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A Tribute To The Blackburn Rovers Team Of 1994-95 - Where Are They Now?

By Conor Neville
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For those of us in our mid/late-ish twenties, we are coming up to the 20th anniversary of the big switch. Primary schools in many parts of the country were scenes of epic debate. The question of the hour was being thrashed back and forth. Should we switch our allegiance en masse to the champions elect Blackburn Rovers or remain true to the has-beens of Manchester United?

The 1994-95 season has lumbered our generation with a small band of rueful Blackburn Rovers fans, who everyday curse their youthful short-sightedness.

Like Leeds' victory in 1992, Blackburn's title win was overshadowed in the eyes of posterity by their abject defence of the title.

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After scooping the big one, Kenny Dalglish abruptly stepped up to become Director of Football. The move was perplexing at the time but he later said he was on the verge of leaving the previous summer and had to be persuaded to stay on.

His replacement was the somewhat less inspirational Ray Harford. They slumped to seventh in the championship, a finish which came to be viewed as respectable considering what happened later. Their efforts in the Champions League were also particularly abysmal and are rarely recalled.

The following year Shearer left for Newcastle and the club were on the flight path to relegation.


They were just returning to where they had been before.

Back in the stygian days of the 1991-92 season, Blackburn were ambling about in the nether reaches of the Second Division (now 'The Championship' to be fair) when Jack Walker made his first investment in the club, excluding, of course, all the match tickets he had paid for all his life.



Manager Don Mackay was sacked. Kenny Dalglish, not long gone from Anfield, was drafted in as manager and Blackburn shot up the table, eventually snaking into the playoffs in sixth spot. In Wembley in May, they beat Leicester 1-0 and were promoted to the newly founded Premier League.

Once they arrived in the big-time, they bared some of their financial muscle, with Walker buying England striker Alan Shearer off Southampton.

Ewood Park was still a dowdy old ground. For the second half of the 1992-93 season, it was, like the vast majority of stadiums in the Premier League, a construction site.


But Blackburn's form was superb. They smashed title chasers Norwich and Aston Villa 7-1 and 3-0, jamming the final nail in the latter's title hopes in April. They eventually had to make do with 4th place.


The following season, they built on their progress once more. Manchester United tore out of the blocks at the beginning of the 1993-94 season. By Christmas, the title race looked over. Blackburn were the best of the rest but there was no question of them actually challenging for the title. It was a one-horse race.


By April, when Alan Shearer slammed in two goals to beat Manchester United 2-0 at Ewood Park, the title looked a tantalising live prospect. United, a tempestuous outfit back then, slick but snarling, had gotten bogged down in suspensions and had absent-mindedly let points slip at home to Chelsea and away to Wimbledon.


Sadly, the prospect of actually winning the title seemed to spook Blackburn and as soon as they got in position, they dropped points again, losing 2-1 up in Coventry.


They were huffing and puffing now and came back stronger in 1994-95. They didn't allow Manchester United a big lead in 1994-95, although they did trail at Christmas following Eric Cantona's late headed winner at Old Trafford. Shortly afterwards, Cantona would react to Matthew Symonds taunting him about the prospect of an early bath and all bets were off.

United stumbled and Blackburn established a strong lead in the early months of 1995. From late October to mid-April, they won 19 games, drew 5 and lost 2. Their scoring stats were remarkable with the SAS going great guns up front. In truth it was the SAs, with the Shearer accounting for about two-thirds of the pair's league goals.

By mid-April, they led by six points with five games remaining. A few more wins would do. However, they stumbled badly in the run-in. Defeats at home to Man City, at Upton Park and in the final match meant they rather fell over the line.


The most iconic moments from their title victory are Tim Flowers breaking the world record for use of the word 'bottle' after their ridiculously nervy 1-0 win over Newcastle in the penultimate game and the sight of Kenny Dalglish celebrating seconds after Liverpool's winner in the final match because word has just come through that United had drawn at West Ham.


Goalkeeper - Tim Flowers

He's got bottle there's no question. Flowers earned a smattering of England caps during the Terry Venables/Glenn Hoddle era but was never truly first choice. Joined Blackburn in 1993 and stayed until they got relegated six years later. Famously was beaten by the combined efforts of Stan Collymore's crappy shot and an incompetent groundsman (harsh?) in 1996-97.

Currently working as a goalkeeping coach at Nottingham Forest, where he has linked up with old teammate Stuart Pearce.


Left Back - Graeme Le Saux

Le Saux spent the duration of his career being abused for being a Guardian reader (presumably Guardian reader was slang for homosexual back in 'em days. It's not what footballers do innit?) An ever-present for Blackburn, he returned to previous club Chelsea in 1997, wining the Cup Winners Cup in 1998.

