9 November 1946 Sheffield United 4 Blackpool 2


Gallant recovery just fails


Sheffield United 4, Blackpool 2 

By “Spectator”

IT was one of those grey, grim days in Sheffield. Rain was drifting across the soaked field in front of a bitter wind a few minutes before the kick-off.

Blackpool, who have had one man after another on the casualty list this season, had to leave George Farrow at home in bed and field Tom Buchan at right-half.

It was the Scot’s first game since he was taken ill at Brentford in mid-September.

United, who won last season’s match 3-2 on this war-blitzed ground, played the team that won at Highbury last week.

There was a late decision to postpone the kick-off from 2-30 to 2-45. It threatened to be dark before it was all over.


SHEFFIELD UTD: Smith, Shimwell, Cox, Jackson, Latham, Forbes, Jones, Brook, Collindridge, Hagan and Rickett.

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

Referee: Mr. C. P. Womersley (Devonport).


The rain had ceased when the game opened at a cup-tie pace.

Blackpool made the pace with two raids on the left which Johnston opened with low passes and the Sheffield defence repulsed under hard pressure.

Twice afterwards Blackpool's left wing raced into the game, but was halted before it could cross a centre.

There was a definite promise in Blackpool's opening football. Design and purpose were in every pass.

Yet no sooner had I written these words than in one fast raid down the centre the United snatched the lead in the fifth minute.

It was a goal made by two men. Brook released a pass down a big gap in the middle of a defence which seemed unprepared for the breakaway.

HAGAN took the pass, raced a dozen yards unchallenged, and shot a low ball. The unprotected Wallace fell to it and beat it out, but was still sprawling in the thick mud as the inside-left hit the rebound over him into the net.

Blackpool immediately won a corner on the left.

It was repelled without Smith being called into action.


Blackpool’s defence never seemed in these first ten minutes as compact as Sheffield's.

Once Wallace went leaping out to a ball, but did not reach it and when it was crossed again into a pack of men' almost under the bar Sibley cleared off the line of an open goal.

There was pace and punch in the Sheffield forward line. It had been revealed in every raid after that unexpected snap goal.

Blackpool won another corner and from this Smith, in the air, snatched a flying ball away from the challenging Mortensen.

Yet it was the United’s fast, direct, open football which was dictating the game's course with 15 minutes gone.

Too often a Sheffield forward found himself alone in a big unguarded place. There were fewer gaps as the half advanced, but one of them had cost a goal and others might have cost one or two more.


Shot from 20 yards is sent wide

When at last a bouncing ball escaped Latham, skidding away from him as he fell, Mortensen darted to it, raced 20 yards alone with it, half lost it, and shot wide from 20 yards with the goalkeeper alone facing him.

United had made one of their famous wing forward shuffles in the first two or three minutes, but it had made no particular difference.

It was in the inside position that the United were finding or forcing gaps. Into another of them Collindridge tore to hit a ball which Wallace repelled almost full-length on his line.

In the 20th minute the heavyweight leader shot a low ball which Wallace beat out as he fell on to the loose ball.

BROOK pounced on it and shot it into the net to make it 2-0, with the goalkeeper still clawing at the mud.


Direct football and a Blackpool defence which allowed Sheffield's inside forwards yards of freedom had threatened to lose this match in these first 20 minutes.

Nearly all this time, too, the Blackpool forwards were waiting for passes which a retreating defence was seldom able to give them.

McIntosh shot wide as Blackpool began at last to attack again. This raid was followed by others. But still there was not the skill and punch which the Sheffield front line revealed.


Yet Blackpool nearly reduced the lead with a brilliant one-man goal in the 31st minute.

Mortensen took a short pass, battered a path past four men and was halted only by force of numbers almost under the bar.

Two minutes later there was a one-man goal. But it was a man in red and white who scored it.

A grand goal it was, too. RICKETT was waiting for a long cross-field pass, took it at full gallop swerved away from Lewis, cut inside and, racing 20 yards unchallenged, hit the far wall of the net with a shot which passed Wallace as fast as a bullet.

Sheffield’s pressure afterwards was almost continuous, too.

There was no bite in the Blackpool attack today. It was being given too few passes.

Half-time: Sheffield United 3, Blackpool 0.


The United opened the second half as they had ended the first.

