Former Rovers goalkeeper Jack Pratt today becomes the first player in the club’s history to turn 100 years old!
Jack, who made eight appearances for the club in the 1930s, will be celebrating the magnificent milestone with around 50 friends and family at his residential home in Grange-over-Sands.
Born in Workington on May 5th 1916, Jack took up football at a young age and was scouted by Preston playing in the local leagues at the age of 17. After a successful month-long trial, Jack went on to play for the club’s ‘A’ team and Reserves, but never made the breakthrough to the senior side.
However, aged 19, his big break did arrive in April 1936 when Rovers came calling after suffering a goalkeeping crisis.
With just two games of the season remaining and Rovers already relegated, Jack was thrown straight in at the deep end - making his league debut away to Aston Villa, who were also in danger of falling out of the top flight.
But the talented teenager took it all in his stride, with Rovers running out 4-2 winners.
Jack found himself down the pecking order at the start of the 1936-37 Second Division season, but he was again called into action around the turn of the year.
He played in six successive games - four in the league and two in the FA Cup - including a 2-0 victory at home to Doncaster on his Ewood Park debut.
A brief loan spell with Belfast Distillery followed, before the young goalkeeper, who earned just £3 a week, called time on his fleeting football career ... to serve his country, in the RAF, in World War Two.
Since retiring from the police force 35 years ago, Jack has kept himself busy - becoming a member of a Probus Club, male voice choir and talking newspaper for the blind - but has always found time to follow Rovers’ progress up and down the divisions.
The club visited Jack this week to present him with a signed goalkeeper shirt to honour his landmark moment and he said: “It is the sign of a club with a heart!
“I have fond memories of my time with Blackburn and there’s not many clubs that would do that, so I shall treasure it along with my card from the Queen!”