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Found 173 results

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. If you could sign any 3 Championship players who would they be?
  6. 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?
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. IrelandsRover

    Hi

    Rovers fan since 94 from Ireland. It’s been a bit of a slog since then. Best wishes to all
  10. 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..
  11. LeftWinger

    Allardyce

    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.
  12. roversfan99

    Our Current Squad

    Putting the managerial situation to one side for a second, as this could easily be applied to a new manager. How good is our current squad and what is our best side? I think our fans massively overestimate how good it is, in my opinion it is no better than a mid table squad full of flaws and weaknesses. Even in areas where we are stronger, ie in midfield, we may have some talented players but they are either all wanting to play similar roles, or their best position is somewhat a mystery. To clarify, this isnt me defending Mowbray, because I still do think he is underachieving in a underwhelming league in terms of quality if not competitiveness, the blame goes to Mowbray in terms of building this squad in the first place. In goal, we dont have a competent Championship goalkeeper so thats not a good start. I think with the impressive Cunningham written off, our obvious back 4 is Nyambe, Lenihan, Adarabioyo and Williams. Which isnt great, full backs (Nyambe has scope for further improvement) are both very low end Championship full backs, and there is promise in the middle 2 but still to prove they are capable of keeping the goals out. Problem is that all of them has fitness question marks to varying degrees too, so that even if the manager didnt have blind spots to the pair, as I very much doubt that Bell or Bennett would get in any other teams in the league, they would still feature fairly regularly regardless of who the manager is because of a lack of depth. Midfield is a curious one. In players like Downing and Holtby, you have potentially capable players but ones whose exact position is an unknown. With Downing slowing down perhaps his best position is in central midfield, but I am unconvinced that he can have full control of a match from that role. Holtby I feel is somewhat restricted from a deep role and hasnt impressed me there. Hes a natural number 10, but cant play there as our best player plays there, so for me the best best is to shoehorn him wide right, far from ideal but ultimately we dont have any competent right wingers. Rothwell is a definite for the left wing but again, is he more of a number 10? And has he been given a chance to prove that he can consistently provide goals and assists? And I think Travis for all his energy is a little overrated because we dont have anyone else like him, he has to play I think. I think we have the best choice/depth in midfield but are miles away from having a balanced midfield and I think we will be searching for the correct mix throughout the season. Up front, pretty simple, and it is the same in regards to playing any of them wide. Gallagher, Armstrong, Brereton and Samuel arent up to it. Graham starts every game he physically can, end of. We need a new manager, but it will take another few windows run competently this time to get this squad near the play offs.
  13. Hank Moody

    Match day ticket price

    After a last minute change of plans I decided that I would book tickets for today’s home game for me & wife. It was disappointing to be informed that because it was after 12:00hrs that a £3 increase per ticket would be added. A 12% increase in the price of tickets is a joke! Due to this increase I have refused to attend on principle. With attendances dwindling surely it most be in Rovers interest to encourage fans to attend?
  14. Wegerleswiggle

