16 November 1946 Blackpool 2 Grimsby Town 3


Blackpool asked for it


Blackpool 2, Grimsby Town 3

By “Spectator”

THE famous English climate has been good to Blackpool this season. It has never rained for a First Division match in the town since the end of August.

Rain fell at intervals all morning, but for a couple of hours before the 2-30 kick-off the low clouds cleared, and even if it was still a dull, grey day it was fine when the teams appeared.

Blackpool took the field under strength. Grimsby Town fielded the forwards who have been scoring goals against some of the strongest defences during recent weeks.

In spite of the early kick-off the attendance approached 15.000.

Blackpool for the first time were captained by Eric Sibley.


BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Sibley, Lewis, Buchan (T.), Suart, Kelly, Munro, Dick, Mortensen, Eastham and McIntosh.

GRIMSBY TOWN: Tweedy, Fisher, Hodgson (J. V.), Taylor, Betmead, Reeve (F. W.), Wallbanks, Clifton, Blenkinsopp. Cairns and Wardle.

Referee: Mr A. E. Ellis (Halifax).


At a casual glance, Blackpool, who defended the south goal, seemed man for man to be giving away an inch or two - and a few pounds in addition.

All the raids in the first few minutes were on this south goal.

Wallace collected two back passes in the first two minutes, but for a time nothing in particular happened until Wallbanks leaped at and missed a high centre from the left wing after the cunning Wardle had outwitted Blackpool’s left flank of defence.

Cairns shot past a post a minute later.

When at last Eastham created a position for Mortensen and the centre-forward put Munro in possession with a gem of a pass the offside whistle halted the wing forward.


A minute later, too, Dick brushed his way past two men before sending Mortensen away on a lone raid which force of numbers repelled.

Eastham’s passes to his partner were the sort wing forwards dream about.

Twice in rapid succession McIntosh’s centres from open positions were too high and fast for a line of Blackpool forwards raiding a lot after a subdued opening.

It was nearly continuous Blackpool pressure, but it was almost as unimpressive as Grimsby’s had been earlier.

Too many passes intended for Mortensen went via the aerial route. It seldom gave a chance to the leader against a centre-half towering three or four inches over him.

Two fine clearances by Lewis repelled Grimsby’s right wing.


Forwards given little chance to settle

The Town’s two full-backs were just as sound under pressure.

All the time both lines of forwards seem to be battering in vain against defences which never gave them a second to settle on the ball.

Few passes were reaching the Blackpool forwards from the wing half-backs, but neither Kelly nor Buchan was often passed in defence.

With 25 minutes gone there had not been one shot calculated to beat goalkeepers of the class on view In this match.

When a bare sort of chance Offered itself, with a gap at last appearing in Grimsby's defence, Eastham lost the ball to a challenging full-back and, when it cannoned out to Munro, the little Scot shot it high over.

Two minutes later Blackpool had the first escape of the match.

There was a raid on the left. The ball was crossed fast and low. Blenkinsopp moved to it and was halted by a tackle not permitted in the rules.


Out went the ball to Wallbanks who shot it high into the net a split second after the whistle had gone for a free-kick a couple of yards outside the area.

Half the Blackpool defence massed for it, into this wall of men Reeve hit a ball, and hooked the rebound high over the bar.

A lot of Grimsby pressure followed this incident - the first big incident of the first half hour.

Yet, after all that Blackpool took the lead in the 35th minute. It was a two-man goal shot by a forward for whom everything had gone wrong earlier.

McINTOSH put Mortensen in possession, cut inside, called for a return pass on the full-back’s wrong side, took it at full gallop and shot low past Tweedy before the goalkeeper could move to close the gap near his far post,

A minute later, after Wallbanks had shot low into Wallace’s arms, Tweedy made a great punched clearance as Mortensen shot a rocketing ball wide of him.

That goal had wakened Blackpool up. Until the interval the forwards were pressing with a new resolution.

Munro forced Tweedy to his knees at the end of a succession of raids as again the offside whistle, which had been blowing all the half, sounded.

Half-time: Blackpool 1 Grimsby Town 0.


The light was failing rapidly when the second half opened with a Blackpool attack which again had the brake put on it by an offside decision.

A lot of the early football in this half was too close. A lot of it had been before.

Add a whistle which was cutting the match to ribbons at times - and I don’t blame the referee for that  - and there were more grey than purple patches.

The first team even remotely near a goal was Grimsby as Wardle flashed a great shot wide of the far post from an open position 20 yards out.

Grimsby attacked before and after that, but all the pressure led nowhere against a defence whose two full-backs were seldom passed.

