Saturday’s East Lancashire derby between Burnley and Blackburn Rovers will be the 100th time the two teams have met in a competitive game.
Despite Blackburn’s dominance in recent years, winning seven of the last 10 games, over 99 games the gulf hasn’t been so wide.
In the 99 games that have passed, Burnley have won 38, with Blackburn only three ahead with 41 wins and the scores level 20 times. With 86 League clashes, seven FA Cup matches, four meetings in the Anglo-Scottish Cup and two end of season ‘test match’ games it’s the turn of the Sky Bet Championship to host the 100th meeting.
The first competitive game was held 125 years ago when the two founder members of the Football League met in the old English Division One. Saturday, November 3rd 1888 was the date of the first game, and Blackburn thrashed Burnley 7-1. Rovers dominated the first six meetings between the sides, Burnley left reeling from heavy defeats. However, the tides turned in 1891 and Burnley recorded the first draw against their nemesis and later in the season ran out 3-0 winners.
Burnley’s greatest win against Rovers came in 1896 when the Turf Moor side hammered Blackburn 6-0 in the English Division One.
And when the end of season ‘test matches’ came in April 1898, Burnley won them both, kickstarting a period of Claret and Blue dominance. In the next 15 meetings, the Turf Moor club would win 11 and salvage one draw, Rovers earning just three wins. This streak lasted 24 years, but Blackburn hit back with back to back wins in the 1921/22 campaign.
After the Second World War, the clubs returned to Division One and action in the FA Cup meant more ties than ever before. Notably in Burnley’s title winning season of 1959/60, the two played each other four times.
However, in 1966 Blackburn were relegated to Division Two and 10 years passed without a meeting, Burnley enjoying European football in that time until relegation in 1971 left Burnley in Division Two and Blackburn in Division Three.
1976 and the two clubs were reunited in Division Two. Burnley held the bragging rights in this small period, winning four out of six games until their rivals fell back into the Third Division in 1979. This year would be the last time Burnley defeated their fierce rivals.
They met again in 1982/83 in the old Second Division with a Rovers double over the Clarets, handing them the bragging rights, of which they haven’t had to let go of since.
It was to be their last meeting for 17 years as the two clubs became polar opposites. Burnley came within one game of dropping out of the Football League whereas Blackburn Rovers found themselves hitting the dizzy heights of winning the Premier League.
The rivalry intensified as the two clubs found themselves further and further apart until in 2000 the two found themselves once again on a level playing field, in Division One. Another Blackburn double and promotion for the Ewood Park club yet again left Burnley fans reeling.
Even a fifth round FA Cup tie in 2004/05 season did little to stop Rovers dominating. In the 2009/10 campaign Burnley creeped up on Blackburn and the two met for the first time in the Premier League. Two Blackburn wins and relegation to the Championship for Burnley proved a miserable affair for Clarets fans. However, in 2012 the Turf Moor faithful could finally cheer as the once dominant Blackburn Rovers were relegated from the Premier League.
A club in dire trouble at the top and management catastrophies left right and centre meant the Championship was now home to the Cotton Mill Derby. This brings us to last season and two draws meant neither side were too happy. Late equalisers in both ties sealed points for each club and, after 34 years without a win, it’s Burnley fans that are hoping their team goes one better on Saturday and finally hands them the elusive bragging rights.
Have your say! Will Burnley beat Blackburn on Saturday?