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Blackburn Rovers v Liverpool (05/01/2011) - Double Agents
Monday, 3rd January 2011

YNWA looks at the careers of some of those who have played for both Blackburn Rovers and the reds, as we prepare to visit our Lancashire rivals on Wednesday.


Current double agents
Roy Hodgson took over as Rovers boss in June 1997. He led them to sixth and into the UEFA Cup in his first season, a significant improvement on their previous campaign when they ended in thirteenth. However, his second season in charge started disastrously, and he was sacked in December 1998 with Blackburn sitting rock bottom of the table. He took over at Anfield in July, and has so far led us to just thirteen wins in his first thirty matches.


El-Hadji Diouf joined Rovers in January 2009 for £2.5m from Sunderland, linking up with his former Bolton boss Sam Allardyce. He has so far struck just four times in sixty outings for the Ewood Park outfit. He had arrived at Anfield from Racing Club de Lens for £10m in June 2002, playing eighty games but scoring just six times. He joined Bolton Wanderers for £4.5m in June 2005 after a season-long loan. Iain Brunskill left the reds' Academy in August 2008 to take over as reserves boss at Ewood Park, having spent twelve years at Melwood.


Kenny Dalglish led both sides to their most recent League title wins. While Kenny was the boss at Ewood Park, he made ex-reds reserve Mike Newell one of his first signings, for £1.1m from Everton, who went on to strike 48 times in 167 Rovers games. David Speedie also played under Dalglish at Ewood Park as they reached the top flight, scoring 23 times in 36 games, having been one of his final acquisitions as Liverpool manager, netting eight times in fourteen reds games.


More management
Paul Ince took over as Manager at Ewood Park in June 2008 after short but successful spells at Macclesfield Town and MK Dons. He led Rovers to just six victories in his 21 fixtures before being sacked in December 2008. He played 81 games in his two years at Anfield after signing from Internazionale for £4.2m in July 1997, scoring seventeen times. However, his best days were behind him, and Gérard Houllier shipped him off to Middlesbrough within a year of taking charge, due to his unruly influence.


Another former Rovers boss, Graeme Souness, had Phil Boersma and Dean Saunders on his coaching staff, with all of them then joining him at Newcastle United. Jim Furnell played the final thirteen games of 1961/62 as we finally returned to the top flight as Second Division champions. He then lost his place to Tommy Lawrence, and made just 28 appearances in total. In the early 1980's he was Bobby Saxton's Assistant Manager at Ewood Park.


Recently at the back
Gérard Houllier sold Stig Inge Bjørnebye and boyhood red Jason McAteer to Blackburn, as well as Brad Friedel. McAteer played 83 times for Rovers after signing for £4m in January 1999, while Harkness arrived from SL Benfica that August, just five months after Houllier had shown him the door. Bjørnebye remained at Anfield for another year, before being signed by Graeme Souness for £300,000. He went on to make 67 appearances for Rovers before being forced to retire due to an eye injury, 46 more games than Harkness managed while at Ewood Park. Friedel left the reds on a free transfer in November 2000 and played 356 games before switching to Aston Villa in July 2008. He had played just 31 times for the reds after signing from Columbus Crew for £1m in December 1997.


Jim Beglin had a six-game loan spell with Rovers towards the end of his career, after he had moved on to Leeds United. He had worn the reds jersey 98 times in his time in L4. Markus Babbel spent a season on loan with Rovers, netting three times in 28 games. He had previously enjoyed a fantastic debut season with the reds, before he was cruelly struck down by Guillain-Barré syndrome, which restricted his Anfield career to 73 games in which he bagged six goals. Dominic Matteo moved to Ewood Park from Leeds United on a free transfer in July 2004, and played 39 times for them before joining Stoke City on another free in January 2007.


Stéphane Henchoz spent his first two seasons in English football with Blackburn, making 82 appearances, before joining us for £3.5m in June 1999 after they were relegated. He played a total of 205 reds games, helping us to claim five trophies in 2001 as well as another League Cup two years later. He returned to Ewood Park for a second spell, playing just sixteen games before retiring in October 2008. Left-back Stephen Warnock played 67 reds games, notching once, before moving to Blackburn in January 2007 for an undisclosed fee, believed to be £1.5m. He turned out 109 times for Rovers, getting on the scoresheet six times before joining Aston Villa in August.


