12 October 1946 Preston North End 2 Blackpool 0


Pace Too Hot For Blackpool


Preston North End 2, Blackpool 0

By “Spectator”

THE question of the day at Deepdale this afternoon was: “Can the Blackpool defence hold Tom Finney?”

Reports which had been circulating all week that a secret plan had been in rehearsal at Blackpool to put the brake on the England outside-right were a lot of moonshine.

“Take it as another match,” was the order to the Blackpool men.

The teams were unchanged after North End’s unsuccessful quest for Jack Robinson, the Sheffield Wednesday forward. There were 37,500 excited people packed behind closed gates when the teams appeared.

A few minutes before the kick-off a broadcast announcement asked that there should be no barracking of the goalkeepers while goal kicks were being taken.


PRESTON N.E: Fairbrother, Beattie (A), Scott, Shankly, Williams, Hamilton, Finney, Horton, McIntosh (W), Beattie (R), and Wharton.

BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Sibley, Lewis, Kelly, Suart, Johnston, Eastham, Dick, Mortensen, Blair and McIntosh (J).

Referee: Mr J Briggs (Cheadle). 


There was so little wind that the winning of the toss by Preston was of no importance. Blackpool defended the town goal.

Blackpool raided almost continually on the left in the first two minutes without ever reaching shooting distance.

When at last, after one of Johnston’s long throws-in, Dick took a pass from Kelly within measurable range of Fairbrother, the offside whistle halted him.

Wallace fielded a high centre from McIntosh (W.) in Preston’s first raid.

No pass reached Finney in the first five minutes. Lewis, intercepted every one intended for him.

After a subdued opening, Preston forwards were frequently raiding, but all the direct, ordered football in the first seven minutes was played by Blackpool.

Blair won the first corner of the match in the eighth minute. Two minutes later came the first shot of the day. Wallace held it as McIntosh (W.) stabbed a ball straight at him.


The pace was taking its toll both of the football and the men. Lewis and Wharton were both disabled within a minute of each other.

It was, as I expected it to be, a no-quarter match. Sibley and Kelly made great clearances with North End’s pressure reaching white-hot intensity in a storming four minutes.

Two corners were lost by Blackpool’s retreating defence in two of these minutes. In the fourth, the 14th of the half, Preston took the lead.

It was a goal created by Tom Finney. The outside-right swerved past Lewis, zig-zagged away from Johnston, and awaited until his men were in a line before crossing a low centre.

BEATTIE (R.) was one of the men waiting and shot a ball out of the pack wide of the diving Wallace’s right hand as the unsighted goalkeeper leapt a fraction of a second too late.

North End were entitled to their lead.

That four-minute storm subsided as abruptly as it had arisen. Blackpool were now and again in the game. Yet the forwards were never moving with precision.

The defence could find no answer to Finney, either delaying the tackle of this elusive forward or allowing him to glide away with that sinuous swerve of his which looks so simple.

He is a football artist, this forward.

He nearly made another goal in the 20th minute, hooking inside with steady deliberation a ball which R. Beattie hit again as it was crossing him.

They were shouting “Goal” for the second time as Sibley hurled himself into the path of the flying ball.

All the time I had the impression that Preston's tearaway pace was disconcerting Blackpool.

The Blackpool forwards were seldom in possession of the ball and using too close passes when they had it.


Yet Blackpool might have made it 1-1 five minutes before the interval as Preston defence lost all position in a breakaway raid which ended in Fairbrother fielding Eastham’s high centre when he was yards outside his goal.

That was an escape for Preston - the first of the half.

In the next minute there was another, and this time it was the Blackpool goal which might have fallen as Scott punted a long free-kick forward which seemed to fly out of Wallace’s clutch and miss a post by inches.

Another minute, and Fairbrother leaped at a ball which Blair headed wide of him from Dick’s pass, reached it in mid-air, and punched it over the bar.

Preston went further ahead two minutes before the interval. It was all over in two fast direct moves.

Kelly lost the ball, R. Beattie darted to it, passed it forward and left McINTOSH (W) to race away on his own and shoot past Wallace.

Half-time: Preston N.E. 2, Blackpool 0.


The Blackpool defence still seemed strangely disinclined to tackle their men in the early Preston raids.

