Address: Ewood Park,
Capacity: 31,367 (All-Seater)
A football ground that, on three sides at least, is very practical and provides a great matchday experience for both home and away fans, Ewood Park is easily one of the best stadiums that Lancashire has to offer.
The ground’s tenants, Blackburn Rovers Football Club, first played on the site for four matches in 1881, when it was known as Ewood Bridge. Construction of what is now Ewood Park was completed the following year.
Rovers moved into the stadium in 1890 and have called this place home ever since.
Location and Getting There
Ewood Park is located towards the south of Blackburn, around 1.5 miles away from the Town Centre. The Alum House Brook, a tributary of the much larger river Darwen, runs a little distance away through woodland that is beyond the stadium’s eastern side.
Coming to Ewood Park by car is certainly possible, but free parking is difficult to find.
Most industries along the nearby Branch Road offer their parking spaces for a price and this is where I’ve tended to go when visiting the stadium, as much as I don’t personally like having to pay for parking.
The price for parking varies depending on where you go and it’s worth checking to see if you can find a space for slightly cheaper by going a little further away up the road. The walk from the Branch Road to the stadium can take anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes.
The ground is not the easiest to reach by rail, as Blackburn’s main station is close to the Town Centre and therefore some distance from Ewood Park itself. Walking from there can take around 30 minutes, but you can instead take the Number 1 bus route next to the station, getting off at the Bolton Road stop out beyond the stadium's northwest corner.
Outside the Stadium
If you are coming from Branch Road, the first part of the stadium you will come to is the South Stand, known as the Bryan Douglas Darwen End.
Bryan Douglas was born in Blackburn on 27th May 1934. A winger who spent his entire career with his hometown club, he made more than 450 appearances for the club and scored over 100 goals between 1952 and 1969.
Capped 36 times by England, scoring 11 goals, the South Stand at Ewood Park has been named after him since November 2012.
The Bryan Douglas Darwen End has a nice, simple design to it, with four large brick towers protruding out along the rows of white panels, and a cantilever roof up above this. The entrance to the club’s Legends Lounge is in the centre of the stand, and the Away Ticket Office can be found towards the southwest corner.
Beyond the Bryan Douglas Darwen End is one of the stadium’s car parks, with the Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre at the end of this. The area around the car park is fenced off and only accessible through gates at one point along Nuttall Road, which is done to help segregate home and away fans from one another on a matchday. Expect police on horseback to be positioned in and around here.
The southwest corner has a banner displaying key parts of the club’s history and is based between the Bryan Douglas Darwen End and the Jack Walker Stand, which is named after the late Blackburn owner who was at the helm when Rovers won the Premiership Title in 1995.
The Jack Walker Stand follows a similar exterior design to its adjacent neighbour, containing large brick towers, six this time, that are put between the rows of white panels and glass windows. Once again, the stand has a cantilever roof on top.
The Players' and Officials' Entrances are in the centre of the stand, as well as the Entrances for Press, Executives and the Premier Suite.
The path which runs along the outside of the stand is fenced off from the row of houses nearby, and the parking spaces behind this fence are strictly for residents of those buildings, not for matchday parking.
Ewood Park’s North Stand is known as the Ronnie Clayton Blackburn End.
Ronnie Clayton was born in Preston on 5th August 1934. He came through at Blackburn Rovers however, playing nearly 600 times in the Football League for the club as a Right-Half (Similar to a modern day Right-Wing-Back) between 1950 and 1969.
Capped 35 times by England, Ronnie Clayton passed away on 29th October 2010 at the age of 76. The North Stand at Ewood Park has been named after him since August 2011.
The Ronnie Clayton Blackburn End has a very similar design to the Bryan Douglas Darwen End on the opposite side of the stadium.
The club’s Main Ticket Office and Ticket Collection Point is located here, towards the northwest corner, and the Roverstore is a little away from the stand itself. The Rovers Memorial Garden and a memorial to Jack Walker are located near the outer fence, and the Fosters Fanzone towards the northeast corner holds matchday activities and events before every game.
The largest of Ewood Park's car parks is out beyond the fence.
