Vital Football

Latest Blackburn Rovers News

There's Only One Jack Walker

There's Only One Jack Walker

On this, the anniversary of his death, I thought it fitting to revisit happier days, under the best owner a Football Club could ever wish to have!! An article about Uncle Jack, written almost five-years ago, is republished for the VBers to enjoy again.

Jack Walker's money was made in the steel industry but his heart always did, and always will belong to Blackburn Rovers Football Club.

Full Name: Jack Walker
Date of Birth: 19th May 1929 - 17th August 2000, Blackburn
Nationality: English
Role: Former Blackburn Rovers Chairman
Arrived: Took over as Chairman in 1991

After leaving school at 14-years of age he began working as a sheet metal worker, before taking over the family business with his brother Fred. Together they transformed the company with Jack Walker selling the company to British Steel for £360 million in 1990.

Walker retreated to Jersey as a tax exile in the mid 1970's, and in 1986, at the request of the chairman at the time Bill Fox, Walker or Uncle Jack as he is fondly known to the Rovers fans donated funds for a new Stand at Ewood Park, known as The WalkerSteel Stand. Upon selling WalkerSteel to British Steel he purchased Jersey European Airlines also acquiring various property interests.

Walker then took over Blackburn Rovers, buying a 62% controlling stake in 1991 with them in the old Second Division and began ploughing millions into the club, £20 million of which would be used on redeveloping the stadium and millions more on funding the big money transfers of many footballers.

He would convince Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish out of his self-imposed retirement, having earlier resigned from his managerial post at Anfield. Under Dalglish, the money started to flow and promotion to the newly renamed Premier League would be achieved via the play-offs at the end of the 1991-1992 season.

More signings and high-profile signings at that would be made using Uncle Jack's money. The British transfer record was smashed to land Alan Shearer for £3.5 million from Southampton in 1992. These signings helped Rovers to finish fourth in the League, before finishing the following season as runners up to Manchester United.

Breaking the transfer record again to land Chris Sutton for £5 million for the 1994-1995 season would see Walker's ultimate achievement as his side, in only their third season back in the top flight won the 1995 Premiership Title on a dramatic final day of the season battle. Despite Rovers' defeat, ironically against Dalglish's former side Liverpool a Manchester United draw with West Ham United wouldn't be enough to deny the club their first Title in 81 years.

Not even Uncle Jack's millions could sustain Rovers' success. With the Premiership becoming big business top footballers from the continent were being attracted, but the lure of a small Lancashire town would not appeal to too many of them. Walker and Rovers had millions but they were not a big club, with their fan base small the ground would rarely be full.

The decline began under Roy Hodgson and then his successor Brian Kidd, with whom Rovers would be his first taste of sole responsibility for a team, having previously worked for many years under Sir Alex Ferguson's leadership, the club would be relegated. Not even a plea from an emotional Walker ahead of a crucial relegation match in 1999 could save the club.

The club Walker loved and had built up, vowing at any costs to bring the Title back to Ewood Park as he had, had been relegated at the end of the 1998-1999 season, just four years after winning the Premiership. The disappointment could not be hidden by the tearful man who as well as being the financial benefactor was also their biggest fan.

Jack Walker, a Blackburn Rovers fan through and through would never be afraid to dip his hand into his pocket for the club he'd always supported and loved yet sadly he would not be able to see this club return to the top flight as he passed away at the age of 71 after losing his battle against cancer early during the 2000-2001 season as Rovers finished as runners up in the old Division One thereby returning to the top flight where they have remained, and indeed again started moving forward.

Never once could Walkers commitment to the club be called into question, this is how he would once explain his love for the club, what it meant to him and why he was happy to be so committed to Blackburn Rovers Football Club: "You have to get pleasure out of it.

"It has put Blackburn back on the up and shown that if you believe in things they can be done.

"If they don't win then I am bloody miserable on a Sunday.
"

As already said Uncle Jack's money was made in the steel industry but his heart always did, and always will belong to Blackburn Rovers Football Club.

Vital Blackburn member, and former editor, Walker wrote this article. (Originally posted in October 2006.)

Related Article: The team that Jack built (click here to read it.)

Join The Vital Debate

Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.
www.papajohns.co.uk/football



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Walker
Date:Wednesday August 17 2011
Time: 5:01PM

Best of Vital Network

Comments

0
Jack Walker - ROVERS LEGEND
Tombo1984
17/08/2011 17:39:00
0
Jack Walker - ROVERS LEGEND
Tombo1984
17/08/2011 17:39:00
0
The greatest football supporter ever, Uncle Jack, Thankyou
glen9mullan
17/08/2011 19:34:00
0
The greatest football supporter ever, Uncle Jack, Thankyou
glen9mullan
17/08/2011 19:34:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Blackburn Rovers Articles

Graham Could Still Make Blackburn Move

Wigan, Birmingham & Preston are all being linked with Graham; Celtic could also make a move for the Sunderland striker who will leave the Stadium of Light on a free transfer.

Henley Out Of Wales Squad

Coleman has regularly selected Henley in his Welsh squads since the twice capped right back returned to the fold in March last year but he's returned from the Portugal training camp.

Ainsworth 'Flattered' But Committed To Wycombe

Lambert's successor is still unclear, one of those linked with the vacancy being former Blackburn youngster Ainsworth. Flattered as he said he is he's not looking to leave Wycombe.

No More Quarter Final Replays For Blackburn

Should Blackburn Rovers progress through to an FA Cup quarter final from the 2016/17 season onwards, the game will no longer be subject to a replay.

Archived Vital Blackburn Articles

Vital Blackburn articles from

Site Journalists

Walker
Editor email
Profile
VitalRovers
no email
Profile
Mikey Delap
no email
Profile
Sasman!
no email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Reading MotM
Suggested By: Site Staff
Steele14%
Marshall5%
Duffy1%
Hanley2%
Kilgallon7%
Lenihan7%
Lowe1%
Jordi Gomez1%
Bennett2%
Graham54%
Grimes1%
Sub - Evans2%
Sub - Jackson2%
Sub - Conway1%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Burnley 46 26 15 5 93 37
P Middlesbrough 46 26 11 9 89 32
3 Brighton 46 24 17 5 89 30
4 Hull City 46 24 11 11 83 34
5 Derby County 46 21 15 10 78 23
6 Sheff Wed 46 19 17 10 74 21
7 Ipswich 46 18 15 13 69 2
8 Cardiff 46 17 17 12 68 5
9 Brentford 46 19 8 19 65 5
10 Birmingham 46 16 15 15 63 4
11 Preston 46 15 17 14 62 0
12 Q.P.R. 46 14 18 14 60 0
13 Leeds Utd 46 14 17 15 59 -8
14 Wolves 46 14 16 16 58 -5
15 Blackburn 46 13 16 17 55 0
16 Forest 46 13 16 17 55 -4
17 Reading 46 13 13 20 52 -7
18 Bristol City 46 13 13 20 52 -17
19 Huddersfield 46 13 12 21 51 -11
20 Fulham 46 12 15 19 51 -13
21 Rotherham 46 13 10 23 49 -18
R Charlton 46 9 13 24 40 -40
R MK Dons 46 9 12 25 39 -30
R Bolton 46 5 15 26 30 -40
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Recent Blackburn Rovers Results (view all)

Blackburn Rovers Fixtures (view all)

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.Walker7
2.dallydally6
3.mobyduck5
4.@roverseas4
5.tonys1
6.jimbogeesus1