Parkes reflects on Walker years

17 August 2010 04:45
Former Blackburn coach Tony Parkes has revealed the affection he still holds for Jack Walker on the tenth anniversary of his death.Parkes said the former benefactor had his own unique style which he will always regard highly.

"One of the things that kept Jack at Blackburn was when things were wrong he wanted to put them right," Parkes told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"If it wasn't for Jack I wouldn't have done as much as I did here."

Parkes added: "He had faith in me. Okay I did the job that was required but he was like a grandad to me.

"One of the first times I saw him cry was in the dressing room at Ewood Park after we'd just drawn against Middlesbrough. We drew 0-0 and we were safe from relegation and Jack came in and he cried."

Walker became the club's vice president in 1986 and took control five years later.

His financial clout saw Rovers twice break the British transfer record - first with the signing of England international Alan Shearer for £3.3m in 1992. That was followed two years later with the arrival of Chris Sutton for £5m from Norwich.

Jack had a programme where he wanted to be here for five years but because we were relegated he couldn't walk away Former Blackburn coach Tony Parkes "Jack was putting everything in to place very quickly," said Parkes.

"The stadium was being rebuilt, we got a team together to win the Championship and he even built training facilities. He built things in two or three years that took other clubs 10 or 15 years to do.

"The biggest thing that happened to Blackburn after bringing Kenny Dalglish in as manager was the signing of Alan Shearer. You can't talk about Blackburn winning the Premier League without mentioning Alan.

"He came to Blackburn when he could have gone to other clubs. When other players saw Alan signing for us it made their decision easier. We brought a lot of good, young English players to the club and it was a fantastic time."

Dalglish, who had been out of management since leaving Anfield in 1989, took over the reigns in 1991.

"It was a fairytale while he was here," said Parkes. "It was such a great time from winning the play-off final at Wembley against Leicester to the Premier League title. We finished fourth and second before we won the title so they were three fantastic years.

The pinnacle may have been the club's Premier League title in 1995, but Parkes feels Walker's decision to remain with Blackburn following their relegation in 1999 was just as important.

"Jack could have walked away, but he didn't," he said. "He went with the relegated team and tried to make it better.

"Jack had a programme where he wanted to be here for five years but because we were relegated he couldn't walk away."

Source: BBC_Sport