Blackburn Rovers: FA Cup triumphs

The dominance of the southern public school, army and university teams came to an end as the game took root in the industrial midlands and Lancashire.


With the participation of the working-class, both as players and spectators, the game ceased to be the exclusive pursuit of the genteel middle and upper-classes and became a mass spectator sport.


The new breed of clubs built enclosed grounds, charged admission and were run for profit. Intense competition led to players being poached by one club from another and financial inducements, forbidden by the FA's strict rules on amateurism, became commonplace.


In 1885 the FA bowed to pressure from clubs like Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa and recognised professionalism and the balance of power shifted decisively north - no amateur side has appeared in the final since then.

Copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission.

Blackburn Olympic 2 Old Etonians 0 (Extra Time played)

venue Kennington Oval 

date  31 March 1883

The FA Cup went north for the first time but it was the unknown working men's team of Olympic rather than the former grammar school boys of Rovers that achieved the honour. For the second successive season both sides changed shirts because of a colour clash. With the game scoreless after 90 minutes, Olympic showed superior stamina (they were the first team to train specifically for their cup ties) and scored twice in extra time. Their success proved to be the seeds of their downfall, however, as their best players were poached the following season by their rivals and in 1889, Olympic closed down. This was the last final in which any of the old former public school sides would appear.

Blackburn Rovers 2 Queen's Park 0

venue Kennington Oval 

date 4 April 1885

In a remarkable turn of events, the 1885 final was a repeat of the previous year's. Once again. however, Queen's Park started the match as favourites but their long journey to London ended in failure for the second time. Blackburn dominated the game and ran out comfortable winners.


Blackburn Rovers 2 West Bromwich Albion 0 (Replay after 0-0 draw)

venue Kennington Oval: Replayed at The Racecourse Ground, Derby 

date 3 & 10 April 1886

Blackburn Rovers appeared in their third successive final where they were nearly beaten by strong West Bromwich side. The replay took place in Derby, the first time that the final had been played outside London. Rovers led at half-time and could have had a third but the scorer, Sowerbutts, thinking that he was offside, did not appeal to the referee who, later turned out would have awarded the goal. The FA awarded Blackburn a silver shield to commemorate their achievement in winning the competition for the third time in succession. West Brom played in a change kit but Rovers declined to have a team photographs taken before the match so I have not been able to confirm their kit.

Blackburn Rovers 6 The Wednesday 1

venue Kennington Oval 

date 29 March 1890

The first ever "Battle of the Roses" final between a Lancashire and Yorkshire side had Blackburn Rovers starting out as clear favourites. With nine internationals in the side and three survivors from their remarkable three FA Cup triumphs, they were considered one of the strongest teams in the country. Wednesday, who were members of the Football Alliance, a rival competition to the Football League, fielded 11 local lads who were completely overawed by the occasion and were completely outclassed. Both teams changed their shirts for the occasion as they usually turned out in blue and white. According to the Guardian's Knowledge, Blackburn had to get a set of white dress shirts from a london tailor as they had travelled with their normal blue and white tops. The match was the last to be refereed by Major Francis Marindin, formerly the captain of the Royal Engineers and co-founder of the FA Cup.


Blackburn Rovers 3 Notts County 1

venue Kennington Oval 

date 21 March 1891

A week before the final, Blackburn and Notts County met in a league game, which County won 7-1. Few thought that the match was anything other than a forgone conclusion but the Rovers team proved superior on the day and led 3-0 at half-time. County pulled one back in the 71st minute but could not save the game and Blackburn had equaled the record of Wanderers with their fifth FA Cup win.

Blackburn Rovers 3 Huddersfield Town 1

venue Wembley Stadium 

date 21 April 1928

Huddersfield, lying second in Division One, started the match as hot favourites. On their way to the final they had thrashed Spurs 6-1 and twice scored four goals. Blackburn, on the other hand, had narrowly avoided relegation. Rovers scored after only 30 seconds, the fastest goal scored in a Wembley final, and added a second before half-time. After the interval Huddersfield narrowed the gap but when Rovers added a third, the cup was theirs for the sixth time.

Blackburn Rovers 3 v 1 Huddersfield Town, 21/04/1928 FA Cup Final. Rovers played in 'Away' colours of plain blue. Attendance 92,041.

Rovers scorers:

Puddefoot Goal 30 seconds; McLean Goal 22 minutes; Roscamp Goal 85 minutes.


Puddefoot's goal on 30 seconds was the fastest ever FA Cup Final goal until Louis Saha scored a goal after 28 seconds for Everton v Chelsea in the 2009 FA Cup Final.

Rovers fans sing the FA Cup hymn, Abide with Me.
Rovers fans sing the FA Cup hymn, Abide with Me.