The RFS Riverside Stand on the east side of Ewood Park is so named because of the River Darwen Tributary that runs along the back of it.
The stand is the smallest and oldest-looking of the four at Ewood Park. There’s no cantilever roof here, and the exterior is mostly made up of white panels rather than the brickwork towers that you find around the rest of the stadium.
The turnstiles for the RFS Riverside Stand are located at either end, with the ones in the northeast corner being on higher ground than the ones in the southeast corner. There is a ramp that allows fans to get between one set of turnstiles and the other, but the area beyond the southeast corner is usually sectioned off when big away crowds visit.
Inside the Stadium
The Bryan Douglas Darwen End is made up of two tiers of seating, with the lower tier, coloured dark blue, larger than the light blue tier above. A row of executive boxes separate the two levels from one another.
Because of the cantilever roof on top, there are no supporting pillars coming down and so your view from anywhere inside is perfectly clear.
Large windshields are also in place at either end and protect all but the front row seats in the lower tier.
The Jack Walker Stand is also two-tiered, with the upper level larger than the one underneath, and a row of executive boxes separating the two tiers from one another.
The seats in this stand follow the same colour pattern as the adjacent Bryan Douglas Darwen End, with light blue seats in the upper tier and dark blue seating in the lower tier. The exception though is an oddly-placed block of dark blue seats at one end of the upper tier.
The club’s Press Box and Director’s Box are in the middle of the upper tier, with a further block of executive seating on either side.
Blackburn’s changing rooms and tunnel are located in this stand, and the substitutes benches are built into the centre of the lower tier.
The cantilever roof on top leaves no pillars around to block your view, and the windshields at either end protect all but the front rows of the lower level.
The Ronnie Clayton Blackburn End is near enough an exact carbon-copy of the Bryan Douglas Darwen End opposite.
Two-tiered, the dark blue bottom level larger than the light blue top level, a row of executive boxes in between, no pillars coming down due to the cantilever roof on top, and windshields protecting all but the very front rows from either side.
The RFS Riverside Stand is the only one of the four at Ewood Park that is single-tiered.
It has the most colourful interior, using alternating blocks of blue and red seating, with the letters ROVERS spelt out in white across the stand.
The roof only hangs part way over the seating area and so the front rows of each block are left somewhat exposed to the elements. Supporting pillars also come down regularly along the front of the roof and restrict the view for those in the rows behind them.
The front row of the RFS Riverside Stand is also a fair distance from the pitch itself because of a large concrete pathway.
If you are looking for the best view possible, this is not the stand I would recommend.
Ewood Park has just one electronic screen, based in the southeast corner between the RFS Riverside Stand and the Bryan Douglas Darwen End.
This screen shows a live scoreboard and some action replays.
Away fans are housed behind the goal in the Bryan Douglas Darwen End.
The amount of the stand given to visiting supporters normally depends on the allocation Blackburn provides to the away club. Smaller followings are usually given just one side of the bottom tier, but larger followings can fill up both levels. Blackburn have also been known to split the stand 50/50 between home and away supporters.
Your view from inside the Bryan Douglas Darwen End is great from either tier, and it's a generous move by Blackburn Rovers, who could easily have chosen to put away supporters in the much more restricted RFS Riverside Stand instead.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-The Fan Zone behind the Bryan Douglas Darwen End (Home and Away Supporters Welcome)
-The Fernhurst (466 Bolton Road, BB2 4JP) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Close to Ewood Park so likely to fill quickly on a matchday)
-Fox and Hounds (Ewood, BB2 4LL) (Popular with Home Supporters but Away Supporters Welcome)
-The Golden Cup (610 Blackburn Road, BB3 0AJ) (Away Supporters Welcome)
-The Postal Order (15-19 Darwen Street, BB2 2BY) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near Blackburn Station)
Ewood Park is a fantastic ground.
Though it’s eastern side is considerably more old-fashioned when compared to the other three stands, it is still a top stadium that can perfectly accommodate both large and small crowds.
Relatively easy to get around and offering great views for away supporters, this is a place you have to come and see a football match at.