In the 10th minute of the half Blackpool, had the second big escape of the match as a fast raid out on the right ended in Clifton shooting low into the net almost off the line.


Into the Town’s premature jubilation's marched Mr. Ellis, disallowing the goal on a linesman’s signal which few people in the gathering gloom had seen.

Presumably it was another of those offside decisions which had riddled the game.

The Town were all out afterwards.

Reeve nearly made it 1-1 with another of his thunderbolt specials before Wallace made the save of the match with a cat’s leap at a ball headed wide of his right hand by Blenkinsopp.

It was all Grimsby for a time against a Blackpool defence retreating everywhere.

A goal was beginning to appear almost inevitable as this pressure continued. It came in the 20th minute of the half - from a penalty.

A raid on the Town’s right wing closed in fast. Wallace appeared to hesitate. Wallbanks raced inside as the goalkeeper advanced to clutch at the bouncing ball.


Lewis crossed the wing forward’s pass, and charged him.

Without hesitation, Mr. Ellis gave a penalty which WARDLE converted with a fast low shot into the corner of the net.

The Town were entitled to that goal

Five minutes later they were in front, no less deservedly.

A corner was won on the right. Wallbanks crossed it perfectly. CAIRNS leaped at it and headed it fast into the roof of the net.

By this time Blackpool’s 100 per cent, home record - the only one in the First Division - was wobbling.

Blackpool went all out desperately to retrieve something from the wreckage afterwards. This is assuredly a team that never knows when it is beaten.

A loose pass down the middle opened the raid. Mortensen went chasing after it. Tweedy was challenged, fell forward on his knees, and lost the ball. MORTENSEN darted to it, shot a ball which seemed to cannon back off a mass of men and hooked the rebound high into the net.

The finish was tempestuous. Blackpool raided all out. Mortensen missed a ball in a great leap in the jaws of an open goal.

And then!

Out on the right Grimsby raided in a breakaway. Wallbanks crossed the ball from the line. A heap of men fell on it almost under the bar.

In the end, CAIRNS forced the ball out of the pack and away from the prostrate Wallace, who was left prone and requiring the trainer’s attention as 11 Grimsby men went mad with excitement.


BLACKPOOL 2  (McIntosh 35min, Mortensen 83min)

GRIMSBY 3  (Wardle, pen 65min, Cairns 70min, 86min)


So the 100 per cent, record has gone at last.

In spite of Blackpool’s effort toward the finish nobody could reasonably complain about it. Grimsby won in the last half- hour and after being refused two goals earlier, deserved to win.

That the Blackpool forwards missed the passes of Johnston and Farrow stood out a mile. That Blackpool’s game was all the time too close was no less noticeable, or that again the forward line staked nearly every thing on Mortensen’s lone raids.

A price had to be paid for this policy some time. It was paid today.

Until the almost complete fade - out for 30 minutes after the interval Eastham was Blackpool’s second best forward.

The defence cannot be blamed for this defeat.



They say “Ground too small”

By “Spectator”


No. 1: “Don’t these Continental touring teams know that Blackpool is on the map?”

No. 2: “What went wrong at Sheffield?”

Yes - in answer to No. 1 - they have heard of Blackpool, these visitors from across the Channel. There are few people who haven’t.

But they have heard, too, that the Blackpool ground has a maximum capacity of 30,000. So one by one they bypass the town. Who’s blaming them?

These teams are not in this land to admire the scenery or to study its peculiar climate. They are here for £ s. d. They go where the big money is - and in football it is not in Blackpool and never will be while the town has its present postage - stamp ground.

The first question they ask is.

What about a guarantee? The sort which Blackpool can offer has no interest for them when in half a dozen cities there are clubs who can double it.

The Dynamos

"WE’D be glad to play them", said a Blackpool director when I talked to him about it, “ but they will not come.”

The Moscow Dynamos were invited last winter. The Mayor lent his influence to the invitation. The Russians were polite. They sent a letter of acknowledgement, but, unlike Mr. Gromyko, they did not walk out, for they never even condescended to walk in.

Tourists will come to Blackpool when the new ground is built. When that will be not even Mr. Bevan knows.

Sheffield power

SO to Question No. 2.

Well, what went wrong at Sheffield? What chiefly went wrong - if you can call it going wrong - was that Blackpool met a team whose forwards were the best line a Blackpool defence has faced this season.

No particular ignominy attaches to a defeat by such a team as were the United in this match. Repeatedly I was told in the Press box, where to each other, at least, they tell the truth, “They’ve not played like this for months!"

