Saturday, July 16, 2011

Illusions don’t end, but neither tough luck ends in football. Except in England? By 1975 in England too – hard financial times were more and more noticeable. It was perhaps the first time English championships were no longer considered best in the world, but still England was the only country where lower divisions attracted considerable interest both at home and abroad. Down there sad celebration accured: Blackburn Rovers won the Third Division.
In a way, it was great – the club celebrated its 100 years since foundation with a title. Third division title, though… not much to brag about, if you are supporter of once upon a time glorius club. After all, Blackburn Rovers is one of only three founders of both the Football League and the Premier League (along with Aston Villa and Everton). That was in the 19th century – it was quite some time since Rovers did not know the taste of First Division football: they were relegated in 1966 and at the beginning of 1974-75 season the big dream was promotion to Second Division. Apparaantly, ‘arte’ was gone and only ‘labore’ remained… luckily enough for moving a bit up the tough English scale at their centenary year.
Third row, left to right: John Kenton, Graham Hawkins, Tim Parkin, Roger Jones, Don Martin, Kevin Hird, Mick Wood.
Middle: Andy Burgin, Mick Hickman, Ken Beamish, Graham Oates, Don Fazackerley, Phil Ashworth.
Bottom row: Jimmy Mullen, Pat Hilton, Mick Heaton, Stuart Metcalfe, Bobby Hoy, Mick Higgins.
Naturally, third division clubs have no stars and Blackburn was no exception. May be Derek Fazackerley – named wrongly in my original source as Don – is a club legend of a kind, but even he is better known as a coach, not as a player. They moved up a notch, yet there were 16 more years before Rovers returned to First Division.