Where are they now? Blackburn’s XI that triumphed in the League Cup final

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Since it’s Mark Hughes’ birthday, we’ve decided to take a look back at the Blackburn Rovers side that won the 2002 League Cup.

Goals from Matt Jansen and Andy Cole saw Graeme Souness’ team defeat Tottenham Hotspur to lift the trophy only a year after being promoted back to the Premier League.

The scoreline certainly wasn’t a fluke as Blackburn finished 10th in the league that campaign with a team full built around a mix of youth and experience.

Plenty of the names are certainly familiar, but there are some interesting career choices among the starting XI from that day.

Brad Friedel

The American keeper was the man of the match in the final, enjoying one of his most impressive displays against Spurs. A spell at Aston Villa followed before he eventually hung up his boots in 2015 at final club Tottenham.

Post-playing he has appeared in the media on BBC and Setanta Sports, while he has since been appointed United States Under-19s head coach.

Martin Taylor

Taylor started off as a schoolboy at Blackburn – where loans spells at Darlington and Stockport County led to a place in the Rovers first team.

The former England Under 21 defender played in the Premier League for nine seasons with Blackburn and Birmingham. Spells in the Championship with Watford and Sheffield Wednesday followed, before he retired after a spell on loan at Brentford in 2014.

Henning Berg

Berg had an illustrious career, winning Premier League titles with Blackburn and Manchester United, while he was also a member of Sir Alex Ferguson’s treble-winning squad.

The first player ever to win the Premier League with two clubs, Berg was the captain on the day Blackburn won the 2002 League Cup final. His three-year stay at United was sandwiched in between two spells at Rovers before spending a season in Scotland with Rangers.

After retirement, Berg was appointed manager of Norwegian side Lyn and has gone on to manage Lillestrom, Blackburn, Legia Warsaw and Videoton, where he was sacked on the final day of last season.

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READ: Steve Kean interview: Blackburn, life abroad and the rise of Asian football

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Nils-Eric Johansson

It has been a long career for Johansson, who won the Bundesliga and German Cup at Bayern Munich before helping FC Nürnberg climb out of Germany’s second tier. He moved to Blackburn in 2001 for a reported £2.7million where he saw out his four-year contract in the Premier League.

The defender spent a couple of years at Leicester but decided to head back to his homeland of Sweden in 2007 to play for AIK. Ten years and over 350 appearances later and Johansson is still going at AIK. That’s some dedication.

Stig Inge Bjornebye

No stranger to the League Cup, having won it with Liverpool seven years before triumphing with Blackburn, Bjornebye played all of his career in Scandinavia or the Premier League.

Since retiring, the former Norway international has tried his hand at management as Norway assistant boss and at IK Start – where he lasted two seasons in the Norwegian league before being sacked. Now he finds himself sporting director at Rosenborg, braving helping the club sign Nicklas Bendtner in March.

Keith Gillespie

Gillespie had his fair share of problems off the pitch with a gambling addiction leading to him being declared legally bankrupt in 2010. In a recent charity fixture Gillespie hospitalised an opponent by reacting to a challenge on him with a swift elbow to the jaw.

The former Manchester United winger has recently launched a new career as a agent after linking up with businessman Brian Adair to launch a new football agency.

David Dunn

Although Dunn played for three clubs during his career, he may as well be known as a one-club man, such is his affinity with the Blackburn supporters. Sixty-nine matches for Birmingham City were sandwiched in between two long spells at Rovers, before he dropped down to League One to finish his playing career with nine appearances for Oldham.

Dunn, who was capped once for England, is now unsurprisingly a development coach at Ewood Park. And no, we’ll never forget that time he fell over trying to do a Rabona.

Mark Hughes

Barcelona, Bayern Munich, just under 500 appearances for Manchester United, 72 caps for Wales, trophies with Chelsea and Blackburn – Hughes had some playing career.

He can now be found looking generally quite menacing on the touchline as Stoke manager.

Damien Duff

Duff became one of the first signings of the Roman Abramovich era after leaving Blackburn for Chelsea in a £17million move, and he went on to win two Premier League titles with the Blues.

The winger ended his career at Shamrock Rovers, where he is now Under-15s coach.

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READ: Where are they now? Chelsea’s first starting XI under Roman Abramovich

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Matt Jansen

One of football’s great ‘what if?’ stories. Jansen scoring the opening goal in the League Cup final but his career took a turn for the worse when a motorcycle accident in Rome left Jansen in a coma for six days.

His good form had led to an England call-up before the collision but he could never recover from the incident fully. He is now the manager of Chorley after his former team-mate Garry Flitcroft left the club.

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READ: Matt Jansen, the man who turned down Fergie, & the agony of ‘what if?’

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Andy Cole

Cole bagged the winning goal in the final and his desire to keep playing for as long as possible didn’t see him hang up his boots until 2009, despite never dropping lower than the second tier.

Brief coaching spells at MK Dons and Huddersfield were followed up by returning to United to do his coaching badges. He also set up the Andy Cole Children’s Foundation in Zimbabwe.


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