One win, one draw, one defeat. The nature of the FA Cup means that one of us, Sunderland or Blackburn Rovers, must finish on top following our quartet or quartet+replay of clashes this season. Glen Mullan*, seen above with a lady he’ll forgive us for calling very much the better half, is as Rovers as they come, Blackburn born and totally committed to his club. He suspects Saturday will produce a winner: a 1-0 victory, but for whom he isn’t sure. In truth, we all probably want a great cup run, but most of us – maybe all – want Premier football even more.
Glen, who posts at Vital Blackburn Rovers, part of the Vital Football Network but also enjoys trawling the sites of other clubs’ fans, offers a vision of Newcastle tumbling through the leagues – pause for expressions of sadness all round – and explains why, despite his implacable allegiance Rovers, a strict view on home town support condemns his sons to follow another team……
Sunderland yet again – fourth game, three of them away (for you). Can you face yet another gone against us?
A bit sick of playing Sunderland; had you a few times in cup in recent years. Rovers have a very good record against all the North-eastern clubs especially away from home. I’m sure this will be a tight game and I’m not expecting a classic.
Football romantics wanted Sunderland v Blyth but they might settle for either of us winning the cup. What chances either club?
Both clubs, like anyone, have a chance in the cup this year, I think a lot depends on the kindness of the draw. Once you get through to the quarter final stage in recent years the cup draw has opened up nicely for the so-called smaller clubs. An example of this is the all-Premiership ties in the earlier rounds, which allows lower division clubs the opportunity to progress. At the quarter-final stage these are the type of teams you want to be drawn against knowing a victory will put you one match away from Wembley.
Has Big Sam turned it around? Where do you now see yourselves finishing?
Big Sam has had a major impact, unbeaten now in the time since he took over, and more importantly four clean sheets in the five games, something under Ince we couldn’t buy!! His appointment was the right one, but one that should have been made in the summer. Only time will tell if he can keep us up, with so many teams in the mix this year to go down. I think it will be close and at this stage very difficult to predict either way
And us? What do you think of Sunderland? Will we survive?
Sunderland have bought a lot of players and under Keane they never seemed to gel. The new regime has started good for the Mackems and your bigger players are beginning to perform. Jones and Cisse both have goals in them and I’m sure Sunderland will survive this year. Sunderland were unlucky not to get a point at Old Trafford – and every big decision went against them when playing a very good Villa side.
Who do you want in the transfer window, who do you not mind losing and what departure or arrival would leave you gutted?
Transfer windows are interesting and there is a divide amongst fans on who should come and who should go! Me personally, Rovers should off load Mokeona, Cruz (no player bigger than the club and his unhappiness could effect dressing room morale). On the players we should sign which is difficult as we don’t have a lot of money, I’d like Stephen Hunt, Aiden McGeady, if we could afford him I’d like big Jones from yourselves and perhaps Kevin Nolan. A right back is also a priority but not sure who, many fans want Ryan Taylor from Wigan but I personally don’t rate him, but this one looks increasingly likely to happen.
How bad were Newcastle? Or was it just a good Rovers performance?
In fairness to Newcastle they were the better team in the first half without actually causing to many problems, 3-0 flattered rovers but three points are three points, Newcastle do look seriously in trouble injuries and boardroom hell could see them go down. For years they have wasted money and tried to buy success, they are their own worst enemy and could free fall through the divisions if relegated as could a lot of clubs who go down this year?.
Any thoughts on the players and staff who have been associated with both Rovers and Sunderland: Michael Gray, Sam of course, Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Jason McAteer, Shay Given?
Firstly I’m glad and relieved Big Sam was snapped up by Rovers quickly; not many managers would have been capable of saving Rovers this year, Of the players that have played for both clubs only really Cole had an impact, Yorke was lazy and I was pleased when he was given boot, Gray was a solid fullback but was more of a squad player in his time at Rovers.
And how do Rovers fans look back on the Shearer years?
Never again will a small town club achieve what Rovers achieved during the years of Dalgliesh and Shearer. Our first three seasons in the Premiership resulted in finishes of fourth, second then of course champions in the third season. This was pure fairytale stuff and so exciting for the town and fans. Every week Rovers seemed to be busting the bank for someone and Dalgliesh had the ability to see talent when gel it together. Incidentally this is what the team that won the league was put together for:
Flowers- 2.5 million
Le Saux- 700,000
Batty- 2.2 million
Total- 16 million. Very cheap
A lot of the winning team were signed from obscurity and developed into top players.
Shearer is the best striker England has ever produced, he was complete. I was actually gutted the day I heard we signed him, ‘cos my hero at the time David Speedie who was integral in getting us promoted went the other way. At this time Shearer had only managed 12 goals in total at club level at Southampton over four seasons despite having an England cap against France. But the rest is history: the greatest player ever to wear the blue and white halves
Club vs country. Who wins for you and why?
Club always, I was born Rovers, football runs through my blood and there is no greater adrenalin rush that footy. When we win I’m chuffed for days. When we lose I’m gutted until the next game. With England I watch them when they are playing but wouldn’t swap my plans to fit an England game in.
Will you be there on Saturday? What will be the score?
I’m hoping to go on Saturday but depends on commitments I have at home, I’m not expecting a thriller but I think it will be 1-0 either way, hopefully for Rovers.
* Glen Mullan on Glen Mullan:
I have been going to Rovers since 1985 and have supported them all my life, Born in Blackburn but now live in Wigan. I’m a strong believer that you support your hometown, which unfortunately for me means my 3 children are encouraged to support Wigan. My highlights as a Rovers fan: promotion in 1991 when we beat Leicester in playoff final, after going so close in previous seasons and falling at last hurdle this will always be favourite memory, especially as it was at the old Wembley. Favourite all time players would have to be Garner, Speedie and Shearer. Of the current crop my favourite player is Pedersen although he really has not hit the heights in the last 18 months. Worst change for me in football (being selfish): all-seater stadiums. I used to love standing on the Blackburn end the atmosphere was fantastic but all seated stadiums, although definitely safer, has taken a bit of magic away from going to the game.