We catch up with Black­burn Rovers’ 1991-92 play-off win­ners

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Neil Fissler

JACK WALKER had £360 mil­lion burning a hole in his back pocket af­ter sell­ing his steel hold­ing com­pany to Bri­tish Steel, so took con­trol of his home- town club.

His first mas­ter stroke was per­suad­ing Kenny Dal­glish to come out of re­tire­ment fol­low­ing a dis­as­trous start to the sea­son.

Don Mackay had over­seen the first five matches, which pro­duced two draws and three de­feats, one of which saw Rovers crash out of the League Cup to Third Di­vi­sion Hull City.

Mid­fielder Mark Atkins re­called: “Jack had come in that sum­mer and gave Don some money to go and get some play­ers, but he didn’t get the re­sults. Tony Parkes took over as care­taker and got us up the ta­ble.

“Jack then got hold of Kenny and Ray Har­ford to turn the club around. And the mo­ment they walked in through the door, it changed every­thing.

“Jack wanted to win the Premier League within four years, which is what he did, but first of all Kenny had to get out us out of the Sec­ond Di­vi­sion.

“That meant giv­ing Kenny money to spend and we signed play­ers who wanted to play for him.

“We brought in play­ers like Alan Wright, Gor­don Cowans, David Speedie and, later, Mike Newell. Those type of play­ers don’t go to clubs that don’t have am­bi­tion.”

The Dal­glish ef­fect was im­me­di­ate. Af­ter ten games with him in charge, Rovers were top of the ta­ble and ap­peared to be set to race away with the ti­tle.

But a run of six suc­ces­sive de­feats in March and April checked their progress and they found them­selves need­ing a win at Ply­mouth Ar­gyle on the last day of the sea­son to reach the play-offs. Rovers won 3-1.


Af­ter see­ing off Derby County 4-2 at home and los­ing 2-1 away in the play-off semi-fi­nals, it was Le­ices­ter that stood be­tween Rovers and a place in the new Premier League – and Rovers tri­umphed 1-0.

“At one stage we looked odds on to be cham­pi­ons, but in the end we were grate­ful to be in the play-offs,” said Atkins.

“I think if you gave a player the choice as to how they would get pro­moted, they would say the play-offs.

“It’s the best thing ever. That play-off fi­nal day at Wem­b­ley is a fan­tas­tic day and you cannot take that away from any­body.

“In that era the play-offs didn’t start for two weeks and it gave us a chance to get some peo­ple fit again and ready to play.

“We knew that we had good play­ers on the pitch against Le­ices­ter and if we played to our po­ten­tial we would win the game – and that’s what we did.

“Mike Newell scored one penalty and missed another late on, we had a few chances and I should have scored my­self.

“Le­ices­ter caused us some prob­lems at the end, knock­ing balls into the box, but we were com­fort­able.

“It was a fit­ting re­ward for Jack, but also for all those peo­ple who had put in a lot of hard work to help us get pro­moted. It was a day that you take with you for the rest of your life, re­ally.”

1. Rob De­whurst: De­fender lives in Brough, East York­shire, where he runs an af­ter-school club.

2. Mark Atkins: The mid­fielder won a Premier League ti­tle with Rovers. Works in the fam­ily plas­ter­ing and dry lin­ing busi­ness.

3. Dar­ren Col­lier: Goal­keeper is now back liv­ing and work­ing in his na­tive Stock­ton-on-Tees.

4. Bobby Mimms: The goal­keeper won a League ti­tle with Ever­ton and has worked for var­i­ous clubs as a goal­keep­ing coach.

5. Terry Gen­noe: A goal­keeper, he spent 16 years at Ewood Park. Went into coach­ing and his last job was at As­ton Villa.

6. Tony Dob­son: De­fender who has had two spells as man­ager of Rugby Town and Soli­hull Bor­ough.

7. Keith Hill: De­fender, helped Ply­mouth Ar­gyle win pro­mo­tion. Is in his sec­ond spell as Rochdale man­ager af­ter a spell at Barns­ley.

