AN ‘avid’ Blackburn Rovers fan who emigrated to Australia in the 1960s met his footballing hero on his first trip back to his hometown.

Before making the move Down Under, grandfather-of-three Norm Powell, who went to Blackburn Technical and Grammar School, and is now in his late 60s regularly attended matches at Ewood Park, where he watched Rovers legend Bryan Douglas play.

After emigrating, the former retirement village manager would keep up-to-date with news from Rovers and would also spend his spare time playing and then coaching both adult and junior teams soccer.

Following his retirement, he and his wife Anne, who had never visited Europe, decided to take a month-long holiday as their ‘trip of a lifetime’, including a visit to Blackburn for the club’s last home game of the season.

As a surprise, friend Barbara Clarkson, who lives in Honiton Avenue, decided to write to Douglas, 78, to ask if he would meet one of his biggest fans.

Barbara said: “In his recent emails, when commenting on the current demise of Blackburn Rovers in comparison to other eras, Norm had mentioned Bryan Douglas so much that I decided to try and set up a surprise for him.

“Mr Douglas responded very generously, by not only meeting Norm for a handshake, but inviting the whole group of us up to the Clayton/Douglas Lounge and buying us all a drink.

“He spent three quarters of an hour chatting with Norm and my brother Dave Clark and made us all feel very special.

“Norm said it was the first time he had sat down at Ewood Park and afterwards, he said that meeting his hero was ‘the sparkler in the cherry on the icing on the cake of his trip’, so I think we can say it was a success.”