7 December 1946 Stoke City 4 Blackpool 1


Kennedy ordered off field


Stoke City 4, Blackpool 1 

By “Spectator”

STANLEY MATTHEWS played this afternoon at Stoke against the men at whose ground he trains five days a week.

Facing him was the Scottish engineer, Gordon Kennedy, who is still only in half training and in this match was playing in the First Division for only the fourth time.

“I will do my best,” said this young full-back with the moustache when I saw him before the match.

Blackpool fielded the men who defeated the Division leaders, Liverpool, a week ago. Stoke, too, announced “No change.” The afternoon cleared after almost continuous rain earlier. There were pools of standing water all over a pitch thick in mud.


STOKE CITY: Jepson, Mould, McCue, Mountford (F), Franklin, Kirton, Matthews, Peppitt, Steele, Baker and Ormston.

BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Sibley, Kennedy, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, Dick, Mortenson, Blair and McIntosh.

Referee: Mr. H. Holt (Rochdale).


Blackpool played in white, the referee deciding that tangerine would clash with Stoke’s red and white.

Nearly 25,000 were huddled in the cold as Harry Johnston won the toss. It made no difference, as the day was almost windless.

The turf was as thick as a suet pudding, with the ball scarcely moving in it.

Twice, Mortensen was halted in early Blackpool raids.

The first time Matthews was given a pass, he ran half the length of the field, with no man near him, before crossing a centre which Hayward headed away in a big, desperate leap.

Before this attack ended Steele lost a ball which came to a full stop in the mud as he ran over it.


Another minute, and Matthews took a short, square pass, glided away with a long, rakish stride, and, as Kennedy fell in the quagmire, crossed a second centre which Ormston fired high over the bar from a scoring position.

Franklin conceded the game’s first corner after Blackpool had attacked twice in succession on the right.

Blackpool, in the early raids, were using the through pass repeatedly. It was good, progressive football with every pass brisk, the only kind that could be played on this sort of surface.

Kennedy showed no trace of panic in his duels with Matthews.

In the 12th minute, Blackpool’s goal had an amazing escape Wallace dived at Steele’s feet daringly as the centre-forward chased a forward pass.


Shot that hit Blackpool full-back

With Steele still sprawling in the mud. Baker shot a ball which hit a Blackpool full-back and rocketed high over the empty goal.

Mortensen escaped on his own in a Blackpool breakaway, and shot wide of a post, with two full backs closing in on him.

Blackpool were not bringing their wing forwards sufficiently into the game, but there was not a lot in it with 15 minutes gone,

One lobbed pass saw Franklin head away from Mortensen.

Grand clearances by Sibley and Johnston highlighted Stoke’s increasing pressure.

With 20 minutes gone, the first goal came.

STEELE took a forward pass, swerved past one man, sidestepped another with amazing assurance in the thick mud, and shot a ball which flashed past Wallace’s right hand as fast as a rocket.

Three minutes later, it 2-0.


This goal, as I saw it, was a gift one for PEPPITT, who, standing yards offside, was put in possession by a ball which cannoned to him off a Blackpool back and left him all on his own to shoot wide of the deserted Wallace almost at his leisure.

Stoke were hammering away at it for minutes afterwards. Yet Blackpool’s football in flashes revealed precision.

Two corners were won before the lead was reduced in 35 minutes.

Franklin was playing all the time as England’s players are expected to play. But when Mortensen harried him tirelessly in one battering raid, the ball came out loose to McIntosh.


The outside-left swerved one man and shot a rising ball to which Jepson leaped and punched out.

Up to it rose DICK and headed it back into the net, with the goalkeeper still in mid-air. That goal was deserved.

It was - not often that Matthews was escaping as the interval approached.

It was not often, either, that Stoke could produce the full- scale raids which had given them two goals in three dramatic minutes.

Twice in the last two minutes of the half, the Stoke goal nearly fell. The first time, Munro made position brilliantly for Dick before the inside-right crossed to Mortensen a pass which the centre-forward shot wide from a narrow angle.

The second time, only a great headed clearance by Kirton cut off Mortensen’s pass which would have given Dick an open goal.

Blackpool were not out of the game at the interval.

Half-time: Stoke City 2, Blackpool 1.


Farrow’s long pass nearly gave Mortensen a passage into a scoring position in the first 10 seconds of the second half, Jepson racing out yards to snatch a skidding ball away from the centre-forward.

