Being a season ticket holder and travelling up and down the country, I have endured a marathon game of snakes and ladders with Rovers over the past three decades with low points such as the '89 Palace Play Off debacle and incredible highs like '95 and Cardiff in 2002. I know that every fan has an opinion on a whole range of issues.
Some of you may nod in agreement at what I will write in the months ahead, while others could totally disagree with the views expressed. I hope we can create healthy debate with original ideas and points of views on everything Rovers and beyond. Here's one to kick off. I believe Burnley's recent 'successes' will be beneficial to Rovers.
My first visit to Ewood was in 1979 at the back end of a dismal campaign which would eventually see the club relegated to the old third division. My vague recollections of that game against Preston as a timid 7 year old are that I was petrified by the noise (the attendence was less than 10 thousand!) and I didn't want to step foot in the place again. It had affected me that badly that when I was asked by my Grandfather to go again the week later, I feigned illness. My Grandad and friends were shocked that I was missing 'the Big One'. The game being Burnley.
Since that time, the 2 clubs have only met 6 times in competitive matches but each occasion has been as eagerly anticipated as any cup final would be. It's not just about a football match but the pride of each town. The rivalry had gone largely unnoticed by many sections of the media until immediately after the final whistle at Wembley in May.
As Burnley fans filed out of the ground they were asked what they were looking forward to most in the Premier League. The recurring answer was taking on Rovers. Not playing United or Chelsea or Liverpool but Blackburn Rovers. They had inadvertently given the club free airtime. If ever the old addage of' 'all publicity is good publicity' is true then this is it. Just the fact Rovers are being mentioned will spark curiosity among the wider footballing world and be beneficial to the club.
My second argument is that there will be pressure on the team to be ahead of our neighbours from down the road,even if we are not challenging for any honours. This should raise standards and avoid complacency. Big Sam knows the score and will educate his players into the importance of this. Rovers fans have already rightly suggested that if Burnley can compete against teams like United then why can't we.
I realise some Rovers supporters will totally disagree with this viewpoint and wish Burnley were languishing is depths of some minor division. I myself am not saying that I want them to stay up, but for one season in the top flight lets enjoy the excitement of the fixture and the rivalry. That is what football is about.The build up to the game on Oct 17th will begin in earnest. Will we have got so enthused about playing an every day fixture against Sheffield United if things had turned out differently.