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Champions: Tim Sherwood

The former Rovers captain, who lifted the trophy, reflects on that magical campaign 25 years on

14 May 2020

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Throughout this special season, we have been looking back on the memorable and historic achievement of the 1994-95 Premiership title triumph with different members of that legendary squad.

Former Rovers skipper Tim Sherwood, who lifted the trophy at Anfield 25 years ago today, is the next in line to take us on a trip down memory lane …

Tim, when you think back to your time here, 25 years on from winning the Premiership, does it seem more special now when you look back on it than when you were actually living it?

Yeah I think so. When you look at the Premier League over the years and see how difficult it is to actually achieve what we achieved and to get over that line and lift that trophy, it's taken Liverpool 30 years to do it and that's a giant of a football club and we’re talking about a small town. It’s really unbelievable what was achieved here. Jack (Walker) had a dream and obviously had a lot of money as well, which helped, but he had a plan. He decided that Kenny (Dalglish) was going to be his man and Kenny decided that Ray Harford was going to be integral to that team. He kept Tony Parkes here – he was here a long time before any of us and a long time after as well. So we had the coaching team there, we had the core, we had the nucleus of a good side, players like Mark Atkins, who was a remainder at the football club and still to this day, people may raise an eyebrow when I tell them, he is the best player I ever played with in midfield. You can’t forget the David Speedie's of this world. A lot of those guys took Blackburn to that promised land. It's a difficult step and Tony (Mowbray) will tell you now how difficult it is to get out of the Championship into the Premier League. There was a lot of guys who didn't remain at the club for those glory years, but they played their part and set some foundations for us to get to the promised land and then we just kicked on from there.

When you came up in 1992, a lad from down south, what was it like when you arrived in Blackburn?

I remember the first day I drove up here, I was like ‘I ain’t going to be up here long’! Seven years later I was still here! A few ups and downs along the way, but just a magnificent football club and for me a place that I call home. Yes, I played for a giant football club in Tottenham afterwards, but you can't take away the glory of what we had and the camaraderie amongst the group. There was not a them and us, it wasn't coaching staff, directors and players, there was a togetherness throughout the group and I think that's what galvanised us to achieve what we did. 

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To work under Kenny Dalglish, is it fair to say that you had a lot of fun, either on the training pitch, on the team bus, in a hotel or on the football pitch?

Yeah I think that's fair. With Kenny, we all knew what a legend of a footballer he was. A talented player, who won everything as a player and obviously achieved massive things as a manager with Liverpool – a giant football club. For Blackburn to be able to attract him, once he made the phone call, ‘do you want to come to Blackburn’, before he put the phone down you’re on the motorway, you're on your way! And when you're in here, there's a real togetherness. He had a knack of having a laugh and joke with the players, but you knew when it was game time. You knew when you had to turn it on and go to work. No-one messed around as much as I did, but I knew when it was time for business and then that's when we performed. You knew that if you didn’t, Kenny would pull you up and leave you out. He was a great motivator, a fantastic tactician and a winner.

When you say you joked around and messed around, could you shed some light on any examples of what you got up to?

No! When we used to travel away, it was a race to the reception and I think after a couple of weeks they soon cottoned on and they wouldn't put the keys out with the names on, because the directors and chairman himself used to travel with us and if we managed to get our hands on their keys, we would rip their room before they even got up there! I can't see Pep (Guardiola) letting them get away with that! It was different then. There's so much money and the finances in the game now, but I would not change my time from when I played. It was just such a great era to play in and even before us. Obviously the money would be great now, because you've got absolutely terrible players earning a fortune, but the enjoyment of your life and the experiences of what you went through and the togetherness of the group was built not only on the training field everyday, which is very competitive, but in and around the training ground and the hotels when we travelled away. 

Kenny made you captain when Kevin Moran decided to retire, but in the dressing room there were lots of leaders wasn't there? The likes of Alan Shearer, Colin Hendry … could he have picked anybody in that dressing room?