These Blackpool men were pulling no punches against Matthews Twice' within six yards the England forward was tumbled into the mud, and was early in the half resembling from the rear a nigger minstrel.

Blackpool were still fielding three raids to every one by Stoke, and one of them raised a clamour for a goal as Jepson took a pass back at close quarters and seemed to walk backwards over the line with it.

A minute later, too, the Stoke goalkeeper fielded magnificently a high centre crossed by Munro.

Still Blackpool attacked. Still the Stoke defence stood firm with the forwards nearly out of the game for minutes.

Yet when the Stoke front line came at last into the match again it nearly scored, Steele shooting a ball which missed by inches a post which Wallace was not guarding.

Blackpool were making a great fight of it.

Yet in the 17th minute of the half Stoke made it 3-1.

It was a snap goal taken after Sibley had hesitated and lost a ball to Ormston, who ran away on his own before squaring inside to BAKER, whose shot glanced across the bar before entering the net by the far post.

A tempest hit Blackpool afterwards.

I began to suspect that Blackpool’s chances had gone in that fatal minute. I was almost certain of it as Mortensen went limping out to the right wing with Dick in the centre and Munro at Inside-right.

One for Matthews

I was absolutely certain of it four minutes after the third goal. Then MATTHEWS showed what a player he is.

He took a pass in the centre-forward position, sidestepped one man, swerved another, zigzagged past another two, all in no less than a dozen yards, before gliding calmly away from Wallace with the goalkeeper alone in front of him.

It was a wonder goal.

It sent the crowd mad. It settled the match.

Fifteen minutes from the end Mortensen was persuaded to leave the field and walk slowly to the dressing-room.

Even with 10 men Blackpool were not completely outplayed.

Kennedy actually came near to putting his name among the marksmen with a shot from 30 yards which Jepson reached in a flying dive to make the clearance of the match.

With half a minute left came a sensation. Kennedy tackled Matthews out on the line. A linesman flagged.

The referee went over to the wing, and ordered Kennedy off the field.

Half the Blackpool team clustered round the referee protesting against the dismissal, still surrounded him as the teams left the field.


STOKE CITY 4 (Steele 20min, Peppitt 23min, Baker 62min, Matthews 68min)

BLACKPOOL 1 (Dick 35min)


I can soon answer the question you are asking.

Stanley Matthews was kept comparatively quiet in this game, was at least never permitted to monopolise it.

Kennedy was as close to him as a brother nearly all the time, and when he was passed Johnston invariably retreated into the open space.

Yet Matthews still won this match or Stoke as only a great artist could have won it.

Sudden gaps opened in Blackpool’s defence in this match. That and nothing else lost the game.

Even with Mortensen limping out on the wing - the first time he has been disabled this season -  the Blackpool forwards were as often in the game as Stoke’s front line. But the defence this Blackpool front line faced never opened.

That was the difference. The old firm of Farrow, Hayward and Johnston was again the team’s best division.

Blackpool should never have lost 4-1.


Seeing football in comfort

By “Spectator”


The all-ticket match on Boxing Day promises to introduce a new fashion in the game. It is the first time the system has been given a trial at a League game in the North.

Several clubs are watching the experiment with interest as the Cup-ties approach.

Blackpool, I understand, will continue it if a big Cup match is allotted to the ground early in 1947.

Soon all-ticket games may become an established practice in the major leagues.

The day is not far distant. I think, when the customers will book in advance for a football match as they book in advance for a theatre.

It will necessitate the engagement of increased secretarial staffs, but if will be to the public’s benefit.

For a year or two I have held the opinion that it was about time the people who pay to watch football were asked to endure fewer discomforts.

Early queues

TWO or three times this season there have been queues outside the Blackpool ground four, and even four and a half hours, before the kick-off. When the turnstiles at last were opened thousands waited a couple of hours in the stands and on the terraces.

It is all unnecessary. Advance bookings can end it.

For that reason, if for no other, a particular significance attaches to the Boxing Day experiment for the visit of Blackburn Rovers.

Nearly five thousand of the 13,000 ground tickets have already been sold three weeks before the match. Ten thousand stand tickets are printed.

Rovers' share

THE Rovers have been offered a generous proportion - between 3,000 and 4,000. They may not sell out, and, if they should have a few left, will return them to Blackpool before the game. 

