Benni The New Blake
Now this may seem like an odd comparison, especially considering Benni has already scored more goals for Rovers than Nathan Blake ever did, but there is something that does link them.
Having recently read a piece from The Thunder Down Under, Sasman, about the great show of sportsmanship from Benni McCarthy towards a young Portsmouth fan who was hit in the face by the ball, it got me thinking.
It stirred memories about an incident that happened on Tuesday 14th September 1999 when Rovers were once again contesting a match at Fratton Park against Portsmouth in the Worthington Cup.
Out of the blue the then Portsmouth goalkeeper, Aaron Flahavan (renowned for having black outs) collapsed in his own penalty area as Nathan Blake bore down on goal. However, the Rovers striker was quick to ignore the goalscoring opportunity to run to the aid of his fellow professional. This showed a real touching side to Nathan`s character who was quoted in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph after the game saying:
"At first I thought he had just slipped but then I thought he might have swallowed his tongue. That's why I picked him up. His eyes were glazed and he just said 'What?'."
Nathan Blake was well praised by the Portsmouth faithful after that incident and rightly so. So it is nice to see Benni, equally receiving praise for his actions.
It is always refreshing to hear of stories such as this one from back in the day and the more recent one involving Benni McCarthy. People sometimes forget that these football superstars are still human and have a general care for their fellow humans.
Let`s hope this will go some way to further enhance the clubs reputation. Well done to Benni and to Nathan for his actions back in the day.
Aaron Flahavan unfortunately died in a car accident on August 5th 2001.