Colin Hendry: Braveheart

blackburn defender colin hendry

Player Profile: Colin Hendry

Date of Birth: 7/12/1965

Height: 6 ft 1 in

Position: Centre back

National Team: Scotland 

International Caps: 51

Club Career

While some remember Colin Hendry for being a key member of the 1994/95 Blackburn Rovers Premier League title winning squad most will remember him for that Gazza goal at Euro ‘96. The centre half was sent for a hot dog as the England star lifted the ball over Hendry’s head before sticking the ball in the bottom corner to double England’s lead.

Spanning 20 years Hendry’s professional career started in 1983 for Dundee. He spent four years at Dens Park playing mainly as a striker. His physical presence caused opposing defenders havoc. He was a handful, but in front of goal misfired too many times scoring just two goals in 41 appearances. In truth, Hendry failed to make his mark at Dundee and in 1987 opted for a move south as Blackburn Rovers, then managed by fellow Scot Don Mackay, came calling. It’s at Ewood Park where Hendry would become a household name.

Mackay transformed the goal shy striker into a hard tackling, commanding centre back and he actually scored the only goal of the game in the Full Members Cup Final in 1987. Hendry went on to play over 100 games for Rovers scoring 22 goals in four seasons. His form attracted attention from clubs in the First Division and after four years at Ewood Park Hendry made the short move to Manchester City.

In his first full season at Maine Road Hendry was named Player Of The Year, but his time in Manchester was short lived. Howard Kendall, who signed the Scot, left the club for Everton and was replaced by Peter Reid who didn’t see Hendry fitting into his plans moving forward. So in November 1991 Hendry returned to Ewood Park as Kenny Dalglish signed his compatriot for a fee of £700,000.

Hendry helped Rovers to a sixth place finish and in the process secured the final play off spot. They eventually beat Leicester in the play off final at Wembley courtesy of a Mike Newell penalty to reach the Premier League. 

Backed heavily by local businessman and die hard Rovers fan Jack Walker, the club made a number of high profile signings in an attempt to compete with the Premier League big boys. And in their first season back in England’s top flight Rovers finished 4th with Hendry being a key figure in their success. His fine form was rewarded with a first Scotland cap in May 1993.

The following season Rovers pushed Manchester United all the way but came up short in their attempts to claim a first ever Premier League title and had to settle for second. Injuries meant Hendry missed half the season, but in 1994/95 he was back to his best and so were Blackburn as they famously won the Premier League title on the final day of the season, despite losing to Liverpool at Anfield.

Hendry was a key figure in Blackburn’s success. His partnership with Ian Pearce in the heart of defence provided a solid base for Blackburn to build on. He was solid, committed and never shyed away from a tackle resulting in him fast becoming a fans favourite at Ewood Park. He was adored.

Over the next three seasons Hendry made almost 100 appearances for Blackburn as his solid form continued. The 1997/98 season proved to be his last at Ewood Park as he eventually moved back to Scotland following a £4million transfer to Rangers. 

In his first season at Ibrox Hendry made 32 appearances and won the domestic treble, but his time there would be short lived after falling out of favour with then Rangers manager Dick Advocaat. The Dutchman said Hendry wasn’t the type of player he wanted in his side, which was strange considering the money they’d spent on signing the defender. 

Aged 34, Hendry returned to England and the Premier League, this time with Coventry City. Over the course of two seasons he made just a handful of appearances following numerous niggling injuries. During 2000 and 2003 Hendry had spells at Bolton, Preston and finally Blackpool before eventually announcing his retirement. 

Hendry made over 500 league appearances across Scotland and England, scored more than 40 goals and got his hands on five domestic trophies. He will forever be seen as an Ewood Park legend.

International Career

Somewhat of a latecomer to international football, Colin Hendry made his Scotland debut at the age of 27 after impressing for Blackburn. He went on to make 51 appearances in total representing Scotland at Euro 96 and France 98 where he wore the captain’s armband. 

Of course Hendry was involved in one of, if not the, most memorable clashes between England and Scotland at Euro ‘96. Both needed a win. But it was England who came out on top. Hendry was famously on the receiving end of a sublime piece of skill from Paul Gascoigne, before the England talisman put the game to bed.

Hendry’s international career ended on a sour note. The defender received a six match ban for elbowing Nicola Albani during a 4-0 win over San Marino.

Where is Colin Hendry now?

Hendry took his first steps into football management in 2004 after being appointed manager of former side Blackpool. He spent just over a year at the club before being sacked in November 2005 following a run of poor results. 

Two years later he was back in management, this time in Scotland with First Division side Clyde. Like at Blackpool his stint in charge of the Bully Wee was short as he resigned in January 2008 following a defeat to Dundee United in the Scottish Cup. 

After a break away from football Hendry returned to Ewood Park initially as a first team coach before being appointed assistant manager of Blackburn’s Under 21 side. Hendry left the club in the summer of 2014 following a change in management.

Still living in Lancashire Hendry made a surprise appearance for Sunday League team Moorgate FC in November 2018.