General expectations are that every ticket will be sold by Christmas week.

What is certain is that not a penny will be taken at the turnstiles on the day of the match.

It will be an admission by ticket only game - and as a result of this sale-in-advance and the admission of specified numbers of spectators at specified turnstiles, which will prevent congestion, there will be a record attendance for a League match on the ground for the present season.

The system is as good for the box office as it is beneficial to the public.

Three times this season the gates have been closed at Blackpool with fewer than 28,000 people inside the ground.

A ticket-only match permits the club to admit about 30,000. That alone will make between £200 and £300 difference to the total receipts.

Unless I am wrong, these games have come to stay.

Six Blackpool players in car crash

The Stoke City-Blackpool match might never have been played this afternoon.

FOUR hours before the kick-off six of the Blackpool team, on their way to a tour of one of the potteries, were in a taxi which collided with a lorry in one of the main streets in Stoke.

The taxi was half wrecked, its windows shattered, and flying glass cut Alec Munro’s legs and his five companions, George Dick, Jim McIntosh, Gordon Kennedy, Eric Hayward and the 12th man, Malcolm Butler, were thrown against the shattered panels.

Mr. Joe Smith, the Blackpool manager, and Mr. Harry Evans vice - chairman, were in another taxi which was halted by the accident.

They were told “The Blackpool team is in a smash.” and learned that half the team were trapped in the wrecked taxi.

All of them had a severe shaking.

It was a shock for us.” said the Blackpool manager.

"Lucky?” said Harry Johnston, the Blackpool captain, who was in a third taxi. “They might have been killed or at least seriously hurt. Every window was smashed. If the glass had splintered they must have been cut and gashed.” 

The accident did not cause a cancellation of the excursion. Afterwards, the players went to the factory and before they left each was presented with a china tankard and two ash trays painted in the club’s tangerine.

ottings fro
m all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 7 December 1946

It was 1-1 at Stoke

BLACKPOOL were coupon-wreckers of the day when last a team in the tangerine played at Stoke on February 25th, 1939.

The City were one of the first half-dozen teams in the First Division. Blackpool were among the relegation squad. Yet Blackpool made a 1-1 draw and nearly won on a day when almost everybody had put a “1" on the coupons.

It was from Stanley Matthews' pass that Steele gave Stoke the lead. It was from Jim Blair's pass that Dai Astley equalised a minute before half-time for this Blackpool team:

Roxburgh, Sibley, Butler, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, Eastham, Astley, Blair (J.), and Lewis.

Ten days later Tom Lewis played his last game for Blackpool, strained a heart-muscle, and was never in first-class football again.

IT was Stanley Mortensen’s 12th goal of the season against Liverpool last weekend.

“One of these days,” he says, “I’m going to score more than once in a match.” Not that anybody’s complaining about his present record. He has hit the net in 12 out of 18 games.

Only defences which have held him are Portsmouth (twice). Sunderland, Preston, Bolton and Chelsea.


Workington the North-Eastern club which made approaches to Jock Dodds before he went to Eire, are soon out of the Cup.

South Liverpool won the first round tie 2-1. The one goal was a penalty, and Alf Pope converted it.

This fullback from the Hearts, who was in Blackpool’s conquering war-time team, seemed destined to return to Blackpool for peacetime football, wanted to come to the coast again.

His fee from the Hearts was £500. Blackpool in the end decided not to pay it. They gave Eric Sibley his chance - and you know what happened,


CYRIL DONE, the Liverpool full-back who has become a forward, must be fond of playing at Blackpool. He always scores on the Blackpool ground.

He had a couple of goals from centre-forward in the Lancashire Cup-tie a couple of months ago. He shot another last weekend from inside-left - and a grand goal it was, too.

This man can hit a ball.


A MAN cheering louder than nearly anybody else when Blackpool snatched the lead from Liverpool last weekend was Bill Lewis, the full-back who had been left out of the team at his own request.

A 100 per-center for Blackpool, whether he’s on the field or off it, is this ex amateur from London.

Nothing dog - in the - manger about him. All he wants is Blackpool to win.

The Blackpool public will not forget for a long time how he gave young Gordon Kennedy his chance against the First Division leaders.


HOW have Blackpool gone on against Stanley Matthews today? I have only once seen a Blackpool full-back put the brake on the England forward at Stoke.

