Barrie Blower: Former Walsall chairman dies, aged 78

Barrie Blower
Barrie Blower (right) was awarded a lifetime achievement award by Walsall in 2010

Former Walsall chairman Barrie Blower has died at the age of 78.

The club president, who was credited with helping save the club in the 1980s, died on Thursday.

Mr Blower founded the Save Walsall Action Group that twice fought off the prospect of the Saddlers ground-sharing with West Midlands rivals.

Director Roy Whalley said: "Barrie was, without doubt, one of the most influential figures in the 131-year history of Walsall Football Club."

Mr Blower, served in the Royal Navy, set up a housing association, chaired Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust and was awarded an MBE in 1993 for services to the community.

But he was best known as chairman of Walsall Football Club, having grown up as a supporter of his home-town team.

He campaigned successfully against ground-sharing with Wolves in 1982 and Birmingham City in 1986.

In a tribute on the club website, Mr Whalley wrote: "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 ground-sharing, firstly with Wolves, and later Birmingham City, we would not have a Walsall Football Club today.

"He was a remarkable man. He had great powers of persuasion.

"The town owes a great debt to Barrie and his name and memory will live as long as there is a Walsall Football Club."

Mr Blower leaves a daughter, Sadie, son-in-law, Adam, and grandson.

The club will hold a minute's applause at the League One game at home to Fleetwood on 9 March.