    Which ex manager would succeed

    Now it is completely obvious TM is not the man who is going to bring top flight football back to Ewood Park! Which former boss do you think could work with the Venkys and also get us back to the Premier League?
  15. A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column Where To Source A Footballing Fix ? Yet another international break brings some light relief from Rovers’ current Championship tribulations; a chance to pause, reflect, re-set and look elsewhere for a footballing fix...but where exactly to find it? Let’s explore the options further... England This last week saw England play their 1,000th international fixture and secure qualification for next year’s Euros with a comfortable win over Montenegro; themselves without the services of the now-retired Rovers “legend”, Simon Vukcevic. In the course of those 1,000 matches Blackburn Rovers have contributed 48 players to the nation’s cause – the ninth highest contributing club to date - Spurs lead the way with 78. Without resorting to Google, can you name the last Rovers England international to date? (Answer lower down in the column). Those 48 players won 321 caps in total whilst also representing Rovers and contributing 41 of those is club legend Bob Crompton; ahead of Bryan Douglas on 36 and Ronnie Clayton with 35. Bob Crompton actually passed away following a heart attack suffered watching his beloved Rovers play Burnley during a war-time match in 1941. The 1995 title-winning team not entirely surprisingly, was something of a bedrock of modern Rovers England representation, providing seven internationals during the 1990’s halcyon days. In keeping with social media themes circulating last week, here is an England team of Blackburn Rovers internationals, fit to take on any other club representative England team in my biased viewpoint (and yes, please forgive the recency bias..!) :- Flowers Newton Clayton Eckersley Le Saux Douglas Batty Dunn Wilcox Sutton Shearer The problem position of second centre back would have to be resolved by playing say Bob Crompton inside at centre back, Bill Eckersley inside or more radically; Chris Sutton could drop back and make room for say, David Bentley to play the “Number 10” role behind Shearer. The substitute’s bench could accommodate such luminaries as the aforementioned Bob Crompton, Bobby Langton, Stuart Ripley and Stephen Warnock – yes, he was the most recent England international capped whilst on the staff at Ewood. Not a bad contribution from a town club and ahead of the likes of Newcastle, Leeds, Wolves, 1966 World Cup Winners West Ham Utd and...well, Burnley. League One Tried it, surprisingly enjoyed the enforced break, but don’t particularly want to go back again if I’m being scrupulously honest. But on a blank weekend for Rovers, I am not averse to undertaking a bit of ad-hoc scouting “just in case” you might say (!). “Surely both Rotherham and Stanley aren’t going up?” Well, no, they aren’t...but... With Accrington Stanley visiting my patch in South Yorkshire, the opportunity to drop into the exotically named New York Stadium once again, was too much to resist last weekend. It’s one of my favourite away grounds and one of the best examples of a club relocation in recent years. The Millmoor floodlights are still visible from outside but the new stadium is even closer to the town centre. You can easily park nearby, there are town centre pubs welcoming away fans, the view once you are in your seat is excellent, the sound is contained within the ground, generating decent atmosphere and most importantly, I can be home within twenty minutes or so of the final whistle. Both of these teams might be in different divisions next season based upon what I evidenced on Saturday. Rotherham seem tidy, well-organised and move the ball quickly to feet, making them tricky opponents. Stanley sadly, on Saturday’s first half evidence at least, look like they might have a bit of a battle on their hands this season. They were insipid in the opening forty-five minutes but at least made “a right good go of it” in the second half as Gary Bowyer would have it. It was too little too late and a single goal reverse does nothing for their confidence. Once again, a team I was supporting, wearing blue, came a cropper at the hands of the Millers. Rovers Return Back to the Ewood beat, Rovers next visitors are Barnsley in what is already in danger of taking on the mantle of a relegation six-pointer, even at