Finney was soon off again, and crossed another centre from a wide-open position.

Wharton shot as it reached him, and Kelly headed inches wide of a post of his own goal in a desperate leap at the ball.

They could not hold these Preston forwards today.

When the Blackpool front line came into the game, nearly every pass was too short.

There was only one shooting forward in a tangerine jersey today - Mortensen, who, again, when he had a bare sort of chance, shot high over the bar. You could seldom recognise Blackpool as the team that had risen to the top of the table.


Wallace had to gallop out yards to halt McIntosh (W.) in one race for the ball which ended in the centre-forward sprawling on the turf as the two men collided.

In the end McIntosh had to leave the field for attention for a couple of minutes. Blackpool were no longer outplayed.

For a time they were raiding almost continually, but not a shot came out of it. It was not surprising when, with 25 minutes left, Dick went to centre-forward. It made little difference.

The forwards still raided but nothing conclusive came out of the pressure except three corners in a couple of minutes.

For the last 10 minutes Blackpool forwards raided all-out with out forcing a gap in a Preston defence often reduced to desperation, but still standing firm.


PRESTON N.E. 2 (Beattie, R 14min, McIntosh, W 43min)



No top-of-the-table football today.

During the last half-hour Blackpool’s forwards raided almost continuously. You had to admire such resolution in such an impossible position.

Otherwise there can be few compliments.

For an hour the Blackpool defence, unable to solve the Finney riddle, repeatedly lost order and formation.

Suart seldom let a man pass him.

Sibley and Johnston, too, were sound. 

For the rest, the North End forwards during this hour always seemed faster in nearly every position.

Blackpool’s forward plan was for too long based on haphazard passes to the outnumbered but always gallant Mortensen.

It was the first time this season these forwards had not scored in a match. That alone indicates what happened.

Blackpool Invades Deepdale: Gates Closed

By “Spectator”

The gates were closed at Deepdale this afternoon 15 minutes before the kick-off in the Preston North End v. Blackpool match.

BLACKPOOL invaded Preston for the game, writes "Spectator.” Not since pre-war Cupties have so many people left the coast for a football match.

The L.M.S. arranged one relief train from Central Station, but at short notice had to put on another.

Every available motor coach in the town was chartered. Roads near Deepdale when the Blackpool team arrived threequarters of an hour before the kick-off were choked with traffic crawling as in the old days of the Illuminations.

I am told that queues were waiting outside the gates as early as 10-0 a.m. An hour before, the kick-off all the stands were packed.

The attendance at that time approached 38,000, and at a conservative estimate between 7,000 and 8,000 had come from Blackpool.

FOOTNOTE. - Record for Deepdale is 42 684, at an Arsenal match in April, 1938. The limit under the new regulations is 37,500.

Higher Pay or Not, Players'
Status Must Be Raised


Hundreds of them queued at the ground this week to buy centre stand tickets for a match which will not be played until four days after the Players' Union ultimatum expires, and, if the ultimatum is not answered, may not be played at all.

They still waited in the queue, and paid out, over £200 in less than an hour.

Hundreds of applications for tickets for this Manchester United match will have to be refused in the next few days.

There is every indication that if this had been an all-ticket game - as it might have been if the arrangements could have been made in time - there would have been a sell-out a week in advance, strike or no strike.

Will there be a strike?

The view at Blackpool’s headquarters, in the boardroom and the dressing room, is that there will not, and that at least a tentative agreement will be reached before zero hour on Tuesday.

Patched-Up Peace?

YET, even if there is a patched - up peace, it will not, I am convinced, last long, unless the Football League promises a strict and impartial investigation into the question before this season ends.

A promise of a full-scale review has been made, I know, but there will be no lasting content among the players until they are assured that the rank and file in the game are to be treated more generously than they are today,

The main issues at stake in this dispute are concerned more with the £4 minimum than with an increase in the maximum wage from £10 to £12 a week.

That minimum in these days is less a wage than a pittance. Yet hundreds of the small fry are being paid it, dozens of them in first teams in the Third Division,

Those Big Cheques

WHETHER the League clubs can afford an increased maximum may be debatable, but the fact has to be faced that while managers and directors are scuttling all over the map offering five figure cheques for stars, the clubs’ protest that they cannot afford to pay a living wage to some of their players are not calculated to impress.

