14 September 1946 Sunderland 3 Blackpool 2


Big Fade-Out at Sunderland


Sunderland 3, Blackpool 2

By “Spectator”

THE football boom on the North-East coast shows no signs of abating. Everybody has gone football crazy in these parts. 

For the visit of Blackpool this afternoon there were nearly 45,000 people at Roker Park an hour before the teams took the field. 

Mounted police were controlling the queues, and all the stands were closed. 

As I expected, Suart was not fit to play, and may not, I hear, be fit for the Brentford match on Wednesday. 

Sam Jones deputised at centre-half. It was the Irishman’s first game this season. 

Sunderland had back the four men who were out of the team defeated by five goals at Charlton in midweek. 


SUNDERLAND: Mapson, Stelling, Jones (J), Willingham, Hall, Housam, Duns, Lloyd, Whitelum, Watson and Burbanks. 

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

The attendance approached 50,000 as the match opened. The 1s 3d gates had not been closed.


Burbanks one of Blackpool's wartime guests, who was playing with his right hand in plaster was repelled in Sunderland’s first raid. This was rapidly followed by another, which Johnston cleared in a flying leap. 

This early Sunderland pressure was furious while it lasted. But it did not last long. 

Soon Mortensen was given a couple of passes and opened two raids which ended in Mapson fielding centres by McIntosh and Buchan (W). 

It was not often that Blackpool were over the halfway line in the first five minutes. 

But a free-kick by Buchan (T.) was followed by a raid on the right. The front line was playing open football whenever it went into action. 

This raid, too, might have produced a goal. Eastham found Blair in an unmarked position, and the inside-left shot wide of the far post, with Sunderland’s defence scattered.   


Eastham’s Third Goal In Three Games 

Yet in the seventh minute Blackpool took the lead and deserved it. An opportunist goal shot by a man who is not supposed to be able to shoot. 

A free-kick by Mclntosh was lobbed into the centre. The ball went loose. Mortensen darted to it, and headed it down. 

EASTHAM hit it as it fell, and shot a ball which cannoned in off the near post. 

It was Eastham's third goal in three games. Who says he cannot shoot? 

Within a minute Blair forced Mapson to a glorious clearance and Mortensen nearly brushed the whitewash off the bar. 

Blackpool’s football in these spurts had been brilliant. It scattered the Sunderland defence by long passes. 

Blackpool’s front line continued to play a game which had class written all over it, and dominated 15 of the first 20 minutes. 

Jones made a grand interception when at last Sunderland raided.

Burbanks was racing everywhere to put Sunderland’s front line into the game, but it was still Blackpool's football which impressed. 

Mortensen nearly increased the lead from Blair’s pass as Mapson hurled himself at his feet. 

At last 50,000 people had something to cheer about as Sunderland's forwards, given passes at last by half-backs, won two corners in as many minutes. 

These Sunderland forwards had plenty of fight left in them. 

Lewis was strong and reliable as the Blackpool defence began to retreat under hammer blows.    

Blackpool forwards' dominance had waned. It had been good while it lasted. 

After 30 minutes Sunderland made it 1-1. It was a blunder in defence which gave the goal. 

A forward pass was released down the centre. Jones moved to it, and seemed to slice a bouncing ball. WHlTELUM was on it in the next split second, and raced on to shoot past the deserted Wallace. 

A minute later Duns shot over the bar. 


At this time Blackpool were out of this seesaw game except as a defensive force. 

From winning the game Blackpool were nearly losing it. In 38 minutes they were losing it. 

Again it was a goal that should never have been scored. 

There was a raid on the right. LLOYD took possession and shot from 20 yards a ball to which Wallace fell too late. 

It was not the sort of shot that often beats Wallace. 

The Blackpool forwards had almost faded out, and played too close when they were given the ball.

Half-time: Sunderland 2, Blackpool 1. 

Second Half

Blackpool won a corner in the first minute of the halt. A drizzle of rain was falling. 

Sunderland were soon off again. Burbanks cut into the penalty area before crossing a low centre, which Lewis half missed and a couple of Sunderland forwards missed altogether. 

There were a few signs in the first five minutes that Blackpool might yet snatch something out of the game. 

One raid was perfect. Blair, Mclntosh and Mortensen were in it. It won a corner, and the corner nearly made a goal, Mapson falling full length to beat out a ball which Mortensen headed in fast and wide. 

The great football which Blackpool's front line had played in the early afternoon was still elusive. Too often a man was holding the ball for a half second too long. 

McIntosh shot into the side net from Mortensen’s pass to end a series of Blackpool raids. 


There were few signs of a goal anywhere afterwards until Whitelum headed only inches wide, with Wallace out of position. 

Direct football - football with a punch in it - was still being played by Sunderland. 

Blackpool's undefeated record was wobbling with 20 minutes left.    

Sunderland had two escapes in less than a minute in an unexpected Blackpool breakaway. 

Mclntosh shooting slowly at an open goal, leaving Willingham to clear anywhere off the line, and then Mapson made the clearance of the match from Mortensen. 

Ten minutes from time EASTHAM, in another. breakaway, was given a wide open space by Blair's pass and put the ball into the net. 

With five minutes left, WHITELUM shot through a pack of men after the ball, which should have been cleared, had been left bouncing in the danger area. 


SUNDERLAND 3, (Whitelum 30, 85min, Lloyd 38 min) 

BLACKPOOL 2.    (Eastham 7, 80 min)  


Blackpool’s undefeated record was lost at Roker Park this afternoon. 

Two goals which should never have been scored lost it. 

Sunderland, outclassed and outplayed for the first 20 minutes, afterwards stormed with such fury into the game that they deserved to win it.

