the season. The signing of Javier de Pedro summing up latter-days Souness. High Point: Cardiff, 2002 3. Howard Kendall Kendall joined Rovers as player-manager from Stoke City, on the back of a recommendation from Jimmy Armfield, after the Rovers board had tried to secure Armfield’s services. He took over a disjointed, dispirited team that had just suffered relegation and re-shaped them in his mould; hard-working, industrious, tenacious, organised but with flair and ingenuity when required. Securing promotion from the third division back to the second in his first season; incredibly, he almost made it back to back promotions the following year. Rovers capacity to avoid defeat resulting in a number of drawn games that ultimately would cause heartbreak as victories were required. That he managed all of this at a time when Rovers financial peril meant that (allegedly) nothing brighter than a 40w bulb flickered in the offices, tea bags were dried out and used twice and Kendall himself it is said, used to buy the milk for the staff tea, is little short of astonishing. His influence as a player should also not be under-estimated, but as he later went on to prove with Everton, he was indeed also a great manager. Had he stayed at Ewood longer than two seasons, perhaps he would have been indisputably Rovers’ best ever, but it was Everton that were to reap the benefits of his Rovers apprenticeship. High point: Gigg Lane, April 1980 2. Kenny Dalglish Dalglish is one of the legendary figures in British football and that he ever managed Rovers at all is still a source of astonishment. For younger readers, imagine Pep Guardiola quitting Man City next February and by October, being installed as the new Rovers manager...yes, it was THAT big at the time. Dalglish brought gravitas and instant credibility to the role, able to attract players to Rovers that wouldn’t have given (and in some instances didn't give) us a second glance previously, he was serious about his work and what he was expected to deliver. His signings were astute, his team building relentless and the results inexorably rolled in. Promotion via the play offs and of course the small matter of the league title means he must be right up there, but adjusting for the resources at his disposal, means that in my view, he falls just short of the number one spot in this chart. High Point: May, 1995 naturally... 1. Don Mackay I did say at the outset that personal biases would come into play and Don Mackay made me fall in love with Rovers all over again after the relatively sterile years of the early/mid 1980’s, where my Rovers habit had been broken by attending university. I followed from a distance of course, but preferred playing to watching. However, once Don was in situ, The natural enthusiasm of the man was infectious. His belief spread throughout the club and in time, the town. There was something uniquely appealing about Don and the teams he assembled that won me over. Bargain signings seemed to gel almost immediately. Gradually, Rovers became attractive to watch and competitive. Glamour signings like Steve Archibald and Ossie Ardiles demonstrated the newly-found ambition. Much like Howard Kendall a decade earlier, the handicap of a shoe-string budget (initially) was overcome and resulted in successive appearances in the play-offs, albeit leading to annual heartbreak of course. But, THAT day out at Wembley in the Full Members’ Cup means that the Don just edges it for me. A day I never thought I’d see, Rovers lifting a trophy and at Wembley...little did we know what was to come. Don Mackay was a guest on the BRFCS podcast and still speaks fondly of his time at the club, but his memories are tinged with sadness that he couldn't utilise the Walker finance in the way that his successor was able to. On this list, you're number one though Don. High Point: FMC, Wembley You may well have your own view on this topic, but one topic we presumably can all agree on... “Who is Rovers’ Greatest-Ever Caretaker Manager ?”.
  13. Birdy's kit promo Paul Ince's first press conference Steve Kean unironically talking about us signing Ronaldinho and Beckham
  14. Riverside under the drip