It is the little men who have to be considered.

Action will have to be taken about them, and, at the same time, the status of the professional footballer - big-name or unknown - will have to be revised, too.

No longer can football be tolerated as the blind-alley occupation it has been too long. If the clubs cannot increase the maximum scale - and even if they can and do increase it - there are reforms which will have to be introduced.

Two Reforms

AMONG them there should be:

(a) Part-time courses to equip players for professions and trades when their playing days end.

(b) Compulsory deductions from bigger wage packets and benefits to create pensions, payable at the end of a player’s career, to enable him to enter the world of commerce with some, degree of security.

These, and other articles, will have to be written into the new Charter for Football. Freedom from want is one of those articles. They might begin putting it into practice for the game’s bread-line boys even before they finish playing

Jottings from all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 12 October 1946

Deepdale: The Last Time

'THE last time Blackpool played a First Division game at Deepdale - on October 29th, 1938 - the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

And the man who scored Blackpool's goal was Frank O'Donnell, the forward who had left Preston only a few months earlier and less than a fortnight after the match left Blackpool, too.

Jim Milne, the Preston left-half, equalised for North End.

Blackpool, who took the field with two reserves, played: Wallace, Blair (D.), Sibley, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, W. W. Parr, Munro, Finan, O’Donnell (F.), and Dawson.

One of the reserves, Jim Hall, is at Fleetwood these days. W. W. Parr, the young amateur international, was killed on active service. It was Ken Dawson's last game for Blackpool.


THE Blackpool players are so interested in golf this season and are being so encouraged to play it outside training hours that a professional attached to one of the Fylde clubs may be invited to give a course of lessons on the game at headquarters in the near future. 

Gone are the days when a professional footballer’s first port of call after he had finished training was a billiards saloon. They prefer to remain out in the open - and a good job, too.


GROUND record at Deepdale is 42,684, created by Arsenal on April 23rd, 1938. The receipts approached £3,500.

It was the record when I wrote this paragraph. Is it still?


WHEN was Stanley Mortensen’s first game for a Blackpool senior team? That’s a question often asked.

Nearly everybody thinks he was playing before the war. He had not a game for the club even in the Central League in pre - 1939 days.

His first match for the first team was on January 10th, 1942, when Blackpool beat the Wolves 6-1 in a War Cup preliminary round.

He shot one of the goals - and his partner was Stanley Matthews. Once in the team - and he was in to stay.


'THE wives of Blackpool players have not these days to wait in the queues to watch their husbands play at Bloomfield-road.

The box in the south stand which the directors inhabited during the few weeks when the main stand was closed last season has been requisitioned for them.

It is one of those little privileges which the players appreciate, and is illustrative of the good relationship today between the board and the staff. 


JIM BLAIR and Jock Wallace were not the only Blackpool players who were being closely watched during the Arsenal match. One of the Scottish selectors had both of them under observation.

Another Blackpool man was being watched - and not by one man but by about 1,500.

Two specials from Barrow came for the match. They were packed with people who had come to see Ron Suart, the Blackpool centre-half, who comes from Barrow and who, they tell you there, is one of the best centre half-backs in football today.


NOT a ticket was left in Manchester a week ago for the game at Blackpool next weekend.

Blackpool made an allotment in advance to the United. The tickets were sold even before they had been printed in Blackpool.

Not even the threat of a strike has affected the sales.


CHIEF topic at Fleetwood this weekend is the match with Blackpool at Highbury next Wednesday afternoon in aid of the Merchant Navy Comforts Fund, for which the Mayor of Fleetwood (Coun. A. Wilkinson, J.P.) is an enthusiastic worker.

Mr. Joe Smith, Blackpool’s manager, and Mr. Tommy Mullender, vice chairman at Highbury, have made the arrangements for the match, and Mr. Smith has promised to send a strong side.

Two friendly matches at Fleetwood have been played between the two clubs during the last dozen years or so - the chief one was during Fleetwood’s Charter of Incorporation celebrations - and each side has won once.


A QUESTION for a "quiz". When were Blackpool dismissed from the Cup without playing a match? 

The answer is in 1942, when, owing to a travel ban on the Services, they could not send a team to Maine-road 

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