this embryonic point of the season. Tony Mowbray’s expression and voice tone tend towards the world-weary at the best of times, but the last few weeks have given him particular cause to furrow his brow. Another reverse against the side currently bottom, with just a single victory so far - and that on the season’s opening day, against one of the favourites for promotion, Fulham - really would light up the forums you suspect. Since then, it’s been a tough old journey for Barnsley, but they have taken a point each off Derby, Swansea, West Brom and Bristol City so they need to be respected. Joey Barton’s best friend Daniel Stendel quit last month after a 5-1 defeat at Preston, capping a run of what was at that point 10 games without a win. That run has now stretched to 15 and playing a team on that sort of a run brings out the fatalist in my character. Radio advertisement voiceover: “Is your team struggling to find form? Without a win in 15 games you say? Why, come on down to our Ewood Park rehabilitation facility forthwith and receive the warmest of welcomes from the local back four...” Defeat here really would be ugly and deeply concerning. Just five points separate Rovers from the drop zone and of the teams currently beneath Rovers, Huddersfield seem to be on the up with new manager Danny Cowley and Stoke similarly with Michael O’Neill now in situ. This is no time for a slip up, unless Mauricio Pochettino really fancies a new challenge. Tony Mowbray knows that football is a results business and he will be fully aware that this is the second poor run in the calendar year. He has lost two key defenders to injury of course in Cunningham and Lenihan, but he has also constantly tinkered with the midfielders and forwards in front of his back four, much like a chef trying to conjure up some culinary magic by adding familiar ingredients and spices somewhat randomly to his dishes. “Bolognese...ummm...but what if we added curry powder or used prawns instead of mince...?” The opening twenty minutes at Deepdale demonstrated that when this side plays at pace, with courage and determination, they can be a match for the division’s best. However, the second half at Deepdale served only to emphasise that confidence is a brittle commodity and once lost, much like Prince Andrew’s credibility, is terrifically difficult to regain. After Barnsley comes Brentford at Ewood and then another “six-pointer” away at Stoke. The fixtures come thick and fast in the Championship and yes, it is definitely a results business. Right now, Rovers need to dig deep and find at least a couple from somewhere, fast. Or kidnap Mauricio Pochettino.
  16. A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column Feelgood Factor Soon Fades Away Well that didn’t last long did it? Any residual goodwill after the late, late show at Ewood last week soon dissipated and you might say “normal service” was resumed at Elland Road. This was always going to be a tough fixture but the reality of Saturday’s display demonstrated that whilst Leeds Utd are technically, extremely competent and well-drilled they are by no means unassailable, it's just that Rovers failed to prove the point. I first set foot in Elland Road as a small boy when, on the way home after a Sunday afternoon trip out to Knaresborough, York or somewhere roundabouts, we stopped off at the ground on the off chance that we might possibly be able to go in and take a peek. It was a fetish of mine back then and in truth still is; I love looking at empty football grounds. Even more so if you can sneak in to look behind the scenes. I once had the great fortune to work in an office block overlooking Benfica’s Estadio da Luz and struggled to concentrate if I sat next to the window. Holidays with me are also an absolute blast when I see a floodlight pylon or a cantilevered stand in the distance. Unimaginable today, but a gate was open, some routine maintenance was taking place and I could wander onto the actual turf that saw the likes of Bremner, Giles, Lorimer, Gray and Charlton J. perform every fortnight on their way to Championship and FA Cup successes. From that moment on, I took close interest in the fortunes of Leeds United, lured in further by that glorious Admiral away strip which launched the modern era of replica kit manufacture and marketing. All yellow with white & blue stripes and the infamous “smiley” badge. I loved it, but despite repeatedly dropping hints, it was never to be mine. I would steam up the