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What would Jack Walker make of the changes at Blackburn Rovers?

Blackburn are one of the smallest towns to stage Premier League football and enjoyed great success in the mid 1990s thanks to the generous financial backing of local boy Jack Walker.

After selling his steel business, lifelong Rovers fan Walker ploughed millions into his club and his huge investment paid dividends with the club winning the Premier League title in 1995 under Kenny Dalglish.

Walker was one of the last football ‘Sugar Daddies’ who wanted to create a legacy for the local community. Blackburn’s dominance of the English game though was short-lived.

Within a year, manager Kenny Dalglish had quit while Walker’s millions were not enough to prevent top scorer Alan Shearer joining his boyhood team Newcastle in a then-world record £15million deal after the 1996 European Championship finals.


In 1999, Walker could only shed a tear from the Ewood Park stands as his beloved Rovers were relegated.

Walker died in 2000 with Blackburn returning to the top flight a year later where they remained until their relegation last month. After Walker’s death, his money was tied up in a trust fund but the club remained for sale for over six years.


Rovers’ lengthy search for new investment ended with them being bought for £23million by the Indian company VH Group under the name Venky’s London Limited in November 2010.

Allardyce, an experienced Premier League manager with a reputation for getting the best out of players at clubs with limited resources was axed in favour of a rookie member of his backroom staff with no previous managerial positions in Steve Kean.

Chairman John Williams, the football entrepreneur who had with an experienced board kept the club afloat left.

The rest is history.

TM

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