A PETITION has been launched to rename the Riverside Stand at Ewood Park after club legend Tony Parkes.
Last night more than 2,000 names had already been added to the online call, made by NYC Rovers, the club’s New York City supporters’ branch.
Earlier this week it was revealed by his daughter Natalie that Parkes, 70, now had dementia and struggled to recall his past glories, which would include his 1995 Premier League triumph as assistant manager under Kenny Dalglish.
Rovers icons have lined up to pay tribute to the Sheffield-born midfielder, including former England striker Alan Shearer. in the wake of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
He said on Twitter: “So sad to see Tony suffering. Our @Rovers dressing room loved him.”
Parkes played 350 times for the Blues, before his retirement in 1982, notching up 38 goals.
He became assistant manager under Bobby Saxton and had no fewer than six turns as caretaker manager before leaving for the final time at the start of Mark Hughes’ reign in 2004.
Steven Bradley, of NYC Rovers, who is behind the petition, said: “It is hard to imagine that there will ever be a point in the future where Rovers fans are not aware of the incredible impact that one man had on their club and the purpose of this petition is to ensure that no-one ever forgets the name of the greatest servant Blackburn Rovers ever had.”
He says Parkes deserves the honour as he is synonymous with Blackburn’s Premier League and Worthington Cup wins and repeatedly stepped in as caretaker boss, when the need arose.
“Tony was never interested in the fame and fortune. He did what he did for the love of Blackburn Rovers and for the game he loves,” added Steven.
“After his recent diagnosis, we want to show him just how much he means to the fanbase and would love for the club to officially rename the Riverside Stand as the Tony Parkes Stand.”
He served as caretaker after the departures with Don Mackay, Ray Harford, Roy Hodgson, Brian Kidd and Graeme Souness.
Parkes, Colin Hendry and fellow past players were also in attendance this week at a charity night for ex-Rover Len Johnrose, who is battling motor neurone disease.