windows of Gibsons, David Lloyd Sports and EJ Riley each in turn when out and about in Accrington, pointing and insisting on its suitability as a Christmas or birthday present. As an aside, there were three (count ‘em..!) mainstream sports shops in Accrington in those days; all selling actual sports equipment and kit; bats, rackets, spare studs even jockstraps - not knock off jeans, tea mugs and enormous “bags for life”. That’s possibly worthy of a column in its own right. Leave that thought with me... Back to Saturday, Rovers started reasonably brightly in fairness. They looked comfortable but the passing accuracy was awry all too often and the speed at which the ball was shifted from back to front was too slow even to threaten to cause Leeds any real damage. Lots of froth and bubble but little substance nor cutting edge. Leeds by contrast were the epitome of ruthless efficiency, the first two shots on target that Rovers allowed, delivered their opponents a two-nil lead. One characteristic that we have in common with Manchester City this past weekend. The opener coming from the penalty spot was certainly “soft” but despite many protestations on the terraces and social media, by the letter of the laws, it was awarded correctly. My benchmark for these sorts of decisions is; “Would I expect it to be awarded to us if the roles were reversed?” and had it been Gallagher blocked off in that manner by a Leeds defender, then yes, I would have expected to receive a penalty kick. Adarabioyo's challenge was clumsy, though undertaken with no malice intended, he looked rather like a man trying to shoo away a wasp at a picnic with his foot in order to protect his sandwiches. With Adarabioyo missing the ball completely, Ayling took advantage of the situation, emphasising the contact and falling dramatically in instalments to ensure that the referee had spotted the infringement. In fairness, the second Leeds goal was a thing of beauty and demonstrated the influence of Bielsa on this side. Rovers lose possession from their own throw-in near the half way line, Leeds sweep the ball back to their keeper, from left to right and back again. Phillips emerges centrally just outside his own penalty area and strides forward, unchallenged for the length of half the pitch. A long ball into the area is controlled with balletic grace by Bamford and laid on a plate for Harrison to curl one into the bottom corner. Eleven passes with nothing approximating pressure on the ball from Rovers until Bamford became involved. Had Rovers scored it, the away fans would possibly still be celebrating now. Two nil and fears of an impending mauling rise. Rovers raced into a two-goal lead at Deepdale of course only to see it drift away like the scent of a Hollands Pie in the breeze; would Leeds fall victim similarly? A corner saw Derek Williams meet the cross with a bullet header and so just before half-time, Rovers were very much back in the game. The second half sadly just seemed to peter out. The anxiety felt by Leeds players and their fans grew as the clock ticked but frankly, it’s hard to recall anything remotely resembling a clear-cut chance for Rovers in that 2nd half. Tony Mowbray once more threw on Danny Graham to try and make the ball stick up top. A few minutes later, John Buckley entered the fray as his wild card to try and make something unpredictable happen. “It worked against Wednesday, why not here?” seemed to be the logic. With his final substitution, rather than the erratic but often impactful Rothwell, Mowbray deployed Evans. A puzzling choice at the time. A baffling one with the benefit of mature reflection. In the aftermath, Mowbray chose to focus his ire (in public at least) on the award of the soft penalty. This was not entirely surprising although somewhat dispiriting, predictable and already this season, tediously repetitive. A solitary attempt on target across 90 minutes, all that Rovers were able to create is most definitely not the fault of the match officials. The failings of this squad are starting to accumulate. Talk of the play-offs has moved from being optimistic/ambitious to fanciful/ludicrous and in reality, the league table these days is studied from the bottom up. There’s a long way to go, but moving into another international break on the back of another defeat was the last thing this increasingly beleaguered team needed. Anyhow, back to those old sports shops in Accrington...
  17. Nice cosy clique. Out now.
  18. Alejandro Tapia

