Rovers have helped restore the grave of club legend Fergus Suter – 135 years on from helping the club to a third successive FA Cup win.

Suter’s story was covered in the hit Netflix mini-series The English Game, released last year, having collected three successive FA Cup winners medals with Rovers in 1884, 1885 and 1886.

Widely recognised as the first ever professional footballer, Suter joined Rovers from Darwen in 1880, the Scottish full-back spending nine years with the club, scoring three goals in 38 FA Cup appearances and making one league appearance in the inaugural season of the Football League in 1888/89.

He passed away in July 1916, at the age of 58, having written his name into Rovers’ and footballing folklore.

After seeing his story covered in the Netflix series, Jacqueline McAleese, who resides within Blackburn Old Cemetery, worked with Rovers to help restore the memorial to Suter. That has seen a headstone re-erected and a new memorial stone, with the inscription ‘A pioneer and influential player at the start of our story’, introduced.

And she is delighted with the outcome, having been upset when first coming across his memorial after watching the series covering his story.

Lancashire Telegraph:

“I’ve lived within the cemetery gates for the past 20 years and the cemetery is quite precious to me,” she said.

“There are a lot of people in the cemetery who were the great and good of Blackburn when it was at its best.

“When I learned that Fergus Suter was buried here, I found that his gravestone had fallen over and his grave was just a mound of grass, so after watching The English Game, I was really quite upset.

“For everything that he went through and the massive difference he’s made to football as we know it today, the condition of his final resting place was really very sad and I just wanted to sort it out, so I did.”

It was at that point Jacqueline contacted Rovers chief executive Steve Waggott, having become ‘touched’ by Suter’s story, and she admitted: ‘I’m just so proud of everything that’s been achieved’.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The move has also won praise from the producers and originators of the series that covered Suter’s story.

“I would personally like to thank Blackburn Rovers Football Club for the wonderful job that they have done in restoring Fergus Suter’s grave so magnificently, a fitting tribute to a true footballing legend,” said Eddie Charlton, Originator and Executive Producer of The English Game.

Julian Fellowes, Creator and Writer of The English Game, said ‘millions of people around the world owe a great debt to Fergus Suter’ and that people would have now have a place to ‘pay their respects’.

“I am flattered and moved that our series should have triggered her desire to do this marvellous thing,” he said.