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Champions: Mike Newell

We're marking the 25-year anniversary of our club's greatest ever season

22 October 2019

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.

Mike Newell was next to take a trip down memory lane for our programme against Huddersfield Town to reflect on some magical times...

Mike, this season marks 25 years since Rovers lifted the Premiership trophy. Does it feel like that long ago or can you remember it like it was yesterday?

Everything feels like yesterday to be fair, because they are such good memories. We were coming in to work every day and just enjoying ourselves, and having success at the same time, so it was a fantastic time to be at the club. New players were coming in virtually every week at the outset and certainly two really good players every season for the next three or four seasons, so it just got better and better.

With all those new players arriving, did you get a sense that something special was on the horizon?

I already sensed it because of the manager that they picked. Kenny (Dalglish) was my hero when I was growing up in Liverpool. I was at Everton at the time when Blackburn Rovers first approached me and no disrespect to Don Mackay at all, because I had a good chat with Don, but I just didn’t feel that it was right to drop down from Everton to Blackburn Rovers, who were eighth bottom of the Second Division at the time. To be fair to Don, he said ‘if things change and you’re not getting in the side, would you speak to me again?’ And I said ‘of course I would.’ Because I knew they had big plans for the club. But things changed with Kenny coming in and he was the one, along with Jack (Walker), who put everything in place – the stadium, the players, everything – but without Kenny, I don’t think anybody would have attracted the type of players that he did.

As a boyhood hero of yours, what was it like to work under him?

It was fantastic, but he never made that difficult. It was never difficult because Kenny never asked you to do anything that you couldn’t do and that went for everybody. He recognised players and recognised what you were capable of, and once he’d seen you did, that was all he ever asked of you. To do it every week. That’s the minimum requirement to be honest, with any player. Once you’ve seen them do it and put an effort in, then it was demanded of you every week.

What are your memories of Jack Walker and how nice was it that his dream for the football club became a reality?

He was a lovely fella and it was fantastic, because it all happened so quick. I don’t even think Jack could have dreamed that it would have happened and that they would have won the league. As I said, nothing would have been possible without the funding that Jack put in place and the stadium that he built. But I don’t even think Jack would have expected to win the Premier League in such a short space of time. Don’t forget, we finished fourth and second in the two previous years, and that in itself would have got you Champions League football in this day and age, but you had to win the league to get in the Champions League back then.       

What was the team spirit and the togetherness like within the squad?

We had a great team spirit, absolutely. People have this opinion or belief that if you play with somebody then you’re mates with them, but that’s not the case. We had plenty of scraps and fights, but that’s because we were all hungry and we demanded a lot of each other and the best out of one another. So it wasn’t all happy families, but there was a tremendous camaraderie and we had a fantastic time. Every day seemed to be a laugh and when you’re coming in on Monday morning having won virtually every week, there is no better job to be doing.

Finally, to get over the line and actually win the title, how proud and special a moment was it for everybody?

For me, it was unbelievable because it was an Anfield. Having personally not had a great season, coming off the bench and being in the background a little bit, to actually win it at Anfield was everything for me. To walk around Anfield with the Premier League trophy, which they hadn’t won and still haven’t won, was very special for me. I’d grown up there as a kid and been there since I was six years old, so it could not have been any better for me. 

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