...And I've spent all my money on this seat right here
There's no point in saving for a rainy day
Cause I'll be a wild Rover till my dying day
And it's no nay never
No nay never no more
Cause I'll stay a wild Rover forever and more
(sung to Wild Rover)
Sorry for the silence but I've been out of the country for most of the last two weeks. On Saturday I was at Ewood Park in Blackburn to see Blackburn Rovers in person for the first time. The opponent for this Championship match was another Lancashire team, Preston North End. While not Rovers dreaded rival Burnley it was a local derby and the travelling fans were there in force as well.
Sadly Blackburn gave up the equalizer in the last minute of stoppage for a 2-2 draw (the same score the Rapids game would have later that day). I'm really glad I made the trip to northwest England for this game. Not only because I'm a Rovers fan but I enjoyed seeing what most people think of as the roots of the game.
Despite Rovers' historic success Ewood Park is no DSG Park and Blackburn is never going to be Arsenal or Chelsea. Blackburn is a town of about 100K somewhat out of the way in England. For the most part the supporters of Rovers are local fans or fans who have some ties to the local area (though the season ticket holder sitting next to me told me there was a Norwegian sitting in my seat a few weeks earlier). I saw a very loud five to six thousand Preston fans filling up the Darwen end and I heard the Blackburn supporters overcome them after a rough start.
Ewood Park has one large video screen in the corner between the Riverside Stand and the Darwen End that showed the lineups and the score. Occasionally it would show a replay but only on goals, close misses, and the very occasional foul. Other than that the stadium has a small board on the Darwen End that showed the current score and minute (no seconds, just the minute). That was it for displays. Much different than the Dick that has the electronic board around the top of the whole stadium along with the video board on one end and the score/time board on the other. Also my seat was literally an arm's length from the Preston subs. I can't imagine ever getting that close to players in-game in the U.S. Of course when the team has played home games on the same spot for 135 years like Blackburn has, some things are done because they've always been done that way.
I've included some more pictures from the game below. I'll get back to some commentary on the hot mess that is the Rapids right now in the next few days. With the international break and the rescheduled Dallas match we have more than two weeks until our next game action so there's plenty of time to talk about what's working and what really isn't.
The River Darwen and the Riverside Stand
The Jack Walker statue, Blackburn's greatest supporter
The Blackburn End stand and the pregame festivities
Not exactly a C38 tailgate
Panoramic from my seat
Preston's subs and assistant coaches
The Darwen End stand showing the two electronic boards in the stadium
Both managers on the touchline
On Sunday we went to the National Football Museum in Manchester where I got my picture with the FA Cup and the EPL Trophy. You're not allowed to lift the FA Cup but you can lift the EPL trophy.