It’s a harsh rule, the minimum number of games played to be able to qualify for a Premier League winners’ medal. After all, football is a squad game. Unfortunately for Exeter academy graduate Nicky Marker, a horrific injury ruled him out of the whole of the 1994/95 season when the defender was at Blackburn Rovers. In a cruel twist of fate, it was just that season that Blackburn achieved the ultimate prize, winning the Premier League. The unflappable centre-back broke into the City team in 1984, playing in all but one of the Grecians’ matches. He continued in this consistent vein until 1987 when a shock transfer saw Nicky move to Plymouth Argyle, with striker Darran Rowbotham heading in the opposite direction. It took the Argyle supporters some time to warm to their Exonian defender but several strong showings quickly endeared Nicky to the fans, and by 1990 he was captain and player of the season. Nicky’s strong performances caught the eye of Blackburn manager Kenny Dalglish and keen to embrace the opportunity of Premier League football, Nicky made the move to Rovers for £500,000 in 1992. A gutting cruciate ligament injury ruled Nicky out of Blackburn’s title winning season, but he was still a major part of the squad, lifting spirits when they were down and pushing his teammates on to glory. The defender left Blackburn in 1997 as they began to slip down the leagues, and after spells at Sheffield United, Cheltenham and finally Tiverton, Nicky retired aged 35 in 2000.