As I have recently created this blog I thought it would be fitting to start with a post discussing my love and passion for football.
Since a young age I have always enjoyed playing and watching football. My Dad attempted to dress me in Blackburn Rovers colours but I never religiously followed a particular team until I was 17. Instead I asked for Manchester United shirts with Dwight Yorke printed on the back and went to watch Bolton Wanderers with my next door neighbour. I also enjoyed watching Accrington Stanley battle it out in the lower leagues.
This all changed, much relief to my Dad, when I went to watch Blackburn Rovers play in the League Cup against Chelsea in the quarter final of 2009. The game had ended in a draw which meant penalties, the winners would progress through to the semi-final and face Aston Villa.
Never before had I experienced nerves and tension like it. I went to Wembley with Bolton and watched them lose in a shootout to Aston Villa in 2000, but this was different. That night I turned in to a true Blackburn Rovers fan, and it was all down to one moment.
Chelsea’s first penalty was to be taken by German midfielder Michael Ballack, but his fierce strike was unbelievably saved by Paul Robinson, a fantastic moment which galvanized the Blackburn faithful. England verses Germany and England came out on top. Kalinic went on to miss Blackburn’s fourth penalty meaning it was all square and down to sudden death. But Lady Luck was on Blackburn’s side, Kakuta missed the vital penalty to send Rovers through to the semi-final. It was a fantastic game on a cold December evening at Ewood Park and it is one I will never forget. One game can completely change a person’s perspective and it was that game which cemented my allegiance to the Lancashire side.
I also love the fact that the game is so unpredictable and the unthinkable usually happens. Being a Blackburn Rovers fan unpredictability is second nature. Before Christmas we had two massive home games against rivals Bolton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion, both of which we were expected to win. But we did not, in fact we lost both games, which resulted in Rovers sitting bottom of the league come Christmas Day. On boxing day we faced Liverpool, and with our current form nobody would have predicted the blue and white army travelling back to Blackburn with a share of the points thanks to a 1-1 draw. This was a huge shock for most football fans, but that was just a teaser for Blackburn’s next game, away to Manchester United. This time Rovers somehow managed to pinch all three points in the dyeing minutes thanks to a Grant Hanley header. It this unpredictability which I find astonishing, no other sport can produce such uncertainty! The fact Rovers lost two games against very poor opponents and then gained four points away at two of the biggest sides in the world is beyond me and that is why I love football.