Blackburn Rovers: The Dramatic Fall of the Second Premier League Champion

Rovers Relegated
Danny Graham, right, at Griffin Park, London, May 7. Blackburn Rovers is relegated to the third tier of English football. Action Images / Andrew Couldridge

Just before 2 p.m. on Sunday, referee Tony Harrington blew the final whistle at Griffin Park in west London, the home of Brentford FC, to mark a historical moment in English football. The visitor, Blackburn Rovers, had won 3-1 but that wasn't evident judging by its players, who crumpled to the ground in despair.

One hundred miles west, Harry Redknapp's Birmingham City had won at Bristol City to save the club from relegation and ensure Blackburn's blues: Tony Mowbray's side was relegated from the Championship. It will play in League One next season, the third tier of English football, just 22 years on from becoming the second club to win the Premier League.

Devastated for @rovers and for the fans. The owners deserve it.

— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) May 7, 2017

Much of the blame for Blackburn's fall has been put on the club's owner, the Venky's Group, who have been in charge for seven years and seen the club relegated twice. Here, Newsweek charts Rovers' drop from the title to tatters:

Premier League 2nd
Runner-up in the Premier League to Manchester United.

Premier League 1st
Rovers become only the second team to win the Premier League since its inception in 1992 (United won the first two titles), with Kenny Dalglish as manager and Alan Shearer scoring 34 goals in the league. Shearer was joined by Graeme Le Saux, Colin Hendry and Tim Sherwood in the PFA Team of the Year.

Premier League 7th
From champion to chump, Rovers had a disastrous start to the season but managed to improve after the turn of the year and just missed out on a UEFA Cup spot. Dalglish resigned and Shearer was sold to Newcastle for a British transfer record.

Premier League 13th
Dalglish's replacement Ray Harford resigned three months into the season with Rovers bottom of the table. Roy Hodgson was the eventual successor and lifted the club back up to mid-table.

Premier League 6th
Hodgson turned the club back into title contenders but a string of defeats in the second half of the season left Blackburn sixth, in a UEFA Cup position.

Premier League 19th (relegated)
A poor start saw Hodgson sacked in November. Manchester United assistant manager Brian Kidd replaced him but he couldn't save the club from being relegated, along with Charlton Athletic and Nottingham Forest.

Championship - 12th
There was no immediate return to the top flight for Blackburn. Kidd was sacked in the November with Graeme Souness named as the long-term replacement in March.

Championship 2nd (promoted)
Matt Jansen's 23 goals helped fire Blackburn back into the Premier League after two season away, with Souness completing the job in his first full campaign. Rovers was promoted alongside champion Fulham and third-place Bolton Wanderers.

Premier League 10th
A slow start to the season was turned around with the arrival of former Manchester United striker Andy Cole, who helped the club to six wins in the final 12 games. Souness also led Rovers to League Cup victory.

Premier League 6th
A season that saw Rovers back in the UEFA Cup as it built an impressive team with goalkeeper Brad Friedel, David Dunn in midfield, as well as adding Dwight Yorke to the attack.

Premier League 15th
The turbulence at Ewood Park continued as Rovers took another drop. The club fought successfully against relegation throughout the season and managed to finish 15th with four wins in the last six games.

Premier League 15th
Souness departed for Newcastle with Blackburn in the relegation zone. Mark Hughes, who had been a part of the Rovers' title winning side, took over and lifted the club to safety.

Premier League 6th
Having been in the relegation places when he took over, Hughes continued the ascent at Blackburn by taking the club to sixth and four points off a place in the Champions League. He added fellow Welshman Craig Bellamy to the first team, who finished the season as topscorer.

Premier League 10th
Just five wins in the first half of the season meant Rovers would not improve on the previous season. Benni McCarthy, signed from Porto, came in to finish second top scorer in the league behind Chelsea's Didier Drogba, after Bellamy was sold to Liverpool.

Premier League 7th
This was Hughes' last season at Ewood Park as Manchester City lured the former United striker back to the north west at the end of the campaign. Roque Santa Cruz scored 19 goals after signing from Bayern Munich in the summer.

Premier League 15th
Paul Ince replaced Hughes as manager but lasted just five months, sacked on December 16th and replaced by Sam Allardyce who saved the club from relegation and finished 15th.

Premier League 10th
Allardyce continued the progress he had made since replacing Ince, taking the club back into the top half of the table.

Premier League 15th
In November 2010, Indian company V H Group, owned by the Venky family, bought Blackburn for £23 million ($30 million). Allardyce was immediately sacked and replaced with Steve Kean, seeing Rovers lose nine of the next 16 games.

Premier League 19th (relegated)
After 11 seasons back in the top flight, Blackburn was relegated back to the Championship. Fans protested against the new owners and Kean but he remained as manager at Ewood Park.

Championship 17th
The fall was dramatic for Rovers. There was no return to the top flight despite spending £8 million on Jordan Rhodes, then a record signing for the Championship. Six different managers led Rovers during this campaign. Eric Black was caretaker manager after Kean resigned; Henning Berg was appointed his successor but lasted just 10 games; and Gary Bowyer had two stints as caretaker after Michael Appleton was sacked after 67 days.

Championship 8th
Bowyer was appointed permanently and Rovers made attempts to lighten the wages the club was paying. The club improved but missed out on the play-off positions.

Championship 9th
Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede's goals helped Blackburn record a second top-half finish in the Championship but the club missed out on the play-offs once again.

Championship 15th
Paul Lambert replaced Bowyer as manager at Ewood Park on November 15 but Rovers dropped into the relegation dogfight, requiring two wins and two draws from the last four games to confirm safety.

Championship 22nd (relegated)
Owen Coyle is appointed the new manager at Ewood Park but is replaced by Tony Mowbray in February. Victory over Brentford in the final game of the season cannot save the team from relegation to the third tier of English football.