21 December 1946 Charlton 0 Blackpool 1


Blackpool faster on icy ground


Charlton 0, Blackpool 1 

By “Spectator”

Edmund Shimwell, Blackpool's new full-back from Sheffield United was listed as “missing” a quarter of an hour before the teams took the field at Charlton this afternoon.

When the coach left Blackpool's hotel in Southampton Row, the only news of him was that his train was marooned in a fog belt somewhere between Sheffield and London.

A bulletin at St. Pancras, where the train should have arrived at 12-30, announced that it was an hour or longer behind the timetable.

“All we can do is wait,” reported Manager Joe Smith. “ If he is too late the two selected full-backs will play.”

That was the remarkable position as the kick-off approached and a fog, which had been hovering over the City, began to descend on the ground which is not called “The Valley” for the sake of the name, but is in a deep pit invariably visited by every mist in the region.

In spite of the state of the turf, which was under a sheet of frost and resembled a rutted skating rink, it was decided to give his first game since the end of September to Willie Buchan, who, when he was asked, said: “I want to play whatever it is like.” 

Intense and bitter cold reduced the attendance. Scarcely 12,000 people were scattered on the terraces when the teams appeared. Not only was a fullback missing but a linesman, too, five minutes before the match opened.

Charlton made a loudspeaker SOS to the crowd a quarter of an hour before the kick-off, asking for a linesman.

The appeal was answered by Capt. Hamilton-Jones, the noted referee. He soon discarded his Army uniform, but he startled the crowd by turning out in a sky- blue jersey and riding boots. This was the best the club could do for him at short notice.


CHARLTON: Bartram, Croker, Shreeve, Turner, Phipps, Johnson, Robinson (W.). Lancelotte. Dawson, Purves, Duffy.

BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Sibley, Lewis, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, Buchan (W.), Mortensen, Dick, McIntosh.

Referee: Mr G. S. Blackhall (Wednesbury).

Charlton introduced a new fashion to football. They took the field 10 minutes before the kick-off in blue training suits of woollen jackets and pantaloons, presented to the London club by the Danes who toured the country.

Last minute message from Blackpool’s dressing-room still said the full-back was lost in the fog. The team took the field in white shirts without him.

In the first half-minute Wallace fell to a back pass by Hayward, half lost the ball, snatched it away from Dawson as the centre- forward raced in on him.

Another half-minute and with every player treating the ice rink as gently as a cat on the garden wall, Blackpool won a corner on the right.

Twice from it Charlton fullbacks cleared on the line as Dick and Buchan, who was playing at inside-left, shot wide of Bartram.

Clearances were made anywhere. Twice the ball was hooked away from the galloping Mortensen.


It was crazy football and anything threatened to happen. Nobody took a chance and everything seemed to be played in slow motion. No sort of pattern was visible in the football.

What little there was of it was played by Blackpool, who seemed in the first 10 minutes to be producing that extra half yard of pace.

Buchan was near to a goal in one advance, shooting just over the bar from Munro’s centre.

Purvis shot high into Wallace’s arms in one Charlton advance after Lewis had been left midway between the inside-right and his partner.

It was inevitable and pardonable patchwork stuff, but Blackpool were still playing all the football that mattered.

Buchan was playing with complete confidence, introducing the long pass. There was no sign that he had been out of football for nearly three months.

There were no signs of goals after that exciting opening, both front lines being held. Yet in one Blackpool raid McIntosh shot over the bar at great pace from an unmarked position.

This was after a wing-to-wing advance which ended in Mortensen crossing a long ball speculatively into a Charlton defence riddled with gaps. 

A minute later, the twentieth of the half, Blackpool should have taken the lead.

Munro served Dick with a perfect pass. The inside-right crossed a perfect centre from the wing. Mortensen was. in a position for it, but unselfishly allowed it to pass to the unguarded McIntosh who ran a yard and shot a ball which hit a full-back on the goal-line, yards out of Bartram’s reach, but the ball cannoned for a comer.