The absence of Suart made a difference to the defence, which under pressure seemed unstable.

Johnston was the only half-back on complete terms with his game. 

The forwards were brilliant for 20 minutes and afterwards too often guilty of the close-passing game.

 The absence of passes from the half-backs made probably all the difference. Whatever it was, the line at times nearly faded out.    

Non-Selection Is Football Mystery No.1

By “ Spectator”

THE question on this week’s agenda is, “What has Stanley Mortensen done wrong?"

Before I ask the question I know the answer. He has done nothing wrong. His reputation in football is beyond reproach on and off the field.   

Yet, because of the way he is neglected by the wise men who select teams for international matches and trials, you would think he had offended against all the laws of man and the F.A.

The first of this season's trials is to be played on Wednesday. He is not in it. 

There was a time, I admit, when I suspected that if only he had played for one of the fashionable clubs his record in the last two seasons would have given him undisputed entry into the England team. 

Now I shall have to revise that view. Men have played in the inside-forward positions for their country in recent games and are playing again in this trial next week, who have not had to establish a residential qualification in London or other select resorts before being admitted among the elect. 

That old snobocracy is dying. even if in certain quarters it still refuses to lie down.    

They Want To Know 

WHAT, then, is the reason for confirmed omission of the Blackpool forward, who has never played a bad game when he has been chosen? 

He is not complaining about it. I have never discussed the question with him. But correspondents write every week. One after another they ask, “Why?” And I can never tell them. 

There was a letter in the mail a day or two ago from Mr. R. B. Pass, of Pelham-avenue, Layton. It was not the letter of a Blackpool partisan. It was written by a man who understands football and yet cannot comprehend why the rulers of the game should so often shun one of the best forwards in it. 

Punch Is Needed 

He calls it “a rotten business" and recalls that after England's last indifferent display against Scotland every critic in the land wrote that the team’s chief requirement was punch in the inside-forward positions. 

“What,” he asks, “do the F.A. want of a player? If it’s 100 per cent, loyalty, 100 per cent, fitness, speed, the ability to make and score goals, initiative and tenacity, combined with absolute cleanliness of play, then Mortensen is the player they need." 

That says about everything.  So many other people are saying it. A few are saying too, what Mr. Pass writes as a post-script - that Mortensen’s chances may be prejudiced today by Blackpool’s selection of him as a centre-forward. That is an open question. 

In Thick Of It 

I KNOW that he offered to play in the position, and was not persuaded into it. But I do not think it is the position where he should be allowed to play indefinitely, apart entirely from the question of his international career. 

At the present time he can scarcely be played anywhere else. But in the rough-house of present- day football he is, I think, a lot too precious to be hurled into the thick of it the whole time. 

That is a question of the future. The question today is: “Why is a forward who scored 38 goals last season, a total never approached by any other inside forward in the country, not in England’s team?” 

I confess that I don’t know the answer.     

Jottings from all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 14 September 1946

Eight Years Ago ...

IT is eight years ago to the day since Blackpool were last at Sunderland for a First Division match. 
It was a game that hit the headlines. 

The winning goal, shot by George Farrow, 10 minutes from time, made the news. For the first time a referee interpreted to the letter the law which made obstruction in the penalty area an offence punishable by a penalty. 

He gave a penalty - and it gave Blackpool the match and Sunderland a sense of grievance. 

Blackpool won 2-1, Willie Buchan scoring the first goal. The men who won: 

Wallace, Blair (D.), Sibley, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, Buchan (W.), Finan, O'Donnell (F.), and Dawson. 

Remember Ken Dawson? The forward who could score in Scotland but not in England. 


HAS the Blackpool defence been able to hold Eddie Burbanks, the club's war-time outside-left? 

For Sunderland this season he has soon been among the goals, has ranked in every game as Sunderland’s best forward. 

He can hit a ball and hit it hard. We know that at Blackpool. 


RECORDS are cheap these days. but this one deserves a line. 

No Blackpool team has ever before opened a season by winning its first four games. 

Not even the two promotions teams could equal in the Second Division this 1946 team’s achievement in the First Division. 

The 1929-30 team won only six of the first eight points, the 1936-37 team won seven. 


NO new sizes in hats for Blackpool directors. I asked one of them this week his opinion of the team that won its first three games. “A good workmanlike side,” he answered. “We ought to finish in the first 10." That's what is known as not losing a sense of proportion. 

I have read a lot of flapdoodle already about Blackpool possessing a First Division championship team. 

Less than three weeks ago these sources of inspired information were telling you that Blackpool were about No. 1 candidates for relegation. 


FIVE goals in big first game were not sufficient to convince Adam Wolinin, Blackpool's Polish amateur, that he had made a bit of a name for himself in an hour and a half. 

“Me - I can play better than that," he said modestly when they complimented him. This young man has endured all sorts of horror's during the war. 

But you cannot persuade him to talk about them. For a time he was in one of those monuments to German culture - a concentration camp. 


BRONZED and lean Eric Hayward looked when I met him at the Blackpool - Wolverhampton Wanderers match. But he says he is fit as a fiddle, in spite of losing a few pounds under India's tropic sun. 

He will need a week or two's rest, and another week or two’s training before he’s fit for First Division football again. 

Then what happens - with Ron Suart playing as he is playing these days ?  


To settle all the arguments. Tom and Willie Buchan, the Blackpool players, are not related. All they have in common is that both are Scots. 

Tom Buchan, the wing-half, was actually on Blackpool’s books before the famous Celt.

He came from an Edinburgh junior club before the war, and played 24 games for Blackpool Reserve in I938-39. They said then that one day he would he good. Eight years have passed - and he is very good.   

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