Manchester City have Oasis, Manchester United have the Stone Roses – there are many musicians with special clubs in their heart.
One such talent is a DJ and producer steadily making waves in the Manchester scene – 21-year-old Grizzle has a burgeoning reputation, featuring on a number of websites dedicated to tracking emerging talent in UK music.
On any given weekend he would be booked to play a minimum of two shows, but there is always time, he says, to see his beloved Blackburn Rovers.
“I hate the state the club’s in now, I haven’t been to a game in years, it would hurt too much”
We convene close to Euston, where Grizzle has just arrived from Manchester. He’s down for a regular slot he has on a developing radio station, but is in no great rush and insists we watch the second half of the Arsenal game, a team he “semi-supports, but not really”.
It appears years of supporting the perennial rollercoaster that is Blackburn Rovers have taken a heavy toll, luckily for Grizzle – and the Manchester club scene – such travails have forced the young producer to focus more avidly on his musical endeavours.
“It’s not good for my heart to see the team struggle, so I spend my time focusing on music and study,” he tells me. The depths plumbed by Blackburn have catapulted the grime producer into a creative period, featuring on countless EPs and compilations, a situation Grizzle has labelled “bittersweet”.
My interest in his love of Blackburn was piqued by the fact that he grew up in London without ever living in the Lancashire town, and yet speaks so glowingly about his relationship with the club.
He pulls out a book he carries with his turntables, it’s a rudimentary notepad with a Woolworth’s sale sticker conspicuously hacked away on the front. “I used to go to games quite a bit, I would wait around and try to get signatures. The one I love most is the Lucas Neil’s – he was a titan in defence”.
“Look at the teams at the top this year, even a lot of the teams around us, they’re all making progress, we’re stagnating”
The Neil signature remains mysteriously out of bounds, but I am entrusted with a look of the first page; it’s a man named David Yelldell, whom Wikipedia informs me was a goalkeeper, but never played a competitive game for Rovers.
Grizzle’s love of Blackburn, like many supporters of many clubs, stems from family ties. “I didn’t ever really choose who to support, it was never an option. Sometimes I wish it had been,” he laughs, but I can’t help feel the last sentence carried truth and a tinge of remorse.
“I hate the state the club’s in now, I haven’t been to a game in years, it would hurt too much.”
Grizzle has a passionate enmity towards the club’s heirarchy. “I knew it would go tits up when they [the Venky’s, Blackburn’s owners] said we’d get Ronaldinho. They’ve made my dad support Arsenal outright, it’s tragic.”
“At least we’ve won the League. Pity I was born two months after we won it…”
Indian poultry magnates the Venkys bought the then top-flight club in 2010, and it has been a dizzying plummet since then.
The last six years have seen relegation, Championship struggles and a revolving door policy in relation to managers – a stark contrast to the owners’ willful assertion that Champions League football would be seen at Ewood Park within four years. Alas, Rovers, were relegated in two.
“The moment that sticks out is the 2012 relegation, we were s***, we deserved to go down and what’s more, we [the Blackburn fans] all knew we’d be down for a while,” Grizzle tells me.
He doesn’t see much cause for optimism, either. “Look at the teams at the top [of the Championship] this year, even a lot of the teams around us, they’re all making progress, we’re stagnating.
“When I saw Bournemouth go up I was so jealous, they had a young manager and most importantly a solid foundation, why’s it so difficult to be like that?”
Time is getting on, and wary of upsetting himself too much before his radio show, Grizzle begins to pack up.
He’s evidently not too happy being a Blackburn fan in this stage of their existence, but he rightly points out “at least we’ve won the League. Pity I was born two months after we won it, typical Blackburn fan of this day and age.”
Sadly, a return to English football’s summit seem eons away, so Blackburn fans will have to continue occupying themselves with other hobbies such as DJing for the time being.
Photo of Bournemouth v Blackburn by Chris Parker via Flickr Creative Commons