19 October 1946 Blackpool 3 Manchester United 1


Blackpool’s Best Of The Season


Blackpool 3, Manchester United 1

By “Spectator”

Harry Cockburn, the new England wing half, who would have come to Blackpool two years ago if he had not been taken ill on the eve of a trial, was restored to Manchester United’s famous half-back line of “C’s” for the game at Blackpool this afternoon.

That put the United into the field at 160 per cent, strength.

Blackpool had to redraft the forward line, and George Farrow, the former captain, who has not played in the First Division since 1939, was among the half-backs again.

The gates were closed for the fourth time this season shortly before the kick-off, when the attendance approached 28.000 and was probably the biggest of the season.


BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Sibley, Lewis, Farrow, Suart, Johnston, Munro, Dick, Mortensen, Eastham and McIntosh.

MANCHESTER UNITED: Crompton, Walton, McGlen, Carey, Chilton, Cockburn, Delaney, Pearson, Hanlon, Rowley and Wrigglesworth.

Referee: Mr. J. N. Brown (Ormskirk).


Never have I seen a game open at such a whirlwind pace and in such drama.

In the third minute a retreating United fell for the eldest trap in football. Mortensen chased a forward pass. McGlen tumbled him to earth without ceremony five yards outside the penalty area.

The United massed for the free- kick. Johnston raced to the ball and ran past it. The Manchester ranks opened.

Up followed FARROW and shot a ball which hit the underside of the bar and cannoned down over the line with the unsighted Crompton motionless.

Another two minutes, and with the United raced out of the game by the Blackpool front line’s pace, Blackpool went further in front.


McIntosh made this second goal, tore after a long pass, reached it on the line and crossed a perfect centre.

MORTENSEN leaped higher even than the 6ft. Chilton and headed wide of the diving Crompton’s right hand with Spion Kop a mass of flying caps and waving programmes.

All the time afterwards, excepting breakaways, the United were falling back.

Blackpool’s football was magnificent. Farrow’s long forward crossfield passes were contributing to it.

Delaney, chasing an impossible short of chance, nearly headed one ball out of the advancing Wallace’s hands.

Otherwise, the Manchester men were still retreating everywhere.

They had another escape in the 12th minute when with half-a-dozen men milling in a heap almost under the bar the ball seemed to come back slowly off a post with Crompton yards out of position.


Wallace Smothers Shot From Rowley

With 15 raging minutes gone, the United began at last to enter the game. Rowley, who is reputed to be one of the best shots in the game, shot one ball which Wallace smothered as he fell.

This was, however, merely an interlude in almost non-stop Blackpool pressure.

A couple of minutes earlier Dick had missed a post by inches with a great cross shot.

Again, too, Dick crossed a perfect centre which Chilton headed anywhere away from Mortensen, who was here, there and everywhere, with the centre-half chasing him wherever he went.

McIntosh nearly lifted Crompton over his own line with one shot, with three forwards left unmarked by United's scattered defence.


From a corner, with Blackpool still pressing, Munro hooked over his head a ball which Crompton reached and punched away in a sideways leap.

Goals seemed near every time Blackpool advanced.

You would never have dreamed this was nearly the Blackpool team that lost at Preston a week ago.

There were casualties with the pace as hot as ever.

In one mid-air collision both Suart and Hanlon took the count. The Manchester centre-forward. who was wearing a plaster over a 3 inch gash in his head - a legacy of the Preston match a fortnight ago - had to leave the field after it.


Reduced to 10 men, the United were as little in the game as ever.

Dick headed over the bar from one of Farrow's long throws, with Blackpool still hunting for goals.

Hanlon returned with five minutes of the half left. 

The 7,000 Manchester people at the match cheered him. They had little else to cheer about in this remarkable first half.

Constantly, as the interval approached, Crompton was in action, punching out centres from both wings arid long, lobbed passes which the entire Blackpool front line were chasing.

Half-time: Blackpool 2, Manchester United 0.


There were signs early in the second half that at last the United were wakening. This, too with 10 men, for Hanlon had remained in the dressing room.

After continuous Manchester pressure a short back pass by Sibley nearly eluded Wallace, who appeared to scoop the ball away from Wrigglesworth as the outside-left raced in.

A minute later, Johnston cleared off the line of a nearly empty goal, with the ball bouncing away from Pearson.

This won a corner, which was followed by another. And after the second comer came a penalty which Blackpool, to a man, disputed.

From the Press box Suart’s offence appeared to be committed a couple of yards outside the area. It made no difference.

Wrigglesworth took the kick and hit the bar with a shot which he tried to hook wide of the crouching goalkeeper.

Afterwards it became for a time a free-for-all, with men constantly playing men instead of the ball.

There were two ugly scenes close to Blackpool's penalty area before Mortensen took a forward pass from Dick and forced Crompton to a full-length save near a post

Still, the 10 Manchester men had plenty of fight in them. Pearson misled a big chance, stabbing the ball against Wallace’s knee with the goal close and gaping.

Already, with 20 minutes of the half gone, the United had had more of the game than in the whole of the first half.

