28 December 1946 Blackpool 2 Huddersfield Town 1


That extra punch just tells


Blackpool 2, Huddersfield Town 1

By “Spectator”

PETER DOHERTY, who might have been wearing a tangerine jersey again for the first time for nearly 11 years, played instead for Huddersfield Town in this match.

A week of conflicting reports, rumours and secret conferences which culminated in his £10,000 transfer last night put hundreds of pounds into Blackpool’s till.

A quarter of an hour even before a 2-15 kick-off there was standing room only in the stands, and when the teams appeared, the Irishman leading the Town as the new captain who has to lift the Yorkshire club out of the relegation zone, there were nearly 20.000 people in the sunshine.

The pitch had been rolled after the punishment it took on Boxing Day, but there was still a broad sanded avenue from goal to goal, soft as a sponge.

Geoff Barker, one of Blackpool’s wartime guests, a full-back in those days, played at right-half for the Town.

When the teams met on the first day of the season in Yorkshire Blackpool won 3-1.


BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Shimwell, Sibley, Farrow, Suart, Johnston, Nelson, Dick, Mortensen, Buchan (WJ) and McIntosh.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN: Hesford, Bailey, Stewart, Barker, Hepplewhite, Boot, Bateman, Glazzard, Rogers, Doherty and Metcalfe.

Referee: Mr. H. Hartley (Bolton).


There was a special cheer for Doherty as he tossed the coin with Harry Johnston, and, winning, decided to defend the north goal, which was in the sun's glare,

Hepplewhite made an any-port-in-a-storm clearance from Mortensen in Blackpool’s first attack.

Before the game was seconds old the Town nearly snatched the lead as Doherty, with all his old cunning, made position for Rogers to shoot a ball which Wallace beat out for a corner near the post.

Another half-minute and Buchan hooked the ball over the bar of the Huddersfield goal out of a pack of men, with Bob Hesford, the former Blackpool Grammar School boy, unsighted by his own defence.


Yet the big chances were offering themselves to the Town.

Rogers missed another, slicing the ball wide of a post after a lobbed clearance that cannoned back to him off a Blackpool man and presented him with a scoring - position.

For a time there was premise of a goal a minute.

Nelson escaped on his own in Blackpool’s next raid and shot a ball which appeared to hit Stewart’s outstretched leg and shoot off it an inch wide of a post for the game’s second corner.

With Blackpool still pressing, Doherty suddenly became a full-back, halting Blackpool’s right wing on his own near the coiner flag. Often, too. his passes - long ones and short ones - were creating raids.

The Town were not outplayed. Yet twice in a couple of minutes Blackpool were near to a goal.

The first time McIntosh headed one of Farrow’s long throws-in backwards into the unprepared Hesford’s hands as the offside whistle went.


Too fast for Hesford,

then loses the ball

The next time Mortensen won a race with Hesford for a forward pass and lost a ball which cannoned away from both men a ball which in the end was crossed in front of an open goal, with no other Blackpool forward in position to shoot into the gaping net.

From another of Doherty’s passes Metcalfe blazed the ball high over from a scoring position.

The new £10.000 forward might have made three goals for the Town in the first 15 minutes.

Blackpool's football contained little order, whatever punch there may have been in it at close quarters.

In the 20th minute the Town nearly snatched a lead which would have been deserved.


There was a raid down the centre - a thick, sanded path in which the defence seemed at times almost unable to move.

Doherty went chasing a loose ball down this track, reached it, and was preparing to walk it over the line as Suart appeared from nowhere to hook it desperately away from him over his own goal for a corner.

Two minutes later it was nearly 1-0 for Blackpool, Buchan shooting in unexpectedly a fast rising ball which Hesford beat out in a flying dive to his right.

The Town were missing their chances, building scoring positions and still frittering them aw with half an hour gone.

A price had to be paid. It was paid with a sort of freak goal in the 35th minute.


Lobbed ball curls under Town bar

Blackpool had been pressing for a couple of minutes before the goal came.

In the end. the ball was crossed from the left, fisted out by Hesford, and lobbed back into a pack of men again.

Hesford appeared from the Press Box to miss the falling ball and was half a dozen yards out of his goal as DICK, for the second time, lobbed it back again and watched it curve slowly down beneath the bar.

Stewart leaped at it and grabbed it a yard over the line.

Half-time: Blackpool 1, Huddersfield Town 0.


Both goals were in peril in the first three minutes of the second half.

