5 October 1946 Blackpool 2 Arsenal 1


Short Passing Delays Victory


Blackpool 2, Arsenal 1

By “Spectator”

JIMMY BLAIR, the Blackpool inside-left, took the field against Arsenal at Bloomfield road this afternoon unaware that he was being watched by the chief of the Scottish selectors.

Arsenal decided on their team with only 20 minutes to go. It had in it several men out of position, including Bryn Jones, the highest-priced forward in football, as a wing half.

Reg Lewis, who has scored 10 of the London teams 12 goals this season, was one of the absent men.


BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Sibley, Lewis, Kelly, Suart, Johnston, Eastham, Dick, Mortensen, Blair and Mclntosh.

ARSENAL: Swindin, Scott, B Joy, Male, Compton (L), Jones, Nelson, Logie, Sloane, Curtis and Hodges.

Referee: Mr. S. E. Law (West Bromwich).

Blackpool adopted the new practice for the first time of using three balls for the pre-match preliminaries.


Arsenal played in white to avoid a colour clash.

In the glare of the sun Swindin made a daring dive at Mortensen's feet in the first half-minute after Johnston had punted a free-kick high into the goal area and found a big gap in the Arsenal's defence.

Neither defence was too compact in the opening moves.

With five minutes gone, the Arsenal goal was near downfall.

Blair opened the raid with a back-heel pass. Dick took possession and released a second pass to the wing, and with the Arsenal half-backs scattered Mortensen crossed a fast centre in front of an open goal.

Within the next half-minute Swindin made another dive at Mortensen’s feet, with the centre-forward on top of him again.


Another minute, with Blackpool still raiding. Mortensen zigzagged 40 yards, swerving three men before winning a corner all by himself.

Dick’s passes were direct and constructive. Another of them sent Mortensen on the goal path again, with Arsenal still in retreat.

Yet, in spite of all this pressure, Arsenal might have snatched the lead in the 12th minute when a loose ball, finding a gap in Blackpool's defence, left Logie all by himself in front of Wallace.

The inside-right hit the ball as it fell and hooked it inches wide of the far post.

The Arsenal forwards were not often in the game, but when they were in it they were direct.

Nelson raced away from Lewis in one of these straight-for-goal raids before crossing a ball which Hodges sliced wide of a post.

In the next minute, too. Curtis took another of those long forward passes in which the Arsenal were specialising, and shot a ball which Wallace beat up into the air as he stood alone half a dozen yards outside his line.

Arsenal’s football at this time was good to watch.

It had not Blackpool's class but it was effective - so effective that Sibley, Suart and Lewis were forced to desperate clearances in rapid succession.

Yet in the 22nd minute Blackpool took the lead. Arsenal lost this goal by not playing to the whistle. There was a raid on the right. Dick opened it as he had opened others before it.


When the ball came across, Mortensen appeared from the Press box to be a yard offside. Arsenal to a man came to a halt and waited for a whistle which never came.

That left MORTENSEN to race forward a couple of yards to shoot into the net with Swindin at his mercy.

Arsenal were often raiding afterwards. But there were no big tests for Wallace. Sibley was magnificent in a Blackpool defence which was being given unexpectedly little rest.

In the 37th minute Arsenal made it 1-1 deservedly.

A half-headed clearance by Suart fell near LOGIE. The little man was on it in one swoop, and advanced half a dozen yards on his own before steering the ball away from Wallace as the goalkeeper came out to meet him.

Later, Wallace made a dramatic dive at Logie's feet as again the inside-right got away.

Blackpool's football had become too close. Arsenal's open direct game entitled the London team to be level at the interval.

Half-time: Blackpool 1, Arsenal 1


Sibley made three short clearances in succession with Arsenal still raiding after the interval.

Blackpool’s forward passes were going astray. Yet when at last a pass reached Mortensen - and it was Blair who released it

Swindin had to beat out the centre-forward's shot from close range.

In the end it was a full-line advance which restored Blackpool’s lead.

Bryn Jones made a pass yards too short. Blair darted to it, and raced nearly a dozen yards unchallenged before putting Eastham in possession.

Three forwards were waiting for the wing-forward’s centre.

The tallest of them. DICK, reached it in a great leap and headed it wide of Swindin's right hand into the net to the biggest cheer I have heard at Blackpool this season.

Every Blackpool man except the goalkeeper shook the inside-right’s hand. He deserved that recognition, and not for the goal alone.

