31 August 1946 Huddersfield Town 1 Blackpool 3

Forwards Take Chances – And Blackpool Win

Goal Rush Shocks Huddersfield

Huddersfield Town 1, Blackpool 3

By “Spectator”

LEEDS-ROAD, Saturday.

It has come at last - the day they have been waiting for and talking about during six years of war and one of peace - football's “D” - Day. Every match means something again.

Now at last they are playing for points which can cost fortunes and goals worth kings’ ransoms in one of the world’s biggest lotteries.

At Huddersfield this afternoon, in the valley among the chimney stacks called Leeds-road, where Blackpool last played on August 26th, 1939, four only of the Blackpool team that won that match by the only goal took the field- a goalkeeper, a full-back, Sibley, a half-back, Johnston, and a forward, Willie Buchan.

The Town had only two of the 1939 men left. One who was out -out unexpectedly-was Bob Hesford, the schoolmaster goalkeeper, who graduated at Blackpool Grammar School.


HUDDERSFIELD TOWN: McManus, Bailey, Simpson (J), Barker, Briggs, Boot, Bateman, Glazzard, Price, Carr and Metcalfe.

BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Sibley, Lewis, Buchan (T), Suart, Johnston, Munro, Buchan, Mortensen, Blair (J) and McIntosh.

Referee: Mr. W. B. Nixon (Prestwich).


Something went wrong with football’s famous first-day-of-the-season weather today. Rain fell in Huddersfield for hours. Not until an hour before the kick-off where the clouds beginning to lift. It was fine when the teams appeared, but the attendance, which it had been expected would approach 30,000, was fewer than 12.000.

“This rain has cost us a few hundreds” was what one of the Town directors said.

I seem to have heard that at a few cricket matches during the summer.

It made no difference when Harry Johnston, Blackpool’s new captain, won the toss. There was not a breath of wind.

First Half

In the first minute Town broke away on the right after a partial clearance by a Blackpool full-back.

In front of goal Bateman's centre was crossed. Two forwards leaped at it and missed it. In the end Sibley cleared it under pressure from two others.

Two other Huddersfield raids were repulsed in quick succession. The Blackpool defence was composed under pressure, but too often a Town forward was taking the ball in an open position.

Price raced into one of these unguarded spaces, and was inside shooting distance as T. Buchan crossed him and passed back with complete assurance to his waiting goalkeeper.


Blackpool were completely outplayed for five minutes and would have lost a goal with six minutes gone if Wallace had not made a diving, acrobatic clearance as Price swerved past a fullback accepted a forward pass and shot.

Yet in the eighth minute, the Blackpool forwards’ first full-line advance snatched the lead.

It was done in three fast direct moves.

Blair opened the movement with a perfect low pass to Munro. On to it the little Scot pounced, cut a yard inside, and released it again as Blair called for it.

Blair glided the ball forward, and left MORTENSEN, almost on the line to hook it wide of the unprotected McManus with the Town defence scattered.


Forwards Play Fast Football

That was the end for a time of Huddersfield’s early domination.

It was Blackpool’s forwards and wing half-backs who were making progress fast and with the open game.

Immediately two goals came in a minute and a half.

Huddersfield won a corner on the right. As the centre was crossed by Bateman from the flag, GLAZZARD hooked over his shoulder a ball which Wallace reached as he fell to his right, but which eluded his grasp, hit the post and cannoned inside.

Direct from the kick-off the Blackpool forwards raided.

BLAIR took a forward pass, zigzagged past two men, enticed the goalkeeper out, steered the ball past him with all the composure in the world for a brilliant goal.

Afterwards, the Blackpool forwards seemed to outwit the Town full-backs and half-backs every time they met.


Nobody could hold Blair, who made the third goal for his team in the 20th minute.

He gave Mortensen a pass, and darted to the ball as McManus beat the centre-forward’s shot out.

Then he passed it inside again to the unguarded MUNRO, who shot it into the net in the next split second.

This 3-1 lead for Blackpool after 20 minutes was deserved.

Nearly all the time Blair had been playing at inside-right, and Buchan at inside-left.

There was plenty of punch left in the Town. There always is in these Yorkshire teams, whatever the odds.

With Blackpool still retreating. Wallace lost one centre and a bouncing ball was cleared off the line by Suart.

Then the goalkeeper dived into a milling pack of men almost under the bar and came crawling out of it the ball clutched to his chest.


Buchan (T) cleared in front of another open goal, with the Huddersfield forwards still all out to reduce the lead.

How the Town missed goals during this tearaway pressure I don’t know.

Price still will not know how he sliced a ball wide of a gaping goal, with no man within half a dozen yards of him.

It was the Town for minutes on end, but goals would not come against a Blackpool defence which at times was reduced to shear desperation.