Nearly all this time the Charlton forwards were seldom being permitted to approach within shooting range of Wallace by Blackpool’s full-back partnership, remarkably composed and assured in the circumstances.

Once Lewis missed a ball completely as it shot away from him in the jaws of goal, but Hayward cleared before a Charlton forward appeared belatedly on the scene.


Yet Charlton nearly went in front after 25 minutes. There was a raid which went on and on, and in the end Purves took a chance, shot from 25 yards a ball which dipped unexpectedly, and forced Wallace to punch over the bar in a desperate last second leap for Charlton’s first comer of the match.

Immediately, Mortensen escaped on his own but was halted by Phipps who chased him and hooked a bouncing ball to the line.

In the next minute, Bartram punched out a low shot by McIntosh as the wing forward closed in fast from the wing and shot low.

Another minute, and Johnston’s long lobbed pass bounced away from Mortensen within yards of Charlton’s unprotected goalkeeper.

On a surface which still made orderly football nearly impossible, Blackpool were playing as they had never played against Middlesbrough a week ago.

Bartram was afterwards in constant action against Blackpool forwards.

Dick was playing grand football, direct and yet elusive.


Yet again, in a breakaway, the Athletic nearly snatched the lead as Dawson raced in after Lancelotte’s headed pass, and Wallace saved on his knees as the centre- forward lashed the ball fast at him.

It was still Blackpool’s game right up to the interval. McIntosh, from Mortensen’s centre, for the third time in the half shot a ball which turned off a full-back for a corner.

In the next raid, too, this outside-left shot into Bartram’s. hands as the ball rebounded to him off the backs of men who assembled to repel a Farrow free kick.

Blackpool deserved to be leading by a goal or two at this time.

Blackpool continued to raid, and Mortensen catapulted the net in a vain dive at a centre from Munro.

Charlton's forwards could make no progress. Bartram was nearly put out of action as Johnston shot at him from 20 yards.

Blackpool were winning position five times out of six.

Half-time: Charlton 0, Blackpool 0.


I heard at half-time that Shimwell had still not reached the ground.

The Athletic unexpectedly reappeared with only 10 men. Purvis remained in the dressing room. How he had been disabled nobody seemed to know. The fog was falling fast as in the second minute of the half the missing linesman reported.

Charlton’s four forwards produced an early raid but it lead nowhere in particular. In the third minute Purvis re-entered the game as Bartram, in a flying leap, held the ball headed fast away from him by Mortensen.

That was the greatest clearance of the match up to that time.

Still Blackpool raided. Bartram made another of his leaps to hold a McIntosh cross-shot. A goal was certain to come in all this pressure.


It came in the seventh minute of this half, and when it came it was a penalty. Mortensen raced after a long Farrow pass, reached it, cut inside, and fell in a heap half a dozen yards inside the area.

There was a protest from the Charlton players when the referee pointed to the spot. BUCHAN converted with one of those low deliberate shots in which he specialised in early season days.

It continued to move all one way - on Charlton’s goal. Blackpool were still a yard or two faster in every position. Charlton could still build no raids of any consequence.

There was nothing for the London folk to cheer. Seldom have I known a quieter crowd. When a corner was won in the twentieth minute of this half it was an event, and even that had an anti-climax for Robinson lifted the centre on to the roof of the net.

Charlton’s forwards were now more often in the game than they had been, but their pressure did not last long.

Mortensen headed over the bar from Munro's centre as Blackpool began to come again in the gathering twilight.

He also shot barely wide on the half-turn, with Bartram out of his goal.

Charlton’s answer to that escape was another corner, their second of the half, in the twenty-fifth minute, and this was not repelled before Blackpool’s goal had been under unaccustomed fire.

Buchan hooked a McIntosh corner yards wide in Blackpool's next attack.

It was still Blackpool’s game with only 15 minutes left.



BLACKPOOL 1 (Buchan 52min)


Blackpool atoned almost completely for the Middlesbrough collapse.

On ground which would have excused another fiasco entire team played with confidence and competence.

Defence retained position, left no wide open spaces. Man for Man, forwards seemed faster on ball than Charlton's half-backs and full-backs.

