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'World-class' Shearer inspired Blackburn glory

10 Jul 2015
Alan Shearer celebrates winning the 1994/95 PL title

Colin Hendry recalls Blackburn's title triumph in 1994/95, just three years after promotion

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

Only three years after sealing promotion to the Premier League in its inaugural season, the unthinkable became a reality for Colin Hendry, who marshalled Blackburn Rovers' defence as they disrupted Manchester United's dominance of the competition so far to claim their maiden PL title under Kenny Dalglish.

After back-to-back title successes for Man Utd, Blackburn became the first team to wrestle the crown off them when West Ham United denied Sir Alex Ferguson's men the final-day win they needed to topple Rovers, who won the league despite a last-gasp 2-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on 14 May 1995.

The title came after third and fourth place finishes in their first two Premier League campaigns.

Centre-back Hendry, who played 38 of Rovers' 42 league fixtures that season, had been with the club since November 1991, and he said that keeping the spine of their promotion-winning team from 1991/92 largely intact was a key factor in their success under manager Dalglish.

"It was a team mostly built two or three years before," Hendry said. "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.

Colin Hendry towers above the Leeds defence to score in an important draw in April 1995
Colin Hendry towers above the Leeds defence to score in an important draw in April 1995

"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.

"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 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.

"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!"

Blackburn first hit the Premier League summit in Matchweek 2 and, following defeats to Norwich City and Man Utd in the first 11 matches, they only suffered two more defeats before three losses in the last five fixtures set up a nerve-jangling finale.

Alan Shearer (left) and Chris Sutton (right) scored 49 PL goals between them in 1994/95
Alan Shearer (left) and Chris Sutton (right) scored 49 PL goals between them in 1994/95

A key part of their title challenge was the prolific strike partnership of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton, dubbed 'SAS', who hit 49 goals between them. Shearer scored 34 of those and netted 112 times in 132 Premier League appearances for Blackburn.

He went on to become the PL's all-time top scorer with a tally of 260 goals and Hendry looks back on his relentless goalscoring form as a vital part of their title triumph. 

"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."

To read premierleague.com's review of the 1994/95 Premier League season, click here.

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