25 January 1947 Aston Villa 1 Blackpool 1


Neat display brings a point


Aston Villa 1, Blackpool 1 

By “Spectator”

THIS was the odd match out in Birmingham today. From the early hours Cup-tie partisans were parading the streets of the city. Long queues waited for hours for buses and trams to St. Andrews and the Hawthorns.

Nobody seemed to be talking about the game at Villa Park.

Hours of snow, sleet and rain had churned the pitch to one of those quagmires on which Blackpool teams seem unable to win in this Arctic weather.

It was fine again but cold as the kick-off approached.

With 15 minutes to go, there were not 15.000 people in this vast enclosure where Blackpool lost the 1944 Cup final in front of 60,000

Hundreds of them pelted each other in a dozen or two snowball battles.

It was the first home appearance of £12,000 Trevor Ford, the centre-forward from Swansea, for whose signature Blackpool made a vain attempt at 12 months ago.

Manager Joe Smith was not among those present. He was watching a forward in a Cup-tie on a Lancashire First Division team's ground.


ASTON VILLA: Rutherford, Potts, Cummings, Moss (A.), Parkes, Lowe (E), Edwards, Dixon, Ford, Dorset, and Smith.

BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Shimwell, Sibley, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Nelson, Dick, Mortensen, Eastham, and Blair.

Referee: Mr. C. Fletcher (Davenham) 


The pitch had been cleared of snow, which was piled 2ft. or 3ft. high on the edge of the touch lines.

The attendance, which had increased to 25,000, had little to excite it in the opening passages.

Rutherford came leaping out to a high centre crossed by Dick and lost the ball as Mortensen challenged him and the offside whistle went.

That was in Blackpool’s first raid.

Another which followed it ended in Hayward’s free-kick being repelled from a packed Villa coal area.

In the first five minutes Blackpool were often raiding on a surface which was not such a marsh as it had threatened to be.

Yet in the sixth minute Vernon Ford missed one cf those chances in a breakaway on the Villa right wing which £12,090 forwards are not supposed to miss.


A half-back’s pass reached Dixon. The inside-right put the ball inside. Ford was waiting for it calling for a pass, took it, and shot wide of the far post with Wallace alone in front of him. There were gaps in this Blackpool defence under this early pressure.

Ford wandered into another, and shot low into Wallace’s arms as the offside whistle went.

Yet when Blackpool came into the game again, a fine inter-passing raid via the Johnston, Dick Mortensen route might have produced a goal.

It cut the Villa defence wide open in its centre, and left Mortensen to chase a long pass and to lose a race for the ball with the deserted Rutherford, with less than half a yard in it.

That was a perfect example of the fast, direct pass.


Game’s first corner in 12th minute

Mortensen. on his own, forced Parks to the concession of the game’s first corner in the 12th minute before this Blackpool pressure ended.

There was little in it, not a lot of drama, but flashes of neat ordered football in the first quarter of an hour.

The pitch, which had rolled out firmer than had been expected, was suiting Blackpool’s football, which continued to be ordered and precise, if possessing little punch.

One loose ball went to Dick, and skidded away from the inside-right, who was in a shooting position 15 yards out.

Blair was wandering a lot, but this time was releasing the ball fast as he lured his man out of position.

In the 21st minute Blackpool went in front with a grand goal in three moves.

There was a short pass from Dick to Farrow, and a long punted pass down the centre by the half-back.

After it went MORTENSEN outpaced Parkes and shot from 12 yards out a ball which sped under Rutherford’s chest as the goalkeeper dived a split second too late at it, beaten by its pace.


Hammer and tongues the Villa went at it afterwards.

Wallace held two shots which Ford lashed at him from short range before Shimwell hurled himself into the path of a flying thunderbolt front Leslie Smith and headed it far away over the line for the Villa’s first corner.

Chances and half-chances were presenting themselves to Ford. He was missing them all, and missed another two as the Villa battering pressure continued against a Blackpool defence not yet betraying any signs of panic.

With half an hour gone Mortensen left the field, and was off for a couple of minutes.

Five minutes of the half were left, and it was nearly 2-0 as Johnston and Dick opened another down-the-centre raid for Mortensen.

