Right then. I'm part way back to the West Country and wanted to share a couple of thoughts while I have a coffee in services. Firstly, and please don't crucify me for this but, despite being a Rovers fan since 1992, I have NEVER been to Ewood Park before yesterday. I know. Whilst I do feel embarrassed by this, I have my reasons, which relate to stuff you don't want to hear about my long term health condition and financial struggles, as well as the obvious distance from home. A very recent cancer diagnosis in my family - my uncle who used to take a young me on road trips to watch England - has meant I have decided to start taking opportunities where I can, and not waiting for the 'perfect time' in the future. I drove up on my own yesterday as it was quite an emotional thing for me to be doing and I wanted to soak every minute up. Obviously the result was great, as was, I think, the overall performance. Hugely impressed by Rothwell, Wharton and Dolan, in particular, but not exclusively.
But the fact this was finally a big 'first' for me (I've been to lots of away matches down South), meant I spent a couple of hours wandering round the stadium before the game, and was just about the last to leave after full-time. This was purely because I wanted to remember every moment of something I had literally dreamed of for many years. And didn't really want it to end - appreciating I can't know when I'll next get to attend.
Anyway, despite the low numbers in the crowd, I realised I had found a "happy place" in Ewood Park, and before the game not just after. I made new friends amongst the season ticket holders sat around me (one couple supplied me with chocolates for the match and for my journey home!) I witnessed one of the greatest talents I have ever seen (the chap in front of me, who surprisingly revealed from his coat pocket at half-time a clearly home-prepared hot pie!) I also realised how beautiful the blue and white halves are under floodlights, just like the moon rising in the clear sky behind the Riverside and the silhouetted trees, just a glance away from a "Rovers 4-0" scoreboard. I took my time visiting Jack Walker's statue and fountain and I chatted with stewards and the shop staff. As I stood in the JWU at the end of the game, I looked around at the then totally empty stands and I realised just how lucky I was that my friend Doug Smith had moved from Blackburn to my street in Taunton in the early 90s and 'recruited' me, with his stories of Rovers legends. And how lucky we all still are that we had Jack. What I saw is still what he built. My love and protectiveness of the club is now only greater. I hope that next time I come it might be possible to meet other Forum members. It might just be that I will be less of a pathetic 'fan-boy' about the whole thing. But I suspect, and hope, not entirely.
And apologies for this spam message. Just wanted to share a view as someone with a particular perspective on what was, on paper, just a cold Wednesday night v Peterborough. But really wasn't. Now, back to the M6/M5...!