But only one forward in the four-man line was shooting, and even Rowley could not shoot straight today.


In the 20th minute of the half Blackpool went further in front in spite of United’s pressure.

Johnston opened the raid with a pass to McIntosh, who raced away from Walton before crossing a perfect centre almost from the line.

Out of a pack of men Cockburn forced the ball. DICK was waiting for it as it came out to him loose, and shot it high into the roof of the net. It was non-stop pressure on the Manchester goal to the end.

Munro forced Crompton to a grandstand clearance from 39 yards before Farrow nearly shattered the bar with one of his old specials.

Four minutes from time DELANEY scored for the gallant but outplayed United with a long, swerving shot from the wing.


BLACKPOOL 3 (Farrow 3min, Mortensen 5min, Dick 65min)

MANCHESTER UNITED 1 (Delaney 86min)


This was Blackpool’s best show of the season.

Incredible to think that except for two men the game was won by the team that lost ingloriously at Preston a week ago. These two men made a difference - Farrow with a non-stop service of passes to the forwards, and Munro because he was prepared to go after everything.

Both men had minor triumphs. But the entire team was top-of-the-table class today. All the time it played an open game which made the Manchester defence seem slow-motion and laboured.

Except at times for Eastham, no man held the ball but released it until passes were ultimately riddling Manchester’s half-back and full-back line.

That the United had 10 men only in the second half and still played to the last minute was a tribute to their courage, but the United had little else today.

It was one of those days for Manchester.

Stanley Matthews Says Today -

By “Spectator”

WHEN Stanley Matthews meets Stoke City directors on Tuesday the question of a transfer will not necessarily be discussed writes “Spectator.’’

The England forward said when I met him today:

‘Shall I demand a transfer? That is not the issue at the present time.

“All that is in dispute is my refusal to play today for the second team. Everything else is at present irrelevant.”

That statement should silence the rumours that within a few days a five-figure transfer may hit the front pages.

As I talked to him I realised that Matthews’ chief interest in today’s news was the denial by Neil Franklin, the Stoke captain, that the City players would have protested if a winning team had been changed to admit Matthews.

“I am so glad to hear that,” he said.


"I have no quarrel with the City players, and I could not think that they had a quarrel with me. It’s reassuring to know that it was all an idle rumour,”

Stoke City confirm today that there have been informal conversations with Blackpool. “But,” says Aid. A. Booth, the City chairman, “we shall definitely not offer Matthews for transfer.”

This afternoon, instead of playing in a Central League match at Stoke, Matthews watched a First Division game at Blackpool.


- And Blackpool are First Favourites

If There’s a Transfer

By “Spectator”

FOR about the 999th time in the last three days I can give one answer only to the question which everybody in Blackpool football is asking.

"Will Stanley Matthews sign for Blackpool?" is the question. The answer is: "Nobody knows - not even Stanley Matthews.”

It is possible, if not probable, that the famous England forward will settle his differences with Stoke City in the next few days.

He would, I think, prefer to settle them, for he hates all the hullabaloo which has been raging ever since I walked out to meet him on Wednesday afternoon while he was playing a four-ball match on the Fairhaven golf course with three of the Blackpool team, and told him that he had been chosen for the City’s reserves today.

I fear that I spoiled that match. It ended prematurely a few holes later.

"I must go home,” said Matthews, “and think all this over.” That he was disturbed even his poker-face could not hide.

Not His Way

OTHER men might have come out into the open, stormed and raved, presented an ultimatum to the City, said, “I’m asking for a transfer.”

That is not the way of Stanley Matthews, who, in spite of all his fame is as quiet and modest and self-effacing as any man I know in football.

You must see it from his angle.

He is under no particular obligation to Stoke City. He never cost the City a fee. He has made thousands for them at the box office and won not a few matches for them on the field. He owes the City nothing.

But he is under an obligation to the people of the Potteries, and to him, I suppose, it would rank almost as a betrayal of these people’s friendship if he demanded at once an exit permit out of Stoke

Thinking It Over

SO he has been thinking it over and waiting for the City to make the next move.

But the fact which stands out a mile is that if he should ask for a transfer - and I think he might - Blackpool must be first favourites for his signature.

One or two of the fashionable clubs may offer half the National Debt for him. One of them is already credited with a tentative bid of £20,000.

But the last word is with the player the transfer market not yet being entirely a slave market. And this I know - the last word will be: “If I go anywhere I go to Blackpool.”

All his interests are here now. He has his hotel on the Promenade, his little daughter at Arnold School for Girls. He trains at Blackpool, plays golf with the Blackpool team.

Blackpool must ultimately be his destination - if not in the immediate future, then before his playing days are over.

That is the one certainty among all the baffling speculations.

And I think Blackpool would be prepared to send the overdraft soaring again to make it come true a little earlier than seemed possible before this week’s dramatic events.

10 a.m. Queues For Blackpool’s Match 
With United

The earliest queues in Blackpool’s football history waited outside Bloomfield-road today for the Manchester United match.

