NORWICH CITY V BLACKBURN ROVERS; THE ACN PREVIEW

09/03/17

David 'Spud' Thornhill looks back over 95 years of Norwich City v Blackburn Rovers history. They beat us 7-1 and we have our best ever season, we beat them 4-1 and we have one of our worst (compared to expectation, not in pure league positional terms). It's been dramatic.

Blackburn Rovers head to Norwich fighting for their Championship lives, while City have a mathematical shot at the play offs, but in the kind of form that has suggested they've have been playing in flip-flops since October.

History provides many a good omen for Rovers' fans however, with 19 wins from 42 meetings for the Lancashire gentleman compared to our 12. A couple of their victories have been, shall we say, emphatic.

The first encounter came in 1912 and the salubrious surrounds of an FA Cup tie. First Division big guns Blackburn hosted little old non-league Norwich, but romance was in short supply and Rovers won 4-1.

It would be nearly 25 years before the clubs met again. By now City had climbed the ladder and Blackburn had tumbled out of the top flight, leaving both in the Second Division, where they would stay for 3 consecutive seasons before leaving the league in opposite directions. This 3 season love affair saw some entertaining and high scoring games. In December 1938 Blackburn thrashed Norwich 6-0, having also beaten us 5-3 at Carrow Road the season before. Following those gubbings, we got a measure of revenge beating them 4-0 at Carrow Road. Rovers had the last laugh however and returned to the top flight as we dropped back down to Division Three South.

After that short but intense period, the clubs again drifted apart and it would be another 27 years before the clubs would meet again in 1966. Again the FA Cup was to thank for bringing the estranged pair back together, but like 1912, Blackburn weren't interested in our romantic advances and dismissed us.

Their (purely imagined) hubris would come back to bite them however as the following month, Rovers were relegated and would be forced to join us again in the second tier. There we both stayed until Blackburn dropped further and found themselves in the third tier 5 years later.

The clubs met sporadically (all home wins) over the next two decades as City spent their time in either the top-flight, or getting promotion to it, while Blackburn bobbed about between the second and third tiers.

It would take the financial might of lifetime fan Jack Walker to fund a top flight return for Rovers, who returned to join us in the inaugural Premier League campaign.

With both teams expected to struggle, it was an unexpected 1st v 2nd meeting at Ewood Park in early October. Despite our lofty position at the top of English football, it was 2nd placed Blackburn who enjoyed themselves more, demolishing us 7-1. The result didn't cause City's wheels to fall off however and we went on to pip Rovers to a 3rd place finish and a spot in the UEFA Cup.

By this stage, City had visited Ewood Park 14 times and only had 2 goalless draws to show for our efforts but in August 1993, buoyed by our qualification for Europe, we finally won there. Future Rovers striker Chris Sutton grabbed a brace in a 3-2 win. Sutton repeated the trick in the return game at Carrow Road, although this time it was only enough to clinch a 2-2 draw.

After those 4 strikes (plus some additional scouting probably) Rovers boss Kenny Dalglish refused to take Robert Chase's "no" for an answer and despite our rotund former chairman saying "if Sutton's not here, neither will I be", Super Chris headed north for lb5m, returning only to open the scoring for Rovers at Carrow Road in early October 1994. Showing some fight that would be nice this season, City came back and won 2-1, aided by a bizarre goal from a slipping Jon Newsome. Despite this amusing set-back, Blackburn went from strength to strength and impressively clinched the title on the final day. Norwich were relegated.

The next meeting between the clubs was memorable for the wrong reasons as a horrendous challenge from Rovers' Christian Dailly snapped the shin of Phil Mulryne ending his season before it really began. Blackburn won the fixture 2-0.

In February 2015, Norwich won only for the second time at Blackburn thanks to goals from Cameron Jerome goal and a thunderbolt from Bradley Johnson, it was only our 2nd win in 20 visits.

We would win again next time we went there too, when way back in August, we kicked this season off in a horrendous display of competence, winning 4-1 there on the opening day.

  • 4-0 - Norwich's biggest win v Rovers 8 April 1939
  • 7-1 Blackburn's biggest win v City 3 October 1992
  • 4 - Top City goalscorer v Rovers; Tim Coleman and Chris Sutton

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