I’d need about 10 pairs of hands if I were to count the amount of times I’ve witnessed ‘we need Blackburn back in the Premier League’ or ‘I’d love to see Blackburn get promoted’ on each finger.
The prospect of Premier League football may be a feint idea in the back of the mind and nobody at the football club is getting carried away with their run of form but just about everyone seems to be talking about Blackburn Rovers right now.
After years of controversy and decline, Rovers are hitting the headlines for all the right reasons – and not just for what happens during 90 minutes on a football pitch, as the magnificent Yasir Sufi and Community Trust have demonstrated.
There is an air of growing positivity around Ewood Park which has branched out to supporters who had grown disillusioned over recent years. Will we see Rovers back in the top flight next season? We may not, but at this precise moment in time, this phenomenal young group of players are doing their utmost to ensure supporters can dream, to think the impossible.
That it will be 10 years since Rovers were relegated from the Premier League in May has got everyone talking and the work of Tony Mowbray, his coaching staff and players has been appropriately lauded across all networks.
Mark Chapman, presenting his Radio 5 Live Sport show, has been praising Rovers for weeks – if they sustain this run of form he’s going to run out of topics to talk about.
“About a month ago we were doing a show and I said that we needed to talk about Blackburn,” Chapman said on 5 Live Sport. “We hadn’t talked a lot about Blackburn, all the attention was on Fulham and Bournemouth at the top, a little about West Brom.
“Ever since then, we’ve talked about Blackburn every week. Partly because their form shows no let up and partly because they seem to be playing a lot when others seem to be dropping away because of Covid.
“Tony Mowbray, and this is the question I say every week with Blackburn, the job he has done at that club is remarkable. We do say it every week but I make no apologies of saying it every week because there have been times where he’s got a lot of stick.”
George Elek, an excellent EFL pundit who co-hosts the Not The Top 20 Pod, feels Mowbray deserves every credit for the work he’s conducting as the Rovers manager maximises his squad strengths whilst deploying a wing-back system.
“I was concerned for Blackburn at the beginning of the season, they finished mid-table last term and they lost Adam Armstrong, Harvey Elliott – basically Premier League players from their squad,” Elek stated. “Going into this season it looked like they hadn’t replaced them.
“For them to be third on Boxing Day given the squad at his disposal, he is doing everything in his power to prove his critics wrong. And if you consider only a few weeks ago they’d lost 7-0 to Fulham, if you were to judge a manager and his team by the way they respond to adversity then I don’t think you could come back any stronger than they have.”
And an individual who Mowbray knows well, Jonathan Woodgate, believes the induction of Academy players into the first-team setup has only served to heighten the excitement over Rovers’ success.
“That’s important, it’s something the fans can relate to,” said Woodgate. “If you’re supporting a team, you want to see young players coming through. You want to see them play, enjoy themselves and you will get that with Tony Mowbray. He’s the type of manager that players want to play for.”
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