Inaugural Hall of Fame Dinner
Blackburn Rovers legends return to Ewood Park for inaugural Hall of Fame dinner
Former Blackburn Rovers players descended on Ewood Park this week for an induction in to the Blackburn Rovers FC Hall of Fame, in association Blackburn Rovers Former Players Association’s, at a special event.
Alan Shearer, Brad Friedel and Brian Douglas were amongst the Blackburn Rovers stars attending the inaugural Hall of Fame dinner which welcomed over 360 guests to raise funds for former players in need.
The first event of its kind inducted and honoured the seven former players below:
- Bob Crompton
- Ronnie Clayton
- Bryan Douglas
- Derek Fazackerley
- Simon Garner
- Alan Shearer
- Brad Friedel
Former referee and president of the Association of the Premier League, Kevin Lynch hosted the event and Andy Bayes, BBC sport journalist since 2006 interviewed the players before they were anointed in to the Hall of Fame and presented with a trophy to mark the occasion.
The event included a three-course dinner by Northcote at the Rovers plus fundraising activities including an auction featuring football memorabilia donated by the players.
Ken Beamish, chairman of the BRFPA committee said:
“We’re delighted with the success of the first ever Hall of Fame dinner here at Ewood which has been in preparation for quite some time. It’s fantastic to see legends returning to reminisce and celebrate whilst raising funds for a worthy cause which will help us to further support former players and families when they are in need.”
Blackburn Rovers chief executive Steve Waggott commented:
“ A truly memorable night for this Inaugural Hall of Fame event. The range of the first seven inductees perfectly encapsulated the great and rich history of this wonderful football club. It was an evening where the audience shared in the laughter, tears and high emotion of the evening with the atmosphere in the room being electric as each player’s story was told creating many unforgettable memories for all of us lucky enough to be there.
Huge congratulations to the Former Players Association, Blackburn Rovers Football Club and all the people who put together the evening. Let’s hope this is the first of many of these Hall Of Fame evenings and that they become a regular feature within our calendar of annual events at Ewood Park”
Tony Mowbray BRFC manager commented:
“It’s really interesting for a football scholar, someone who loves football and studies the game.”
“I played against the Blackburn Rovers title winning team in 1995, when I was at Ipswich. I’ve heard the saying about Jack Walkers money and can you equate it to Chelsea or Manchester City?”
“What I do know is how hard it is to win any league. The bond of that team would have allowed it to win the league.”
“Those friendships I’m sure will last forever. It’s one of the greatest things about football, the bonds you make with other human beings through the success you have as a team.”
Alan Shearer said about the evening:
“Great times, I’ll never ever forget them. I had four incredible years here and made some great friends. I’m delighted to be here. There are some big names here who were very successful at this club.”
“I remember every day I was here. Every game, every goal.”
Brad Friedel said about the evening:
“It’s great to be back. I haven’t been back in many years. It was such a wonderful time of my life and career so very fond memories.”
“When I got the call to come it was a special feeling. The eight years I was here it was a wonderfully run, family club. Really looking back on it, it was all you could ask for as a player.
Simon Garner said about the evening:
“It’s great to be back for such a special night. It’s hard to describe how you feel, it’s a great honour. There have been some great names to play for this club so to get in to the inaugural hall of fame is really special.”
“But, it’s not about people like me, it’s about people like Ronnie Clayton, Bryan Douglas and Bob Crompton. I’ve really enjoyed hearing their stories tonight.”
Derek Fazackerley said about the evening:
“It’s a fantastic occasion. To be in and around people like Brad Friedel, Alan Shearer, sadly Ronnie Clayton no longer with us, of course, Bryan Douglas and of course Simon Garner, it’s a great occasion.”
“You always remember the cup ties that you played against the big boys and of course the promotions.”
“We were always in with a shout of winning something.”
“It’s nice to see some of the old players here and of course the supporters and former directors who have been a big part of this over the years as well.”
Val Clayton (representing her late husband Ronnie Clayton) said about the evening:
“This has been a wonderful evening, I so wish that Ronnie could be here to enjoy it. This club meant everything to him. After retiring, he would still come to Ewood Park every day and make tea for the ladies in the office.”
“He loved every minute of playing for Blackburn Rovers and where he is now, he will never miss a game.”
Bryan Douglas said about the evening:
“I was brought up a golf shot from here.”
“Never would I have thought when I started playing for this football club that I would be here (at the inaugural Hall of Fame dinner) almost 50 years after my final appearance for the Rovers.”
“I hadn’t realised that it is nearly 50 years since my final game. I loved playing for Blackburn Rovers.”
Bob Crompton (representing his grandfather Bob Crompton) said about the evening:
“As a player, director and manager Bob Crompton spent 44 years associated to the club. He won league titles as a player and the FA Cup and promotion as a manager.”
“He was the first professional to captain England and the first footballer to own a motor car. I’m delighted that his contribution to the club is being recognised here this evening.”
BRFPA was formed in 2008 with the aim of providing support to former players and their families and have so far helped a number of former players in need in both financial and practical ways. Previous events over the past ten years include Champion dinners such as the 20th anniversary of claiming the Premiership title in the 1994-95 season.
The special dinner event was sponsored by Peter Street on behalf of East Lancashire Hospice and Cardboard Box Company. Peter Jackson Jewellers, the longest standing sponsor of the club, also sponsored the event and provided the trophies presented to each of the former players.