Scarcely, a pass reached McIntosh. It was Blair and the other wing who created nearly every raid. Blair was the man of the first half.

The Town missed too many chances. Blackpool took nearly7 all theirs.

Half-time: Huddersfield Town 1, Blackpool 3.

Second Half

Rain was falling when the second half opened.

Nearly five minutes passed before either team built a real attack.

Then, after Buchan had brilliantly created position for him, McIntosh, given a pass at last, was apparently so surprised that he shot it wide.

A minute later Glazzard missed from a position where he should have scored.

There was an amazing incident when Price suddenly found himself in possession of the ball with only Wallace in the Blackpool half of the field.

Wallace raced to meet him dived at his feet 10 yards outside the penalty area, and so disturbed Price that the centre- forward sliced it yards out of play.

Another great gap revealed itself in Blackpool’s defence a minute later.  Again Price raced into it. This time Wallace made a grandstand clearance to a thunder of cheers.


A great game this for Blackpool’s goalkeeper behind a defence which was still not too compact.

The forwards and the wing half-backs were the men who were making this match.

In the 17th minute of the half Mortensen came to grief. Buchan made position for Munro, raced inside, and crossed a bouncing ball.

Mortensen chased after it as he had been chasing everything all afternoon, missed it on the wet and treacherous turf, collided with the post, and collapsed in a heap.

He must be tough. Everybody expected them to. call the ambulance men. Instead, he was back again in less than a couple of minutes after treatment by the trainer on the line.


There was still plenty of punch in Mortensen. Less than five minutes after he had been “out to the world,” he forced McManus to a clearance on the line.

But it was the other goalkeeper, Jock Wallace, who was qualifying for the headlines.

With 15 minutes left, even the Town seemed resigned to defeat.

For the rest, it was merely a case of waiting for the end.




I should think there will be a “no change” decision by the Blackpool selectors for the Brentford game after this defeat of a commonplace town team.

I am not yet convinced that the defence can stand as firm as they will have to do under pressure but two new men in it. Buchan (T.) and Sibley, justified their selection.

Jock Wallace was as daring and resolute as I have ever seen him-and at times, he needed to be.

The forward of the match for half an hour, the man who won the game for Blackpool in 12 dramatic minutes, was Jim Blair.

Little was seen of McIntosh, for until the last 30 minutes a pass seldom reached him. The Blackpool front line was led with tireless enterprise by Mortensen.

Key To Blackpool Success - The Open Game

By “ Spectator”


TAKE one of those Gallup polls in the town about the club’s prospects, and the customers would answer in about this order:

GOOD ............ 20 per cent.

NOT SO GOOD 50 per cent.

BAD ................ 15 per cent.

DON’T KNOW 15 per cent,

I think I would prefer to I think I would prefer to take the line of least resistance, too, and be among those last 15 per cent.

For if ever there was a season in which anything might happen -and probably will!-it is this first promotion-and-relegation dogfight for seven years. It is the season of unknown quantities.

There have been such upheavals during the war years that it is a fair bet that 50 per cent of the teams playing in the Second Division are today the equal of half the teams among the First Division aristocracy.

Blind Man's Buff

AND for nearly as many First Division teams it will be a case for a month or two of blind man’s buff, for one half has never met the other half, except by chance in the Cup-ties, for seven long years.

Until they measure their strength against each other again nobody can tell which are the giants and which the pigmies - and which the teams of medium build.

Blackpool may be one of those last.

I see no championship team in the tangerine jerseys this season -no team for Wembley. Yet there should be no bottom-of-the- table team, either, at Blackpool H.Q.

It is the defence which is still suspect, as after its in-and-out football-chiefly out-during the last three months of last season, it must be suspect.

Half-Back Talent

THE half-backs should pass the test. In this line there is almost an embarrassment of talent. Ten professional half-backs have been signed. Seven of the, 10 are of First Division quality or bordering on it.

When a club has to play such a wing-half as George Farrow in reserve there is patently no shortage of supply in this department.

Half-backs will suffice. And the forwards ought to suffice. But will they?

A front line containing such a player as Stan Mortensen has always a snap goal or two in it, or with such a player as Jim Blair must have a bit of class in it, if only this gifted footballer can be persuaded not so often to over-elaborate or to wander such a lot.

Problem Positions

IF there are problems they may be at outside-right and centre- forward.

Whatever his critics say, Jock Dodds must be missed, if only because he has the weight which is now ominously absent from the inside positions-and because, however he played, there were always two or three watchdogs after him, leaving open spaces for the other men.

I am told that Mortensen is prepared to play as a centre- forward, even if it is not, in my opinion, his position, until George McKnight or the new heavyweight. G. W. Dick, qualifies for it.

That may offer a solution.

11 Were Tried

But there is no such ready made answer to the position on the right-wing, where no fewer than 11 men were played last season.

