Adam Henley has paid a heartfelt thanks to the club for making his boyhood dreams come true.
The Welsh full-back joined the club’s Academy at the age of nine, progressing through Rovers’ youth ranks, before making his first team debut in a 3-3 draw at Wigan Athletic in November 2011 at the age of 17.
He went on to make 94 appearances for the club, scoring once in a 2-1 victory away to Sheffield Wednesday in March 2015.
Having found first team opportunities hard to come by this season, coupled with the emergence of rising star Ryan Nyambe, Henley’s loyal and long-serving association with the club will come to an end when his contract expires next month.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute from the day I walked into Brockhall as a nine-year-old,” said Henley.
“I want to say a big thank you to all the coaches, players and backroom staff that have helped me on my journey to get to where I am now and helped me achieve my dream as a kid to become a professional. Everyone at Blackburn Rovers made that possible for me.
“Also to all the fans that have supported me in the club through the tough times, especially in the last few years, but for their support I’m massively grateful. For the future, Blackburn will always have a special place in my heart for everything it’s done for me and I’d like nothing more than to see it return to its former glory.”
Henley insists he will never forget his breakthrough season with the club, when he burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old, making his full debut in a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield on Boxing Day 2011, before beating Manchester United 3-2 at Old Trafford five days later.
However, that season was tempered with disappointment, as Rovers were relegated from the Premier League at the end of it.
“That year was so bitter-sweet for me,” added Henley. “Obviously coming through and playing in the Premier League as a 17-year-old, I almost look back at it as a bigger achievement now than I felt at the time.
“It really was a roller-coaster for me. The highs of being able to stand on my own on the biggest stage in English football, then obviously for the club to get relegated in the same year was tough, but those games, especially the Liverpool game – making my full debut – and then to go on and beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, is something I’ll never forget and can’t imagine happening again anytime soon.”
Henley’s progress in recent seasons has been hampered by persistent hamstring problems, but the right-back insists he will only look back on his time at Ewood Park with great fondness and he is determined to get back to full fitness before making a decision on his future.
“For me, the only regret is that the injuries have hampered my chances of really making a big impact on the team, especially in the last two to three years where I’ve had my hamstring problems, but that’s football and it happens,” he added.
“I’m just going to leave thankful for all the good times and the good memories I had and not think about the injuries and problems.
“Now’s the time for me to reset and see which direction I want to head in the future. It’s obviously coming off the back of an injury-ridden season, which is tough, so my main aim is to make sure that these problems don’t reoccur and stand me in good stead for the new season and the future.”