4 January 1947 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 Blackpool 1


Lead vanishes in 12 fatal minutes


Wolves 3, Blackpool 1 

By “Spectator”

THEY were saying at Wolverhampton before the match today that it would be 3-0 or 4-0 for the all-conquering Wanderers.

Few seemed to think Blackpool were in the game except to make a Midlands holiday for the 35.000 people packed into the ground a quarter of an hour before the kickoff.

Only Mr. Ted Vizard, the Wanderers' manager, who met today his former Bolton Wanderers partner, Mr. Joe Smith, was inclined to be a little cautious.

“You never know in this game,” he said when I talked to him at lunch.

The Wanderers took the field without Galley and Mullen, and played a recruit full-back, Pritchard.

Blackpool, who played in white, gave another game to the men who defeated Huddersfield last week.

It was still, a cold day. I was told that the pitch was as the Wanderers prefer it - a little firm on top and with plenty of mud beneath.


WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS: Williams, McLean, Pritchard, Crook, Cullis, Wright, King, Pye Westcott, Forbes and Hancocks.

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

Referee: Mr. A. Baker (Crewe).


Ambulance men treated casualties before the teams appeared in front of an excited attendance, bordering on 60,000. The gates were closed and thousands locked out.

It was by thousands the biggest crowd in front of which Blackpool have played this season. There was all the atmosphere of a cup-tie.

When Johnston won the toss, Blackpool took the aid of what little wind was blowing.

Two grand clearances by Shimwell halted the Wolves’ left wing before Crook ended a mid by shooting high over Except when Mortensen served Nelson with a too fast pass, Blackpool were not over the half way line in the first three minutes.

In that time Westcott might have given the Wanderers an early lead, but shot wide from a position where he must have scored once or twice this season.

It was open, fast and yet not exciting football.

Dick headed into Williams’s arms after Mortensen had escaped on the left wing and crossed a centre which any wing-forward would not have disowned.


Blackpool make use of long pass

Blackpool were not outplayed. Nobody seemed able to understand it. Now and again, long passes were missing their men, but at least they were long passes.

Farrow drove one of his free-kick specials into a mass of men five yards outside the Wolves’ penalty area, and before the raid ended Mortensen twice hooked shots wide, the second from a perfect free kick lobbed into a packed goal area by Shimwell.

The Division leaders were not finding it all their own way.

A grand headed interception by Suart put the brake on Westcott when the centre-forward went chasing a long forward pass.

But a minute later this tearaway leader was past every other man in Blackpool’s defence? before Wallace gallantly dived at his feet.

Yet, all against the form-book, it was Blackpool who were playing the fast ordered football.

Shimwell’s game had a new confidence and assurance in it. All his clearances revealed decision and had great length.

Blackpool were raiding repeatedly with 20 minutes gone, seldom reaching a scoring position but still outplaying the Wanderers. There was nothing for nearly 60,000 people to cheer.


Farrow shot over the bar from a corner as the pressure continued.

Nothing was happening, at this time, according to plan. It was no picnic for the Wanderers.

Johnston nearly brushed the foot of a post in another all-out Blackpool raid.

This was the sort of football which Blackpool never played against Huddersfield last week. Even the Wanderers’ fans were beginning to applaud it.

At last the Wanderers’ front line began to enter the game, but except for grand headed clearances by Sibley, Suart and Johnston the Blackpool goal was never under fire.

Yet the Blackpool goal might have fallen in the 20th minute as a bouncing ball eluded two Blackpool men, passed in front of Westcott, and was cleared anywhere from him by Wallace.

A minute later, too, the big Scot had to leave his goal to make another nose-dive at the feet of Westcott, the only Wolf during the first 35 minutes to reveal a trace of bite.

Blackpool were no longer in complete command as the interval approached, yet were entitled still to be level and might have been in front.


In another Wanderers raid Shimwell brilliantly held Westcott and Hancocks on his own. It had been a great first half for the new full-back.

The entire Blackpool defence was steady with him in it.

In the 43rd minute of the half Blackpool deservedly took the lead. It was a goal perfect in design and everything else.

