Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Boom and bust the Blackburn way
Kenny Dalglish managed Rovers to the Premiership
It took four years for money to take Blackburn from second class citizens to the kings of English football, and exactly the same amount of time for Rovers to return to the lower division.
When the steel magnate took over Blackburn were one of the longest-standing residents of what was then Football League Division Two.
Walker wanted to see his boyhood idols recapture their former glories, and the way he went about it set a 1990s football trend.
The recipe was simple yet expensive. Invest heavily in the team and employ a high profile manager to attract the players needed for success.
Kenny Dalglish was the man Walker turned to, just as Newcastle later appointed Kevin Keegan and Glenn Hoddle became Chelsea manager.
The first signing was left-back Alan Wright from Blackpool, but within a month bigger names were arriving as £2m was spent on Colin Hendry, Gordon Cowans and Mike Newell.
That figure was a small fortune back in 1991, and it had been doubled before the end of the season brought promotion, albeit via a dubious penalty decision in the play-offs.
Another £5m was spent before the 1992/3 season ended with Rovers fourth in the new league as Ewood Park itself enjoyed a massive facelift.
The club became known to some as "Moneybags Rovers" and the spending increased still more as £18m was found for stars such as Graeme Le Saux, David Batty and Paul Warhurst.
By now Blackburn were challenging for the league title, winning it in 1994/5 thanks to record signing Chris Sutton's partnership with Shearer.
"Rovers missed a gaping opportunity to establish themselves as a footballing superpower," says local journalist Jim Wilkinson.
"From that championship day, you've never got the feeling that the club's been progressing."
Dalglish decided that day-to-day management was not for him, and the new director of football handed the reins to assistant Ray Harford.
The lucrative Champions League became an embarrassment as disappointing performances culminated in an on-field fight between Le Saux and David Batty.
And the quality of the signings began to fall - with Dalglish gone and most other clubs enjoying millions from the Premiership, Rovers were no longer as attractive to the very best.
Fanzine editor Ian Ferris says many recent signings have treated Ewood Park as a "comfort zone" while the club's record goalscorer Simon Garner accuses some of simply "picking the cheques up".
In the last two decades only Aston Villa have been relegated following a championship win, with Graham Taylor calling what he found "an absolute shambles" as he took over in 1987.
A similar resuscitation act is surely required at Ewood, although much has changed since Taylor brought Villa back in one season.
With players on Premiership wages, more cash will be needed simply to either pay them or find replacements, although Kidd says he needs more than money.
"I don't think pound notes are going to do it, we need a spirit and heartbeat in this club," he said after Wednesday's relegation. "You need to develop it, build it up."
Fanzine editor Ferris backs Kidd to continue the job, and the younger players coming through the ranks encourage him.
"I'm not convinced we'll come back first time," he admits. "But if Kidd gets the right players around him, we will come back in a couple of seasons."
If that does not happen the Rovers revolution will go down in history for all the wrong reasons - as a big adventure that went horribly wrong.
Good buys and bad buys
Oct 91: Alan Wright (Blackpool) £500,000
Jun 92: Lee Makel (Newcastle) £160,000
Aug 93: Andy Morrison (Plymouth) £150,000
Jul 94: Chris Sutton (Norwich) £5m
Oct 95: Lars Bohinen (Nottm Forest) £750,000
Jul 96: George Donis (Panathinaikos) Free
Jul 97: Anders Andersson (Malmo) £500,000
Jul 98: Kevin Davies (Southampton) £7.5m