Date:Sunday October 29 2006
The second in the series of Blackburn Rovers articles surrounding the Championship winning squad focuses on the squad members who made their names at Ewood Park.
Again this article was inspired by Vital Blackburn Rover member Clint's comments back along, that read:
"Jack Walker built a team for one thing - to win the Premiership! That was achieved without spending over the odds, unlike Leeds did to there costs, it shows it could be done, although granted the money back 10/11yrs ago was pocket change for a certain Roman! the man helped put together a TEAM that worked not just gifted individuals. Some of the players were made through playing for the club and as was shown moved on."
Jack Walker, the legendary former Blackburn Rovers chairman ploughed millions into the club and some of these millions brought in so many footballers, some were established others not so.
The arrival at Blackburn Rovers proved to be the making of many with the capturing of the 1994-1995 Premiership Title the pinnacle of their Ewood Park careers and for most the subsequent careers that followed.
But who were the Premiership winning men whose careers were made at Rovers?
Scotsman Hendry returned to Ewood Park for £700,000 November 1991, having left for the same figure two years earlier for a spell away with Manchester City. Rovers had initially picked up Hendry from Scottish football.
Hendry's Scottish International career began whilst at Ewood Park with his time at Ewood seeing him become both club and national captain with a reputation as one of the best central defenders around.
Having started out with Norwich City the midfielder caught Kenny Dalglish's eye and joined Rovers in February 1992 for £500,000 from Norwich City. With the canaries he had gained a reputation but this was enhanced and indeed improved during his time with Rovers.
Sherwood one his first of few honours captaining Rovers to the 1995 Premiership Title, also gaining his first England cap with the club.
The highly talented and rated winger arrived in July 1992 for £1.3 million from Middlesbrough. Ripley had not won anything prior to arriving at Ewood Park and in fact went on to win nothing after. Both his England caps were won whilst at Ewood Park.
A young Alan Shearer arrived for a club and British transfer record of £3.6 million in July 1992 from Southampton. He had already gained himself something of a reputation with his exploits with Southampton, most notably his full debut hat-trick against Arsenal.
His amazing goal scoring exploits with Rovers made him a European and World renowned goalscoring machine being named Player of the Year whist at Ewood Park, ending three successive seasons as the countries top goalscorer as well as adding to his three England caps previously won with Southampton.
The Premiership crown was the only honour of his career; Rovers certainly enhanced his career even if Southampton had started it, his World Record £15 million transfer to Newcastle United in 1996 is testament to this.
The Norwegian joined Rovers for a mere £400,000 in January 1993 from Lillestrom. Although Berg was already a Norwegian International his name was made at Ewood Park enabling him to go onto Manchester United and we all know what he won there!
£1.5 million prized him away from Coventry City in March 1993, sadly a broken leg restricted him to the solitary goalscoring performance in our Title winning season so he missed out on a winners medal he so deserved for his efforts previous to winning the Title. Although quite a household name and already a Scottish International his career was made at Ewood Park.
Graeme Le Saux
The little known left-back was signed from Chelsea for a bargain £700,000 in March 1993. His Ewood career saw him brought to the attention of everyone in the land, arguably beyond and lead to the beginning his England career.
Another known footballer who had only really came to the attentions of many in the year or two prior to his move to Rovers as a makeshift centre-forward for Sheffield Wednesday. Arrived in August 1993 for £2.7 million from Wednesday and played literally everywhere for Rovers. When people look back at Warhurst's career he is mostly remembered for his spell at Ewood.
At the time Pearce was a forward when a fee of £300,000 in October 1993 brought him to Rovers from Chelsea. At Ewood he was successfully converted into a central defender and key member of the Rovers side for sometime.
Flowers had been around for a long time before his move to Ewood from Southampton for £2.4 million November 1993. England recognition was gained whilst at Ewood Park seeing him a member of their European Championship Finals squad of 1996 and World Cup Finals squad of 1998.
Although a renowned youngster from his time with Norwich City his summer transfer for £5 million in July 1994 made him the most expensive British transfer signing and also clubs record signing as well as arguably making his career.
His partnership with Alan Shearer made the player and saw him win his one and only England cap. Maybe he might have still gone on to achieve what he had but I'm not so sure he would without his Ewood exploits?
For £300,000 in August 1994 he arriving from Lens, he became the first Australian to win a Premiership winners medal. He had been around for sometime but Dalglish's move for the Aussie made his career, albeit only a brief one with Rovers.
£1.5 million in March 1995 saw Kenna join his former Southampton team mates Tim Flowers and Alan Shearer at Ewood Park. The Republic of Ireland International became a household name during his time with Rovers.
What do all these men share; besides the obvious they all won the 1994-1995 Premiership Title (with the exception of the unfortunate Gallacher) with Rovers? They all arrived having won little or nothing before joining the club!
Some may have already made a name for themselves but so many went onto win International honours with the club. The time spent with Rovers made the careers of many of these footballers with many of them later going on to arguably bigger, if not necessarily better things.
Who were these people? This story is for another day...
Previous Article: The team that Jack built - click here to read it
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Date:Sunday October 29 2006
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