Buchan opened the raid, and swerved past two men near the half-way line.

Dick called for a pass, took it in the inside-left position, brushed McLean out of his path, and crossed the ball.

MORTENSEN, with a big leap, headed wide of the falling Williams’ right hand for his 15th goal of the season.

Blackpool were entitled to this interval lead.

Half-time: Wolves 0, Blackpool 1.


The Wanderers went on in the second half with the intention of showing that everything which had happened in the first half had been all wrong.

They nearly showed it in the second minute when Pye took a square pass and shot a ball fast and hard.

The 60,000 people were shouting, “Goal!” as Wallace fell full length to his left and punched the ball out for a comer which was not repelled until a ferocious attack had lasted some time.

The Wanderers meant business this time. Yet Dick twice opened raids for Blackpool which ended out on the wing where there had been little punch all the afternoon.


In the seventh minute of the half the Wanderers were on terms in storming flat out pressure.

A free-kick was lobbed high into a goalmouth thick with men. A rising shot came out of the pack Wallace punched it out with both fists, and was still crouched on his hands as the tall PYE darted to the loose ball and hooked it high and fast into the net.

Blackpool were still not completely out of it. Williams cleared under the bar as Mortensen challenged him before the Wanderers came back with a raid on the right and Wallace held a high shot lashed at him almost from the line by King.

Yet a goal for the Wolves, hammering away every minute, was only delayed.

In the 15th minute of the half the Division leaders went in front as FORBES took a forward pass from Westcott and shot high into the net as Wallace fell vainly at his feet, with the Blackpool defence scattered far and wide for the first time in the afternoon.

The Wanderers were playing at last as First Division leaders are expected to play - fast, direct and aggressive.

Few defences could have held them. Sibley hooked a ball off the line of an empty goal, but in the 20th minute of the half it was 3-1

This time, as the second of two centres raked his goal Wallace leaped at the flying ball, lost it as WESTCOTT hurled himself at him in mid air and was sprawling on the grass as the leader hooked the ball into an empty goal.

The game was lost in those 12 dramatic minutes.

It was merely a case of waiting for the finish. 

Blackpool were reduced to Mortensen breakaways in the end.


WOLVES 3 (Pye 52 min, Forbes 60 min, Westcott 65 min) 

BLACKPOOL 1 (Mortensen 43 min)


Three goals in 12 minutes, plus non-stop football for 45 minutes, won this game for the Wolves.

It was not the nearly undisputed passage for the leaders which everybody seemed to expect.

For 45 minutes, Blackpool were giving the Wanderers a lesson in ordered and composed football, with fast, low passes, each pass finding its man.

Blackpool might have won the game in this first half, but only two forwards. Mortensen and Dick, revealed the punch required, They made copybook raids, but the wing forwards could not make any progress.

The defence, until the last quarter of an hour, played nothing but good football.

This defence was infinitely steadier, and seldom in one oi those old, familiar panics. Suart towered in the field's centre, intercepting every down-the-middle pass in the first half.

Farrow and Johnston were giving passes out to both wings before the interval to a forward line which never made sufficient use of them.

It was, however, Shimwell's game in partnership with Sibley which was the highlight today.

Blackpool lost, as a lot of people expected them to lose, but they made a great match of it.


- But Blackpool look ahead

By “Spectator”

WHATEVER the rest of the community may have to say about 1946 - and few folk seem to have been able to say anything polite about it - it has not been such a Bad Old Year for Blackpool football.

For the first time a Blackpool team has finished a half-season as one of the first five in the First Division, after actually leading the Division for a couple of months.

The team, too, that was No. 1 in the list between the end of September and the closing days of November was one of the cheapest fielded by the club for 10 or 15 years.

Its defence cost less than £4,000. For a time it included a half-back line which cost nothing at all. And the forwards, once Willie Buchan was out of the line, had often among them three who came to Blackpool without a fee - four if Jim McIntosh can be counted.

So, quietly, there must have been a bit of intelligent team building going on somewhere.