No! Next question! Of course, he could. Everyone knows there's so many leaders. Colin, what a man mountain that kid was. He put his body on the line every single day in training and on matchdays. Shearer, we know what a legend he was as a goalscorer, but as a leader, no-one could bully him. Tony (Mowbray) probably played against him many times and tried his best to bully him, but it was hard to achieve that. There were so many leaders around. David Batty in his own right, he played his own game, but he was a great player in what he did. We had so many guys with good characters. The dressing room was very harsh. It was a dressing room where if things weren't going well, the bad news didn't always have to come from Kenny or Ray or Tony, we would tell players and we would get pulled apart on a daily/weekly basis because we wanted to make each other better and we felt if there was bad news to be said we had to say it. That is a dying breed now. You don't get that in the dressing rooms too often now, because they're all billionaires and their wives are all friends. Certainly, when managing teams in London, they all want to go shopping in Harrods and Harvey Nichols every day with their wives and they'd rather be each other's friends. We weren't like that. We weren't frightened to upset each other, but we were only doing it for a reason, because we wanted to win and we wanted to make each other better and we wanted to make the collective team better and that's what we managed to achieve. 

Not many players can say they’ve won a Premier League title, but to be captain as well, that’s a special honour isn’t it?

It was. To be given that armband by the manager at the time and then to go on a couple of years later and actually lift that trophy first, before the rest of the boys, was what dreams are made of and something that I will always remember.

Tell us about May 1995 … that amazing night here against Newcastle and the day at Anfield. How nervy was that dressing room beforehand?

That was the Tim Flowers night, the Newcastle game. The Anfield one, we’d been ahead for so many months and then the lead was dwindling away. You just think, I've dreamt of this all my life, we've got so close, we finished fourth, then we finished second and obviously we went one step further, but for that to be ripped away on the last day was almost unbearable. It was almost just a sense of relief that we got over the line, but we deserved to. The season isn't won on the last day of the season, it’s won over a period of a lot of games during the season and the best team always wins the league and we were the best team.

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Do you remember the next two nights or are they a bit fuzzy?

No, I remember it. That night, it was packed to the rafters when we come back. It was brilliantly done as well. We went to the training ground and got a bus through to Ewood Park – obviously not an open top bus because it was chuckling it down! We got to the stadium and it took us so long to get there and when we actually arrived in there it was absolutely bouncing. It was just fantastic. It was brilliant the way it was all set up. It was relaxing for us, but at the same time, we enjoyed it with the fans and they deserved everything. 

Could you take it all in? 

No, I still can't now. I've never watched the Liverpool game back. I think it was the first time they had split screens on Sky when they were at Upton Park and I just can't watch it in case Andy Cole decides to put one in the net and then I woke up and it was a dream!

You’ve now been inducted into the Blackburn Rovers Hall of Fame – how does that feel?

It’s a great honour. It was fantastic honour even to play for this football club. It was a great club that was building at the time, you knew something exciting was going to happen and then it actually did, so to be recognised is a fantastic honour and a great achievement for me.

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And how special for Tony Parkes to be inducted as well?

He’s Mr Blackburn and it’s tremendous that Tony has been recognised, because he’s been a large part of this football club for many, many years. Long before I arrived and a long time after I left. Tony was always a great part of the dressing room. He had good banter, a great sense of humour, a good footballing man, a person you would want on your side and it’s a really fitting honour for him to be inducted. He will always be remembered as a great of this football club.

Finally, you had a great career, not just here, but when you look back on your time, do you consider Blackburn Rovers as your club?

Yeah, I do, because of the success and the length of time I spent here and the unexpected time. After I came here, you want to stay forever, especially when you start so well and we did so well. It was a real blow when Kenny left. It was a hard act to follow. It was very difficult for other managers to come in and try and emulate what Kenny did. It's my home, it's the club that I call home. I loved every club I've been at. It's a different experience at every single club. I'm a very positive guy and I take positives from everywhere, but there were so many positives from this football club.

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