Blackburn Rovers At Home 2015/16 – Mixed Emotions

Life. Impossibly long, terribly short, happy, amazing, tragic and awful. That’s deliberately contradictory because yesterday was one of highs and lows.

This will be shorter than normal. Normally the tone of the blog is of what a Twitter friend calls “gentle comedy”. It’s meant to be light hearted but, at times, this isn’t possible. Last season that was down to the football. But to write in that voice you have to be in a certain mood and I’m not.

Yesterday really should have been one of those happy and amazing days that I dwelt on for an impossibly long time. It dawned sunny and warm, a beautiful late summer’s day.  The Boy’s football training went well, we met our friends on time and Southern Rail had managed to lay on an eight coach train across to Brighton, on which we got a seat. OK, when we got to Brighton the train monkeys managed to load us on totally the wrong train, meaning we sat in the station while people who’d only just arrived got put on the first train out, but we still got to The Amex in plenty of time. When we arrived it was eerily empty.

As I queued at one of the concourses a supervisor type came out and told all the servers that kick off was delayed by fifteen minutes. Surely the train stewards hadn’t sent everyone after us on to the fast train to Victoria? I checked my phone and only then caught up with the fact that something horrific was unfolding at the Shoreham Airshow. A plane had crashed on to a full A27, a road that at that time would have been full of families off for an afternoon somewhere and fans heading to The Amex from the west. At the time of writing I’m not sure exactly who has been affected but my heart goes out to them and their loved ones.

A football match still took place, and mostly we were able to focus on events on the pitch, albeit updates were coming in from Shoreham from all those around me. Blackburn had the better of the opening exchanges with Conway and Marshall giving our fullback pairing more trouble than they’d yet received this season, the centre backs being worked hard in the heat too, and long throws were coming in to the box from all angles.

Eventually we settled down and began to enjoy more possession. Lua Lua who had spent much of the first ten minutes giving the ball away suddenly began to trouble their defence while, on the other side, Jamie Murphy was easing in to his full debut. Hemed’s strength was allowing Baldock to buzz around him and the Blackburn defence and Kayal and Stephens were doing what centre midfielders should and putting themselves about. After a few probing moves we finally carved them apart with Baldock finding Kaz unmarked in the box. His powerful shot could only be parried in to the net and we were one up.

We held on with no small thanks to Stockdale who was excellent. Blackburn carved several good chances but they either wasted them or found our keeper more than equal to the challenge. We created chances ourselves on the break but couldn’t take those either and the game finished 1-0.  We are equal top with Ipswich, a goal down on goal difference, and unbeaten all season. We looked solid and a proper Championship team without ever hitting the heights of the first half at Fulham.

Afterwards we were walking past the North Stand entrance where we saw Calde surrounded by a large crowd singing his name. We tried to get a photo but he told us to get lost and made a run for his luxury vehicle. No, of course he didn’t, he stayed and had photos with each and every person who wanted one, generous as ever with his time. What a wonderful man and great club ambassador he is.

For the boys, then, it was a perfect day. A win. A team sitting pretty at the right end of the league and a chance meeting with a player. Afterwards we went to our friend’s 40th birthday party which was good enough to have delayed the usual posting time of this blog. But, when we remember this day in years to come it won’t be the day that we beat Blackburn 1-0, nor the day of the 40th party, but the day of the plane crash on the A27. For that reason alone this report is shorter and more subdued than normal.

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