It is not often that a man in his first game in the First Division scores against Arsenal.

Arsenal were subdued for a time afterwards and Mortensen lobbed the ball inches over the bar, with Blackpool pressing for a goal to settle it.

The Highbury forwards stormed into the game again, and in one long bombardment Wallace fielded a great 30-yards shot by Nelson before snatching out of the air a high centre which was crossing his packed goal.

In the next minute Swindin was lost in a swarm of men milling in front of his goal before ultimately reappearing with the ball clutched to his chest.


Wallace fell at Logie’s feet when the inside-right seemed certain to score again. Seldom have I seen goalkeepers in one match make so many desperate dives to halt raiding forwards as I have seen today.

It was good to notice that not once had Swindin been subjected to the “behind-the-goal chant.” The boys can behave themselves when they are asked to.

With 10 minutes left Mortensen darted to a rebounding ball and shot wide of a post when it seemed to be 10 to one on its being 3-1.

Arsenal pressed continuously in the last seven minutes, won two comers, and nearly snatched a point.


BLACKPOOL 2  (Mortensen 22min, Dick 53min)  

ARSENAL 1 (Logie 37min)


Blackpool came back into this game to win it after the interval. In the first half and for periods afterwards Arsenal played football which was open and direct and not at all the sort which a team near the foot of the table is expected to play.

Later Blackpool cut out the close pass almost entirely and it made a sufficient difference to win the match.

There were gaps again in the Blackpool defence; this time they were on the left flank.

Sibley was a sound, competent full-back.

But the man who made his name today was Dick, who not only scored the winning goal but chased the ball all the time. He was seldom guilty of the short passes which put a brake on the line before the interval.

This 24-years-old Scot earned his £2 bonus today. Blackpool earned the points, but it was unexpectedly hard labour.


 Blackpool Lose Thousands

By “Spectator”

THE closing of the gates for three of the first four First Division games at Blackpool is a record. Nobody in authority in Blackpool is particularly proud of it.

Prospects, when I write, were that they would be closed again this afternoon for the Arsenal match.

In a fortnight, too, Manchester United come to town, and again there is almost certain to be another full house, with thousands locked out.

What can be done about it?

There is only one solution. Sometime - but when, nobody can even conjecture today - Blackpool will have to build a new ground. The limited capacity of the present enclosure is losing the club thousands of pounds a season.

There may be little chance of this new ground being built for the next year or two. Yet I know the directorate were seriously considering the project years ago and will be compelled, as soon as circumstances - and Mr. Aneurin Bevan! - permit, to consider it again.

Untapped Sources

BLACKPOOL’S potential public is not restricted to the 150,000 people living in the town.

There are vast untapped sources of revenue in all the neighbouring Fylde towns and as far away as Preston and even beyond. Visitors from all over this region would come in their thousands to watch such a team as Blackpool are fielding this season if there was an assurance that they would be able to pass the turnstiles once they arrived.

There is no such assurance While Blackpool’s ground can admit fewer than 30,000. They stay away - and read about t it instead - and the cost to Blackpool is beyond calculation.

Yet one day this new ground will be built.

Those Pipe Dreams

I AM not interested in all those pipe dreams about a super stadium at Squires Gate, which, according to their sponsors would make Wembley look like a small - town recreation, ground. The Squires Gate site, in any case, has gone beyond recall.

The pre-war proposal to build a huge cantilever stand on the west side of the ground - a plan which would require the surrender of land by the L.M.S. - would merely offer a half solution.

What is required is an entirely new ground. There is a site for it. The site is the big car park to the north of the present enclosure. There, I am assured, a ground could be built which would accommodate 40,000 or 50,000.

Mint of Money, But - 

IT would, I know, cost a mint of money, but if it were packed only for the early-season matches and the holiday games it would increase the club’s revenue by £6,000 or £7,000 a season, and that alone would suffice to pay all the interest and sinking fund charges.

This is no idle visionary plan. It could be done, and one day, with the municipal authority’s cooperation, it may be done. All that I know is that sometime it will have to be done if Blackpool is to possess the status in football to which it is entitled.

That, apart from all this lost £ s. d., is not unimportant.

Alec Munro on Transfer List at His
Own Request

It is announced today that Alec Munro, £4,000 winger who came to Blackpool in 1937 from Hearts of Midlothian, has been placed on the transfer list at his own request.

According to a relative, Munro will be “leaving with regret when the time comes.”