This Blackpool team, too, has already won in 24 matches only three fewer points than the relegation team of 1932-33 was able to collect in the entire 42.

Comparison shows - 

A COMPARISON of the end-of-1946 record of this team with the record of the last pre-war team during the corresponding period is another encouraging little revelation.

Study these figures:


                     P W D L F A  Pts
1946-47 .... 24 14 2 8 42 41 30 
1938-39 .... 24 7 7 10 30 41 21

A profit of nine points and twice as many matches won is no negligible achievement.

I am prepared to admit that by pre-war standards Blackpool are not a great team.

But, as present-day teams go, Blackpool have a side above the average.

Good luck can put a team at the top of a table in a season’s first month, but it cannot keep one there, or thereabouts, for half a football year. The breaks average themselves out in that time.

By this period in a season the good teams - good by present assessments - are in the top half of the table and the teams not-so-good in the lower half.

The Blackpool management, therefore, could view the present position with a certain complacency.

Yet there is no reason to think that Mr. Joe Smith, one of the best managers in the game, and the directors are inclined to sit back today and say, “Everything’s fine now.”

For, manifestly, it is not - not taking the long view.

A defence which has conceded 41 goals while the forwards have been scoring only 42 has - or, at least, had - something wrong with it. The signing of Edmund Shimwell indicated that the directorate were not unaware of this fact.

The new man from Sheffield United should close those gaps once he has settled to the game he can play.

The forward division, too, will be strengthened once the men can be signed. I revealed the other week that a record fee of £15,000 was offered - and rejected early last month for Gordon Smith, the Hibernian’s outside-right.

Hunt goes on

I STILL think, too, that last week, if certain unforeseen developments had not intervened, Huddersfield’s offer of £10,000 for Peter Doherty would have been equalled by Blackpool,

The hunt continues, too.

Blackpool have at last the money to spend, and, before this season ends, I think it will be spent.

They don’t think at Blackpool that they have the perfect team yet. But they do think - and with good reason - that it’s not been such a Bad Old Year.

ottings fro
m all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 4 January 1947

It was 1-1 in 1938

IT was a year to the day before the beginning of World War No. 2 that a Blackpool team last played at Wolverhampton in a First Division match.

A 1-1 draw was the result. Blackpool's goal was shot in the first half-minute by Frank O'Donnell. That was a story in itself, for in its two previous games - the games which opened the last full pre-war season - the forwards had not scored a goal.

The men in tangerine on September 3, 1938, were:

Roxburgh; Blair (D.), Sibley, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, Buchan, O’Donnell (F.), Blair (J.) and Dawson.

IT was a Merry Christmas for Blackpool.

Seven out of eight points, including the Charlton game, were won by the First Division team. Seven out of eight were won by the Reserve, too.

Not a lot of goals had to be scored to win them, either.

The first team shot only five - two of them penalties - to win those seven points, and the second team won five of their seven points with three goals.


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!


HOW to take a penalty-kick. Ask Willie Buchan, the Blackpool forward.

He perfected the technique during the summer. He has had three penalties to take this season. He has converted the three of them as if it were all as easy as shelling peas - as, of course, in theory, it should be.

Although you know what so often happens in practice.


I HEAR that if Huddersfield Town had not possessed a wing-forward called Vic Metcalfe - and a good wing-forward he is, too - it is possible that Peter Doherty might have become a Blackpool player again.

The Town refused day after day last week to accept Derby’s proposal that the outside-left should be included in the Doherty transfer.

At last Mr. David Steele, the Huddersfield manager, made a semi-capitulation, promising that if ever Metcalfe left Leeds- road, the County should be given first option on his signature. That turned the scale.


IT was not - as several of the papers reported - Blackpool’s first double of the season when Huddersfield Town were defeated 2-1 last weekend after losing 3-1 at Leeds-road on the season’s first day.

Blackpool had a September double against Portsmouth - 1-0 at Fratton Park, 4-3 at Bloomfield-road.


BILL EDRICH, D.F.C. squadron-leader in the war, star of the England tourists in Australia today, promised at one time to make a name for himself in League football.