The Blackpool goal escaped in a mass raid which ended in a sort of Twickenham scrum which Buchan broke up almost under Blackpool's bar.

In the next minute Mortensen escaped, and when his pass to young Nelson was crossed into the centre Stewart closed the gap with a desperate last - second tackle as Buchan was in a position to shoot over an empty line.

Nor was that raid ended before Hesford had made a grand clearance as Johnston shot back at him a ball which bad cannoned out of the pack in front of his goal.

Yet still the Town were often raiding.

Wallace made two diving clearances at the feet of Rogers and Glazzard before Doherty lost a bouncing ball with the goal wide open in front of him.

For a couple of minutes Mortensen was off the field for attention.

While Blackpool had 10 men, and afterwards when they had 11, the Town still raided for the goal which had been eluding them all the afternoon.

The Town were still rejecting their chances. Rogers missed another as Huddersfield's, pressure continued with the Blackpool forward line often inactive and yet in breakaways too fast for the Town's full-backs.

Twice a corner was conceded by Huddersfield under pressure.

The second corner, in the 24th minute of the second half, cost a goal.

Nelson crossed the ball from the flag. As it flew over, Hesford appeared to lean over Buchan as the forward stood on his line.


I saw no other infringement. Yet without hesitation and in suite of a vehement protest by the Town, the deputy referee gave a penalty.

Buchan converted the spot kick with one of those low flow shots which have the goal keeper moving the wrong way.

It made no particular difference. Within a minute the Town were only a goal in arrears again.

Immediately from the kick-off the Town’s left-wing raided. From far out, near the corner flag, METCALFE crossed a high centre.

Half a dozen men leaped at the ball and missed it, the impeded Wallace among them. Slowly it swung inwards, hit the far post, and cannoned off it into the net.


That unleashed a Blackpool hurricane in which Hesford made a nose-dive clearance at the feet of Mortensen before falling full length to reach a shot by Dick which skidded away from him.

The Town went flat out in the last few minutes for a goal which would have been worth a point - a point which the Town deserved.


BLACKPOOL 2 (Dick 35min, Buchan 69min)

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1  (Metcalf 70min)


Huddersfield will not regret a penny of the £10,000 they have spent on Peter Doherty - not if he often plays as he played in this match.

It was a game which the Town might have won if they had taken half their chances.

This was an unexpected test for the Blackpool defence, which found the Metcalf - Doherty wing a riddle nearly beyond solution, and was new and again raced out of position by the fast, progressive raids which the football cunning of Doherty created.

The men who held these forwards at bay were Blackpool’s three half-backs, who not for the first time were the men of the team.

Wallace, too, had one of those afternoons when he revealed again what a daring, resolute goalkeeper he can be.

The Blackpool forwards were never in the game as continuously as the Town’s front line, but when in it they packed sufficient punch to win.

Buchan and Dick worked themselves nearly to a standstill, as inside forwards have to in such a game as this.

Blackpool were not too impressive today, but Huddersfield were never a relegation team. One shooting forward might have won the game for them today.


Wembley journey overdue

By “Spectator”

WHEN, a few weeks ago, Blackpool were leading the First Division and they were speculating - a little prematurely, in my opinion, as I wrote at the time - about a League championship for the town, I was talking to a Blackpool director who had retained some sense of proportion.

“I'm not all that interested,” he said. “I'll be content if we finish in the top half of the table.”

Such a sentiment at that time bordered on high treason

“No,” said he, “ all I want the team to do is to establish itself in the First Division. Then, early in the New Year, we could go all out for the Cup."

“It’s about time,” he concluded, “ that we made a show in the Cup.”

“About time” - that’s one of the world’s major understatements.

I confess that I am tired of recording the Cup failures of Blackpool, one of those Cinderella's who have never gone anywhere near the Wembley ball.

War finals, but - 

EXCLUDING the war years when a Blackpool team reinforced by a few guest stars won the War Cup in 1943 and were beaten in the final in 1944 at Villa Park, Blackpool have never been nearer the final than the last eight.

That, too, was as long as 14 years before World War No. 2, when in the days of Harry Bedford as Blackpool’s centre-forward the team lost only by the one goal, shot by Sydney Puddefoot for Blackburn Rovers, at Ewood Park.

Year after year, before and afterwards, Blackpool took the knock-out in one of the early rounds until it became a commonplace of football that Blackpool never had been and never would be a Cup team, that there was a Cup hoodoo over the club.

It may or may not have lifted.

Remember these?