Evening Gazette - 23 December 1946

Shortened studs put Blackpool on victory path


TWO-AND-A-HALF hours before the match at Charlton on Saturday, trainer Johnny Lynas ordered a taxi to the Valley, loaded into it 11 pairs of boots, and until shortly before the kick-off was shortening the studs on them, writes “Spectator.”

It may have won the match for Blackpool.

The fundamental difference between the two teams on view in this ice-and-fog belt called London S.E.7 was that one team, Blackpool, played on the frozen rutted surface with a complete confidence and the other trod all the time as timidly on it as if it were a minefield.

There was a pace and a decision in Blackpool’s football which the London team never approached.

I came to the conclusion, watching this match, that the Blackpool men had tired of all the jokes about that 5-0 landslide a week earlier, and had decided that all this ridicule must be silenced.


They silenced it by a game which had authentic quality in it, and, in the circumstances, was almost incredibly composed and correct.

Revelations were: 

(1) - The football of Alec Munro, which sent him dancing past his full-back on the ice nine times out of 10 as if he had been taking lessons from Sonja Henie - football which had such bite and almost audacious assertion in it that again you began to ask: “Do Blackpool want an outside-right?”

(2) - The intelligent, constructive game of his partner, George Dick, who never by a glimpse, betrayed that only three months ago he had been an unknown First Division recruit.

(3) - Willie Buchan’s come-back  - at inside-left, too - so complete that he might never have been away. He had such complete faith in himself that he demanded that he should take the penalty, said, before he took it: “Why, mon, it’s na trouble at all.”


The defence, too, closed its ranks in this game at last, finished a match without surrendering a goal for the first time since the Chelsea game on November 2.

This time, as the final little irony, the two-full-backs, Lewis and Sibley, aided again by a grand line of half-backs, had their best game for weeks, chose to play it on the last afternoon they will be in partnership for a time.

Yes. Blackpool were faster and deserved to win. On a firm surface, even if patches of it resembles corrugated iron, Blackpool can still make the First Division grade.

Yet I still think those shortened studs had a lot to do with it.

Blackpool's new full-back said
"Put me in team today"


By “Spectator”

EDMUND SHIMWELL, 26-years-old Sheffield United full-back who has played in an international trial for England this season and ranks as one of the first half-dozen players in the position today, was told last night immediately after he had signed for Blackpool at a fee reported between £7,000 and £8,000: “ You can play for us on Christmas Day.”

Manager Joe Smith was prepared to give him a weekend vacation to enable him to settle a few of his affairs in Sheffield. “ Thank you,” said the new full-back, “ but I prefer to play tomorrow.”

Today he took a train from Sheffield which, according to the time table, would not reach St. Pancras until 12-10  - two hours only before the kick-off.

It was a race against time with fog and mist on the line, and Shimwell lost it.

He did not reach Charlton in time to be included in the side. Shimwell’s signing is the first big transfer in the team-building plans on which Blackpool would have embarked months ago if they could have found the clubs to accept the big cheques they have been offering.

When on Thursday a circular reached Blackpool headquarters with the information that this full-back was on offer and had been put on the transfer list by mutual agreement after he had taken the licence of a Derbyshire hotel contrary to an unwritten law at Bramall-lane, Blackpool took action immediately.


It was all “hush-hush.” In answer to a telephone call, the Sheffield directors promised to meet in the evening and to contact Blackpool again yesterday morning.

Early yesterday Manager Joe Smith and Mr. Harry Evans, Blackpool’s vice-chairman, took a car to Sheffield, met the United board and the player and completed the transfer in the early evening. 

I understand that Blackpool will permit the full-back to retain the licence of his hotel.


A star in one of the cheapest teams in football, Shimwell, who graduated with a Matlock club, joined the United before the war and played for Southampton as a “guest” during his Army service.

He has made remarkable progress in the game.

He played against Blackpool last season when the United, after a “double event”, in the Blackpool games, won the League championship. He was also in the Sheffield team that defeated Blackpool 4-2 on November 9.

