After adding another League One promotion to his CV, Rovers midfielder Richie Smallwood says the move to Ewood Park has seen him play at his very best.
Richie appeared 52 times in all competitions in his first season at Ewood after linking up with Tony Mowbray for the second time in his career when he joined after leaving Rotherham United.
And reflecting on his maiden campaign in the blue and white halves, Smallwood admits it's gone better than he ever thought it would do
“It was probably the best season I’ve ever had performance-wise and we had the success to match as a team," he told iFollow Rovers. "Overall it was the first season where I played every game, but overall I was just pleased to help the team.
“Playing with better players has made me a better footballer without any shadow of a doubt, no disrespect to Rotherham. It’s brought me on coming here and has lifted my standards.
"Hopefully this summer will see more players come through the door, raise standards and force even more competition in the squad.
“Working with the lads, coming in every day it’s not been a chore. There’s a great camaraderie in the camp with a lot of joking around, but we’re serious when it comes down to training hard and playing hard."
Richie became a firm fans favourite almost straight away, and says he hugely appreciates the support he gets from the terraces, with thr Rovers faithful christening the 27-year-old as The King of Ewood.
“Another massive thing for me is my bond with the fans. It’s the first time in my career I’ve had that with a group of supporters," he added.
"Long may that continue. I hope I repaid them last season for that support and I’ll be hoping to do the same and even better next season to make sure the fans keep chanting my name.
“At first I didn’t know who they were singing about at first. I remember at Bradford I worked out it was about me and I couldn’t ignore it. It gives you a great feeling and adds maybe another 5% or 10% at times when you need it. The louder the better as far as I’m concerned!"
Don't forget, Rovers are back in action on Thursday night at Ewood Park when Champions League runners-up Liverpool head to our home.
Tickets for Thursday's clash against Jurgen Klopp's side remain on sale and you can purchase yours by clicking here.