Blackburn Rovers fans finally have something to cheer about after beating Arsenal 1-0 in the FA Cup fifth round at the Emirates.
The club – owned by Indian poultry giants, Venky’s – has had little to celebrate for the past two years having been relegated from the Premier League last season after an 11-year stint in the top flight, but Saturday’s surprise triumph over the Gunners, has given the fans renewed belief.
Manager Michael Appleton, who became the fifth manager of the season at Ewood Park, has led the club to three wins in four games and to within six points of the play-offs.
Since Venky’s took over from the Walkers Trust in 2010, the club has been shrouded in misery and uncertainty, leading a section of the supporters to form the BRFC Action Group – aimed at restoring the club’s pride and communication with the fans and community.
The group’s Chairperson, Glen Mullan, believes there is newfound optimism around Ewood.
“The scars of the last two years will always remain, but there is definitely a positive vibe around the place.
“Appleton has done brilliantly. It’s good to hear Rovers fans singing Appleton’s blue ‘n’ white army, the first time we have sung about our manager since Sam Allardyce two years ago.
“The new manager has strengthened areas of the team that needed improving, and we look like a side going in the right direction.”
Saturday’s win against Arsenal was symptomatic of the way Rovers have played under Appleton. The Championship club haven’t conceded a goal in open play for over nine hours, and with the likes of Jordan Rhodes and Saturday’s goalscorer Colin Kazim Richards upfront, they will fancy their chances of booking a semi-final date at Wembley.
“To think that we are only a game away from Wembley is fantastic for the club. Although problems off the field remain, it is good for the fans to enjoy some success on the pitch. We should focus on that.
“All the action group wants is a well run football club.”
Blackburn’s reward for beating Arsenal is an away quarter-final tie against Millwall, which will be played over the weekend of March 9/10.