He joined Hearts in 1932 as an outside-left from Newtongrange Star, a Scottish junior club, which has supplied several famous footballers.

Following the fall of Tobruk, Munro was a prisoner of war for three years.

ottings from all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 5 October 1946

It Happened in 1939

ARSENAL, who came to town today, trailing for once no clouds of glory, have lost only two games in Blackpool. One of the two was on the London team’s last visit on Good Friday, 1939.

They still say at Highbury that they never should have lost that match. Twenty minutes from time Ted Drake made one of those famous thunderbolt forays of his, and shot into the net at the end of it.

The referee gave a goal. A linesman waved his flag. There was a consultation - and the goal was refused. Nobody yet knows why.

Ten minutes later Hugh O'Donnell scored a goal which nobody disputed, and this Blackpool team won 1-0.

Roxburgh, Blair (D.), Butler, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, Astley, Dodds, Eastham and O'Donnell.


HE seeks no publicity, would never complain if a line was never written about him. Yet he is one of the big men behind Blackpool’s remarkable success this season.

Mr. Johnny Lynas, the chief trainer, has produced a 90 - minutes - a - match team at Blackpool - and said nothing about it.

This former wing forward from Third Lanark and Sunderland came back to town after three and a half years in a Japanese prison camp to begin all over again from zero.

He was given his first senior post. Today he has not only the respect but the affection of the players he commands.

Give him a hand. It will embarrass him, but he deserves it.


"THIS Blackpool team never 1 knows when it’s beaten. If it was four goals down it’d roll up its sleeves - and play to the end. There’s never been such a team in the town.”

Who said that? Harry Johnston, the Blackpool captain, when I talked to him after the Derby match. He said it, too, without any sort of conceit.

It is one of those facts which people who have watched this new Blackpool team cannot dispute.


PROBLEM No. 1 in football - and not in football alone: The housing shortage.

Nottingham Forest partly solved it by acquiring half a dozen detached houses and letting them to selected players at economic rents. Frank O’Donnell, the former Blackpool and Preston centre-forward, is one of the tenants.

But not every club can find the houses or has the money to buy them if they could find them.

I know two Blackpool players whose names are on the waiting list for Blackpool Corporation houses.

They realise that they will be on the list a long time.


TWO young men on Blackpool’s staff played against each other during the war on the other side of the globe.

Johnny Crosland, the centre-half, was serving in the aircraft carrier, Indomitable. Cyril Lawrence, the reserve wing forward from Manchester, who was Blackpool’s 12th man at Derby, was In King George V.

Out in Australia there was a challenge match. The centre-half was in the Indomitable team. On the right wing of the K.G. V’s front line was Lawrence, who served in this battleship for five years, was at Taranto when the Italians surrendered, and landed in Tokyo Bay on the day of the Japanese capitulation. 


GORDON KENNEDY, the young Scottish fullback with the Stan Hawthorne moustache - the only Blackpool player I have met in the last 20 years who wears a moustache -  has an unusual job.

He is engaged in the outcrop mining works on the Wentworth estate which made front-page news a few months ago. He services Diesel engines.


THERE is, I hear, a League club interested in Malcolm Butler, the Blackpool full-back who played for Ireland against Wales in 1939.


WATCHING Blackpool defeat Derby County last weekend were 25,058 people. One of them was Harold Dedman, postmaster of Worksop these days and taking a holiday from football this season for the first time for 30 or 35 years.

A former League referee, who for a quarter of a century was secretary to the Blackpool and District Amateur League, his fame went before him to Worksop a few months ago.

He had not been in the town a month before he was invited to accept the post of Worksop Football Club chairman. He declined the offer.

But, if I know him, it won't be long before he’s back in the game.


I AM glad that George McKnight scored a hat-trick for Blackpool Reserve last weekend, even if he crippled himself in the process. 

His failure to hit the net in the opening matches probably affected his confidence.

It had no influence on Blackpool's faith in him.

This young Irishman may yet be a First Division forward one day.

He deserves to make good.


FOR the first time this season Jock Dodds, the Blackpool centre-forward, watched a Blackpool team in action last weekend. He was at the Chesterfield match in the Central League.

A damaged ankle prevented his appearance for Shamrock Rovers on Sunday. He was given permission to remain in England for the weekend.

I may be wrong, but I think his days with the Rovers are already numbered. The verdict of F.I.F.A. is almost certain to be against the Dublin club retaining him.

The Rovers are resigned to that verdict.

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