    144 Years

    144 years a go the most beautiful football team...as a forgein supporter has to be impossible to say something that you doesn't know yet about our team but let me try... 144 years of a team that always has the special task to not only plays football but do it well thinking on people ho pays the ticket 144 years representing full of proud one of the most beautifull, traditional, and important countys...Lancashire...a place that has been forgotten like almoust the north a place that has much more to offer that people even imagine and Rovers always will represent the North. A team that changed my life in any aspects... thru football I knew and fell in love of England and your culture and values... a contry that now i respect and love just like mine. 144 years of glory and a present that yes wpuld be a shadow on our history but pals Blackburn Rovers has survived it doesen't matter why...since I'm a Rovers l hear a lot people sayung that we are lost that we are doomed etc...the only true is that we still here Why? Because of you and me becausewe know that to be a supporter it's not about trophys is not about economic success...Blackburn Rovers is about to pasion is about to love and defend your ground... 144 and I don't have nothing more to say but cheers to everybody ho supports my Blackburn it doesen't matter where. #Rovers #ImRoversTillIDie #Roversince2001 #TheMexicanRover
  19. A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column Adarabioyo Rises To The Challenge The fireworks were scheduled for 5:10pm but in reality, they started closer to 4:50pm when Wednesday substitute Jacob Murphy nodded home from close range and set off delirious celebrations in the upper tier of the Darwen End, just the upper tier note. I struggle to think of any circumstances under which asking £40 plus to watch a Championship fixture is justifiable, clearly several thousand Wednesday fans thought similarly. It was set up by former Claret Steven Fletcher, a nuisance for Rovers all afternoon, beating Walton to a near-post cross but only able to deflect it onto the bar, Murphy finished the job from a metre out. At that precise moment, any hopes that Rovers had for resurrection of their season seemed fit only to top one of the bonfires planned for later on Saturday night. It had been a dispiriting week, the Preston result forcing even Tony Mowbray’s staunchest admirers to reassess just what the future might hold. Another relegation would surely be cataclysmic for a club still coming to terms with its post-Premier League fate. Twenty years ago, almost to the day, Jack Walker lost patience with Brian Kidd following a seven-game winless run and the speculation was mounting that Mowbray might soon meet a similar fate. However, structures seem more stable around Ewood Park these days, with knee-jerk reactions much less likely; but for all that, a win would help to dowse the bonfire of criticism aimed at Mowbray. Pre-season expectations varied significantly across the fanbase, some expecting play-off contention, some content with modest improvement but hardly anyone predicted a relegation battle. In a week where Netflix announced that they had been trialling software to allow viewers to watch films at 1.5x speed, the first half at Ewood had you longing for such a gadget for use in real-life. Reducing the “spectacle” to 30 minutes would have been a popular option such was the paucity of entertainment. The atmosphere in the ground was in parts of that first half, quieter than during the pre-match period of remembrance, sullied as it was by some unseemly noise emanating from the Darwen End. Charging those particular loons £40 for their tickets didn’t seem such bad idea at that point. Much like a jigsaw puzzle afficionado, Wednesday collected a series of corners but they failed to convert their pressure into clear chances and so praise must be handed out to Rovers latest defensive formation. Initially, it seemed to be a three when attacking, four when defending, but it soon settled down as a flat four with Williams wide left and the inexorable Bennett slotting in at right back. The stand-out performer in that first-half was the on-loan youngster Tosin Adarabioyo. His calmness in possession, desire to play it on the grass, to split the opponent’s lines with his passes and to treat possession of the football with the highest of respect marks him out as a player who has evidently received coaching of the highest quality. The half-time whistle was something of a relief, a chance to re-group and re-think and start anew in the second; for the fans as well for that matter. It was Garry Monk who blinked first, introducing Forestieri. Soon afterwards, the predictable reply from Rovers was to turn to Danny Graham, a man whose lustrous, bushy beard appears to signify a dearth of offers for razor sponsorship deals. Sam Gallagher suffered a knock but it might have been the preferred tactical change in any event. A Rovers attack with Graham at its fulcrum still looks the best option for Tony Mowbray; unless and until Sam Gallagher can reproduce that opening 25 minutes at Deepdale across 90 minutes and on a regular basis. With Joe Rothwell joining Graham a few minutes later and disrupting the midfield with his high intensity running and dribbling, the game finally sparked into life. Keiren Westwood in the Wednesday goal, himself no ally of Gillette it seems, demonstrated that goalkeepers mature with age like a fine port and two impressive saves from Travis and Rothwell in short order seemed to suggest that a goalless draw was to be the height of Rovers aspirations. The intervention of Fletcher & Murphy, sounding for all the world like the names of a brace of springer spaniel pups, seemed to have marked Rovers cards and the ground braced itself. Which is when Tony Mowbray threw on young John Buckley for the veteran Downing, presumably in the hope that his youthful endeavour could contrive a chance where Downing’s experience had been unable. Buckley entered the fray carrying a note which was passed to Adarabioyo. Much speculation ensued on social media as to the contents but frankly, even if it did say “Score two lads” as one wag on Twitter suggested, it did the trick. With just two minutes of regulation time remaining, Bennett flighted a delightful free kick into the box, Adarabioyo used his physical presence once more, this time as an attacking force and looped a lovely header over the previously invincible Westwood, ostensibly it appeared to save a point. Well surely that’s what most of us thought? Except for John Buckley... Three minutes later, more Rovers pressure resulted in Dack & Graham reforming their tried and tested partnership, a horrible slice by Börner left Danny Graham with time and space in the box to set up Rothwell. He wanted a touch too many and Börner seemed to have atoned by sliding in to clear the ball, but only to the feet of Buckley, who needed no second bidding to shoot and via a kindly deflection off the left leg of the hapless...yup, Börner again, wrong footed Westwood, to make it 2-1 and initiate delirious celebrations. Much has been made of Rovers recent inability to retrieve lost causes and/or score late goals; all too often being on the wrong end of astonishing comebacks (just last week for instance) but this was as welcoming as a potato pie supper, followed by parkin and treacle toffee; nourishing, warming, then ultimately sweet. Naturally, the remainder of stoppage time was still sufficient for the Owls to hit the post following a deflection from that man Adarabioyo again and Rovers needed a fine save from Walton to keep out the follow up. The impromptu on-field firework display was over, just the off-field ones to enjoy now. Crisis averted, at least temporarily; zero without a win. Leeds Utd away up next, if ever there was a place to stage another comeback in stoppage time...
  20. smudgetones

    Thanks for the love!

