Adam Smith looks at his Rovers’ hero growing up, Chris Samba.
When I was asked to pen some words on my Rovers hero, I chose Chris Samba for a number of reasons.
He was my role model when I was growing up and played a big role in my footballing world. During my primary and high school years, I played for my local team – St. Annes FC – and was always keen on playing as a defender.
I remember that when I first joined the team, my interest grew in Blackburn Rovers and began going to games.
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It was at this moment when I first saw Chris Samba in action for Rovers as their solid number 4, and I instantly looked up to the man. His strength and presence in the back four for Rovers made me think ‘I want to be like that’. So, when it came around to picking shirt numbers at St. Anne’s, there was only ever one choice I was going to make.
From then on, I always used Chris Samba as a player to look up to and to learn from whenever I played.
My favourite part about watching Samba for Rovers was when he made his infamous runs forward to play as a striker. Whenever I saw him up front, it just brought out so much excitement in me. It was the first time I’d seen a defender be used as an emergency striker and I loved it.
Seeing him do that actually made me want to score more for my team, and I did, unfortunately, it wasn’t always in the right net, but nevertheless, it brought more goals out of me.
I think my favourite memory I have of Chris Samba was during the game against Blackpool at Ewood. When we were 2-0 down, I just felt deflated. We needed a spark from somewhere, and Samba provided it when he scored after a scramble in the box.
His goal against Fulham is another fond memory. I just remember seeing a group of players in the centre of the box all contesting for the ball, and in came Chris Samba who just shoved the Fulham defender and Nikola Kalinic out of the way to get his head on it and score.
Rovers did go on to draw the game, but it was that man again who made me go from being down in the dumps to jumping off my seat with excitement.
When I went to watch Rovers play, I always had that sense of security knowing Samba was playing, I never felt like we could lose.
When he left Rovers I was gutted, especially when it was Scott Dann replacing him. It felt really strange watching him play for another English club other than Rovers when he moved to QPR.
Although he may not have been as good as what he used to be whilst playing in East Lancashire, it still hurt to see him wearing another club’s colours.
I’ll always remember Samba as the man-mountain that ran Rovers’ defence for years and will always appreciate the memories that he gave not just to me, but to every Rovers fan.
Thanks for reading.