Tributes paid to Walsall FC President Barrie Blower
Tributes have been paid to Barrie Blower MBE, the President of Walsall Football Club, who has died aged 78.
A lifelong Saddlers fan, Mr Blower founded the Save Walsall Action Group – an organisation that was instrumental in keeping league football in the town in both 1982 and 1986.
He also played a key role in the clubs move from Fellows Park to Bescot Stadium.
Described as one of the most influential figures in Walsall's 131 year history, Mr Blower was also active in local politics.
One of his projects saw him found the Caldmore Area Housing Association – which lead to better quality social housing for thousands of residents.
"Barrie was, without doubt, one of the most influential figures in the 131-year history of Walsall Football Club," said director Roy Whalley.
"It was his leadership and the founding of the Save Walsall Action Group that in 1982 and 1986 saved league football in Walsall.
"If he and his colleagues had not prevented groundsharing, firstly with Wolves, and later Birmingham City, we would not have a Walsall Football Club today.
"Barrie was a lifelong Saddlers fan. His was a fairytale story, the fan who stood on the terraces at the Hillary Street end, rising up to a place in the boardroom, and to become chairman and later President."
Mr Whalley continued: "Barrie was a remarkable man. His influence in the town spread far beyond the football club.
"After serving in the Royal Navy, on return to his hometown, he was determined to do something about the poor living conditions he found in Caldmore, the area where he had grown up.
"He founded the Caldmore Area Housing Association, which bought poor standard housing stock in the area, refurbished it, and provided good quality social housing for thousands of residents in the town.
"He was also very active in local politics.
"Barrie was a people person. He battled for the underdog.
"His driving force was to help the people who were experiencing difficulties, the homeless, the unemployed, single mothers, battered wives, immigrants facing discrimination, the people who had nothing.
"He reached out to them all, but he could not have done it all by himself, and he would always pay tribute to his late wife Sharon, who was a source of great strength to him."
Mr Blower leaves behind his daughter Sadie, son in law Adam and grandson Connor.
Walsall have confirmed a minute's applause for Mr Blower will take place before their game against Fleetwood on March 9.