Rovers’ longest-serving supporter, Ned Longworth, has sadly passed away at the age of 103.
Ned, who had supported his hometown team since he was six, died peacefully at his home in Lower Darwen on Wednesday – just five days after celebrating his 103rd birthday.
The life-long fan had become a close friend of the club after celebrating his 100th birthday by having a kick-about with the players at Brockhall.
Ned had been invited to spend his special day with friends and family at the club’s Senior Training Centre, where he was given a behind-the-scenes tour, watched the first team train and even rolled back the years by taking part in some penalty practice with Craig Conway!
He was also presented with a personalised signed Rovers shirt by former manager Gary Bowyer, with ‘Ned 100’ on the back, and was treated to some lunch – and birthday cake – in the players’ canteen.
A retired salesman, Ned, served for five years in the Army and fought his way from Belgium to France during the Second World War.
A great grandfather-of-two, he barely missed a game at Ewood Park from the age of six to 93 and had some special memories from more than nine decades of following the club.
Speaking back in August 2014, he said: “I can still remember the team that won the FA Cup in 1928.
“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.”
Rovers would like to thank Ned for his loyal and valued support, and offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.