Wednesday 25 April 2012

20 Seasons Awards: Best Team nominee Blackburn

Rovers defender Colin Hendry on how they pipped Man Utd to the title in 1994/95

Colin Hendry celebrates Blackburn Rovers winning the Premier League title in 1994/95

VOTE NOW IN THE 20 SEASONS AWARDS

As part of the Premier League's 20 Seasons Awards, a panel of leading football figures, journalists and commentators will choose the Best Team in the history of the competition.

One of the sides up for the award is Blackburn Rovers, who rose from obscurity to win the Premier League title in 1994/95 - a stunning achievement.

With Kenny Dalglish at the helm, Tim Flowers providing a safe pair of hands at the back, Tim Sherwood captaining from midfield and Alan Shearer rifling in goal after goal, Rovers won the title by one point on a dramatic final afternoon in May when they lost 2-1 at Liverpool and  Manchester United were held 1-1 at West Ham.

Scottish central defender Colin Hendry, who captained his country to the 1998 World Cup, told premierleague.com how Blackburn's fairytale unfolded.

COLIN HENDRY ON BLACKBURN ROVERS' 1994/95 TEAM

"It was a team mostly built two or three years before. Kenny tweaked it, obviously, but whereas a lot of managers like to make wholesale changes, he just added one or two here and there to improve us.

"We had good players, an excellent team spirit, were always together and we really did look after each other. We didn't have to get on with each other, we just had to respect each other.

"I never thought we could win it until the last minute of the season"
- Colin Hendry

"Kenny got the best out of all of us, there's no doubt about that. And on top of that, his assistant Ray Harford, rest in peace, he was a big part of the whole team at the time.

"Owner Jack Walker and Kenny - especially Kenny - had a five-year plan to win the League. They managed it before the five years were up, so they succeeded in that respect, and obviously it proved quite hard to kick on further after that.

"I know it's difficult to win the League, but that's not the hardest part - the hardest thing is trying to win it again. When only two or three teams can win the title every season, it makes it even harder.

"I never thought we could win the Premier League until the last minute of the season, that's the honest truth.

"It was only at Anfield on the final day when I turned round and saw Kenny and Ray jumping up and down on the sidelines - that was the first time I genuinely thought we'd win it.

"We thought about it, of course. Personally, I'd imagined the possibility of maybe winning the title, but as far as it actually happening, that's a very different from the possibility of it happening.

"It was a truly great feeling, it really really was.

Shear class

"There were people from Blackburn that day saying if we never win anything again it doesn't matter, because right now, we're Premier League champions and no-one can take that away from you.

"I very rarely have to buy a drink when I go back to Blackburn! I don't go back as often as I should, but I still regard them as my team and I sincerely hope they manage to stay up this season.

"You can't talk about that season without mentioning Alan Shearer's 34 goals"
- Colin Hendry

"You can't talk about that season without mentioning Alan Shearer. His 34 goals says everything about him and how important he was to us.

"Alan suffered a bad injury when he first arrived at the club, when he did his cruciate. We'd seen enough of him already - he'd scored twice on the opening day of the 1992/93 season - to think 'wow, he’s cost £3.3m from Southampton and he's worth every single penny'.

"The players were thinking 'he's the golden egg and he's been damaged', but he made an incredible recovery, returned and did a fantastic job for us.

"You obviously need good players in every position to win the League but you need goals and he was a world-class player, which meant we stood a pretty good chance of winning things.

"Overall, I'd have to say that was the best season of my career, of course. It just has to be. I moved on to Rangers and won the Treble, including winning the title at Celtic, and I captained my country at a World Cup, so I had many highlights in my career.

"I wouldn't change my career for anything. A lot of players won a lot more trophies than me, but I wouldn't change my career for anything, especially when you think back to 1994/95."

Blackburn Rovers' 1994/95 squad:
Tim Flowers, Tony Gale, Alan Wright, Jeff Kenna, Tim Sherwood, Colin Hendry, Graeme Le Saux, Stuart Ripley, Kevin Gallacher, Alan Shearer, Mike Newell, Jason Wilcox, Nicky Marker, Bobby Mimms, Lee Makel, Richard Brown, Richard Witschge, Chris Sutton, Robbie Slater, Andy Morrison, Peter Thorne, Henning Berg, Mark Atkins, David Batty, Paul Warhurst, Ian Pearce, Shay Given.

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Key Points

  • Premier League is celebrating 20 Seasons
  • Awards for the greatest stars and best moments in Premier League history
  • An expert panel will decide Best Team, with Blackburn nominated for 1994/95