The centre-forward, in spite of a limp, chased the forward pass, reached it in front of the pursuing Parks, and shot at a great pace wide of a post, with Rutherford late in his leap again.


They have a few barrackers even at Villa Park. A few of them were giving tongue as the interval approached.

Johnston and Sibley were outstanding in a Blackpool defence which in this first half had been as compact as a week ago it was wide open.

By less than half a yard Eastham missed Mortensen’s pass in the last minute of the half.

Thirty seconds later Shimwell cleared in front of an open goal after Wallace had dived at Ford’s feet and the ball had come out loose, with the goalkeeper yards away from him.

Half-time Aston Villa 0, Blackpool 1.


Villa opened the second half with a fast wing-to-wing raid.

Twice, high-flying centres raked Blackpool’s goal before Wallace held a third near the angle of post and bar as Ford leaped in fast to reach it.

Non-stop this raid continued until in the end the tall, shooting half-back Moss shot high over the bar from speculative range.

There was no recognising the unassertive first-half Villa in this battling, battering team during the first five minutes of the half.

Wallace made a grand clearance from Dixon after a skidding ball had eluded Hayward and left Edwards to cross a centre into a defence for once wide open.


Dorsett once shot a ball of such pace that when Wallace held it and cleared it he collapsed in a heap, and had to be given trainer’s attention.

This was such pressure as Blackpool never faced before the interval.

That the Blackpool defence should have been standing up to it after all that happened last week was remarkable. Yet it was standing up to it. and not losing a lot of composure in the process.

Yet it was the outplayed team, as often happens, which came nearest to a goal.

Eastham eluded two men in a sinuous dribble, served to Mortensen a pass which the centre-forward shot as Rutherford dived at his feet and deflected it anywhere.

Villa equalised nine minutes from the end. 

Raid was built on the left. Smith crossed a high ball, and Ford headed the falling ball wide of Wallace's right hand.

Wallace made succession of great clearances afterwards.


ASTON VILLA 1 (Ford 81min)

BLACKPOOL 1 (Mortensen 21min)


Blackpool defence, standing firm under great battering redeemed itself.

Wallace played daring and audacious game in goal and Sibley was class fullback. But men who made big difference were two wing halfbacks, Farrow and Johnston, who in the first half gave forwards a fine supply of passes.

After these wing halves were convincing in defence.

Forwards again moved to plan which appeared to stake everything on Mortensen scoring the goals, but line deserved another trial.

Blackpool nearly won and were entitled to a point for attractive forward game in first half and never-say-die rearguard motion afterwards. 


The right to a square deal

By “Spectator”

THAT is the question of the week in Blackpool football since two daily papers took to task the minority of Blackpool's football public for its uncharitable treatment of a losing team in the Sunderland match.

My views on the subject have often been expressed. There is no law against barracking, no F.A. statute forbidding it.

But ft is such a stupid practice, and at times can become so cruel, so destructive of a player’s self-confidence when it is directed against a particular player - as often it is at Blackpool - that it offends all the canons of decent conduct and cannot be condoned.

Letters have flooded into the office since I wrote this week condemning the barrackers. Seventy-five per cent, say, “Go to it - let ’em have it! See if they can take their own medicine!”

Twenty-five per cent, admit that they barrack, a few of them almost on a note of apology, protesting that the provocation has been so great in recent weeks that steam had to be let off or they could not

The difference

THE rest are unashamed, ask, “It’s a free country, isn’t it? What’s a matter with these players? Are they such pampered darlings that they can’t stand a bit of criticism? ‘ That is the issue in this question. 

There is a whole world of difference between criticism and barracking.

I have criticised the Blackpool team and players in it for years. I can recall only one or two cases when this criticism has been resented.

That, I think, is because it has always been - or such at least has been my intention - constructive criticism.

Professional footballers of my acquaintance have never objected to that.

But barracking is destructive is often, too, mere personal and vulgar abuse, and at Blackpool, where the players are close to the stands and terraces, the insults hit the men at close range.