    I’m so glad that I have been able to keep you in a state of apoplexy for a while. I admit that some weeks I use the old William Burroughs/David Bowie cut-up technique instead of purposely trying to annoy you. I was hopeful that by now you would realise that I don’t write for you. Obviously Ian runs this site and so he speaks for you. Delap writes for his demographic. I write for me. My opinion is not supposed to lay easy with you. I am not spoon feeding you what you want to read. No point. You know what YOU think. You then float it on here. i did not win a competition to write a column. I have done this for 20 years. I don’t share my column on Twitter or in the Rovers groups because I am not in this for likes and love. I change my mind just like everyone does and that is an asset I find. Please carry on the hate. It clearly makes you feel better and, since I have only just been nudged to this forum, it has had no impact on my world.
  21. A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column Is This Is A Crisis...a Large Crisis ? It’s the crushing inevitability. The sense of foreboding that comes from fearing something going so well can’t possibly continue. The growing fear that fate is conspiring to snatch glory away from you in the cruellest possible way. However, England responded to the pressure, dug in at 13-7 and eventually added a further 6 points to record a handsome victory and book a place in the Rugby World Cup final, against the odds. A fast start, early scores, discipline, tenacity and team spirit all combining to make light of the fact that New Zealand had won 15 of the previous 16 encounters. Now, let’s do that “A Level” arts staple of the compare and contrast exercise shall we ? Deepdale, Saturday afternoon and a chastened Blackburn Rovers team facing a Preston team that they have failed to beat in any of the previous five meetings, comes out of the traps very much on the front foot, looking for all the world like a side re-born. Sam Gallagher is straining at the leash like an excitable Golden Retriever keen to chase squirrels in the park. Amari’i Bell is prowling down the left flank, probing for weaknesses, daring Preston players to even try and stop him. Adam Armstrong is the coiled spring, his raw pace a weapon to be unleashed on a Preston defence seemingly wearing leaden boots. Just a minute in, Gallagher scores or if you are a killjoy of epic proportions, Gallagher powers a header off the inside of the post, the diving Declan Rudd flails and the ball touches his shoulder on the way into the goal and it’s apparently therefore an own goal (it really isn’t...). Roughly four & a half thousand Rovers fans housed behind the goal at the opposite end celebrate wildly, irrespective of the designated scorer. The game continues in the same vein. Rovers are irresistible, attack after attack, Preston are much like the Led Zep classic, “Dazed and Confused”. Just ten minutes later, Gallagher strikes again, this time shaping a lovely left-footed curler inside the far post and on this occasion, he definitely has his first league goal of the season. Rovers are two ahead after just eleven minutes, on the “Stairway To Heaven” ? How do Rovers fans react ? Well, jubilation obviously, but thoughts drift, memories of Brentford in February seep into the conscience. It’s the crushing inevitability. After thirty minutes, Preston boss Alex Neil decides that enough is enough and he turns to his bench and deploys a six-foot, two-inch battering ram by the name of Jayden Stockley. A man with nine appearances and three goals on his CV whilst on loan at Accrington Stanley in 2011. The sacrificial lamb is former Rover and playmaker Paul Gallagher. The “Gallagher of the Match” award is to be Sam’s, not Paul’s. For the rest of the half, Rovers try to work out how to handle Stockley and Preston work out how best to use him. Rovers reach half-time largely unscathed with the two-goal lead intact. But Rovers fans just know. Nothing in life is achieved without a struggle, there has to be labore as well as arte. "Just keep it tight for 10-15 minutes at the start of the second half, put Adarabioyo on Stockley, sit a bit deeper, use Armstrong’s pace and Gallagher’s strength and a third breakaway goal seals the deal. Ten minutes, just keep it tight, because if we concede one, well that changes the dynamic". That’s the crushing inevitability, right there. Rovers managed just eight minutes before Christian Walton decided to perform the goalkeeping equivalent of an opening batsman; not sure where his stumps begin and end, shouldering arms, only to see the ball nip back late and hit off stump three quarters of the way up. As a pretty harmless and aimless cross drifted over to the back post, Walton allowed it to pass clean over his head to where Sean Maguire was standing. Maguire who probably couldn’t believe his luck, nodded it back to Barkhuizen, one down. “Good Times, Bad Times” is added to the "PNE Led Zep" playlist. At that moment, Rovers on-field presence seemed to evaporate. All the first half energy evidently dissipated as a result of just one fatal error by Walton. From that moment on, the momentum was flowing in one direction; away from the Rovers fans in the Shankly End towards Walton’s goal, Stockley the North End focal point. Elliott Bennett reprised his Huddersfield trick of conceding a clumsy penalty. Johnson took an eternity to take it but converted cleanly and Rovers’ lead had evaporated inside twenty minutes of the restart. From here on in, there was only one winner. Barkhuizen finally administered the mercy killing with a fine third with less than ten minutes to go and Rovers fans knew deep in their hearts that it was coming. You knew, I knew, we all knew, it’s the crushing inevitability. The pressure on Rovers boss Tony Mowbray is obviously growing with each successive slip up. That comes with the territory. But this time, this sequence feels a bit different somehow. The terrible run of February and March was eventually turned around and promises were issued that lessons had been learned and that defenders were coming. One of those mooted defenders played on Saturday, just not in a Rovers shirt. This time it has a whiff of the last days of Souness, a generally well-respected, well-liked manager in danger of tarnishing his legacy. If Middlesbrough sack Woodgate and come in for Mowbray the parallels will be adding up. That second half capitulation showed just how fragile the team’s confidence is currently. A relatively benign fixture list has yielded just two points from the last six games and now throws up matches at home against Sheffield Wednesday and away at Leeds United, two teams presently lording it in the top five. Tony Mowbray has to find a solution and quickly, or else the cries for his removal will grow yet louder. That too is a crushing inevitability. We are not yet quite at Captain Blackadder levels of crisis definition, “...a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour portage, and an enormous sign on the roof, saying 'This Is a Large Crisis'..” but that run of “winnable” games seems to be well and truly over. The key question now is "Does Tony have a Baldrick-style cunning plan ?" Six without a win.
  22. Stuart