Wrote an autobiography in 2007 entitled 'Left Field', which made headlines for detailing the homophobia he endured during his career.


Now works as a commentator for NBC's coverage of the Premier League.

Centre Back - Colin Hendry

Whenever there was a profile of Hendry - a montage of his best bits if you will - the producer always slapped on the obligatory Braveheart music. Distinctive both for his long blond mane and for the frequency with which he suffered head wounds. Bravery, sure.

Stayed at Blackburn until 1998 when he left for Rangers.

Went into management after his career ended. He had two spells at Blackpool and Clyde, both of which were short and characterised by poor results.

Has endured a terrible few years. His wife died in 2009 after a botched operation, he was declared bankrupt in 2010, with a betting company chief among his creditors.

In the past few days, he has been formally charged with harassing and abusing his ex-girlfriend. His court date is scheduled for the 26th of this month.


Centre Back - Ian Pearce

He and Tony Gale alternated throughout the season with Pearce making more appearances overall. He signed in 1993 and left for West Ham four years later.

Was unafraid to travel down the Leagues for a game and ended his playing career at the start of this decade with lowly Lingfield.

Right Back - Jeff Kenna

Only joined Blackburn in March 1995, but tribal pride demands his inclusion here. Kenna was at Blackburn for seven years, featuring in their Champions League run the following season and hanging tough with them despite relegation in 1999. Thereafter, he endured  a series of unglamorous loan spells before moving into management in the League of Ireland.

Kenna did an excellent job with Galway United, keeping the club in the top flight under extremely difficult financial circumstances. They were to implode altogether with a couple of seasons. This earned him a more high profile job in Inchicore. However, his spell at Pats was a disappointment and he left after one season. Has been coaching in the US in recent years.

Right Midfield - Stuart Ripley

The scorer of Blackburn's first goal in the Premier League in August 1992, Ripley earned England caps in the mournful dead rubber against San Marino in 1993 and a match against Moldova in 1997.

One of the most interesting 'where are they now' cases in English football, Ripley has done extremely well since leaving the sport behind and qualified as a solicitor in 2010. Is currently a member of the FA's judicial panel so the next time they made some capricious decision you know who to blame.

Centre Midfield - Tim Sherwood

His presence at Ewood Park prevented Blackburn going after Zinedine Zidane. Sherwood was the man held the Premier League trophy aloft, shaking it vigorously for the benefit of the exultant away fans. An important player, he played for almost two decades at Watford, Blackburn, Spurs and Portsmouth.

There's no mystery where he is now.

Centre Midfield - Mark Atkins 

A forgotten man despite playing 34 games that season compared to David Batty's six. The bulk of Atkins' career was played out in the lower divisions and his presence as an almost ever present makes a mockery of the assertion that Blackburn bought the League title.

Left in the summer of 1995 for Wolves, thereafter drifting to York City and Shrewsbury Town.

Until last year he was manager of Matlock Town in the Northern League.

Left Midfield - Jason Wilcox

One of the brightest and most influential players in that side, he scored five goals and linked up well with the SOS up front. Joined Blackburn when they were in the doldrums in the late 80s and hung around for the whole decade, just in time to get relegated with them in 1999. He moved to Leeds United and was part of the side who got all the way to the Champions League semi-final in 2001.

Currently works as Manchester City's U18 boss. Had a weekly column in the Lancashire Telegraph.

Centre Forward - Alan Shearer


Scored a rather impressive 34 goals for Blackburn that season, which was only three more than he managed the previous year and only three more than he managed in less games the following season.

Won the PFA Player of the Year that year to go with his Football writer's award from 1993-94. In truth, he never actually got any better than he was during his spell at Blackburn though he continued to score goals for Newcastle for the next decade.

Currently specialises in making ads which jinx former clubs.

Centre Forward - Chris Sutton

Shearer's junior partner had been a star at Norwich and enjoyed a decent season that year with Blackburn, scoring 15 goals and complimenting his powerhouse striking partner well.

Subsequently, went to Chelsea where his form was abysmal, a fact that didn't stop Garth Crooks asking, after Sutton had nailed his third goal of the season in a 5-0 demolition of a minnow in an FA Cup in March, whether an England call-up was on the horizon. To be fair, Sutton had the good grace to laugh.

Later moved to Celtic where, in his dotage, he found the defences rather more amenable.

He managed Lincoln City in 2009-10.

Last year, he became the second member of the Blackburn  title winning side to enter bankruptcy after getting caught up in a foreign currency scam.

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