I AM content this week merely to recall such fiascos as:

A home defeat by Watford in 1922 after a dismissal at Southend a year earlier. Another home defeat by Swansea Town in 1926, a year after the triumphant march to the quarter-finals.

Yet another home defeat by Oldham Athletic in 1928.

The sensational dismissal at Southport in 1932, when Blackpool went to a Third Division ground as a First Division team.

The escape at Cheltenham in 1934, when the gallant little Town were actually leading l-0 at the interval before losing 3-1.

The dramatic win by Luton Town at Blackpool in 1937 after the Town had played a 3-3 draw at Luton with 10 men.

Wembley a mirage

IT IS, I know, a depressing catalogue. They always said they were going to do something about it. But time after time Wembley was a distant, receding mirage to Blackpool before the end of January.

What will happen this year ? The bookmakers, apparently, still think of Blackpool in terms of the war-years team, actually made them Cup favourites at six-to-one a couple of months ago, which was about the craziest assessment I have ever known, even in football.

Yet today there is a London firm ranking Blackpool as joint third favourites with Middlesbrough at 14-1.

Cut it out, and - 

AND there are dozens of folk, working on the law of averages, who are saying that one year Blackpool will make the Wembley grade, or, at least come within measurable distance of it.

Well, I wouldn’t know whether it would happen or not.

All I do know is that if the tip-tap stuff is cut out and they make it a snappy New Year, it may be a Happy New Year in the Cup - and the League

Jottings from all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 28 December 1946

A misty day in 1938

IT was at Christmastime that last a Huddersfield Town team came to Blackpool for a First Division match - December 26, 1938.

Blackpool were in another of those desperate crises which became familiar in the prewar years, had lost 4-0 at Everton two days earlier, and were able only to snatch a point in a 1-1 draw with the Town.

It was only after a visit to the dressing room that it was established that in the thick mist George Eastham had shot a late equalising goal for this team:

Wallace, Blair (D.), Butler, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, Eastham, Ashworth, Finan and Lewis.

Blackpool left out both wing half-backs the following day at Huddersfield -  and were beaten 3-0.



MR. H. HARTLEY, the Bolton referee, who hurt an ankle at Newcastle in the Christmas games, had to retire from the Blackpool - Huddersfield match this afternoon at interval.

Then injury was aggravated during the first half. By halftime he could scarcely walk.

“It is the first time I have not finished a game during 20 years in football,” he said.

One of the linesmen took the whistle, and an extra linesman was recruited from the crowd.


WHAT about this for a coincidence?

Blackpool signed Jock Dodds from Sheffield United in 1939 and Edmund Shimwell from the Bramall-lane club last week-end. Each transfer was completed exactly 24 hours before a game in London - and both games were at Charlton.

There the coincidence ends.

Jock’s train reached London in time - and Blackpool lost 1-3. The new full-back’s train was late and he could not play - and Blackpool won 1-0 without him.


IT was football’s coldest Saturday afternoon for years in London last weekend.

I can recall one only as nearly Arctic. That was in London, too - a Brentford match between the wars, when the cold was so intense that the messenger engaged to take my copy to the telephone at a shop outside Griffin Park fainted on his way to the game - and not a word reached the office until nearly half-time.

High blood pressure kept the temperature up that day for one inhabitant of the Press box!

Last weekend Charlton was so nearly in the Polar regions that for the first time in his career the water in Trainer Johnny Lynas’s bucket had a film of ice on it at the end of the game.


CAPT. HAMILTON JONES, the famous referee of the between- the-wars years, who deputised as a linesman in the Blackpool-Charlton game in a blue jersey and fawn riding boots, often held the whistle in Blackpool games in prewar times.

I recall one game at Plymouth. Blackpool won it after the Captain had disallowed three Plymouth goals.

They threw everything at him except a chunk of the Hoe that afternoon. But they didn’t intimidate him one bit.


ONE of the best signings in Blackpool this season - George Dick for Blackpool.

He did not cost a penny, and yet already he has played in half Blackpool’s First Division games, and, if the club could be persuaded to part with him - and I know they could not be - they would be able to talk in a transfer fee of four figures.

It was merely by chance, too, that he walked into Blackpool’s headquarters and asked Manager Joe Smith for a trial late in the close season.

After one private practice the Blackpool manager knew it had been one of those days which managers dream about,


I AM often asked, “Where’s ‘Ted’ Crabtree these days?” He’s not far away. Blackpool’s prewar secretary went into the service of the Parkinson firm during the war years, is now back in Blackpool and has a business of his own in the fish trade.

