It has been a fantastic year or so for the men’s BTEC A team from the Blackburn Rovers Sports College.
Students at the Sports College study on the BTEC in Sport programme, delivered by a team of teachers from the Blackburn Rovers Community Trust.
As part of their studies, students form a number of mens and girls teams that compete in the EFL’s Community and Education Alliance.
Back in January 2019 the men’s A team lost to a strong and impressive West Bromwich Albion side and it was from there that staff and students alike aspired to become better sportsmen in the coming months.
Staff worked hard alongside the group, giving students the ownership of what they wanted to get out of training and their football matches. The A team remained unbeaten for the remaining part of the 2018/19 season.
Following a strong string of friendlies, some of which were played at the impressive Senior Training Centre, staff and players were hopeful of improving on their fourth placed finish from the season before.
The season opened in the most difficult of ways by facing a trip to champions Carlisle United. The lads showed their credentials by turning the game coming from a goal down to lead 2-1.
Ultimately, the lads were to go on to lose 3-2 in controversial circumstance but had shown huge signs of improvement.
The opening month was an impressive one with wins over Tranmere Rovers, Rochdale and cup win against Blackpool. The Rovers A Team gathered more momentum coming from 4-1 down to win 7-5 in a pulsating game of football over Manchester City at the Etihad Campus.
They followed that up with further victories over Accrington and rivals Burnley before defeat away at Preston came them crashing back down to earth.
They ended the 2019 calendar year with victory in the cup against Sheffield United to advance to the knockout stages.
The season resumed in January 2020 with a battling win at Fleetwood Town before facing Macclesfield Town in the CEFA Cup last sixteen.
Due to Macclesfield’s financial problems it was to be a fantastic test for the Rovers lads by going up against players who, a week earlier, represented their club in the FA Cup proper.
Rovers came roaring out and raced in to a two goal lead before experience and technical ability took over and saw Macclesfield progress on what was a brilliant day for experience for the young team. February would be a huge test as Rovers were to go head-to-head with champions Carlisle, second placed Tranmere and neighbours Burnley.
The team kicked off the month by beating rivals Burnley in a physical contest before spring everyone and hitting eight goals against Carlisle United before hitting Tranmere for four in the snow of East Lancashire.
Rochdale was next up for the lads knowing that a win would be a huge step towards their first ever league title. The lads knew they were in a battle from the first whistle.
Rochdale giving everything on a tight pitch and after the hour-mark going 2-0 in front. Rovers showed every quality of a title winning team by digging deep and scoring three unanswered goals in the last twenty minutes with ten men to win 3-2.
Rovers followed up a fantastic February with putting a further eight goals past Burnley on their own patch to leave them top of the league by three points with five games to go.
It has been a remarkable journey for this group of students since that day at West Brom. They’re now just a few wins away from the EFL title with the whole college waiting on news on the plans to conclude the season.
For more information on the Blackburn Rovers Sports College’s BTEC in Sport programme visit www.brfctrust.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org