“The best"

TODAY, Col. William A Parkinson, J.P., chairman of the Blackpool club, said of Shimwell: “In my opinion, he is the best fullback now playing in first-class football.”

Doherty may be next

Peter Doherty may become a Blackpool player before Christmas.

IN London today, manager Joe Smith was non-committal about the news that the Irish international was on Derby’s transfer list. According to my information, however, Blackpool were in possession of the County’s decision yesterday afternoon.

I can only quote a comment by Col. W. Parkinson, J.P., chairman of Blackpool Football Club, who in conversation on Thursday said:  "If Doherty leaves Derby he will come to Blackpool.”

Blackpool are definitely first-favourites for his signature. Peter still lives in Blackpool, trains with the Blackpool team, and has always been attached to the town

He came to Blackpool from Ireland in 1932 and was transferred to Manchester City three years later for £10,000. Last season he went to Derby County for £6,000 after Blackpool had been told by the City a few months earlier that they would require £10,000 for him.

“We should be glad to have Peter back in Blackpool,” said Mr. Harry Evans, the Blackpool vice-chairman I think he will come.


Scots say “No

By “Spectator”

WHENEVER I write - as I have been writing for weeks, ever since the recent decline began -  "Blackpool will buy players if the other clubs will sell” - the noises off have been sceptical.

Yet it still remains a fact.

I can disclose today that the other weekend Col. William Parkinson, J.P., told his directorate, “I'll go and make a bid,” and went to Edinburgh.

“You don’t think,” he said when I talked to him this week, “that at this time of the year I’d go all that way for nothing?”

Yet in the end he came back without his man.

It was the Hibernian’s outside right, Gordon Smith, he was after again, Blackpool have been after him since before the season in England opened. Always the Hibernian's have said. “No money can buy him.”

They talk of him in Scotland as the equal of Stanley Matthews.

"I said to them, “I’ll write you the biggest cheque ever written in football,” reports Col. Parkinson. “They laughed at me.”

Record fee in the game is the £14,000 paid by Arsenal to Wolverhampton Wanderers for Bryn Jones in August, 1938.

Nearly £15,000

THIS latest bid by Blackpool means that the club were prepared to approach £15,000 and create a new record.

That’s no fable. The offer was made and refused.

Yes, Blackpool mean business, have the money to do business - no overdraft at last -  if the other clubs will talk business.

“But these days,” says Manager Joe Smith, who was out on the hunt again last weekend, “even Third Division clubs, who are always pleading poverty, are not interested in money - or they don’t seem to be.” 

New signature tune m football - the tune at least, which Blackpool always hear - appears to be,

Money is the root of all evil.

Don't con-tam-i-nate yourself with it:

Take it away ... take it away.

This is the supreme irony of this first postwar season, Blackpool for the first time in decades are in the money - and can’t spend it.

In the meantime, so I hear, Blackpool retain first option on Jack Oakes, the Queen of the South outside-right, who will not, however, come South unless his club lose First Division status and all the Glasgow and Edinburgh gold there is in it.

Letter to Stoke

"WEEK after week, too, Stoke City have been contacted in vain, asked to name their own price for Stanley Matthews or his understudy, George Mountford.

This week Col. Parkinson has written a personal letter on the subject to the City’s chairman. Odds are against anything happening - but, you never know, they might.

I wrote weeks ago that if ever Stanley Matthews leaves Stoke -  a remote prospect in the immediate future - his destination will be Blackpool. That is true, too, of Peter Doherty, who is now on Derby County’s transfer list.

Jottings from all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 21 December 1946


BLACKPOOL'S last match at Charlton in March, 1939, was an event for the records.

It was Jock Dodds' first match for the club - the centre-forward met the team in London on the eve of the game, 24 hours after he had been signed on a £10,000 fee - and it was prefaced by a football tragedy.

A few hours before the teams took the field Tom Lewis, the ex-Bradford forward, was taken ill. A heart affection was ultimately diagnosed, and he never played in first-class football again.

