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History

Catching Up: Mark Atkins

4 May 2020

From the Iron’s defence as a youngster, to the centre stage in the middle of the park of the most successful Blackburn Rovers side in recent times, Mark Atkins enjoyed a great career, and one that started at the Old Show Ground with United.

During the coming days, we'll republish past interviews with former Iron players from our matchday programme.

He explained: “I had a really good time with the Iron, and they gave me the start in my career. I had twenty years of being a professional footballer, and did some great things – playing in some great games, and I owe Scunthorpe with a lot of credit to where I went.”

Atkins remembers fondly on a big cup-tie during his time with United, one which the Iron were unlucky to not getting anything from.

He said: “The big thing that I remember is when we drew Tottenham in the third round of the FA Cup (in 1987). We could have snatched a draw right at the death, but it was a great experience to play against a top club like that at such a young age, and it whets your appetite for things you want to do in the future.”

After his time with the Iron came to an end, Atkins turned down the chance to sign with Barnsley, and instead headed to Blackburn Rovers in the second tier of English football.

He continued: “The first season I started 60 competitive first team games at right back, then a couple of years later I played a few reserve games in the middle of midfield and they thought it would be a good idea to put me in there in the first team, and from there my career really took off with becoming a midfielder.

“The big achievement was getting promoted in the Play-Off final at Wembley against Leicester in ’92, and then Kenny Dalglish came in from the middle of that season and took us forward.”

After their promotion to the Premier League, Rovers surprised many with the way they took the league by storm – winning it only three years after their promotion.

He said: “Winning the Premier League was something else. The team spirit we had as a group of players was phenomenal really, and It was one of those seasons where things went our way. It was a fantastic achievement for a club like Blackburn Rovers to win the Premier League.”

Once his playing career came to and end, Atkins moved into the managing side of the game with caretaker spells at Doncaster, Shrewsbury, and spells with Harrogate and Stalybridge, before six years as manager at Matlock Town, something he describes as hard work, but hopes to do again one day.


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