Time after time, new season after new season, Blackburn Rovers struggle when it comes to their opening fixture in early August. Whether it’s the Premier League, Championship or now League One, Rovers have often been poor or unlucky in their first result.
Rovers head to Roots Hall on Saturday, the home of Southend United, where they will be looking to win their opening fixture for the first time since 2010.
It all started with a home loss to Manchester City in the opening fixture of the 2009/10 season. Mike Dean refereed the game, which saw over 29,000 Blackburn fans fill Ewood Park. Mark Hughes took charge of Manchester City, upon his return to Ewood Park. Unfortunately a first half Emmanuel Adebayor strike, set up by winger Shaun Wright-Phillips had Sam Allardyce’s men 1-0 down at half time. In the second half, a 90th minute Stephen Ireland strike, set up once again by Wright-Phillips ended the match 2-0.
Skip forward to 2011, when a Mauro Formica goal inside the opening 20 minutes seemed to have Blackburn on course for an opening day win against Wolverhampton Wanderers, but a matter of minutes later and who else but Stephen Fletcher would equalise for Wolves. Then, just minutes into the second half, Stephen Ward hammered home to give Wolves a 2-1 lead. That’s the way it stayed until the final whistle, which was blown by referee Kevin Friend. This was Steve Kean’s first opening day fixture for Blackburn and it wasn’t a good start.
The following year and it was the first time in over ten years that Rovers were preparing for an opening day encounter against Championship opposition. That opposition came in the form of Ipswich Town, and when Colin Kazim-Richards gave Rovers the lead in the first half, things seemed to be going well. However, it would be an unfortunate Jason Lowe own-goal on the 83rd minute which would seal the fate of a 1-1 draw for Steve Kean’s men: the own-goal itself perhaps foreshadowed a career of errors, fan disapproval and struggle with form for Jason Lowe.
2013’s opening fixture saw Rovers travel to what was once known as Pride Park, now known as the iPro to face a difficult Derby challenge. Rovers were down 1-0 due to a first half strike from Johnny Russell, but in the 88th minute a surprising figure rescued a point for the team. Leon Best struck home a late equaliser as Blackburn left Derby with what was one of the more satisfactory results on this list. However it still wasn’t three points, which had alluded the team since a 1-0 home win against Everton in 2010.
Paul Robinson, Grant Hanley, Tom Cairney, Marcus Olsson, Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede. A group of players at the time in 2014 that didn’t seem destined to have the season they would go on to have. Rudy Gestede established himself as a top striker, ready to play at the top of the English game, and a new bid came in for Rhodes every other day when the transfer window was live this season. However, even with the talent that Gary Bowyer took into the opening day fixture of the 2014/15 season against Cardiff at Ewood, a draw was still all they could muster. Kenwyne Jones, another notoriously bad striker who always seems to score against Rovers, opened the scoring on 18 minutes, but it was Tom Cairney who hit back with a wonder goal to open his account for the year. From at least 30 yards out it was a wonder strike. Cairney would go on to score another worldie goal in the second game of this season at Carrow Road. However, yet again, the opening game against Cardiff ended without three points.
2015 saw a 2-1 home loss against Wolves, which was partially down to a goal scored by Dave Edward’s hand. And the season after, in 2016, started with an embarrassing 4-1 home loss to Norwich.
Can Blackburn climb out of the opening day fixture jinx away at Southend? Let us know what you think on Twitter (@rovers_chat) or comment below. Make sure to follow us on all social media!
Don’t forget, this weekend will see our fourth edition of ‘Rovers on The Road’ as the team travel to Southend for their first League One encounter. Head over to our YouTube (click here) and subscribe to see the video first!