    Club merchandise

    Just saw a tweet promoting the '1875' range of clothing. Despite my better judgement I clicked... A drab collection of uninspiring greys, greens and beiges. I didn't notice but I assume they all have 1875 written on them. This brings me to a wider point. When was the last time Rovers branded clothing actually impressed you? I'll make an exception for the retro kits (although this could be extended to lots more good years). To me, virtually everything in the shop is the same kind of navy blue, grey, generic clothing with an indistinct badge on them. Nothing genuinely desirable. Nothing in blue and white halves bar the home shirt. Even the beanie hats are all blue. Where is the love for our own unique colour scheme? I lost my Rovers hat a fair few years ago which was simple blue and white halves with a crest. I've been looking for another ever since but nothing. Fair comment or am I getting older with no knowledge of current fashion?
  15. Another year out on loan, perhaps the most successful, 4 goals in his last 5 from centre-back! He's had loan spells at Cambridge, Lincoln, Bury and Northampton since the age of 19. Funny stat is that he got a League Winners medal with Bury for League Two in 2018/19, but also a runners up medal with Lincoln for the same league in the same season! Having played 15 and 11 games for each club respectively. Just what do we do with a lad like Scott Wharton? He's due back at the end of the season, he'll be 22. Do we think he's good enough to be a squad player for us? Or is it simply too little too late?
  16. So I've done a comparison of 8 of our players, all in contrasting positions around the pitch, just to see who our best performers have been this season. This chart just furthers the idea that Downing is the best player at the club, he's now playing left-back and still averaging stats like this. Final scores at the bottom, with Downing in 1st, Lewis Travis in 2nd and Bradley Dack in 3rd. Shout out to Tosin Adarabioyo who wins many categories here by an absolute landslide, and could turn out to be one of those Harrison Reed types who we just get too attached too and never want to see go! PG = Per Game Green > Light Red goes 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 - Dark Red scores 0. BD = Bradley Dack SD = Stuart Downing EB = Elliott Bennett AA = Adam Armstrong TA = Tosin Adarabioyo JR = Joe Rothwell CE = Corry Evans and finally, if anyone wants to see some players compared more specifically, like Gallagher vs Graham or something like that, let me know - love little tit bits of information like this.
  17. A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column “Ah, Mr Mowbray, We Weren’t Expecting You!” Apparently there's a new Bond film on the horizon... The scene is an oak panelled corridor. It’s dark, quiet and all that can be seen in the subdued light are two heavy, studded doors at either side; each with enormous brass handles. The door on the left is marked “1-12”, the door on the right “13-24”. A figure emerges from the gloom and knocks on the first door. After a short pause, the door opens and a butler announces from inside, with some formality and indeed solemnity; “Ah...Mr Mowbray...come on in...to be honest, we didn’t expect to see you in here again...EVER. Sit yourself down sir, over there if you’d be so kind, by that nice Mr McCann from Hull and Mr Harris from Millw...sorry, I mean Cardiff...I’ll bring you a drink...” Mowbray wearing a Savile Row tuxedo strides into the room and surveys the scene. A grudging nod of acknowledgement from Garry Monk but something catches Mowbray’s eye. At one end he notices a smaller area surrounded by the obligatory velvet rope and within, is an ornate top table with champagne on chill, but only two places are set. From behind the velvet rope, Alex Neil turns round, notices Mowbray and shakes his head in disbelief at the arrival of this new guest. “YOU...but how? We finished you...didn’t we?” cries Neil, an expression of utter confusion crossing his brow. Grant McCann frowns, starts to stand up to make a point but Mowbray places a hand on McCann’s shoulder and gently eases him back into his wing-chair. Mowbray knows that now isn’t the time to rise to this bait, Instead, Mowbray beckons the butler over. “What do I have to do to get in there then?” asks Mowbray, emboldened by the impact of his sudden and spectacular entrance. “Well...” hesitates the butler, “let’s just walk before we run sir and perhaps in the fullness of time, at the appropriate juncture, we can discuss admission requirements...” (to be continued...perhaps). If a week is a long time in politics it can be an eternity in sport, especially football. Not that long ago, let’s be frank, the probability of Rovers’ returning to the play-off conversation looked about as likely as the chances of Watford FC handing out managerial long-service awards. One fortunate, scrappy win and two hard-fought, but deserved wins later; nine points onto the total has certainly put a spring back into the step of the Rovers faithful. The Brentford performance demonstrated that the squad has quality, tenacity and skill. It helped that Rovers attack had Danny Graham as its fulcrum and pace provided from either side by Rothwell and Armstrong. In central midfield, Evans and Travis did the hard yards and a clean sheet was a just reward for some staunch defending and solid goalkeeping. “But can they do it on a cold, Tuesday night, away at Stoke?” is the clichéd challenge regularly thrown out by the PFM* whenever a fancy-dan foreigner is being lauded on Sky Gillette Soccer Saturday. Substitute “Saturday afternoon” for “Tuesday night” and Rovers demonstrated that yes, they could indeed. It wasn’t easy physically, nor was it always easy aesthetically but sometimes you have to simply applaud the outcome. Rovers looked leggy, especially Joe Rothwell whose normal scampering, “Jack Russell enthusiastically chasing rabbits” style seemed to have transformed into more of a “plodding, aged golden retriever” here. Notwithstanding, Rovers had the measure of Stoke in the first half and a single goal lead was scant reward for periods of pressure applied. Special mention is warranted for Corry Evans, who seemingly wanted to deliver a midfield masterclass in front of his international manager. It was the best performance I have ever seen him deliver in a Rovers shirt. He prowled, snarled and passed his way around the Stoke midfield. Whether the signings of Johnson and Holtby raised the stakes or simply these two have grown organically into their partnership, we will never know but it’s a pleasure to see. The upturn in fortunes has coincided with the return of Darragh Lenihan to the centre of defence and another embryonic partnership seems to be blooming as Tosin seems to respond to the authority alongside him. #Adarraghbioyo ! When Stoke had equalised with ten minutes remaining, Walton blotting an otherwise well-maintained copybook by flapping at a corner; it seemed like a winner would only emerge from one direction; story of my life you might say. The Potters were increasing their pressure and Rovers looked like they might just succumb. The introduction of Bennett had solidified the right wing but had rarely threatened much in the way of attacking intent but that was to change late on. Then Nyambe found Dack who threaded a pass to Bennett, who in turn outstripped his full back and pulled back a cross perfectly into the stride of the approaching Sam Gallagher. Straight from the Guardiola playbook. Two-one, six minutes plus added time between three out of three and a frenetic nine-point, eight days. Rovers held on with some aplomb and the celebrations at the end called to mind the League One promotion season. A band of brothers securing another away win on the march to...well, where precisely? That is the $64k question. Can we break through into velvet rope territory? There’s a long way to go of course but how pleasant it is to be back in the top half and looking up, for a few days at least. A few more decent results in December and our old friend the January window comes along to tease us, like an ice-cream van parked outside a Weight Watchers meeting. Can we add quality & press for the play-offs or will we battle just to hold onto Dack, Lenihan and Travis? We are to be re-acquainted with Wayne Rooney on Saturday, but just in a coaching capacity until January, Derby County’s wild card for their push to the Premier League. Saturday’s fixture is followed by two very tough away games and so it takes on a different complexion than it appeared a couple of weeks ago...a “1-12” six-pointer. Velvet rope not quite in reach... just now. *Proper Football Men
  18. If you could sign any 3 Championship players who would they be?
  19. Nelsonthedog