Long low passes were finding the Sheffield men. Blackpool's game still seemed close and laboured.

The defence still tended to lose position under pressure.

There was little rest for this defence, either.

Wallace cut out one centre from the left brilliantly before Hagan sliced a ball yards off the line when there were unmarked men waiting to shoot it into the net.

Yet when Blackpool crossed the half-way line with one of these one-man Mortensen break-aways the lead was reduced in the fifth minute of the half.


The leader’s speed took him past Latham.

The centre-half had no scruples about it, seemed to dive at the forward's feet in a Rugby tackle and crashed him into the thick mud.

It was an undisputed penalty and MORTENSEN took it for once and converted with a fast rising shot.

Two minutes later Mortensen had the Sheffield defence in a panic again when he reached the line after a race for a ball which nobody expected him to get and sliced his centre inches over the bar.

The entire match was tumbling upside down. That penalty goal had made a difference.

Three Blackpool raids with a new punch in them were repelled. Then in the 12th minute of the half it was 3-2.


A pass reached Eastham as the outside-right stood on his own in the inside-right position. The entire Sheffield defence came to a standstill waiting for the offside whistle. It never went.

On went EASTHAM, walked the ball past Smith as the goalkeeper came out to meet him, and shot with all the assurance in the world into the gaping net.

Never have I seen a game take such a switchback in so few minutes.

The United answer to this dramatic, unexpected challenge was a series of swift raids. In one of them Sibley cleared off the line, and in another Wallace dived at the feet of two advancing forwards as a short back pass to him was braked by the mud.

Away went Mortensen on his own again, and with three men on his heels, shot barely wide.

Twenty-three minutes of the half had gone, and Blackpool’s goal fell again.

It was a two-man goal this time. Brook reached the line, and crossed the ball to the waiting and unmarked RICKETT who drove it away past the diving Wallace.


SHEFFIELD UNITED 4 (Hagan 5min, Brook 20min, Rickett 33min, 68min)

BLACKPOOL 2 (Mortensen 50min, Eastham 57min)


Game had two lessons for Blackpool No. 1 is that no team can win matches with a one-man forward line. In this game there was only one Blackpool forward with goal-scoring kick - Mortensen.

Lesson No. 2  is that no defence can afford so many gaps in it. Defence closed a few of these gaps but by that time damage had been done. As result one of the bravest come-backs ever seen on football field was worth nothing.

For too long half-backs lost grip on Sheffield's inside forwards. 

Rickett, one of the best wing forwards going, came storming into match and continually beat full-back.

United deserved to win.


Football is no Klondyke - but it can

afford a living wage

By “Spectator”


The League Management Committee is to recommend to the clubs an increase in the minimum wage during the winter from £4 a week to £7, and a summer scale of £5.

I hope the clubs accept it. In this boom season there must be few that cannot afford it.

About the £12-a-week rate for the stars there is not yet prospect of a settlement. That it will come if attendances continue to soar is beyond dispute. That it should come among the elite of the first two divisions is only elementary justice.

But the stars can wait - and know, after talking to a few of them in Blackpool and elsewhere, that they are prepared to wait. First in the queue are the men who are not often on the front page, are seldom in first teams and yet are as essential to the game as the chorus to a Cochran revue.

I met one of them the other day.

Little left

"I CAN just about get by.” he said. “But I’m fortunate - I’m not married. All I’ve left after paying income tax and 30s. a week at the 'digs' is £2 10s.

“You can’t put a lot of that on one side in these days - and I can’t get a job to make a bit extra because the club expect us to report for training every day.”

This man, until he went away to war was never out of his club's first team, has now to play in the reserve team.

Under the sliding-scale clause which caused the Jock Dodds crisis, he has to accept second- team wages until he can play himself back into front-rank football, or until the man he understudies is disabled or begins to fade out.

“In the end,” he tells you, “you have to ask for a transfer in self-defence.”

New charter

THE clubs, I think, will adopt the £7-a-week minimum proposal. It is the first article in the new charter for the professional footballer. They will soon have to write in a few others.

One or two clubs, I know, will say, “It just can’t be done.”

The amazing figures at the turnstiles these days are, admittedly, a little deceptive.

Blackpool have taken over £16,000 at the first seven First Division games this season. That is only £7,000 less than the receipts for the whole of the first promotion season 17 years ago and only £9,000 less than the total at the till from beginning to end of the last pre-war season.

