So I've done my Sounds of the Season on Rovers Radio, like a Desert Island Discs for Blackburn Rovers fans. Usually, I do the interviews, but this was my turn to be in the hot seat.
You can link to it here. But this is the preamble.
Honestly, in many ways 1983/84 was a bang average season for Blackburn Rovers, not many memories feature in the history books, compared to what came several years later. The crowds were really low, in fact, we hit a new low. But it was really memorable for me for all sorts of different reasons, just going to Rovers, them becoming part of my life, was one of the emerging pillars of my identity, as were music, ideas, fashion, amongst others.
On the pitch, Simon Garner had a great season. Norman Bell got injured in the first game and never played again. So Garner was partnered with Chris Thompson mostly while Miller or Brotherston or Patterson provided the crosses. This season saw the emergence of Simon Barker alongside an ever-present John Lowey in the centre of midfield.
At the back, it was still Baz, Faz, Keeley and Branagan, in theory, but David Glenn filled in for Baz for most of the season, and all-rounder David Hamilton popped up wherever he was needed. Terry Gennoe was a solid presence in goal, with a cup run, an unbeaten league run, strong home form, on paper it looks like a good season, but too many draws meant although we finished 6th, it never felt like a promotion push. Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday were comfortably ahead, Newcastle finished third and Manchester City had to endure another season down in the doldrums.
It was however a great year for music. A massive turning point, a breakthrough. Just look at the choices I make and think what it must have been like to be alive and excited by all of that happening for the very first time.
Culturally, this period of time probably had a more profound and lasting influence on me than many of the later years. I bailed out of my Grammar School a year into sixth form and enrolled at Lancaster and Morecambe FE College instead, and instantly felt so much more at ease. Some of the things I got into later I quickly backed away from, but there is a reasonably straight line from the person I was in 1983 to where I am today, which I am very comfortable with.
It was also a pretty violent and racist time. There was always tension in the air, a sense it could kick-off, especially as you were hunted down at away matches, or when the bigger clubs arrived at Ewood. I also could have relayed scrapes at nearly every match I mention here, but I survived.
These are my Sounds of the Season, 1983/84. Do give the show a listen if you want to hear the rest of the story. I’ll dedicate it to Chris Heath (RIP), Nick, Phil, Tony, Mick, Daz, Dave, Neil Fell, Phil Shaw, Lancaster and Morecambe FE College, Baz Dootson, and an apology to Louise Stokes for not returning her David Bowie LP.
My Ever Changing Moods - Style Council
Modern Love - David Bowie
This Charming Man - The Smiths
Thieves Like Us - New Order
Boys Don't Cry - The Cure
Ain't Nobody - Rufus and Chaka Khan
Nelson Mandela - The Specials
White Lines (Don't Do It) - Grandmaster Flash
The Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunnymen
The Day Before You Came - Blancmange