    Players out of position

    Just wanted to make the point that TM isn't the only manager to switch players playing roles.. there are many examples of managers doing this.. in the distant past rovers had 'marshalls misfits' Inc switching Fred Pickering from average full back to become an outstanding centre forward.. more recently we had Kenny dalglish signing striker Paul warhurst and playing him midfield.. I think Graeme le saux was a winger at Chelsea too before dalglish made him an England left back.. I'm sure there are many other examples, can anyone think of any?
  20. JJ796

    Hello from Argentina

    Hi everyone! I'm Joaquin, 23, from Cordoba, Argentina, and I'm a Talleres fan. My club was founded by Tomas Lawson, who was a Rovers fan, and he used Blackburn's colors for the shirt, so I developed kind of a familiarity with this club, as if we're cousins or something lol. That's how I got to know this club and I came to this forum because I wanted to share this story with you, to show how football can bring people together even if they're from two very different places. I looked a bit on the player archive page and found out that Ardiles played for Blackburn so that's cool, he's from the same province as I am, and my city's stadium, the Mario Alberto Kempes, has one of its stands named after him. Also from now on I'm a Rovers supporter as well so I'll learn everything I can about the club. Thanks for welcoming me here and I hope you like this story Ps: sorry if the tag is incorrect or if anything else is wrong, I don't have much experience with forums
  21. A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column Dack’s Double Keep Frustrations Bottled Up Northbound on the M1 around junction 37; some political graffiti has emerged during the early days of the election campaign. One of the epithets painted onto a bridge straddling the M1 proclaims that “Barnsley doesn’t believe bullspit Boris”...at least I think that’s what it says, though I did pass at seventy miles per hour on Saturday morning (honestly officer...). Based on sentiments expressed on fan forums and social media over recent weeks, Rovers fans are growing increasingly, similarly frustrated, with what is seen by some as the same tired, old platitudes trotted out each week from our manager. Same old problems, same old bullspit? When results are poor, it seems the performance is what matters but when performances are poor, it’s the results that take primacy. The players seem to be called out individually and collectively more frequently; referees are invariably in the firing line after defeats but as Mowbray himself admits, the buck stops with him. Indeed it does. Mowbray is a fundamentally decent man in a sport that tends not to laud the principles of honesty and integrity as it ought, but he does sound even more world-weary than usual of late. Would Barnsley prove to be willing accomplices in helping to cheer up Tony? Barnsley arrived on the crest of a slump, fifteen games since their last win, but with a newly installed manager inducing the fear of “new manager bounce” in the home support, concern was widespread around pre-match Ewood. Many (your correspondent included) expressed a desire for a win by almost any means. With some tricky fixtures looming on the horizon, this was one you would simply have to mark down as a “must win”. The team selected looked decent enough; Rothwell starting, Lenihan returning and with Williams and Nyambe unavailable, the main talking point on the bench was the inclusion of Ben Brereton following his injury rehabilitation. Once the game started though, it became clear that Sam Gallagher was to be deployed wide right and Adam Armstrong was played through the centre. I recall Mark Hughes once deploying Roque Santa Cruz wide right against Manchester United in order to dominate Patrice Evra in the air. Bentley, Pedersen and Reid picked out Santa Cruz with a series of diagonal balls that he won easily and Jason Roberts was then to feed on the supply. It almost worked but a Carlos Tevez equaliser late on secured an ill-deserved point for the Reds. First Brereton and now Gallagher are being used in this fashion, but as a regular tactic and I have yet to comprehend fully the rationale or see it demonstrably pay off. The Sam Gallagher of that opening half hour at Deepdale looked almost unplayable. Rampaging through the centre, latching onto channel balls to feet or dangerous crosses in the air. This incarnation looks what it is; very much a guy playing out of position and growing increasingly frustrated with his lot. When Danny Graham plays, the team has a focal point. He holds the ball up. He brings others into the game. He categorically brings the best out of Bradley Dack. He is also 34 years old of course and so