It’s now almost nine years since a Blackburn Rovers side last walked onto a pitch as a Premier League team.
Having spent most of the first decade of the current millennium as part of English football’s top-flight following promotion in the 2000/01 season, Blackburn have now spent most of the second decade of the millennium out of it, having not returned to the Premier League since their relegation in 2012.
Both before and after the end of their time in the Premier League, plenty of high-quality players would come in and out of Ewood Park, earning themselves a place in the hearts of Rovers fans the World over in the process.
With football now suspended for the seemingly foreseeable future, we are working our way through the best Blackburn Rovers XI of the millennium, starting here with the goalkeepers.
Below, we’ve taken a look at the four best goalkeepers to have stepped in between the posts at Ewood Park since the start of the millennium.
So take a look, and at the end of the article, vote for the goalkeeper you would like to see named in Rovers’ team of the millennium so far.
Having joined Blackburn in November 2000, it didn’t take long for Brad Friedel to write himself into Rovers folklore.
After helping the club to promotion to the Premier League during his first season with the club, before putting in a man of the match performance as Blackburn beat Tottenham 2-1 in the League Cup final the following year.
With his spectacular saves, dominant presence and remarkable fitness, Friedel missed just four league games in the seven Premier League seasons he played with Blackburn – racking up a total of 358 appearances for the club – also becoming the first goalkeeper to score for the club in a 3-2 defeat at Charlton in 2004.
It was no surprise therefore, to see Friedel become one of the first seven people to be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame last year.
Following Friedel’s departure to Aston Villa in the summer of 2008, Blackburn were always going to need a strong replacement for the American, and in Robinson, they certainly got one.
The former England international continued to provide Rovers with the steady and reliable last line of defence that Friedel before him had provided, with Robinson winning the club’s Player of the Year award for the 2010/11 season after helping the club to avoid relegation.
Although he was unable to repeat the feat of preventing Blackburn from dropping into the Championship the following season, Robinson remained with the club for several more years in the second-tier.
A combination of fitness issues and chances given to the likes of Jake Kean, Simon Eastwood and Jason Steele did however see a significant reduction in Robinson’s game time, but he still managed to accrue just over 200 appearances for the club before leaving in 2015.
David Raya may have only made a handful of appearances for Blackburn when their relegation to League One was confirmed in 2017, but that didn’t prevent the Spaniard stepping up to the plate during the 2017/18 season.
Throughout the course of the campaign, Raya produced a string of crucial performances – including some quite spectacular saves – to help Blackburn secure a promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
Raya’s contributions to that promotion were enough to earn him the club’s Young Player of the Year award for the 2017/18 season, and he would once again play a big part the following year in helping the club complete the vital task of establishing themselves quickly back in the Championship.
In total, Raya would make 108 appearances in all competitions for Rovers prior to his move to Brentford in the most recent summer transfer window.
Given he only joined the club on-loan from Brighton back in the summer transfer window, Walton’s place on this list may be somewhat surprising.
However, it cannot be denied that Walton has been impressive between the posts at Ewood Park this season.
After a shaky start to life in Blackburn, Walton has started to settle into his role in Tony Mowbray’s side in recent months, and has kept 12 clean sheets in 37 league games so far this season, as many as the club kept in the entirety of the previous Championship campaign.
Consequentially, you could understand it if Blackburn were to be keen to bring Walton back to Ewood Park when his loan deal expires at the end of this season, although it remains to be seen whether they would have much chance of doing that.
Who is Blackburn’s goalkeeper of the millennium?