Ned Longworth celebrated his 100th birthday by having a kick-about with his Rovers heroes!
The birthday boy was invited to spend his special day with family and friends at Rovers’ Senior Training Centre, where he rolled back the years by taking part in some penalty practice.
The training ground visit was the highlight of a busy day for Rovers fan Ned, who barely missed a game at Ewood Park between the ages of six and 93!
After watching the players be put through their paces, Ned was presented with a personalised signed shirt by manager Gary Bowyer, whilst enjoying some lunch – and birthday cake – in the players’ canteen, before being given a guided tour of the ‘first class’ facilities at Brockhall.
“I’ve got what they call a packed programme,” he joked. “I’ve been up since five to seven this morning. I got a telegram from the Queen and I told the postman to tell her thank you very much! I received two telegrams, 60-odd cards, phone calls, doorbell – it’s been hectic. Non-stop!
“I’m very grateful for the hospitality and I thank everyone involved. I’m amazed at how wonderful everything is, it’s unbelievable – it must be the best in the country.”
The long-serving supporter, who will be a special guest of the club at the game against Bournemouth on August 23rd, left a lasting impression on the players and staff, as he recalled some great games and names from Rovers’ proud past.
“I can still remember the team that won the FA Cup in 1928,” said Ned, who then reeled off the 11 players!
“In 1922, Rovers signed someone called Johnny McIntyre and they played Everton in the First Division and he scored four goals in five minutes – you’ll never see that again for as long as you live!
“Alan Shearer takes a bit of beating – he was very strong physically, he was hard to shift off a ball and he could hit a ball. His strength was the main thing. Going back a long while, there was a centre forward called Eddie Harper, he wasn’t so bad at scoring goals, and then Bobby Langton, he was very good, and Bob Priday, a centre half.
“I wasn’t there, because I was just a boy, but beating Huddersfield 3-1 in the 1928 cup final – that was a big occasion. The biggest disappointment was when they played Wolves at Wembley in 1960 and lost 3-0. I was there. It was a sad day. I’ve been three times to Wembley – once for the Full Members Cup final when Colin Hendry scored the winning goal.
“The team now is very promising. That goal the other night was as good as you’ll see and I think Gary Bowyer is definitely the right man for the job.”