His name? Malcolm Butler.

The Irishman had orders to police Stanley all the match, to play close at his heels wherever he went.

"Never mind If where he goes - follow him. 

Never mind where the ball goes - boot it anywhere away from him.”

Those were his orders. He obeyed them to the letter - and it came off. But I don’t say it will always come off.


REPORT on Jock Dodds after his first month at Everton by two Liverpool Pressmen:

“Everton think that even at close on £8,000 he’s the best bargain the club has made for years. He’s happy with his new team - and they’re happy with him. There are, I can tell you, no complaints at Goodison.”

In Blackpool they will be glad to hear it. It’s a happy ending to an episode which everybody regretted.


MY exclusive announcement that Louis Cardwell, the former Blackpool centre-half, was asking Manchester City for a transfer and the City’s granting of his request have interested hundreds of people in these parts.

There are a few, according to my mail-bag, who think that Blackpool might sign him again as they signed Jim McIntosh from Preston. Well, that’s up to Blackpool.

They know, I think, that there’s a lot of good football still in this Blackpool-born player who signed for the club as a centre-forward and became one of its best centre half-backs between the wars.


JIMMY BLAIR, the forward who refuses to be excited when he has scored a goal -  notice his unemotional walk-back to the centre-line after No. 2 against Liverpool - has scored only four times this season.

But three of the goals have won games - one against Portsmouth when the score was 3-3, the only one of the match against Chelsea, and now this odd one against Liverpool.


Burke goes

Dick Burke, Blackpool reserve fullback, was transferred last night to Newcastle United at a fee stated to be £3,000.

BURKE is expected to play for Newcastle in their home game with Plymouth Argyle tomorrow. 

Earlier in the week Newcastle were reported to have postponed selection of their team with a view to including Burke if the transfer deal was completed in time.

Burke joined Blackpool from Droylsden in 1937. He served during the war in the Royal Navy, and, returning to the club last season, made 16 appearances with the first team.

This winter he has played only in Central League football.


FEW people know that Balmer, the Liverpool inside-right, who has scored 11 goals in four successive matches - the latest against Blackpool last Saturday - is the son of the former left full-back, “Billy” Balmer, who made his name with South Shore in the Lancashire League days many years ago.


Your stand ticket

SALE of stand tickets for the Blackpool v. Blackburn Rovers game at Bloomfield-road; Blackpool, on Boxing Day, will start at 1-30 p.m. tomorrow, and will continue throughout the match between Blackpool Reserve and Manchester United Reserve.

Arrangements for the sale of tickets were outlined by a Blackpool F.C. official today.

“Tickets will be available on weekdays,” he said, “from 9-15 a.m. to 12-15 p.m. and 2-15 p.m. to 4-30 p.m. Tickets for the centre stand will be 6s. each and for the wing and south stands 3s. 6d. each. Centre-stand paddock will be 4s. 6d., wing or south stand paddock 3s., and ground 1s. 3d.

There are reduced prices for boys except for seating accommodation.

“Holders of five guineas centre- stand season tickets and £3 10s. wing or south stand season tickets who require a seat for the Rovers match should exchange Coupon 60 at the club offices, for a special ticket, not later than December 16th.

“Holders of other types of season tickets are not affected and will use season tickets as for an ordinary match,” added the official.


Cup-Tie memory 

NOT a few people in Blackpool noticed with regret that Cheltenham Town were out of the Cup after one game at Aidershot.

We have had a particular affection for Cheltenham in these parts since Blackpool went there for a third-round tie in 1934, and, a goal in arrears at half-time to a team of market gardeners, carpenters, tinkers, tailors - and, for all I know, candlestick-makers-had to play every minute to win 3-1.

Walter Bussey, Phil Watson (penalty) and Peter Doherty scored the second-half goals.

NEXT big date for the diary is Tuesday evening, when a public meeting will resurrect the Supporters’ Club.

Col. William Parkinson, J.P., the Blackpool chairman, is the man behind this movement. That means that the new club will have a virile identity. It is almost certain, I understand, to include in its constitution a panel to aid the club in star- hunts.

The present intention is that it shall be again not merely a figurehead institution, but that it will be invited to co-operate with the club in team-building and other enterprises.

It may even be able to persuade some club or other to part with a class outside-right - you never know!

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