Alec Munro may come back to his pre-war game. I hope he can. Men with war records such as his will always be given encouragement by this department.

But if he can’t-well, that means a headache for the directors.

They should not have such a lot of others-not if the team plays the open game which its manager, Mr. Joe Smith, has been demanding in all the trial games, and which he is entitled to see reproduced in the League.

No Disaster If -

THAT’S probably half the secret of it-cut out the fancy stuff and Blackpool should at least escape the major disasters.

But as a prophet I prefer to be out of business for a week or two.

Jottings from all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 31 August 1946

BLACKPOOL open the season with 36 professionals - 3 goalkeepers,  8 full-backs, 10 half-backs and 15 forwards.

WATCHING the second of Blackpool's public practice matches was Danny Blair, one of the smallest and one of the best full-backs ever to play in Scotland’s jersey. He had come up from the farm -his tomato farm - out on the Moss.

He has played his last game, but his name will live in Blackpool’s history books. 
The Villa had decided that his days were done when they asked Blackpool only £1,000 for him in the summer of 1936. 
It was three years later before he took the field for the last time for Blackpool-and in the first of those three years promotion was won. 

Cheap for £1,000? It was one of football’s best bargain basement purchases.


Now that Alec Roxburgh has gone to Barrow, Bob Finan is Blackpool’s longest-service player.

He came to Blackpool from across the Border in the summer of 1933, and played his first game for the club in a Central League match at Preston 16 years today.

Finan has had a cartilage
operation during the summer.  It will be a week or two yet before he is as fast as he still can be-and in his day he was probably the fastest centre-forward over 30 yards ever to play for Blackpool.

Has he had his last game in the First Division? I should say, “No-definitely not.”


BLACKPOOL have to play nine games before the end of September. Five of the nine are away from home. And three of those five between September 11th and 18th are in a long distance itinerary resembling an all-England tour.

First of the three is at Portsmouth on Wednesday week. Three days later is the Sunderland match at Roker Park. Another four days, and Brentford are met in London. Three days afterwards the Villa game at Blackpool is on the list.

If they are not tired of trains by that time...


BLACKPOOL must regret that at least one of the team’s wartime guests was not offered a contract while he was in these parts.

Harry Kinsell, the West Bromwich Albion full-back, could probably have been signed for a few hundred pounds when first he came to Blackpool. Manager Joe Smith would have offered him terms-if he had been given permission.

Now the full-back is in the four-figure class, has played for England, and is a fixture at the Hawthorns, where they will not even discuss parting with him.


HAS Jim Ashworth been playing for Morecambe at Fleetwood this afternoon?

Behind the scenes there have been long negotiations before his transfer from Blackpool was completed during the summer. Once he promised to be Blackpool’s chief understudy for the centre- forward position, and he played in representative football in the Army out in the Far East.

Blackpool would have retained him, but he preferred to go to Morecambe, where he has family relationships. So, to Morecambe he went in the end, after the Lancashire Combination club had been persuaded that a nominal transfer fee would have to be paid.


THE visit to Huddersfield today recalls the last time Blackpool went to Leeds-road for a First Division game.

The newsboys were on the streets with special editions every few minutes-and there was not a line of football in most of those papers. The question was: “Will he?” or “Won’t he?”

Would Hitler invade Poland? He crossed the frontier five days later.

We could not be certain, but we suspected, that day in August, 1939, that football’s days were numbered for a few years.

Nobody was particularly excited when Blackpool won 1-0.


THE name of Charles Rattray in the Fleetwood team will awaken a few memories for the Blackpool football public.

He was only a youth and looked only a boy when he played for the first time as Blackpool’s outside-right in the 1929-30 team which won the club’s first promotion. Nine games he played in that team, and another 19 in the first of Blackpool’s First Division teams.

Soon afterwards he went wandering to other parts, never won the fame he once promised achieve, and yet was always a wing forward out of the common ruck. That’s a long time ago, but he is still a footballer of class.


Here are the men you will see in Blackpool's colours this season.

From left: Front row - G. Eastham, R. Burke.

Second row - J. Todd, A. Munro, R. Finan, S. Mortensen, J. Smith (manager), W. Lewis, C. Lawrence, A. Smith, H. Kelly. 

Third row - J. Lynas (trainer), R. Suart, G. W. Dick, W. Buchan, J. Blair, H. Johnston, S. Jones, G. H. Farrow, M. P. Butler, H. O'Donnell, J. Duckworth (assistant trainer) 

Back row - G. McKnight, J. Robinson, J. Wallace, E. Sibley, J. McIntosh, T. Buchan.


  1. Fantastic initiative. Many thanks. Looking forward to reading these on a weekly basis.

  2. Absolutely brilliant. Thanks for all your hard work and can't wait for more!

  3. Absolutely love this, thanks for the time and effort.


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