some kind of alternative approach is needed, with increasing urgency. I’m not convinced that continuing to play either Gallagher or Brereton as right wingers moves us closer to the ultimate answer. As a tactic, it has all the logic of asking a plumber to re-wire your house. It might work, but be careful plugging in that lamp. Barnsley very nearly left Ewood with a point, in all honesty they could have had all three. They dominated possession, had more shots, the same number on target and in Ben Williams (a former Rovers youth player incidentally) at left back and the tricky Conor Chaplin introduced at half time, further ahead on the left flank, Elliott Bennett was a busy man, especially in the second half. It took a brace from Bradley Dack, a first Rovers league goal for Stewart Downing and some desperate defending late on to secure a much-needed, if barely deserved victory. We tend to remember those games where our team plays well but fails to accrue just desserts and soon forget those lucky wins. A defeat here you sensed would have uncorked the genie from the bottle of pent-up crowd discontent. The mood was at best “unsettled” – with each Barnsley equaliser the frustrations grew louder and more vocal. Dack’s winner kept it in check but only just. Ten games without a clean sheet now. Post-game, Tony Mowbray proclaimed that "Danny came on and gave us a platform to play off". He did indeed Tony, just as he so often does. Who knows, perhaps Sam Gallagher might have been able if played through the middle? Instead we had the master of the offside call, (I counted at least five in the first half) Adam Armstrong; pitted against a couple of massive centre backs as Christian Walton amongst others, launched high balls down the middle. A victory earned despite ourselves it seemed. Brentford were next up at Ewood allowing David Raya the opportunity to state his case that he was a better keeper than Tony Mowbray believed him to be. Brentford back in February of course was the catalyst for that horrible run of form that looked like it might threaten Rovers Championship place. Should Rovers race into another two-goal lead expect a lot of knowing glances being exchanged in the stands, but that would be a nice problem to have. As it turned out. a single-goal lead, the result of a lovely back to front, side to side sweeping passing movement was sufficient. It was delightful move, the best Rovers conjured up in the match. I wonder how many Rovers fans polled at 7:45pm would have declared one goal sufficient to garner three points? Not me for sure but what a pleasure when it happens. Brentford play some truly intricate passing moves and dominate possession but as we say so often, the most important statistic is the one in the goals scored column. In truth, Rovers could have had more, Raya's denial of Rothwell and Armstrong demonstrating what Rovers fans already knew. Brentford's best chance brought the very best out of Walton, who too had a decent evening. The win was a reward for effort, application and dare I say it, the manager. No Bennett in the starting XI, Graham playing through the middle, Armstrong wide right, Rothwell starting; many fans' frustrations addressed right here. Those two victories have certainly dispersed much of the gloom that was building up over Ewood. November will be seen out on Saturday with a trip to Stoke, themselves coming into the fixture following back to back wins under their new manager, Michael O’Neill. As one of those sides currently below Rovers in the table, this fixture is another that falls into the critical category. Maintaining a healthy margin over the sides in the relegation zone would undoubtedly keep the genie in the bottle...for now at least. Barnsley M1 bridge photo courtesy of @_thesaturdayboy on Twitter - a great follow if you like your quirky sports photography www.thesaturdayboy.co.uk
  22. IrelandsRover


    Rovers fan since 94 from Ireland. It’s been a bit of a slog since then. Best wishes to all
  23. Wegerleswiggle

    If Tony goes...

    Just wanted to get a general feel for people's opinions. I know there will be lots of varying answers but what do you think would be the best route for Rovers to take..
  24. LeftWinger


    Tried a search, but I couldn't find a suitable thread for this. Allardyce Motivational Techniques Before the 7-1 defeat at Old Trafford, Allardyce played a montage of film clips on a projector in the changing room to attempt to motivate his players. Obviously it didn't go too well, but of more concern to me was Givet's comment: 'After the match, we were all laughing. The warriors had completely passed us by.' I certainly wasn't laughing after that game. "Good" to see the players could see the funny side.

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