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Dougie's seaside success

28 January 2017

It may be some 57 years since Rovers last met Blackpool in the FA Cup - also at the fourth round stage - but club legend Bryan Douglas can remember it like it was yesterday!

The former England winger, who made over 500 appearances for the club, played both games as Rovers drew 1-1 with the Seasiders at Ewood on January 30th 1960, before winning 3-0 at Bloomfield Road in the replay four days later, en route to reaching the final!

Douglas admits that the historic 1960 cup run remains one of the highlights, but also one of the low points, of his distinguished playing career.   

“I remember it well - that was the cup final year,” he said. “We were a bit fortunate to scramble a draw. I think Mick McGrath got the equaliser here and we did very well at Blackpool in the replay, I think (Peter) Dobing got a couple of goals and (Derek) Dougan got one. So we were a bit fortunate here, but there was no doubt about the result. 

“Blackpool had quite a good side then - Alan Ball and Jimmy Armfield and one or two other well-known players. Alan Ball of course played in the World Cup 11 and I think Jimmy was in the squad, but he didn't make the actual team, but he played many, many times for England and he was a very good full-back. 

“That run to the final is something I will never forget. We were sort of underdogs really, because the following games we had Tottenham and then Burnley. We were 3-0 down at one time, but managed to get it back to 3-3 and really should have made it 4-3 in the last minute if Dougan had passed the blinking ball! But we just managed to see them off after extra-time in the return match here. 

“We had Wolves in the final of course. In those days Wolves had several internationals in the team and we only had 10 men in the final. It's the most disappointing moment in my football career was the final.

“Getting there was fantastic. I think we beat Sheffield Wednesday in the semi-final. Previously, a couple of years earlier, we got beat by Bolton in the semi-final, which we should never have lost really and they went on to win it of course, so we had another chance two years later and Wolves were a very good side. In those days there were no substitutes and Dave Whelan broke his leg and I have to admit, although he never did, Dougan played when he was injured, so we were effectively playing with nine and a half men.”

Whilst Douglas admits it would be great to see Rovers back at Wembley one day, he hopes a victory over Blackpool today can help improve the club’s Championship credentials.   

“I think the league is the most important thing and in these last few years the FA Cup has taken a back seat really to other competitions and it disappoints me that so many top teams play weakened sides and have excuses for it. But it’s still a great competition and for us, we need to beat Blackpool and get somebody here and have a good run. Success breeds success.”

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