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.
Alan Shearer was next to take a trip down memory lane for our programme against Swansea City to reflect on some magical times...
Alan, it’s approaching 25 years since Rovers lifted the Premier League trophy. Does it feel like that long ago?
That makes me feel old! It’s incredible how quick it goes. You try to take it all in and enjoy it, which we did of course, but you never appreciate how quick the time goes. So much has gone on, good and bad, since then, so it’s incredible to think it’s now 25 years.
When you joined the club from Southampton in 1992, did you ever envisage that your time here would go as well as it did?
I did actually. Once I’d spoken to Kenny (Dalglish) and to Ray Harford and to Jack (Walker), when you put those three together, it was going to be pretty good. That was what they sold to me when I spoke to them. It was a football club that was going in the right direction and their plans were pretty big, so I knew it was going to be good.
What was Kenny Dalglish like to work under?
He was brilliant. He was fantastic. He had the respect of everyone and rightly so, because of what he had achieved in the game and he was a leader.
And for Jack Walker, how nice was it that his dream of bringing the Premier League trophy to Blackburn became a reality?
This was his football club. He wanted it to be at the top and he got it there. That was his dream and that’s what he told me. When I first spoke to him, when I came from Southampton, that’s what he wanted to do – he wanted to put Blackburn Rovers right at the very top – and he did that.
The players you played with have all spoken about how close the squad were. Was that togetherness and team spirit just as important as the quality when it came to getting the better of Manchester United that season?
Yeah, I think that was one of our biggest, if not our biggest, assets, in terms of the team spirit that Kenny had created. Yes we had some very, very talented players – the likes of Jason Wilcox and Stuart Ripley were a forward’s dream, Tim Sherwood in midfield, Colin Hendry, Tim Flowers, Bobby Mimms when it first started, Greame Le Saux – we had so many good players in that team, but what us over the line was our team spirit and there’s not many that could have matched us for that.
A striker is perhaps sometimes only as good as the supply line and Jason Wilcox and Stuart Ripley were old fashioned wingers who we don’t see as much of in today’s game, but just how good were those two players in terms of creating chances for you?
They were incredible. But that was the system that we played. We played a 4-4-2 and those wingers, there weren’t any better. Wilcox on the left and Ripley on the right, whether it was work-rate, whether it was pace, whether it was ability to past people and whip the ball in, they had it all. And knowing what they were going to do, there was nothing flash about them, in terms of they didn’t want to beat six players, they maybe wanted to beat one, but their first thought was could they get the ball into the box and whether it was for me and Mike Newell or whether it was for me and Chris Sutton or Kevin Gallacher, whoever it was, we knew the system inside out and it was a system that was designed to score goals and it was a dream for any forward. That’s why we enjoyed it so much.
In terms of the title-winning season in general, it was a bit of a rollercoaster, but what was it like to be involved in?
It was huge relief at the end, because Manchester United were breathing down our necks and were coming after us quickly. So to get over the line like we did, we beat Newcastle United here, which was a great game, Tim Flowers was incredible in that match, he pulled off four or five miraculous saves, that was when we thought ‘we’re not going to lose this’. We then went to Anfield and we were all panicking after going 1-0 up and then Liverpool, of course, scored their couple of goals. It was really surreal, because they didn’t want to win it anyway, because of the chance that they could hand the title to Manchester United. Their fans didn’t want Liverpool to win that day, just in case, but West Ham did us a great favour at Upton Park, so we got over the line in the end.
And to get your hands on the trophy and then the celebrations, what was that all like?
It was brilliant. It was huge relief. There was great scenes in the dressing room after the game and ones that I will never forget.
Finally, do all those special memories come flooding back every time you return to visit Ewood Park?
I love coming back here! It’s a very special football club. It’s a warm football club. It has that warm feeling. I had four incredible years here. I absolutely loved it. Whether it was scoring goals or winning the title, whatever it was. The people inside the football club were brilliant, some of them are still here now. So I love coming back here.