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Britain's Favourite Football Titans
The relationship between club and football fan is like no other. It could even be argued that the fortunes of clubs like Liverpool FC, Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City have been the making and breaking of countless couples and friends. That's because nothing beats the majesty, the tension and the excitement generated by British football.
There's no denying that football has, over the decades, become an integral part of the national character. Britons are famous, in a world of footy devotees, for being truly passionate and loyal fans. That loyalty is exactly the quality a club needs in its fans when it falls on hard times and titles are few.
That's been the case with the rather chequered career of Blackburn Rovers FC. It's true that the club was one of only a select 12 invited to become founding member of the Football League in 1888, and that in both 1912 and 1914 they were crowned champions.
They scored their sixth major title in 1928, but that was the last trophy for the club for more than 60 years. Still, that never stopped leagues of fans from standing behind the Rovers. These die-hards were finally rewarded for their decades of support when their team was back in form and ready to join the newly created Premier League in 1992. And of course that was the start of a golden era for the club, having signed the now legendary Alan Shearer, who scored over 60 times in two seasons.
It's also unfailing loyalty that has seen Stoke City through the years. They are the second oldest club in the world, having been formed as the Stoke Ramblers in 1863. It was after a merger with the local cricket club in 1878 that they became Stoke City.
1885 saw the club go pro and 1919 was the year the team became the proud owners of their own stadium. Illustrious and lengthy history aside though, the club has never won a top flight League title. This is not to say that the club hasn't been the home of some truly exciting and celebrated players. In fact, Stoke City was the one-time stomping grounds of both Sir Geoff Hurst, '66 squad member, and Peter Shilton, England's most capped player ever.
And while Liverpool FC can hardly be called strangers to League Victory, they have certainly lived through their share of dark days. Their achievements are well known and widely celebrated: for example Joe Fagan becoming the first British manager to win the treble of the League, League Cup and the European Cup.
But the stadium stampedes of 1985 and 1989 have become a tragic and emotional aspect of British football history. In fact, the 1985 wall collapse caused UEFA to ban British clubs from competition for five years. The road to redemption was a long one for Liverpool but with consistently supportive fans, the club has since won 7 major trophies.
It's these electric combinations of ardent fan support coupled with players of singular style and talent that have made British clubs the destination of choice for some of the world's most exciting and ambitious athletes. It's the reason that the English Premier League is feverishly followed by fans all around the world, and why British clubs can expect unshakable loyalty for decades to come.
The gift of the fans is the continued support. The gift of the clubs is elevated moments that thrill all those who witness those moments that become part of everyone's history.