Into the paddock

ONE Irish full-back who played for Blackpool between the wars was once so offended by one observation on his personal habits that he leaped into one of the paddocks and was restrained only by force from committing violent assault on his persecutor.

I am not advocating this sort of reprisal, which is as senseless as the conduct which provokes it. But it shows the disturbing influence that barracking can have on a badgered and tormented footballer.

The truth is that barracking defeats its own purpose, for it merely unsettles a man or a team, can make a bad team worse, and in Blackpool and one or two other towns has actually driven good men out of the game.

Nobody is pretending that Blackpool’s recent decline has not been aggravating for so often defeat has been invited by flagrantly wrong tactics, the short pass chief among them.

Noisy minority

BUT barracking will not arrest the decline. Nor will the less strident but mischievous innuendos of the small minority who have been remorselessly playing the team down from the first day of the season.

Blackpool footballers, I think, are resigned to the knowledge that in home games they will never play in front of the 100 per cent, our-team-right-or-wrong fans who swarm into the grounds in the big industrial cities and towns.

Blackpool has a population too cosmopolitan for that sort of almost fanatical loyalty. But this team is at least entitled to a square deal, and it is not being given it by those few hundred people who always contrive to make as much noise as a few thousand.

Money for new men

THE directors, I am assured, realise that this team has to be strengthened.

If they refuse to spend £5,000, which was the price quoted a week ago, for a Third Division wing forward who has still a reputation to make, I don’t blame them.

They will pay, for at last they have the money to pay, for the men they want. The question is: “Where are they?” Never was there such a famine in first-class footballers in the open market.

Blackpool are not the only club hunting in vain for star material. Day after day the telephone bell rings at Bloomfield-road and Blackpool are asked, “Have you any men to sell?”

Yes, that happens every day.

In the meantime, Manager Jot Smith is out on the transfer prowl again. I shall be surprised if he is at Birmingham watching his team today.

A more probable destination is Scotland, where Albert Juliussen. the Dundee centre-forward, is playing.

ottings fro
m all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 25 January 1947

Not a lucky ground

BLACKPOOL had yet to Win a match at Villa Park in First Division, Second Division, or Cup when the team took the field there this afternoon. They met their usual fate in the last First Division meeting in January, 1939.

Tom Lewis snapped up a back pass to the Villa goalkeeper to give Blackpool an early lead, but it was 3-1 for the home team before the end.

The men who lost were: Wallace, Blair (D.), Butler,
 Farrow, Hayward, Jones (S.), Munro, Buchan, Lewis, Eastham and McLaren.


THE amateur team selectors have been at it all week. Every post has contained half a dozen teams chosen to arrest Blackpool's recent decline.

I give one - and only one - not because I am in agreement with this selector, but because he is the youngest of these team - builders.

S. Ashworth is his name. He lives in Baldwin - grove. He is only 13. And the men he would field are:

Robinson; Sibley, Lewis, Buchan (T.), Suart, Kelly, Finan, Mortensen, Dick, Eastham, and O’Donnell.

This young man is no respecter of persons or reputations.


THEY will talk in the Potteries for years about Stanley Matthews’ miracle goal against Blackpool.

It was only his second goal of the season. This master forward, who, whatever they say at Preston, must still be the world’s No. 1 outside-right, shoots few goals, and, on his own admission, has never shot such a one as that wonder last weekend.

But how many does he make for the other forwards?

Why in one Blackpool wartime team, when the front line shot 140 in a season, his contribution to the list was exactly two!


THREE thousand tickets for the all-ticket Blackpool v. Preston North End match on February 15 were sold in the first three hours after the box-offices opened.

This match is a certain sell-out. Thirty thousand will be admitted to the ground, creating a new
record for postwar football in Blackpool.

The certificate issued to the club under the new regulations permits 30,500.


I AM not certain that the man who beat Blackpool last weekend for the second time this season was not Will Watson, the Yorkshire cricketer and Sunderland inside-left.

In the game at Roker Park in September he played halfway between the forward and halfback lines, where Alec James used to position himself, and, after Blackpool had taken an early lead with a George

Eastham goal, sent the four other forwards so often into the game that eventually the Blackpool defence capitulated.

It happened again last weekend. He’s a first-class, intelligent footballer.


