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Club News

140 years ago today...

5 November 2015

On November 5th 1875, at a meeting at the St. Leger Hotel on King William Street in Blackburn, the Blackburn Rovers club was formed.

Organised by John Lewis and Arthur Constantine, two old boys of Shrewsbury school, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of forming a football club to play under Association rules. Seventeen people attended the meeting, the majority of whom were former Blackburn Grammar School pupils.

Early officials at the club included Walter Duckworth, a former pupil of Clitheroe Grammar School, who became club secretary, while Lewis was treasurer. Thomas Greenwood, another member of a prominent local family, was appointed captain, while two of his brothers, Harry and Doctor, would also play for the club.

Other early players included J.T. Sycelmore, a master at Blackburn Grammar School, the son of the vicar of Blackburn, A.L. Birch, and Richard Birtwistle, who belonged to one of the leading cotton manufacturing families in Blackburn.

This patronage of the club by the educated middle classes was of vital importance. These men were at the heart of Blackburn's commercial life. Through their education and business acumen they were well placed to exploit the opportunities presented by the expansion of the fledgling game.

The public school background was also evident when it was decided to model the club colours on those of the Old Malvernians who sported quartered shirts, however instead of the traditional green they decided to opt for a Cambridge blue. A design the club still proudly wear to this day.

The first match involving the newly-formed Rovers was reported to have taken place on December 18th 1875 - a 1-1 draw with Church.

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