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Blackburn Rovers Column: Memories will never fade as Rovers on brink
AN incredible golden era in Blackburn Rovers’ proud history is in danger of coming to an abrupt end thanks to inept ownership, shocking managerial decisions and a lack of footballing knowledge.
All Rovers fans perhaps feared the ‘Premier League adventure’ would one day end – and maybe forever – as they fought the ever increasing financial odds, but no-one could ever have imagined the farcical nature in which a once well run club has come crashing down around them over the past 18 months.
Most – if not all – Rovers fans will wish they had never heard of Venky’s. This is the owners’ fault. They appointed and kept faith with Steve Kean, they allowed the club to spend circa £20million on mostly duff signings, and they also allowed years of experience on and off the field leave the club.
There remains a slight glimmer of hopeafter Bolton’s heavy defeat to Spurs last night at least gives Rovers a fighting chance, although the odds are still against them with just two games left and still three points adrift.
It would be easy to focus yet another column on the failings of the regime over the past 18 months.
There is so much to complain about and so little, if anything, to praise.
But as we prepare for what could be the last Premier League game at Ewood Park for a while, Monday night’s visit of Wigan, it is only fitting to celebrate what an incredible journey the club have been on over the last two decades.
For a town of a population of roughly 100,000, their footballing achievements have been nothing short of miraculous and, for me, overshadow anything any other Premier League club have managed over a sustained period.
Inspired by ‘Uncle Jack’, Rovers fans have been on an adventure that no town club is likely to ever experience again. To spend just two seasons out of the Premier League and stand ninth in all the league’s all-time standings is a feat that leaves the club the stand-out achievers over the last 20 years.
I’m not just talking about being one of four – maybe soon to be five – clubs to have lifted the Premier League trophy. I’m talking about remaining in and being competitive in the top flight once Jack Walker’s money had gone. The last 10 years have been in some way even more stunning.
No Rovers fan will ever forget that day at Anfield in 1995 when Tim Sherwood lifted the ult-imate prize for Kenny Dalglish’s men. To have been blessed by seeing the likes of Colin Hendry, Tim Flowers and Alan Shearer in a Rovers shirt is something that should never be under-estimated.
Seeing the maestro Tugay pulling the strings in the centre of the park, goalscoring geniuses like Andy Cole, Roque Santa Cruz and Benni McCarthy and club stalwarts of the likes of David Dunn, Brad Friedel, Garry Flitcroft and Ryan Nelsen are memories that will long outlast Venky’s in East Lancashire.
There are many more club greats and fans favourites who have contributed greatly along the way. A Premier League title, a Worthington Cup win and countless European campaigns deserve celebration.
It does not necessarily have to be all over. What happens next is up to Venky’s.
But one thing that is for sure is that the disaster of the last 18 months can’t destroy the mem-ories.
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