Football Statues No 56 (in a series of several): Jack Walker (1929 – 2000)
Jack Walker’s rescue in the late 1980s/early 1990s of an ailing Blackburn Rovers was made possible by the sale of Walker Steel to British Steel for the £330 million. He and his brother Fred had built up the company from a small scrap metal business started by their father after WW2. The steel magnate turned football tycoon then proceeded to pump millions into the transformation of Rover’s ageing Ewood Park ground.
Rebuilding of three sides of the ground was undertaken at a cost of £20 million with a new Jack Walker Stand as its centrepiece, and an even larger sum was invested in the playing squad. With Kenny Dalglish at the helm Rovers were promoted from the old Division Two to became inaugural members of the Premier League in 1992 and just three years later Rovers where crowned as its champions.
Alan Shearer, whose signing, and goals, were instrumental in the team’s success, said on Walker’s death in 2000: “The word ‘benefactor’ could have been invented for Jack Walker. He gave pride to the town of Blackburn. Jack was a kind, generous and emotional man. The memories of the day Blackburn won the Premiership will stay with me forever. Football has lost a true friend.”
What would the man who had achieved his schoolboy dreams of reviving the fortunes of his hometown club think of the current BRFC regime?
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