THEY began to form shortly after 10-0 a.m. Three and a half hours they waited, parked on camp stools and eating sandwiches until the gates were opened at 1-30.

It was Manchester’s biggest invasion of Blackpool since midsummer - and nearly everybody from Manchester came with a rattle or a bell or a big red and white rosette, writes ‘‘Spectator.”

It was Cup-tie pandemonium for an hour and a half before the teams appeared. With half an hour to go the ground was almost packed.

Only on the south terraces were a few gaps left. Spion Kop was an unbroken mass, every entrance to it closed half an hour earlier.

It was another gate approaching 28,000, and another £2,500 to £3,000 at the box office.

The gates were closed shortly before the kick-off.

Jottings from all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 19 October 1946

United Won 5-3

'THERE were eight goals in the game when Manchester United last visited Blackpool in the First Division on February 18th, 1939. The United scored five of them - after Blackpool had been leading 2-0 a few minutes before half-time.

“Boy” Hanlon - he was only a boy in those days- shot three of Manchester’s five - and Dai Astley scored twice and George Eastham once for Blackpool in this team: 

Wallace, Blair (D.), Burke, Farrow, Hayward, Joiles (S.), Munro, Buchan, Astley, Eastham and Finan.

It was Dick Burke’s first and only game in the First Division before the war.


Blackpool Players Their Guests

TWENTY - THREE Blackpool footballers and their wives and sweethearts had a happy evening this week as guests of the Carleton Bowling Club, writes “Spectator.”

There was a supper, a dance - and a snooker match. The visitors lost the match by six frames to four. Highest break of the evening - and there was a prize for it - was won by Joe Robinson, the reserve goalkeeper.

The Carleton club president. Mr. H. Hockey, said “Welcome to the guests, and on the footballers behalf", Harry Johnston, the first team captain, said “Thank you.”

FOOTNOTE.  - One of the Carleton club officials, Mr. W. (“Bill”) Willett, who was present required no introduction to the Blackpool captain or to Jim McIntosh. He was the man who persuaded them both to leave Droylsden Athletic and come to Blackpool before the war.


FEW FOLKS said I was writing for a headline when I condemned the behind-the-goal chant at Blackpool. They were wrong.

I knew that the F.A. were frowning on the practice and threatening to take action against it. I asked the boys to cut it out - and the chant ceased.

It has been causing concern at Deepdale, too, such concern that there was a special broadcast announcement about it before the Blackpool match.

Both goalkeepers took their goal-kicks afterwards in an almost reverential silence.


GROUND of memories for Harry Johnston, the Blackpool captain, is Deepdale. It was there that he played his first game in League football.

The date was November 20th 1937, Sam Jones, fielded at centre half was hurt early in the match. The young recruit from Droylsden was moved into the position, and played a great game.



BLACKPOOL Football Club supporters cheered, and Manchester United fans booed, when they saw a motor car pass the football ground at Bloomfield-road this afternoon before the start of the match with the following notice painted in large white letters at the rear of the vehicle:

“Today’s Result: “Blackpool 7, Manchester Utd. 2.”

A number of keen United enthusiasts chased the car.

One of them succeeded in jumping on to the running board, but, when the driver accelerated, tumbled off amid roars of good-humoured laughter from followers of the rival teams.


TOM BUCHAN was one of the guests in Blackpool’s motor coach for the visit to Preston. The right-half is nearly fit again.

There are good reports, too, of Willie Buchan, who had his cartilage operation 10 days ago. Now it’s merely a question of waiting patiently until he can go into training again.

It will, unfortunately, be a couple of months at the minimum. This is the man the Blackpool front line is missing now.


BLACKPOOL marksmen before today's games:

First Division: S. Mortensen 7, W. Buchan 5 (1 pen.), G. Eastham 4, J. Blair and J. McIntosh 2 each, A. Munro and G. Dick 1 each. Total 22.

Central League: G. McKnight 7, R. Finan 3, G. Farrow and A. Munro 2 each, A. Wolinin, G. Dick, H. O’Donnell and A. Smith 1 each. Total 18.


DICK WITHINGTON, who was Stanley Mortensen’s partner in the pre-war South Shields schoolboys team, has ended his demobilisation leave, and is back at Blackpool in training again.

This Withington - Mortensen wing may yet re-establish itself. Stranger things have happened in football.

Wherever I talk football these days I'm told, “They can’t play Mortensen indefinitely as a centre-forward -  he’ll never stand a season’s battering in the middle.”

They know that at Blackpool, I think. I wrote it weeks ago.


THEY said in the war “London Can Take It.” So can a forward who might have gone to a London club if Blackpool had not signed him - George Dick.

Never have I seen a man take such punishment as he took in the last 20 minutes of the Preston match - and yet come up for more. He went back home with his ribs patched - and scars all over him.

Dick’s football education is not yet complete - who could expect it to be? - But there’s nothing wrong with his heart.

Stanley Mortensen and Harry Johnston, the Blackpool footballers, show local youths how it's done in a popular class at Blackpool Technical college.

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