Before the glamour and glitz of modern day football, when the Premier League was just plain old Division One, Don Mackay led his Blackburn side out at Wembley to square off against Charlton in the Full Members Cup Final, on March 29 1987, writes Tom Schofield.

That was supposed to be as good as it got for Rovers, with a first trip to Wembley since 1960.

Mackay was named Rovers manager in February 1987, having been working as reserves team manager at Rangers.

“There were plenty of good days, and some bad if I’m honest with you,” Mackay reflects.

There was a great sense of pride when speaking of that 1987 final where Rovers ran out 1-0 winners. It was to be his crowning achievement as Rovers’ manager, one that puts him amongst some of the club’s most well regarded gaffers.

He continued: “The big one though was obviously going to Wembley and winning a trophy, the lads did really well that day.”

At that time Rovers averaged gates of around 7,000, but on that day 30,000 fans made the trip to watch their unfancied side pull off an upset.

Of the fantastic support, Mackay said: “We were amazed, people forget that Charlton were a reasonably good First Division side, and we were in the Second Division. There was most certainly 30,000 there, it contributed to the win I think.”

The winning goal was scored by a relative newcomer to the club in Colin Hendry. The then 22-year-old had only signed for the club a few weeks prior from Dundee United, his first game being the semi-final clash against Ipswich Town.

“It was a bit of a whirlwind really, within a matter of weeks I signed and ended up at Wembley,” said Hendry.

“To keeping a clean sheet in the semi-final as a centre half and then winning the final and scoring the winning goal.

“It’s just a fairytale. It’s a kid’s dream as a footballer, to score a winning goal in a cup final.

“It never happens for most footballers, but it did for me.”

When looking back on his Rovers’ career, Mackay concedes that the main aim of promotion never quite came to fruition.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying either, Rovers had various close calls, often flirting with promotion to, the then, Division One. One issue that Mackay had however, that Kenny Dalglish did not have, was a lack of investment.

He explained: “The main objective was to gain promotion and it never happened, and that was a big disappointment.

“You go to a club and you know what you’re going into.

“We wanted to come in and try and develop younger players, Colin was bought, but he was a younger player.

“We did a great job at bringing young players through as well.

“The only time we actually made money was when we sold Colin Hendry to Manchester City, that was the first time we went in the black.

“Bill Fox, the chairman at the time, was so proud that we actually had money in the bank that we could hopefully spend on one or two players.”

Two players that did sign for Rovers, albeit on a short term basis, were Steve Archibald and Ossie Ardiles from Barcelona and Tottenham respectively.

On his two high-profile signings as Rovers manager, Mackay said: “The one that started it all off was Steve Archibald.

“I knew Steve from back in Scotland, I knew he wasn’t happy at Barcelona.

“The one thing I knew I could offer him at Blackburn was regular football and a chance to put himself in the shop window again.

“That’s what Steve wanted as well, he wanted first-team football and we could offer him that.

“Unfortunately he (Ardiles) got clattered in his first game for us against Plymouth and ended up being out for two or three games.

“We had wanted to build on him to help us get promotion, I mean we came so close again, and again.”

The closest Rovers would come was in 1989 against Crystal Palace, losing in a two legged-final. Rovers were 3-1 winners at Ewood, but a controversial penalty saw them miss out, beaten 3-0 after extra-time.

It would frustrate Mackay that his side fell at the final hurdle in such contentious circumstances.

He said: “We’d done well at Ewood and should have done even better, we could have scored a few more that day.

“The atmosphere was hostile in the return leg and we suffered because of that. To this day the penalty that Ian Wright got off a foul from Colin Hendry wasn’t a penalty, it was a free-kick.

“I went to work for Arsenal for a little while, and I bumped into Ian (Wright) a few times.

“We joked about that, because he thought as well that it should have been a free-kick to Blackburn Rovers as well.”

The following season, Rovers once again failed in the play-offs losing 4-2 on aggregate to Swindon in the semi-final. The season after wasn’t so successful, Rovers finished 19th only avoiding relegation by four points.

It was around that time that local benefactor, Jack Walker, began to have increasing influence at the club.

Mackay said: “Believe it or not, I tried to buy Gary Lineker from Tottenham, we also spoke to Teddy Sheringham and Jack gave us money to do that.”

With great honesty, Mackay conceded that Rovers’ issue when attempting to sign these players, was his own pedigree in management.

He explained: “The problem was that the money was there but those players would have been more influenced by Kenny Dalglish than they would Don Mackay.”

It was clear for the fans as well that something was changing and that they would soon have to realign their expectations.

That further highlighted Blackburn’s issue under Mackay, they just couldn’t attract the players they needed to really take the club to another level.

Mackay would be sacked early in the 1991/1992 season, knowing that the club would go onto big things.

He said: “The money was there, but the players I went to speak to at the time didn’t believe that Blackburn Rovers was the club that they actually were.

“I had a press conference actually the day I left, and I said then that one day you’ll speak of this club in the same way you do Liverpool and Manchester United.

“They didn’t believe me, they thought I was being stupid, three years later Blackburn won the league.”