Matt Jansen: Scoring the winner at Preston and lifting the Worthington Cup

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In a seven-year spell at Rovers, making 123 appearances and scoring 57 goals, Matt Jansen is a legend in many Rovers’ fans.

From his goal to gain Rovers promotion at Deepdale in 2001 to his goal in the Worthington Cup final less than a year later, Jansen gave us memories to last a lifetime.

We’ve spoken to the former Rovers striker about his time at Ewood Park, those memorable moments and his future plans. Enjoy this piece!

What are your fondest memories of playing for Rovers?

“My fondest memories playing for Blackburn was that it was such a family club. We had a great dressing room and team spirit, then on match days there was a similar family-friendly connection with the fans.”

Rovers were promoted last season from League 1, and we know about your goal at Deepdale. How did it feel to be involved in a promotion team to the Premiership?

“It was obviously fantastic to achieve promotion to the Premier League and topped off with scoring the goal at Deepdale to secure it.”

Our first season back in the top flight included a trip to Cardiff for the Worthington Cup final in which you scored the opener. What are your memories of that day?

“Cardiff was a great day. I remember people regarding us as the underdogs which really fuelled the lads. [I have] great memories of the day and scoring the opener. Not so many memories of the celebrations afterwards though!”

You played with some great players in your seven-year spell at Ewood. Who are your top three and why?

“Difficult to pick just three players as it was the team spirit and dressing room we had that brought our success. If pressed, Tugay was great to play with as he could find you whenever you made a run. Duffer [Damien Duff] was great and technically brilliant with the ball and as a partnership, I would have to pick Coley [Andy Cole]. Just a shame my accident cut that a bit short.”

What are your thoughts on the summer so far at Ewood Park and your predictions for the new season?

“I feel Tony Mowbray has done an excellent job but this season will obviously be tougher. You’d like to think Tony will be given the funds to strengthen when he wants to and if we get off to a good start and the fans get behind the squad, then hopefully we’d be challenging to getting back to where the club deserves to be.”

How different was the transformation from a player to a manager?

“The transition from player to management was gradual as I started as an assistant alongside ex teammate Gary Flitcroft. When I took the managers job I tried to apply a psychological approach to the way I dealt with the players and team. Through my experiences. I believe it is a huge factor in football, which we are starting to apply, but still behind other nations.  I’m glad it proved to be successful.

Your last job as manager was a spell in charge at Chorley. Do you have any plans to return to management soon and at what level would you like to manage?

“I have no immediate plans to get back into management but I want to stay in the game whether that is as manager and at what level, time will tell.”

Our final question to you, Matt. Who would you pick from players you have played with for a five-a-side game?

“My five-a-side team would probably be: Brad Friedel, Duffer [Damien Duff], Tugay, Dunny and Coley [Andy Cole]”

Total football with Matt Jansen as player-manager!”


This interview was originally published in August 2018.

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