I have recently been researching the influence of managers at Ewood Park since the Premier League’s inception in 1992. Every fan knows that within three years Blackburn were winners of the Premier League, but within seven of the inception, Blackburn were relegated to the Football Championship, now known as the nPower Football League.
Thanks to http://www.worldfootball.net I’ve been able to look at the transfers since 1992, and whittle the landmark signings of each Blackburn Rovers manager to one per season for each.
1991–1995 – Kenny Dalglish – Alan Shearer (’92), Tim Flowers (’93), Chris Sutton (’94).
1995–1996 – Ray Harford – Gary Flitcroft (’96).
1996-1997 – Tony Parkes – Marlon Broomes (’97).
1997–1998 – Roy Hodgson – Stéphane Henchoz (’97).
1998–1999 – Brian Kidd – Matt Jansen (’99).
1999-2000 – Tony Parkes – Alan Miller (’00).
2000–2004 – Graeme Souness – Brad Friedel (’00), Tugay Kerimoglu (’01), Andy Todd (’02), Brett Emerton (’03).
2004–2008 – Mark Hughes – Ryan Nelsen (’05), Craig Bellamy (’05), Chris Samba (’07), Martin Olsson (’07).
2008-2008 – Paul Ince – Paul Robinson (’08).
2008–2010 – Sam Allardyce – Gael Givet (’09), David Hoilett (’09), Benjani (’10).
2010-Curr – Steve Kean – Jermaine Jones (’11).
With the above, we have a decent roster of players and thus for entertainment purposes, here’s my ‘Transfer XI’:
Emerton – Nelsen – Samba – Givet
Hoilett – Tugay – Flitcroft – Olsson
Shearer – Bellamy
Firstly, the choice of Brad Friedel over Tim Flowers in the goal was tough, but made a lot of sense for me. Friedel’s penalty-saving ability, as well as his commanding presence in the goal were key to this decision. And while Flowers won a Premier League medal with Blackburn, he made 175 appearances over the six years he was here, while “Big” Brad made a massive 287 appearances in eight years. It’s very hard to consider Paul Robinson a third-choice. His importance currently is of the highest in the team. With almost a century of appearances at Blackburn, his consistent performances and excellent record in the Premier League since his move here, it’s already becoming close between him and Flowers.
Brett Emerton fills in at right back as he is not only experienced well in the position, but also because there haven’t been any transfers in the position that can be considered the best signings a manager could have made. The centre-backs of Samba and Nelsen are strong and come in well over Andy Todd and Marlon Broomes. Stéphane Henchoz is unfortunate to miss out after being a good servant to Blackburn in his two spells at the club. An adequate substitute for either Samba or Nelsen. And Gael Givet at left-back is a no-brainer given his talent and commitment, but also partially because of the lack of left-backs listed, and Martin Olsson’s attacking prowess over his defensive abilities.
On the right, we have David “Junior” Hoilett. Given recent displays, the promise is there for everyone to see. An excellent signing for the club that will stand us in good stead for the future. Tugay – enough said. Flitcroft to offer that hard-man, gritty tackling that Tugay cannot be expected to offer to the team. It is also the perfect complement to Tugay, protecting him but allowing him creative freedom without the risk of being hit on the counter as quickly. Jermaine Jones offers the same, but the only difference is our knowledge of Flitcroft. Over time, I am sure from the appearances Jones has made, he will be of a similar importance to Blackburn as Flitcroft once was. Olsson is on the left for the same reasons as Hoilett. His age, pace and crossing ability in particular. Another promising talent with a huge future already proving his worth.
Alan Shearer is the third of the no-brainer’s. No striker has amassed anywhere near the amount of respect and goals Shearer offered this club in the Premier League. I’ve picked Craig Bellamy over Chris Sutton down to the sheer ability of Bellamy, as well as the excellent goals-to-games average Bellamy holds (2 goals a game at Blackburn, whereas Sutton would manage 1 goal every 2.6). Sadly, Matt Jansen takes fourth position in the striking pecking order, which shows the quality this club has had up-front, even if we are suffering from Goal-shy Syndrome now.
It’ll be interesting to see your opinions on this. You can give us your ‘Transfer XI’, or alternatively contact me on Twitter. Thanks for reading.