I NOTICE that in the auto-biography he is writing in one of the Sunday papers, Stanley Matthew’s recalls that his partner in his first game in the League was an inside-right called Walter Bussey.

This is the forward who came afterwards to Blackpool in the ’30’s and shot a few goals for the team which Blackpool began to build after the club’s 1933 relegation.


ORDERED off the field last weekend: Ken Dawson, the Falkirk outside-left who came to Blackpool with a reputation as the leading marksman among Scotland’s wing forwards, never settled in English football, and, after a few months, was allowed to return to Falkirk.

It is only a month or two ago that he signed for the club again.

Ever since he has been shooting goals as he could never shoot them for Blackpool.


JACKIE ROBINSON’S three late goals against Blackpool for Sunderland last weekend were shot in exactly nine minutes.

This is not a League record. Between the wars, in First Division matches, Jim McIntyre, who afterwards came to Blackpool, once scored four goals in five minutes for Blackburn Rovers against Everton, and this rapid-fire shooting was equalled by W. G. Richardson, of West Bromwich Albion against West Ham United.

But the Sunderland inside- right is the first man ever to shoot a “hat trick” against a Blackpool defence in less than 10 minutes.


“And when we tell them
how wonderful they were,
They’ll never believe us.
They’ll never believe us.”

I MET a Sunderland director crooning this paraphrase of the old song after his team had won 5-0 at Blackpool last week.

After enduring seven successive home defeats the Sunderland public had to be persuaded that there had not been a misprint in the papers before they would believe it.


LESLIE SMITH, the forward from Brentford, who will probably have played against Blackpool at Villa Park this afternoon, was once on Blackpool’s wanted” list.

A few weeks before he went to the Villa last season the club went into the market for him with the biggest bid Blackpool ever made for a player while the clubs were still divided into regional groups.

When it was refused a star player was offered in part-exchange. Again Brentford said "No” - and then let this accomplished outside-left go to the Villa.


SUNDERLAND are the first team this season to record a double against Blackpool 3-2 at Roker Park in Blackpool’s first defeat of the season and 5-0 at Blackpool.

There are only two North-Eastern teams in the First Division this season. One of them, Middlesbrough, came to Blackpool in December and won 5-0.

Now Sunderland have gone and done it.

One can only be thankful that Newcastle United are in the Second Division!

It is certainly hoped that no member of the Blackpool Supporters' Club was in any way associated with the barracking at the match last Saturday.

Barracking of players is bad sportsmanship, does far more harm than good, and is not in keeping with the game.

From the moment a certain player first touched the ball it was obvious that the crowd was against him.

Others were singled out for attention.

It appears to be the same people who at the beginning of the season, when the team was playing so well, were so critical and found fault with a winning side, and yet are the first to grumble and shout about being ardent supporters if they cannot get what they want.

I hope the culprits have taken heed of “Spectator’s” excellent articles during the week, and that next week we shall hear the players being encouraged and not discouraged.

General Meeting

The general meeting on Thursday, January 30. will elect the permanent officials of the club and discuss the future activities. Do not forget to be present at the Albert Hall at 7-30.

The dinner and dance has been arranged at the Casino on Monday, February 17. from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Tickets are on sale from the committee - dinner and dance 15s and dancing only 4s.


A NUMBER of stewards are required for the match with Preston on February 15.

Any members of the club who are willing to assist with the packing of the crowd should give their names to either Mr. T. Newton or Mr. J. Cobb at the ground any time.

Ladies’ section

THE first effort of the ladies section was a great success, and the whist drive last Tuesday at Miss Marshall’s raised £8 and was enjoyed by all.

The committee desire to express their thanks to all who made this effort such a success by their work or donation of prizes for whist and competitions

Congratulations and all good wishes to Ronnie Suart who is being married on Monday. At the whist drive last Tuesday he was presented with a case of fish eaters bv the Supporters’ Club committee.

Do not forget to obtain and complete your forms for membership and forward them to Mr. T Newton, the treasurer, with the 2/6d fee, as soon as possible. Next Thursdav at the general meeting will be an excellent opportunity to sign on the line Please.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.