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He loved Blackburn and he loved the crowd
Jim Bowen speaks to BBC Sport Online about Jack Walker
 real 14k

Friday, 18 August, 2000, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Jim Bowen on Jack Walker
Jim Bowen and Jack Walker: Lifelong Rovers fans
Jim Bowen and Jack Walker: Lifelong Rovers fans
BBC Radio Lancashire DJ and lifelong Blackburn fan Jim Bowen speaks to BBC Sport Online about the impact of Jack Walker at Ewood Park.

Of all the elements in Blackburn life over the last 20 years, the biggest influence without any doubt was Jack Walker.

Rovers have always been, win or lose, succeed or fail, an integral part of Blackburn life.

Jack built his phenomenal business up - it became his 'train set' - and I mean that with the most affectionate of intentions.

He didn't have Blackburn Rovers as a self-glorification item, he spent money on it and spoilt it because he loved Blackburn Rovers.

All he wanted to do was to see the boys do well.

He gave the people of Blackburn a shrine to soccer - they have got one of the finest soccer grounds in the league in Ewood Park.

Affection

It oozes affection because Jack used to sit in his box and look around at all the crowd.

When we won the Premiership, I was down at the ground when the team came home and Jack walked onto the field and all the crowd went down to celebrate winning the league.

The warmth and the affection that came from the crowd was unbelievable.

And it wasn't for Kenny Dalglish and I don't think it was for the players. I think it was for Jack.

He was such an unassuming guy, he didn't go out and laud it. He walked out there to say: "Do you really want to see me? Are you happy with what we've done?"

He just enjoyed people identifying him with Blackburn Rovers and he was proud of that.

I saw him cry when Rovers were relegated from the Premier League two seasons ago, I was standing 20 feet away from him.

Jack Walker: Loved by all fans
Jack Walker: Loved by all fans

The team had just gone down and the backside had fallen out of our world in Blackburn, yet they still shouted: 'There's only one Jack Walker.'

Jack just stood there and the crowd cried with him. In an inverted sort of way, I think Blackburn will go up for Jack this time.

There will go in there now and the crowds will go back and if they go up at the end of the season, I think they will be singing: 'There's only one Jack Walker' again.

Weird atmosphere

I wish we had a home game on Saturday. Graeme Souness is a relatively newcomer to our club and he's not impregnated with the affection for Jack that the crowds of many years have.

But Graeme will feel the full impact of the fans at Crewe on Saturday. For the first home game, I think there will be an weird atmosphere, but affectionately weird.

Jack's money wasn't put in their for self-indulgent reasons. We were lucky that we had a Blackburn fan with money.

I can name chairmen who are in there purely for business and self-gratification reasons.

But Jack was in there because he genuinely loved the club. The way people should remember him is by going into the Walker Stand at Ewood Park on a regular basis.

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See also:

18 Aug 00 |  Football
Blackburn Rovers owner dies
18 Aug 00 |  Football
Jack of the Rovers
18 Aug 00 |  Football
Football remembers Jack Walker
18 Aug 00 |  Sports Talk
Your tributes to Jack Walker
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