The Former Players Association was formed in October 2008 with the aim of providing financial support to former players and their families. The current committee consists of four former players – Bryan Douglas (President), Ken Beamish (Chairman), Derek Fazackerley and Kevin Gallacher – plus Rachael Norris (Secretary), Brian Marsden (Treasurer), John Eatough and Jennifer Whalley.
Bryan Douglas had one ambition – to play for his home town club, Blackburn Rovers. He signed professional forms in April 1952 and made his senior debut in September 1954. A talented dribbling right winger, “Duggie” made his England Under 23 debut in 1956, before making his full international debut in 1957. After 36 appearances and 11 goals, he made his last appearance for England in 1963, but not before playing in the World Cups of 1958 and 1962. He made a total of 438 appearances for Blackburn, scoring 101 goals, before his retirement following the game against Fulham on Easter Saturday 1969. Together with his club colleague, Ronnie Clayton, Bryan gave outstanding service to Blackburn and England over 15 years.
Ken Beamish signed for Blackburn from Brighton in May 1974 for £25,000 and in his first year at the club played a prominent role in the club achieving success in winning promotion and the 3rd Division title in 1974/75. Ken only spent two years at Blackburn, but during that time he scored 19 goals and made 86 appearances and, in doing so, became a bit of a Rovers legend. The chant of “Beamo, Beamo” was heard for many years. Ken thought it was a compliment, but in fact it was a reflection on the number of times he missed scoring chances from close in, something he acknowledged with a smile in due course. The chant even rang out when the opposition missed from close range. He left Blackburn in September 1976, when he was sold to Port Vale. After retiring as a player in 1982, he tried his hand at management with Swindon Town, but at the end of the 1983/84 season, his contract was not renewed. Ken returned to Blackburn in 1986 as commercial manager, an appointment that he held for 26 years until his retirement in 2012.
Derek Fazackerley joined Blackburn as an apprentice in 1969 before signing professional forms in March 1970 and making his full debut in 1971 against Hull City. Along with Ken Beamish, “Faz” was a key part of the team that won the 3rd Division in 1974/75. Following subsequent relegation from the 2nd Division, he won promotion back to the 2nd Division in 1979/80 and earned the nickname of Mr Dependable. He played with a number of centre halves over his years at Blackburn, but he will probably be best remembered for the partnership that he formed with Glen Keeley. He finally left the club in January 1987 after making a total of 671 appearances, when he left to take up the new challenge of player-manager at Chester City.
When his playing career finally came to an end in 1990, Faz became a coach and assistant manager at a number of different clubs – York City, Bury, Newcastle United, England under Kevin Keegan, Blackburn, Bolton and Barnsley. He was a scout for Manchester City under Sven-Goran Eriksson for one season. Back to coaching, Faz joined Huddersfield, Leicester City with Sven-Goran Eriksson again, Birmingham City and finally, in July 2014, he was appointed assistant head coach at Oxford United, where he remains today.
Kevin Gallacher started his footballing career in Scotland in 1985 with Dundee United, and won the first of 53 international caps in 1988 before moving to Coventry City in 1990. He joined Blackburn in March 1993 and made 158 appearances and scored 52 goals. He was also a member of the Premiership winning team of 1994/95, although he was restricted to only one appearance, following two broken legs, the second of which was in his first match back from the first accident. In 1999, he moved on to Newcastle United and then Preston North End, Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town before retiring in 2002.
He is now a co-commentator and analyst for a number of different radio and TV channels and writes a regular column for the Lancashire Telegraph. Recently he has received critical acclaim for his book, “Tartan Turmoil: The Fall and Rise of Scottish Football”, a semi-autobiographical look at the problems faced by Scottish football.He also runs his own coaching school and is a qualified scout.
Rachael Norris, Marketing Manager for local Blackburn-based businesses Lancashire Business View and Fettle Events, has recently joined the association as secretary and is also a life-long Rovers fan.
Brian Marsden is a chartered accountant, who has long associations with the club and is the Treasurer of the association. Brian was a partner at PM&M in Blackburn until 1998, who were the club’s auditors for many years, when he left to join a client firm as Finance Director. He is now retired and is a life-long Rovers fan and season ticket holder.
John Eatough qualified as a solicitor in 1971. He was a partner with the firm that is now known as Napthens in Blackburn for more than 35 years, retiring in 2009. He then held a consultancy with the firm for a further 4 years. He has been a Rovers season ticket holder for more than 40 years and is a former member of the 100 Club.
Jennifer Whalley has worked for Blackburn Rovers for over 19 years. During her time at the Club she has been responsible for the Commercial & Hospitality administration, along with being PA to Commercial Directors and Managers. Jennifer looks after the Club Sponsors/Partners and also oversees the hospitality lounges on matchday. She has lived in Blackburn all her life and before working at the Club, was a season ticket holder for many years.