Chancellor's slice

BUT these days the Chancellor takes a slice out of the receipts such as he never took in those times. Somebody has to pay for a six-years war. Expenditure -  every sort of expense - has soared, too.

No, football is not the Klondyke which often to the layman it appears to be, and while the present transfer system is permitted. to wreck the game’s financial structure, there will always be clubs in or near Queer-street.

But it can still afford to pay a living wage.

Jottings from all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 9 November 1946

Bramall-lane -in 1936

THERE were no bomb craters on the terraces, which are pitted with them today, no skeletons of gutted stands rearing in the air at Bramall-lane, when Blackpool last played a League match there.

War seemed far away - and yet was less than three years. It was Blackpool’s 1936-37 promotion season.
Bob Finan and Dick Watmough gave Blackpool a two-goals lead. The United forced a dramatic 2-2 draw in the last half-hour.

Who scored the goals for Sheffield? A heavyweight centre-forward called Jock Dodds.

The Blackpool team in this match on October 10th, 1936, was:

Wallace, Blair, Witham, Hill, Cardwell, Jones (S), Watmough, Hampson, Finan, Jones (T. W.),
and Cook.


ALL the papers said Doncaster Rovers missed a 40-years-old record by playing a draw at Darlington last weekend after winning six away games in succession. and reported that not since 1905-6, when Bristol City won six games on tour in succession, had such, a sequence been achieved.

All the papers were wrong.

In 1936-7, the club’s last promotion season, Blackpool won six successive away games between November 7th and January 1st.

The sequence was:

Bradford City (4-1), Chesterfield (4-0), Plymouth Argyle (3-1), Doncaster Rovers (4-0), Fulham (3-0), and Bury (3-2).


LEN FORSTER, the ex-Blackpool outside-right, had a big public for his first goal for York City - a million or two.

The City-Stockport County match was broadcast, and his brilliant winning second-half goal was the highlight of the relay.

I know that Blackpool were disinclined to release this player after his wartime games with Gateshead.

But there was no alternative. 
He asked for his release, did not want to play at Blackpool.

It was in similar circumstances that to York went William Park, the centre-half, who dislocated an elbow in last weekend’s game.


SAM NELSON celebrated his  first game as a professional by scoring for Blackpool Reserve at Leeds.
This man from Linfield may yet solve Blackpool’s outside-right problem.


“THE finest gentleman I’ve ever met on a football field.” That is what Harry Johnston, the Blackpool captain, says of Tommy Walker, the famous Chelsea inside-right.

A grand sporting team were Chelsea at Blackpool - every man jack of them. It is the second team from London which has played at Blackpool this season a game beyond a shadow of reproach.

The first were Arsenal, who may be losing games these days but know how to lose.

Which is what a few teams I am not naming don’t know.


WATCHING Blackpool defeat Chelsea was Jack Cross, the former A.T.C. cadet, who these days is a Grenadier Guardsman - and looks every inch of one.

I hear that this young outside-right, who played several games for the club in wartime football, is faster than ever today, and has won a lot of prizes on the running track in Services’ athletics


WHAT were the Chelsea directors thinking as they watched George Dick playing for Blackpool last weekend? It would be interesting to know.

For before the match they learned for the first time that this tall forward left the B.A.O.R, with a recommendation to the Chelsea board in his wallet - and came to Blackpool and showed it to Mr. Joe Smith instead.


NICE work, Hugh O'Donnell!

His “hat-trick” for Blackpool Reserves at Leeds was the 9 first for the team this season.

O’Donnell still packs a shot it which has dynamite in it. His 18 goals for Blackpool’s first team last season prove that.

I am told that in one recent match for the Reserves at Blackpool he hit one ball that cannoned down off the roof of the net and tore through the side net under its own impetus.

That goal never went on the record.

The referee gave a goal-kick!


STRANGEST goal in the League last weekend was scored for York City at Wrexham. The City were losing 3-0.

The forwards were out of the match.

The centre-half decided that he would show them how it should be done, raced out of the third full-back position, crossed the 'half-way line, took a surprised Wrexham defence by storm - and shot a grand goal.

Who was it? Bill Park, the centre-half who was transferred by Blackpool a month or two ago.

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