Kevin Davies was set to become Rovers’ new record signing as the club put the finishing touches to a £7m deal on this day in 1998.

The deal would beat the £5m paid by Kenny Dalglish for Chris Sutton four years earlier, and while reports of wages in the region of £1m a year were thought to be inflated, Davies was set to sign a seven-year deal at Ewood Park.

Southampton were reluctant to part with a player who had emerged as one of the Premiership’s fast-rising stars, with Arsenal having been linked.

Chief executive John Williams said: “We are chasing a number of players and expect some action on more than one player in the next week.”

Davies endured a difficult end to the 1997/98 season, after damaging ankle ligaments in January, but did net an impressive 12 goals in the first half of the season.

Southampton, meanwhile, were eyeing Crystal Palace striker Matt Jansen as a replacement.

Also in 1998, Tim Flowers was sweating on his place in England’s World Cup squad, announced three days later, with the Rovers ‘keeper expected to get the nod alongside Nigel Martyn, as back-up to David Seaman, with Ian Walker set to be the man to miss out.

As for comings and goings, Joey Barton was set to miss out on his dream reunion with Sam Allardyce as Rovers were set to focus their search for a midfielder elsewhere.

The Newcastle United midfielder had been strongly linked with a summer switch to Ewood Park, after Sam Allardyce signed him for the Magpies, but Allardyce was understood to have ruled out a move.

Last year, Middlesbrough announced that Rovers target Stewart Downing would be leaving the club on a free transfer.

In 2013, DJ Campbell was considering his future following the expiry of his loan at Rovers, despite having a year left on his deal at QPR. That same year, Alan Judge was being unveiled as a Rovers player once again after signing a three-year deal.

“It feels a bit weird coming back. But it’s great, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve always wanted to play for the club,” said the former Notts County man.

El-Hadji Diouf was set to quit Rovers, as he faced an uncertain future in the summer of 2011, after returning from a loan spell at Rangers.

A proven goalscorer was top of Mark Hughes’ wishlist in 2007, with Craig Bellamy among his targets, just one season after leaving Rovers for Liverpool. 

Though talk of Rafa Benitez wanting upwards of a £8m for a player he bought for £6m just 12 months earlier, meant Rovers would likely be priced out, leaving Hughes to assess other targets.

International hopes were on the minds of David Bentley and Stephen Warnock in 2008 after they were included in the England squad to face Trinidad and Tobago. Warnock was in line to make his England debut after coach Fabio Capello rested seven players, including Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole. Bentley would face stiffer competition for a midfield berth in the Caribbean, with David Beckham, Stewart Downing and Ashley Young all listed in the revised squad.

After sealing promotion to the Premier League in 2001, Matt Jansen was relishing his opportunity to impress England boss Sven Goran Eriksson.

The 23-year-old striker scored 24 times as Rovers roared to promotion, and hoped regular games, and goals, in the Premier League, would alert Eriksson to him.

“Now we’ve been promoted to the Premier League I hope I will get a few more chances to impress Mr Eriksson,” said Jansen. “It really is the stage to play


“To play for your country I think you have to be playing your football, week-in week-out, in the top division.

“Hopefully, I’ll have another good season and then I’ll be knocking on the international door.”