The Athletic beat this Blackpool team 3-1:

Roxburgh, Sibley, Butler, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, Buchan, Dodds, Astley and Eastham.

Dodds shot Blackpool's goal. But it came when the game was lost.


BLACKPOOL played a Saturday afternoon match in London today for the first time since the classic with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in 1943.

Everybody who saw that meeting of Northern and Southern Cup-holders says it was one of the greatest games of all time. Blackpool lost two goals in the first 10 minutes, won 4-2 in the end.

A week earlier the Cup had been won from Sheffield Wednesday. Those were the days!


I AM glad that Bob Finan shot a goal for Blackpool’s second team at Sheffield in his first game since the end of October.

Since his cartilage operation the Scot has lost a lot of confidence - and knows it. He has been on holiday in Scotland, sent there by the club to forget about football for a week or two.

Now he is back - and there are signs that he may soon again be the player of his earlier days. I hope that happens.

A grand clubman is Bob. Blackpool is his only League club.

Once West Ham offered £8,000 for him in his days as a centre-forward, Blackpool said “No.”

He I know, would have said “No” too, if he had been consulted.


AFTER the Middlesbrough match there were left only three men who had not missed a game for Blackpool this season.

Two are in the defence, Jock Wallace and Eric Sibley.

The third is forward Jim McIntosh.


BOB HESFORD, the goalkeeper with the University degree, will be at Blackpool, in Huddersfield’s goal next If weekend in the town where he played under the Rugby Union code before transferring
his allegiance

Huddersfield Town think him one of the best goalkeepers m the game today. Nobody in these parts will dispute that view.

He is the second goalkeeper from Blackpool to play at Wembley in a Cup final between the wars. The other was a certain giant called Frank Swift.


HARRY EASTHAM, the forward who left Blackpool for Liverpool at a £1,000 fee before the war, brother of George, the Blackpool, Brentford and Bolton Wanderers inside-left, has become an inside-left himself again now.

After nearly a dozen games m Liverpool’s first team as an outside-right, where his brother has made 13 appearances this season for Blackpool, he has moved into the inside position to admit Barry Nieuwenhuys on the wing.

This South African, who, because life is so short, is always called “Nivvy,” plans to become a golf professional soon.

The last time I saw him, the Liverpool crowd barracked him I still don’t know why.


BLACKPOOL’S visit to Blackburn on Christmas Day recalls the most amazing game I have ever seen in the First Division. It was played at Ewood Park on New Year’s Day, 1933.

The Rovers were leading 3-0 after five minutes. Blackpool reduced this lead to 4-3 three minutes after the interval. Afterwards the score switch backed: 5-3, 5-4, 6-4, 6-5.

The Rovers won by the odd goal in 11. Blackpool’s goals were shot by Jim McClelland (2) Monty Wilkinson, and Jim Smailes.

And, to settle an argument among a few Blackburn exiles in the town, the Rovers’ forwards were led by a player called Thomson, who had Ronnie Dix, Blackpool’s wartime guest, on his right.


T'HE Middlesbrough outside-right, Sphuler, who shot two of his team’s goals in the Blackpool landslide a week ago, is one of the half-dozen right-wing forwards who have been watched by Blackpool this season.

Whether Blackpool made a bid for this former Sunderland man I do not know. But I was assured last weekend that if a bid was made the answer would have been, “We’re not parting.” Blackpool have heard that so often this season.


COMMENT by Wilf Mannion England player and grand sportsman, to Harry Johnston, the Blackpool captain, after Middlesbrough’s great victory last weekend:

“Bad luck, Harry. Every team has this sort of day."


ONE man who would be glad to read about Gillingham’s sensational victory at Bristol in last weekend’s Cupties is Mr. Allan Ure, the former Blackpool trainer, who is at Park-avenue with the Bradford club these days.

He has had several trainer’s posts in football  - three times he has been on the Blackpool staff - but only one managerial appointment.

That was at Gillingham during the days when this giant-killing club was in the Southern Section.


Evening Gazette -  23 December 1946

Doherty signs tonight?