Before and after the war
South African winger Bob Priday only made forty reds outings, grabbing seven goals, as his rival for a spot in the team was usually Billy Liddell, and so he left for Rovers in March 1949, for whom he scored eleven times in 44 League games before joining Northwich Victoria. Ten years later, Louis Bimpson made the same journey, after 39 goals in 102 reds appearances. He appeared for Rovers as they lost the FA Cup Final the next year, as well as netting five goals in 22 League outings prior to moving on to Bournemouth. Scottish forward Bill Kinghorn signed from Queens Park in April 1938 and netted four times in nineteen reds games. Blackburn were one of many clubs he guested for during the war.


Even further back
Blackburn-born Billy McOwen, the Englishman in our ‘team of the Macs', arrived at Anfield from Darwen in July 1892, keeping goal in 23 of our 28 League games in our first season in the Football League as we stormed to the Second Division title in 1894 without losing a game and conceding just sixteen goals. He then left the professional game to return to his career as a dentist. He had been with Rovers prior to joining Darwen. Inside-left Hugh Morgan struck eighteen goals in his 68 reds outings and won a Scottish cap before joining Rovers in June 1900 where he ended his career. Two years later, forward Edgar Chadwick arrived at Anfield, netting seven times in 45 reds games. He had begun his pro career at Blackburn.


Goalkeeper Ned Doig was part of our 1904/05 promotion-winning team, and became our oldest ever player after 53 games, aged 41 years and 165 days. Blackburn had been his first English club, but he only played for them once after signing in November 1889 in between two spells with Arbroath. He arrived at Anfield for £150 from Sunderland in August 1904, after fourteen years in the north east. Scottish half-back Thomas Cleghorn played 48 top-flight fixtures for Rovers before joining the reds in March 1896. He bagged one goal in seventy outings prior to signing for Portsmouth in August 1899.


More recent double agents
Craig Bellamy signed for Blackburn from Newcastle United for £5m in July 2005. He bagged seventeen goals in 32 games while at Ewood Park, before the reds activated the £6m get-out clause in his contract in June 2006. He managed to notch just nine times in 42 reds games, including in an Anfield meeting with Rovers. He was sold to West Ham United after just one year at Anfield, fetching £7.5m. Besian Idrizaj joined Rovers last July, but moved on to Swansea City the following month. The Kosovan-Albanian midfielder signed from Linzer ASK for an initial £190,000 in August 2005, and made his first senior appearance in our friendly at Crewe Alexandra back in July 2006, but failed to make our first-team squad.


Florent Sinama-Pongolle joined Rovers on loan in January 2006, and netted just once in ten games, a defeat at fellow Champions League hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur. He struck nine times in 66 reds games following his arrival from Le Havre in July 2003, although the deal had been struck two years earlier. David Thompson left Rovers for Wigan Athletic on a free transfer in January 2006, after a total of 84 games following his £1.5m switch from Coventry City in August 2002. He had bagged five goals in 56 reds outings. Howard Gayle only made five first-team appearances for the reds, with his finest hour coming in our European Cup Semi-final second leg at Bayern München in 1981. He later made Rovers one of his several post-Anfield employers, grabbing 29 goals in 116 League games.


Robbie Fowler signed for Blackburn in September 2008, but only turned out on five occasions, without getting off the mark. He scored 171 goals in 330 reds appearances in his first spell at Anfield. The ‘Toxteth terror' won UEFA Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and two League Cup winners' medals during his initial reds career, and re-signed on a short-term contract in January 2006. He struck a further twelve times in 39 games second time around to become our fifth top all-time goalscorer, before moving on to Cardiff City in July 2007.


Other double agents
John Bovill signed from Chesterfield Town in April 1911, going on to bag seven goals in 29 reds games before leaving for Linfield three years later. He had been at Blackburn before joining Chesterfield. Wrexham-born forward Reg Blore only played one senior reds game and moved on to Southport in July 1960. After a brief spell with Blackburn he joined Oldham Athletic, for whom he made nearly 200 League appearances as a midfielder. Scottish winger Patrick Gordon moved across the park in 1893 and bagged eight goals in thirty games before moving to Ewood Park a year later. Les Bruton signed from Blackburn Rovers in February 1932 but made just eight senior appearances before returning to the amateur game with Leamington Town in August 1933.





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