I recall a visit to White Hart-lane in November, 1935, with the Blackpool team. The ’Spurs had a last-minute team problem when Willie Evans, the Welsh international outside-left, reported unfit.

An unknown forward was drafted into the position, given his first game in the Second Division. This was Bill Edrich’s baptism in the League.

He had a triumph that day against the two Blackpool Watsons - Albert and Phil. Neither could hold him.

From his passes the ’Spurs scored their three goals in a 3-1 win.


GEOFF BARKER, rufus-haired half-back, who played for Huddersfield Town at Blackpool last weekend, was an Aston Villa full - back when he enlisted as one of Blackpool’s wartime guests.

It was as a full-back that he was invariably fielded by Blackpool in those days until the Pope - Kinsell partnership established itself.

Alf Pope, by the way, is still on Workington’s books, but remains on the Hearts' transfer list at a £500 fee.


I HAVE heard plenty of murmuring this week about “Nothing but a slave market.. ” and all the rest of it when people, after the Peter Doherty case, have been talking about the transfer system.

I am not defending the system. One of these days it will have to be amended, which is a polite way of putting it.

But it still remains a fact that the player has the last word. I can quote one case this season. When Jackie Robinson left Sheffield Wednesday for Sunderland there was another North- Eastern club in the field offering £2,000 more than Sunderland’s figure.

“ But,” said Robinson, “ I want to go to Sunderland . . . Sorry and all that.”

He went to Sunderland - and the Wednesday lost £2,000.


ONE of these days a Blackpool forward is going to score more than one goal in a match again.

Stan Mortensen, who had scored 14 goals before this afternoon’s game at Wolverhampton, has yet to do it. He has compiled his total one goal at a time.

The only forwards who have! broken this "1...1...1” sequence are George Eastham, who scored twice at Sunderland, and Willie Buchan, who had two against Brentford and three against Portsmouth. That “hat trick” - the last time a Blackpool forward broke this one-goal hoodoo-was as long ago as September 23.


FOOTBALL CURIO: Blackpool lost five goals in an hour and a half to Middlesbrough. In the next four games - six hours’ football - the defence conceded only two.


No figure has been disclosed by Blackpool or Sheffield United, but I hear from a Sheffield source that the transfer fee paid by Blackpool for Edmund Shimwell was £7,000.

They think at Blackpool that it may be one of the bargains of the year.

This was as nearly a model transfer as such a transaction can be in these ballyhoo days.

There were no preliminary headlines - no closed-door conferences - no undignified bartering. It was all settled in less than a couple of hours.

The player was left to choose between Barnsley and Blackpool.

 He chose Blackpool because he preferred to play in the First Division.

THE Blackpool Football Supporters’ Club, under the enthusiastic leadership of the chairman, Mr. Harry Markland, have soon got down to business.

The snooker matches at the Tower Circus between the Davis brothers, with Miss Joyce Gardner as compere, resulted in a win for “Joe,” with many excellent games and a wonderful break by Fred. They were well attended considering that it was the first venture, and much enjoyed.

Members of the football team present were introduced at each session.

Plans for 1947

THE Christmas holidays have handicapped the committee, but early in the New Year it is hoped to set many new schemes in motion.

The committee are reminded of the meeting at the ground at 7-30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7, and soon after that meeting a general meeting of all members will be called to elect the permanent committee and discuss activities.

A dance has been arranged for early in the New Year.

The membership is now over 500 - let’s make it 1,000. 

The subscription is only 2s. 6d., and forms may be obtained from any member of the committee or from Mr. Tom Newton, the treasurer, at any of the canteens on the ground.

To visit Sheffield

ARRANGEMENTS have been completed for the visit to Sheffield for the Cup-tie with the Wednesday on January 11. The coaches will leave the ground at 8-30 a.m., so book your seats early and give the team the encouragement they deserve.

We all hope that 1947 is Blackpool’s year, and that we shall be able to travel with them to Wembley.

In conclusion, the committee extend to the club, players and all members, the very best wishes for success in 1947. 

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