As the Jon Dahl Tomasson era at Rovers comes to an unexpected and dare I say, rather abrupt ending, I began thinking about what happens when every manager leaves a football club? You reflect on the highs and lows and wonder what legacy will the departing boss leave.
Football fandom is all about moments and memories, both good and bad. Mr Tomasson leaves us with plenty to unpack, so here are my top 5 and bottom 5 moments from the reign of the Dane.
Top 5 Moments
1. Leicester City (a) FA Cup 5th Round 22/23 - 2-1 Victory
Inspired performance from a side missing Brereton Diaz and Dack, the birth of the Sammie Szmodics era. Hung on bravely in the end, but for 70 minutes, the Rovers dominated a Premier League team on their own patch.
2. West Ham United (a) League Cup 3rd Round 22/23 - 2-2 (10-9 on pens) Victory
The first of our two giant killings last season, Rovers' first visit to the London Stadium resulting in a morale boosting victory heading into the East Lancashire Derby (more on that later) with a memorable night in East London. Vale and Brereton Diaz the goalscorers before Rovers successfully converted all 10 penalties in the shootout!
3. Millwall (a) Championship Finale 22/23 - 4-3 Victory
The last game of last season, as Rovers missed out on a playoff place on goal difference, but an inspired comeback (a rarity in the JDT era) culminating in a fitting finale for BBD as Rovers spoiled the party at The Den.
4. Harrogate Town (a) League Cup 2nd Round 23/24 - 8-0 Victory
A record breaking victory for Rovers who avoided the banana skin at The EnviroVent Stadium with seven different goalscorers, including academy products James Edmondson, Tom Bloxham and Zak Gilsenan.
5. Norwich City (a) Championship 23/24 - 3-1 Victory
Rovers finest performance of this season as Dolan and Szmodics goals saw Rovers dominate the Canaries. Carrow Road a happy hunting ground for JDT as he emerged victorious on all three trips to Norfolk
Bottom 5 Moments
1. Burnley (a) Championship 22/23 - 0-3 Defeat
1st v 3rd on the eve of the World Cup break, with just three points separating the two great rivals. Clinton Mola, Jake Garrett, neither Whartons, 1 shot on target, well you know the rest.... This only just beats out number 2, but the fortunes of both swung massively on this game, with Rovers never getting near the Clarets again that season.
2. Sheffield United (a) FA Cup 6th Round 22/23 - 2-3 Defeat
Rovers 2-1 up and 9 minutes away from their first ever appearance at 'New Wembley'. Brittain and Scott Wharton on for Joe Rankin-Costello and Ryan Hedges in the 80th minute to try and see out the game, a minute later Oli McBurnie fired the Blades level, before a 90+1 minute screamer from Tommy Doyle sent Paul Heckingbottom's men to the famous arch to face Manchester City.
3. Preston North End (h) Championship 22/23 - 1-4 Defeat
The match after the Burnley debacle, albeit four weeks later due to the Qatar World Cup. Rovers toiled in the snow and were dispatched convincingly by local rivals for the second game running. Ched Evans' double before Ben Whiteman made it four after just 65 minutes. England would go on to lose 2-1 to France in the evening to compound a miserable sporting Saturday.
4. Gagged in the Presser, QPR (h) Championship 23/24 - 1-2 Defeat, Post Match Press Conference
Bringing things right up to date. Last weekend's chain of events which led into the weeks departure (although still not confirmed). JDT denied the chance to speak to the press before the QPR match an obvious sign that the point of no return had been reached. The performance that followed was equally alarming. QPR deserved winners on the day, before an explosive post game interview sealed Tomasson's fate.
5. Coventry City (h) 1-1 Draw/Preston (a) 1-1 Draw
Rovers playoff bid last season derailed by two late goals, in two games, just four days apart. A questionable hand ball from Coventry keeper Ben Wilson was followed by the most bizarre series of events a Deepdale. Ryan Hedges' chip will live long in the memory, for the wrong reasons. Just moments later a punt from the North End keeper was missed by Scott Wharton and the ensuing cross was inexplicably turned into his own net by Dom Hyam, he probably couldn't do it again if he tried! 4 points dropped, and with it, Rovers' playoff hopes for another year.
You’ll agree or disagree with my opinions there. Other honourable mentions include his use of the Academy and number of youngsters who made their debuts under his spell as boss. See Master Rory Finneran for example.
Also interesting to note that all of the good memories happened away from Ewood Park, a coincidence? Or a sign to his shortcomings? The largest Championship victory at Ewood during the JDT premiership was a 3-0 win against Rotherham, yet Rotherham away and losing 0-4 was another candidate to make the Bottom 5 moments list.
The ‘Cup Runs’ are where Tomasson’s legacy will live on, particularly post Mowbray and his apparent indifference to those competitions, we’ll always have Leicester and Stratford and dare I say it Sheffield.