GAMES between Wanderers and Blackburn have thrown up some memorable moments down the years.
Ralph Gubbins’ double in the FA Cup semi-final to set up the 1958 meeting with Manchester United, Frank Worthington’s winner to seal promotion for Ian Greaves’ super Whites, Jussi Jaaskelainen’s amazing double penalty save.
There have been furious protests against Steve Kean, ridiculous snow storms, and some touching moments too – who could forget the “Muamba 6” mosaic at the Reebok?
But for me, a fixture between Bolton and Blackburn evokes nothing but a feeling of pure, unadulterated panic.
Allow me to paint you a word picture.
A fresh-faced reporter, still boasting the majority of his hair, had tagged along with (very) senior football writer Gordon Sharrock to help out on a Sunday afternoon at Ewood Park.
Blackburn were gunning for Europe but Wanderers were third... THIRD! They were exciting times indeed.
It hadn’t been a classic by the half time break and, in the time honoured tradition, journalists filed back down the stairs and into the press room for a bourbon cream and a cup of something warm. This can be tea, coffee or soup, incidentally. At Bury, the half-time concoction is referred to simply as “brown” and I’m not sure even the hospitality staff know of its origins.
Anyway, I finished my cuppa and filed back outside into the fresh October air to find that my laptop (I had christened him Larry), which had been sitting patiently on the bench, was looking a little more stolen that it had been before the interval.
I obviously blamed Gordon, thinking this was some pre-war initiation or rite of passage that they used to do in Charles Foweraker’s day.
But his blank expression told me that it was nothing to do with him.
The stewards, then the police were called. I spent the second half doing statements while Gordon went into hyper-drive doing the work of two men that day in 2006 when Jaaskelainen made those two penalty saves and Wanderers got away with all three points with a 1-0 win thanks to an Ivan Campo goal.
Other local journalists rallied round – helping me out by making sarcastic remarks, pointing and laughing.
I never did see Larry the Laptop again, and several conspiracy theories have gone around as to the identity of the thief/thieves. For legal reasons, I am bound to silence on that one.
But should they ever happen across this account, perhaps even reading these words from old Larry himself, then I would like them to know a couple of things.
Firstly – the New Kids on the Block songs aren’t mine, I was storing them for a friend.
Secondly – I’d like to thank you. Of all the laptops in all the press box, you managed to pick the clunkiest, noisiest, slowest and most old fashioned piece of equipment possible.
There were laptops used in World War Two that had better graphics cards.
And so endeth the great Ewood Mystery. I often wonder what happened to Larry in the end and how many adventures he might have been on – but then I turn Netflix on my brand new computer, browse Twitter for a bit and forget all about it.