I can believe it. Otherwise the top team in Division I today would be Sheffield United.

The lesson

YET there was a lesson in this match for Blackpool. It was the first game the team had played on one of those mud-caked grounds which as the winter advances will become more and more common. It took Blackpool 45 minutes - and an interval conference addressed bv Manager Joe Smith - to realise that on such a quagmire the short-passing game leads nowhere except into Queer-street.

The United are a heavyweight team - and there are several others like them in the First Division. They love the mud, play at their best in it.

Other crashes if - 

BLACKPOOL, who, man for man. are about in the middleweight division, will crash again - and often - on these soft, soaked grounds unless the close game is forsaken, the long wing-to-wing pass introduced.

Blackpool can do it. There is the football intelligence and adaptability in the present team. They will not forget, I think, what happened at Bramall-lane.

Jottings from all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 16 November 1946

3-minute 'blizzard' hit Grimsby

GRIMSBY TOWN’S visit to Blackpool today recalls a pre-war drama which made people even forget for 10 minutes the shadow of Munich.

Until after threequarter time a Town team which included the former Blackpool forward, T. W. Jones, led 1-0 in the last pre-war match between the clubs on the Blackpool ground.

Then there was one of those Blackpool “blizzards” which still blow now and again. In exactly three minutes Willie Buchan, Alec Munro, and Frank O’Donnell - Scotland for ever! - shot three goals to give Blackpool the match 3-1.

The Blackpool team: Wallace, Blair (D.), Sibley, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, Buchan, Finan, O’Donnell (F.), and Dawson.


A WING forward fit to compare with Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney: Walter Rickett of Sheffield United.

This little man cost no transfer fee in a £560-for-the-lot United team. He is not just a one-wing man, either, was billed to play at outside-left against Blackpool last weekend, appeared instead at outside-right, and finished the game at right-half.

I said he was a potential England forward when I saw him at Preston early in the season. The Blackpool game confirmed the opinion.

Nothing elegant about him - but is he direct?


WHO is Blackpool’s second leading marksman?

Level for 
No. 2 in the list before today’s game is the man they say cannot shoot. The name is George Eastham.

His goal at Sheffield was his fifth of the season.

Buchan has five to his name, too, and now, after a record short convalescence from a cartilage operation, may be adding a few others before the beginning of the New Year.

Total of Blackpool’s leading scorer, Mortensen, is nine.


IT is not only the craters on the terraces and the skeleton stands which reveal the Luftwaffe’s visit to Bramall-lane.

The panelled walls in the boardroom are splintered. Flying fragments of white-hot steel have punctured one or two of the panels. And on one wall is a torn, scorched flag.

The name on it - a name which interests the Blackpool public - is "Shamrock Rovers.”

It was presented to the United by the Irish club after a pre-war match in Dublin.


HAD Arsenal a scout at Ballam- road watching two of the Lytham players last weekend?

I heard whispers that one was to be sent on from Deepdale, where the London team had a First Division fixture.

If he was present he did not announce his identity.


GRIMSBY TOWN wanted a centre-forward a month ago. They had not the money to buy one at the present inflated prices - gallant little Grimsby seldom have!

So they invited a wing-half. Blenkinsop, to take the position. He not only took it, but made it his own

He has scored six goals in four games. Has he done it again at Blackpool today?


INFORMAL Conversation in Bramall-lane Boardroom. Sheffield United director: What do you want for Stan Mortensen ?

Blackpool director: The Tower wouldn’t buy.

Sheffield director (resignedly): No, I didn’t think it would.


THE Blackpool players heard how they were to lose at Bramall-lane nearly 24 hours before the match last weekend.

They went to a Sheffield music-hall on Friday evening. On the bill was Reg Bolton. His act included his famous football-fan-watching-a-match study. He chose the United - Blackpool game.

And he had Blackpool losing, it - after all, it was a Sheffield music-hall! - and Jimmy Hagan scoring the first goal.

Which is precisely what happened!


NEW PASTIME for a football team en route to an away match by coach: A Brains Trust.

The Blackpool players have adopted it. Trainer Johnny Lynas, equipped with one of those Question and Answer pages from a magazine, acts as question master.

Surprising knowledge of unfamiliar subjects is, revealed by professional footballers. it passed nearly an hour on the way to Sheffield.



"REFERRING to the fact that England’s Soccer side to meet Holland at Huddersfield on November 27th, will be selected on Monday, a Press Association football correspondent today writes.

‘Left-half Cockburn was the least impressive player, and may be superseded by Johnston, the polished Blackpool man, who did so well for F.A. against RA.F. last month.”

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