8. Steve Liv­ing­stone: For­ward whose fa­ther Joe was a footballer. Has been a prop­erty de­vel­oper in Mid­dles­brough. 9. Kevin Mo­ran: A Re­pub­lic of Ire­land de­fender and the first player sent off in an FA Cup fi­nal. Is a di­rec­tor of a player man­age­ment com­pany. 10. Peter Thorne: Striker, won a Di­vi­sion Two ti­tle at Swin­don. Has a num­ber of busi­ness in­ter­ests overseas. 11. Don Mackay: He went on to scout for a num­ber of clubs and was Le­ices­ter’s sport­ing di­rec­tor. 12. Mike Pet­ti­grew: Is now run­ning his own sports in­jury clinic in Black­burn. 13. Nicky Reid: The de­fender was an FA Cup fi­nal­ist at Man City. Is now a physio in Pre­ston North End’s academy. 14. Stu­art Munro: De­fender set­tled in Aus­tralia where he runs his own foot­ball academy. 15. Howard Gayle: The winger is based in Liver­pool where he has been in­volved in coach­ing and so­cial work. 16. Ja­son Wil­cox: Eng­land winger won a Premier League ti­tle at Ewood Park. Is Man City’s head of academy coach­ing. 17. Chris Sul­ley: Left-back who won a pro­mo­tion at Bournemouth. Is Burn­ley’s head of academy coach­ing. 18. Craig Skin­ner: Mid­fielder who is now a south­ern re­gional coach for League Foot­ball Education. 19. Alan Irvine: The winger was a League Cup fi­nal­ist at Ever­ton. Has man­aged Pre­ston, Sh­effield Wednes­day and West Brom. Is now Nor­wich’s care­taker-man­ager. 20. David May: A cen­tre-half, he won five ma­jor tro­phies at Manch­ester United. Works for MUTV and runs a wine busi­ness. 21. Peter Baah: Winger is now a coach at In­di­ana Fire Ju­niors in the United States. 22. Scott Sell­ers: Mid­fielder, twice a mem­ber of the PFA Team of the Year. Now coaches Wolves un­der­23s. 23. Tony Parkes: The for­mer mid­fielder is still em­ployed at Ewood Park on the scout­ing staff. 24. Jim Fur­nell: Black­burn’s for­mer youth de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer is re­tired in Wilp­shire near Black­burn. 25. Asa Hart­ford: Scot­land mid­fielder who has man­aged Shrews­bury and now scouts for Birm­ing­ham City. 26. Lee Richard­son: Mid­fielder, man­aged Chester­field and is now a sports psy­chol­o­gist work­ing for Crys­tal Palace. 27. Mike Duxbury: Eng­land full­back had a suc­cess­ful ca­reer at Manch­ester United. Be­came a PE teacher at Bolton School. 28. Dar­ren Don­nelly: For­ward who won a pro­mo­tion with Ch­ester City. Is now liv­ing and work­ing on Mersey­side. 29. Lenny John­rose: Mid­fielder, later won two pro­mo­tions with Bury and is now a pri­mary school teacher in Burn­ley. 30. John But­ter­worth: De­fender, who went into fi­nan­cial ser­vices and is now work­ing for Ather­ton & As­so­ciates Wealth Man­age­ment. 31. Si­mon Garner: The legendary Rovers striker worked in mort­gage sales and as a post­man. Is now a painter and dec­o­ra­tor in Berk­shire. 32. Richard Brown: Mid­fielder whose ca­reer was ended by in­jury. Is now work­ing for Sal­ford Com­mu­nity Leisure. 33. Matthew Holt: Mid­fielder is liv­ing and work­ing in his na­tive Manch­ester. 34. Paul Shep­stone: Winger who has worked in re­tail in­dus­try and owns Bliss­ful Lin­gerie in Leam­ing­ton Spa. 35. Steve Agnew: Mid­fielder later won pro­mo­tions with Le­ices­ter and Sun­der­land. Is Mid­dles­brough’s care­taker-man­ager. 36. Sammy Chung: For­mer Wolves man­ager. Worked in a chil­dren’s home. Now lives on the Somerset coast.

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