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Champions: Chris Sutton

It's 25 years to the day since Rovers kicked off the 1994-95 campaign with a trip to Southampton...

20 August 2019

It's 25 years to the day since Rovers kicked off the 1994-95 campaign with a trip to Southampton...

Alan Shearer would net the equaliser against his old club in a 1-1 draw, his first of 34 league strikes during a campaign that would see Rovers lift the Premier League title nine months later.

And this season we're looking back on that memorable and historic achievement of 1994-95, 25 years on, with a member of that legendary squad.

Chris Sutton was first to take a trip down memory lane for our opening programme of the current campaign, to reflect on some magical times...

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Chris, first of all, can you believe that it's 25 years since that historic season?

I think I'm like most of the players that you'll speak to when I say it was such a long time ago. In terms of my career and what I did there, it's up there as one of the greatest achievements. I think, at the time, Jack Walker said that it happened a season early, but it was a privilege to play a part in such a big moment in Blackburn Rovers' history.

Does it seem like a long time ago or can you remember it like it was yesterday?

It feels like a long time ago! Two of my children were born in Blackburn and I've got great memories of living in the area for five years. In all honesty, it doesn't seem that long ago, but you still see these repeats of the 1994-95 season and it's lovely to watch.

Where does that season rank in terms of your career highlights?

I had a good spell at Celtic as well, but I think as an achievement, winning the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers is probably the biggest. To be part of such a strong side and to play up front with Alan Shearer that season was a privilege.

What was Alan like to play with and how good was the partnership that you struck up?

Alan was a major factor in me signing for Blackburn Rovers. They'd finished the previous season strongly and they looked like they were going to be the team to push Manchester United. They were gathering all of the best young talent around. To sign for Kenny Dalglish, who was such a leader, was a big thing. And in terms of playing with Alan, he just didn't miss, did he? Looking back on that season, I can't actually remember Alan missing an opportunity really. He was a phenomenal player, a really good athlete and absolutely ruthless in front of goal. He obviously went on to great things at Newcastle as well.

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Alan's goals were key that season, but it was also a collective effort. What was the spirit like within the group?

Alan's goals were a major factor and probably the biggest factor, but you look back and you talk about a team that was very effective. Tim Flowers, the saves he made on VE Day against Newcastle in the penultimate game of the season, you could argue that his performance that day won us the title. We were strong all round. All the players knew how each other played. We had two really good wingers in Jason Wilcox and Stuart Ripley. At full-back, we had Henning Berg and Graeme Le Saux, who were two experienced players at that time. In midfield, Mark Atkins was sort of the forgotten man in many respects. He came up with some crucial goals and was a really good player. Tim Sherwood was the leader and captain. I used to clean his boots at Norwich and he was someone I think we all looked up to. So we were a strong group mentally and physically.

Do you still try and keep in touch with your former team-mates today?

Yes, we all keep in touch. I think the last time we all got together was at Ewood for the 20th anniversary. It's great when we get back together and see each other, and we all have the same fondness for the town and the football club.

What was Kenny Dalglish like to play for and work under? 

First and foremost, Kenny was an iconic player and someone who I looked up to as a youngster. I was in awe of him when I signed for Blackburn Rovers. I thought he was an outstanding manager. The way he talked to you - if you got praised, then it made you feel big. I think he was always fair and honest. If things weren't good, he would tell you, but he would always back you publicly and I think all the players felt that. When you talk about major reasons why we won the title, I think he was the one towards the end of the season who kept us calm and grounded and focused on the job in hand.

What was Jack Walker like in and around the club?

Jack was Blackburn Rovers and what he gave the town in terms of hope and investment in the football club, he did what he said he would do - he won the Premier League title for Blackburn Rovers. He always used to come into the dressing room before the game. Not that he would advise you about football in any capacity, but he would come in and wish you luck, and after the game he would come in and shake your hand, win lose or draw. It was a family club when I signed, all the Directors were local and Jack was the leader. There was a really good feeling about the whole place and it proved to be a good decision for me to move to Blackburn.

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Just how special and momentous an occasion was it for the club and the town to be crowned champions of England?

It was something which Kenny and Jack had built over a number of years and it was a pleasure to be a part of.

Finally, do you still look out for Rovers' results today?

Absolutely. I keep in touch with Andy Bayes from the local radio. My son is an avid Blackburn Rovers fan and he gets across to a few games. I always look out for their results on a Saturday evening and I follow the club closely. 


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