Blackburn fans and the magic of FA Cup
The match had ended and the majority of the crowd had almost left Anfield, but the chants of the 6,000 Blackburn Rovers fans were still emanating from the iconic stadium. The celebration was in remembrance of the past, but the excitement was given a fresh surge as the Championship team held the mighty Liverpool to a well-deserved draw. The replay dates may not be to their liking, but if this is any indication, a large turnout is expected at Ewood Park on April 9th.
This overwhelming response from the fans in the FA Cup has been quite astonishing inspite of the wide media speculation about continuous dismantling of the world’s oldest football tournament. This also goes on to show the respect which is missing in the administrators of the modern times. Blackburn produced a quality performance against a team placed near the top in the English Premier League, but if truth being told, the away fans were instrumental in their success.
The legendary Kop was surprised by the lack of conviction in their team’s game, and as a result, Liverpool fans were silent for the majority of the second half. But, there was no stopping the Rovers fans, who were vocal from kick-off, when they reminded their much-fancied opponents which team was the most recent to win the Premier League.
The fan support was extremely important for the Blackburn team, who were rarely troubled by the attacks of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. The dismal performance of the Reds can be summed up from the fact that their best chance of the game was a poorly directed header from substitute defender Kolo Toure. It was a dream come true for the fans who have not seen Premier League football for almost four years.
This was another moment when it was clear that the Premier League fans are no longer as vocal as they used to be, which is attributed by many experts to the increase of tourists and fans who come to the stadiums to experience the atmosphere, rather than be a part of it. The other fact which was highlighted was the magic of FA Cup amidst all the false claims of decline.
The FA Cup is no longer considered to be one of the main competitions of the season, and for the Premier League clubs, the main objective besides the league is always European qualification. Managers like Louis Van Gaal and Arsene Wenger have openly accepted that fact and there have been instances when the top clubs have fielded depleted squads in the competition. But try telling that to the horde of Blackburn fans who came all the way to Anfield in order to stand beside their team.
Blackburn Rovers club is curently £80 million in debt and currently 11th in the Championship, the second tier club football tournament in England. But for their fans, a chance to qualify for the semifinals of the FA Cup is not only exciting, but also inspiring.