As nice as ever to meet is Ted, who was in one of Blackpool’s best transfer deals. In Nelson, where they knew him, he asked the management of a cinema if a slide could be flashed on the screen asking one of the patrons to leave the house.

The slide appeared - the patron came out - signed an hour later for Blackpool. His name was Jimmy Hampson.


THEY were telling me in Stoke that Port Vale still think that Jim Todd, the Blackpool half-back, was a bargain at £1.000.

He has not been out of the Vale’s first team since his transfer. He is still flat-out the whole 90 minutes in every match. He is not yet a class half - back, but he will play to the last second every time

In Third Division football he ranks as a star. One day, for he’s willing to learn, he may be one of the games stars.


BLACKPOOL sign a new full-back to strengthen a defence which has lest 22 goals in seven games.

The full-back’s train is delayed by fog and he cannot play. Whereupon the condemned defence plays a match without losing a goal for the first time for seven weeks.

And yet people still fill up football coupons!


REUNION after several years at Charlton, where George Farrow met Sam Bartram, the Athletic - yes, very athletic! goalkeeper again.

In the days of long ago these two were in rival teams in minor football in the North-East. In those days Sam was not a goalkeeper at all, but a centre-half, and after that a centre-forward. Manager Joe Smith once gave him a trial in that position at Reading, and was not impressed.


THEY think a lot of Eric Hayward in the Potteries, gave him a cheer all to himself when he took the field at Stoke last weekend.

It was from Port Vale that Blackpool signed him for a fee which could be multiplied by four or five if he were in the market today.

Blackpool’s one regret is that his brother, Basil, was not signed this season. They say that one day he will be his brother’s equal.


WHATS happened to Charlton?  I saw them defeat Preston in the Cup last season en route to Wembley and a defeat in the final. They were as nearly a great team as I saw all season.

Now everything is going wrong for them. Blackpool were the sixth team to win at the Valley.

Manager Jimmy Seed is a worried man - as he is entitled to be. Yet when you meet him he has lost none of his quiet courtesy.

I hope for his sake that the Athletic are soon out of this other valley.



IN the old days, when they went A nearly everywhere by rail, the Blackpool team passed the time, hour after hour, playing cards. There was a nap school, a pontoon school, and a solo school.

Now, whenever they have to take a train, they play again - but nowadays, in this brave new world, four of them play bridge, which, as you know, is a highly intellectual exercise.

One of these days somebody will be producing a chessboard!


EVERYBODY seems to be under the impression that Eric Sibley is playing at last in the position which he prefers now that he has crossed to the left flank of the Blackpool full-back line to admit the new man from Sheffield United.

He played as a left-back in partnership with  Danny Blair in dozens of matches before the war.

Yet right-back is his position. It was as a right-back he was signed from Bournemouth.

He moved to the left wing to admit Blair And the other day, when Edmund Shimwell was asked whether he wanted to play right or left and said he would choose the former Sibley went over the road again.

NOBODY could pretend that the new man from Sheffield United has not had a big test in his first games in these parts.

Star outside-lefts of the day in the First Division are Langton, the Blackburn Rovers and England man, and young Metcalfe, who in Huddersfield is already being talked about as a future international.

He met them both - the England forward twice -in his first three games.

He has soon made himself at home among the Blackpool players. They still tell you how he nearly scored a couple of goals against Blackpool in the match at Bramall-lane in November when twice he forced Jock Wallace to clearances from 70 or 80 yards.

Few men can kick a soaked and heavy ball as far.


ONE of these days I will take a stop-watch to a football match and count the actual minutes out of the hour and a half that the ball is in play.

When I publish the report a few of the customers may ask for their 1s. 3d. back.

Mr. George Sheard, the Blackpool F.C.’s Press steward, who has been engaged on a little amateur mass observation on my behalf during the last month, was at the Blackburn Rovers - Blackpool match at Ewood Park.

In this match, I am told, the referee’s whistle played everything except 44 Christians, Awake!”

IT cut the match into such rags and tatters that during the 90 minutes there were:

34 free-kicks,

59 throws-in,

11 goal-kicks, 

7 corners.

Or, to put it another way, the ball was off the field or the game at a standstill 111 times. The rest of the afternoon they were playing football.

Notice those 59 throws-in. There's a case for the reformers who are seeking to substitute free-kicks every time the ball is put over the side-lines.


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