Jack's big day

Bill Brown sees success on a smaller scale for Blackburn's patron
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The Independent Online
ROVERS won the crucial match of the season yesterday, hammering five goals past lacklustre opposition, but Jack Walker was not happy. For this was the other Rovers - same kit, same name, but no money - and they had just thrashed the second biggest love of Walker's life, First Tower, in the Under-16 Channel Islands Champions' Cup.

Walker did not attend the junior match, but pulled himself away from preparations for Blackburn Rovers' big day to attend the senior Channel Islands Club Championship decider between First Tower and Guernsey's Sylvans.

Walker was in ebullient mood as First Tower added another title to their long list of successes this season, leaping out of his seat four minutes from time when schoolteacher Mickey Smith scored the winner. As he did so, a plane belonging to his company, Jersey Airways, was flying appropriately overhead.

The Guernsey version of Rovers are one of the paupers of Islands football, struggling to replace their Nissen hut showers with a modern clubhouse. "We've got the kit and the name, but not the money," supporter Shaun Brook said. "We certainly have more connection with Blackburn than Tower, and it would be great if Jack got involved."

Walker is revelling in the success of his Jersey team. He became patron of First Tower 20 years ago and spent £1.2m on a school so the team could have their own pitch. "This season we created a new record, winning all six leagues we compete in. That's quite something," he said.

Walker is confident an 81-year drought will end this afternoon as his other Rovers become champions. "There are no bloody ifs," he said. "We are going to win. If you want to do something you do it. I have never been a pessimist."

Asked by one fan if he was still confident about this afternoon's game he rounded on his questioner and said: "What do you mean, 'still'? I have always been confident."

He will be wearing his Rovers tie today, as he wore the Tower colours for yesterday's final. Otherwise the routine will remain unchanged. "I always go into the dressing room for a few words with the lads before the match," he said, "and you can be sure I will be there this afternoon."

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