BY the time John Terry had climbed the Wembley steps to lift the FA Cup for Chelsea 10 days ago, Bryan Douglas’ television set had already been switched off.

In what has become almost an annual ritual, the former Rovers midfielder had no intention of watching the celebrations get into full swing. The ghosts of Wembley past are still just too painful.

Rovers’ FA Cup final defeat to Wolves in 1960 may have been almost 50 years ago now but the memories still haunt Douglas well into his retirement.

Ironically, the lowest point in his career coincided with joy in his personal life, the birth of second son Graham, but the failure to ever lift silverware during his 17-year Ewood career will live with him forever.

Douglas had enjoyed promotion to the top flight just two years earlier but, after having to settle for a runners-up spot, the Rovers legend knows that 1960 cup final was the real ‘missed opportunity’.

Douglas said: “I still can’t watch it when the teams climb the steps to lift the trophy. It was my biggest ever disappointment, especially the way it happened.

“It was probably the worst final since the war. We only had nine men. We started off with 11 but Dougan played and should never have played.

“He had a fitness test on the Friday and should never have played. I knew after five minutes he was struggling. He couldn’t run. Then Dave Whelan broke his leg and for two thirds of the game we were playing with nine men.

“It was a big disappointment and two years before that we got beat by Bolton in the semi final, who went on to win it. We felt we should have beat Bolton, we had beaten them 5-1 in the league just a few months before.”

While, career wise, cup final weekend will always bring the regrets flooding back, the blue-riband event will bring back happier memories from life away from the field - the birth of his second son.

Even then though, the former Rovers and England man was faced with a mad dash through London and back as he tried to keep both club and family happy.

“My wife Joyce was about seven and a half months pregnant and we were already down at Wembley,” said Douglas.

“We went out on Friday night to the cinema and I came back and got a message to phone a number. I phoned this number but it was the wrong number - it was a jewellers down Oxford Street.

“I went across to reception and saw Alf Thornton, a Lancashire Telegraph reporter, and he congratulated me. I said ‘what on?’.

He told me ‘Joyce has had your son and is in University College hospital’. That was the first I knew.

“So on Saturday morning instead of worrying about the game, I was worrying about her. I saw the manager at the time, Dally Duncan. He said be back for 12.30pm, we are leaving at 12.45pm. So I had to leave the hotel, get a bus, get a tube and then walk to the college.

“I then had to do the reverse journey. She was there five days but I had to fly out to Portugal with England on the Monday and literally left her holding the baby.

“To get home she had to get the train but luckily there was a nurse travelling with here to Blackpool and the reserve team trainer Howard Bell met her at the station and took her home.”

The now 75-year-old had to wait another 35 years to finally experience his beloved Rovers lifting the trophy, as he proudly took his place at Anfield to watch Alan Shearer & co lift the Premier League trophy.

Even now you can hear the emotion in his voice as he talks about Rovers’ proudest moment. You sense an old man was made very happy by Jack Walker’s revolution.

“Never having won anything with the club has been on my mind all these years and that is why when we the Premier League, I was absolutely over the moon,” he said. “I just wish I had been around at the time playing.

“I was at Liverpool the day we won it, in a box. But I spent the last 10 minutes on the lavatory, I couldn’t watch.

“Not many people play for their own team. To play for your own team and have success adds a little bit to your memories.”

Blackburn-born Douglas made his Rovers debut in September 1954, a 3-1 defeat to Notts County, but was made to wait until 12 months later for his second senior appearance.

A tap-in in a win against Stoke in that ‘second debut’ built the platform for the career that was to follow as he extinguished the frustrations of the previous year with a rapid rise to the top.

He said: “Blackburn had played four or five games and I was called into the office and told I would play. It was home against Stoke City. I was picked to play inside left and Quigley, who was the inside left, played on the right wing.

“The forward line was Eddie Quigley, Eddie Crossan, Thomas Briggs, me and Robert Langton. Within the first 15 minutes, Langton did one of his dribbles and put one on a plate for me that I couldn’t miss.

“Then I took off. We played that game, we drew with Bristol, then drew again. There were two more changes and I thought I might be out of the side. But the following week we were playing Bury away and I was outside right. We beat Bury 4-0 and I dribbled round the keeper to score.

“The week after I did the same at home to Barnsley. Then we went to Port Vale won by seven and I did it again - I got the reputation of going round the keeper. I started to get a few headlines and my career took off.”

Cup final misery, promotion joy and relegation agony; Douglas went on to experience it all during a roller-coaster one-club Rovers career.

His goals played a major part in their rise into the top flight in 1958, where they stayed for six seasons, before their relegation back to Division Two and the start of the end for Douglas.

He said: “The promotion was a highlight really. We should have won the league really. I scored a penalty in the last game against Charlton to clinch promotion to Division One. It finished 4-3 but we won a lot easier that it sounds.

“The first game in the first division was at Newcastle and we scored five, we scored 15 goals in the first four games. Then we had United and reality set in. We got beat 6-1.

“We had a very good season and continued it. I found playing in the first division easier than the second division. You were playing against more cultured players whereas in the other divisions you were playing against one or two wild heads.

I had more time and found it easier.

“That forward line of me, Peter Dobing, Derek Dougan, Thomas Vernon and Alastair MacLeod, the team got promotion in 1958, was full of goals.

"It was a pleasure to play in.”