    Mowbray Poll

    Several requests now so... based on the state of the squad, matches and overall confidence in Mowbray’s ability to take us forward.
  23. I saw Rich Sharpe point out a couple of interesting stats over the weekend, and after some digging found some of my own that show the "Character" of Rovers since Tony Mowbray took charge. Rovers haven't scored an injury time equaliser/winner in a league game since Fulham away in March 2017, the only other one in Mowbray's tenure is against Cardiff at Ewood in the same month We are yet to score an injury time winner in the league since Mowbray took charge (Last one being in February 2017, under Coyle, against QPR at Ewood) We haven't come from behind to win a game since April 2018 against Peterborough We have only come from behind to win a game in the league 3 times since Mowbray was appointed, Bristol Rovers home, Peterborough home & away in 17/18. In the 58 games since we came from behind to win a game, we have conceded the first goal 25 times, losing 19 of them. We haven't come from behind to win a game at this level since November 2016 which was under Coyle, against Brentford. The last time we conceded at Ewood park and won was New Years Day last season. Pretty damning stuff I would say, it generally means that if we go a goal behind, you might aswell go home as this lot aren't getting back into it. The signings of Cunningham, Downing and Johnson have no doubt helped the side to see games out when we are in front, but the lack of response when we go behind is really concerning and something that needs addressing if we are ever going to improve beyond a lower mid table side.
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