Peter Doherty may he a Blackpool player again tonight after wearing the jerseys of Manchester City and Derby County during the last 10 years, writes “ Spectator. ”

NOTHING, however, is yet certain Mr. Joe Smith, the Blackpool manager. who arrived home from London at six o’clock last night,was away again out of the town by car at 9-0 a.m. today. His destination as Derby, his purpose the signing of the famous Irish international

Price paid by Manchester City when the 32-years-old Irish inside-left was sighed from Blackpool in 1936 was £10,000. When he went to Derby County the Cup winners paid a fee which I am under promise not to reveal but which was definitely less than £10,000

What Blackpool are prepared to offer today is open to speculartion.


But my information is that the County are less interested in a big cheque than in an exchange of players.

That puts the other bidding clubs, Huddersfield Town and Manchester City, almost on level terms, for each has a man wanted by the County.

Yet the last word is with the player - and when last I met Peter he made it plain that if ever he was on the list again he would prefer Blackpool to any other club.

I know that Blackpool expect to sign him in time for the Christmas games.

If he is to play in the first of the Cup-ties he must be signed before Saturday, which is the dead-line date for the Third Round match under the 14-days ride.



Edmund Shimwell, the new full-back from Sheffield United, will meet the Blackpool team for the first time tomorrow evening, writes “ Spectator.”

THE meeting will be at the Vancouver Hotel on South Promenade, where the men are to be quartered during this eek for the three-games-in-four-days Christmas sequence.

As I reported from the Charlton ice-packs on Saturday, the new player, who will be in the defence for the visit to Blackburn on Christmas Day, reached London so late in a train delayed by fog that when he called the Charlton ground by telephone the second half had been in progress 20 minutes.


Manager Joe Smith was summoned from the stand to answer the call, and told the full-back he could return to his Derbyshire hotel. The player actually never left St. Pancras station.

"How are you going oh? ” he asked on the telephone.

"Winning 1-0,” said Mr Smith.

“Hold ’em out,” said Shimwell.

Then he went off to take a train home again.



JOCK WALLACE’S goal was under such little pressure at Charlton on Saturday that he had to take only eight goal-kicks during the match.'

Sam Bartram in the other goal was so often under fire that during the 90 minutes he had to take 20 - an average of one every four and a half minutes, writes “ Spectator.”

This fact and a few others were established by a minute-by-minute census taken by Mr. George Sheard, the Blackpool Press steward and football’s statistician-in-chief.

The census revealed that:

The ball was so often skidding out of play on the ice that there were 66 throws-in - 38 for Blackpool, 28 for Charlton.

Blackpool won six corners and Charlton four.

Nine free-kicks were awarded against Charlton and 11 against Blackpool.


Ignorance was bliss

WAITING patiently for 20  minutes in driving sleet after the Blackpool Reserve v. Burnley Reserve match at Bloomfield - road, Blackpool, on Saturday a crowd of about 100 supporters raised a hearty cheer when an official came off the telephone and announced that the first team had beaten Charlton Athletic.

And although they did not know that Blackpool's new full-back had been lost in the fog and had not played. their shout was: “ Good old Shimwell?"


"Pte. Munro, I presume"

MILLION-TO-ONE coincidence came off in a London hotel during the weekend, writes “ Spectator.”

Alec Munro, the Blackpool forward, was at breakfast in the dining room of the hotel where the Blackpool team were quartered for the Charlton match when another guest approached him, greeted him,

“ Hello, Private Munro.”

The footballer’s recognition of this other guest was immediate.

He was a sergeant who served with the Blackpool wing forward in the second siege of Tobruk, a Cheltenham man, on holiday in London for the weekend.

The sergeant was among the men of the Royal Tank Corps evacuated from the besieged town , a few days before its surrender, They said “ Good-bye ” that day, lost trace of each other - and met again for the first time in a London hotel four and a half years later.

Alec remained in Tobruk, was captured, and endured three years afterwards in Italian and German prison camps.

The sergeant and the private had an evening out in the West End on Saturday talking over the old times.


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