15 February 1947 Blackpool 4 Preston North End 0


Goal-scoring lesson for North End


Blackpool 4, Preston North End 0  

By “Spectator”

TWENTY men recruited from the Employment Exchange cleared all the terraces and paddocks of snow at Blackpool today before the gates were opened for this all ticket match.

The field was left under the half-inch of snow which has frozen on it during the week.

That was a lesson Blackpool learned at Highbury last week, but without hesitation Mr. J. Briggs, of Cheadle, passed it.

The lines were painted red. Eight hundred tickets for the ground and paddocks were left for sale an hour before the match another consignment having been returned from Deepdale.

There were soon queues for them at the kiosks.

Preston North End, whose Cup-tie with Sheffield Wednesday on Monday has again been postponed, fielded the Cup team.

Blackpool had Dick at inside-left for the first time in the absence of Eastham, one of the week’s influenza casualties.

This time there was no last-minute stampede on the 42 turnstiles. Half an hour before the teams took the field, which resembled an Arctic plain, there were 20,000 people waiting.

A record postwar attendance approaching 29,500 was present at the kick-off.

Rattles and bells made a chorus as the teams appeared in the first gleams of sunshine which visited the Fylde for weeks.


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

PRESTON NORTH END:  Fairbrother, Beattie (A.), Scott, Shankly, Williams, Hamilton, Finney, McLaren, McIntosh, Beattie (R) and Wharton.

Referee; Mr. J. Briggs (Cheadle).

This was an austerity Saturday. No paper supplies were permitted for the programmes, and the names of the players selected were shown on a chalked board.

A fast raid by Preston’s forwards opened the match.

An offside whistle halted it out on the left wing with Wharton racing into an open space.

Within a minute, in spite of a surface on which the ball skidded away from the men continually, Nelson took Mortensen’s long pass, released a forward pass to Munro, raced away - to the line, passed his full-back before hitting the side net with the other full-back crossing to meet him.


Direct from this raid, Preston’s front line tore away again, and after Hayward had been beaten by a ball which bounced away from him, Johnston had to concede a comer in a neck or nothing tackle of McIntosh as the centre forward reached shooting position. The pace was fast, incredibly fast on such an ice rink.

Continuously, Preston attacked for a time, and after a barrage of shots had been repelled in one full line raid which the consummate craft of Tom Finney had created, Hayward was laid low by a thunderbolt which put him out for the full count.

The Blackpool public have not seen a Cup-tie this season. They were seeing one today, even if it was not given that title.

Once the Blackpool forward line began to go into action it was impressive.

One advance on the left, opened by Johnston and continued by the left wing forwards, ended in Blair taking Dick’s final pass, crossing a ball which Scott cleared on the line of a gaping goal.

That was in the 10th minute of the half. Before the 14th, Blackpool were leading 2-0.

The man who was included only because another forward was ill put both goals to his name.

A raid down the centre produced the first goal, tore a gap in the middle of North End’s stampeded defence.

In front of two forwards - Mortensen and DICK - an elusive ball bounced. Each man lost it before the inside left darted to it, shot it fast into the roof of the net as it was racing away from him again near a post.


This goal came in the 12th minute.

Two minutes later Blackpool won two corners in half a minute

From the second No. 2 goal came.

Nelson crossed a perfect ball from the flag.

DICK leaped to it, close to the near post in the inside right position, and off his head it shot so fast that Fairbrother watched it pass him into the far wall of the net.


North End’s defence
almost in panic

Afterwards the North End defence was in a state bordering on panic, was being hammered non-stop for minutes on end.

Its wing halves and fullbacks were constantly passed by Blackpool forwards moving faster to the ball in every position.

Blackpool’s pressure continued. Great all-out football it was, faster than North End could produce on the frozen snow.

In the 20th minute there should have been a hat-trick for Dick, as a made-to-measure centre from the progressive right wing was crossed, and the ball lost by the inside-left in front of another gaping goal.

Not that Preston were out of the game. Within two minutes of this escape it was nearly 2-1.

It would have been if Hayward had not crossed to the left wing after Sibley had lost Finney, who, cutting in fast, was selecting a part of the net to hit as the centre-half halted him with a flying tackle.


Preston raids by this time had become almost a major incident. Nearly all the football was moving at a hell-for-leather pace on to the Preston goal.

Three men, including the wandering Blair, were constantly stalking Finney; Johnston, too, was cutting off Shankly’s passes to his forwards.

This move, probably rehearsed, was putting the brake on Preston.

In the 32nd minute North End threw a goal away. There was a raid down the centre. A pack of men battled for the elusive ball.

At last, Wallace, grabbing at it, caught it and was escaping with it as McIntosh was charged in the back.

It was a penalty, and Mr. Briggs gave it in spite of Blackpool’s vehement protests.

Finney took the kick, adopting the Willie Buchan technique, gliding the ball away from Wallace, but so slowly that the goalkeeper reached it in a cat’s leap to his right.

Another minute, and it should have been 3-0.

Blackpool’s three inside forwards found themselves unexpectedly in possession of the ball within half a dozen yards of Fairbrother, but in the end Dick could only stab it slowly into the goalkeeper’s arms.

The Preston forwards were a little less speedy as the interval approached.

Half-time: Blackpool 2, Preston North End 0.


For the first time in the afternoon Williams lost the ball in the first minute of the second half.

It nearly cost a goal, and gave Mortensen an open path which was closed as he was shooting.

In the next minute North End had a goal disallowed.

It was Finney who created a raid which ended in two centres raking Blackpool’s goal.

From the second, Wharton headed wide of Wallace in a big leap for a goal which Mr. Briggs disallowed for offside before the Preston men could begin to jubilate.

It was grand football which North End played afterwards. Yet in a breakaway in the fifth minute of the half Blackpool were given a goal on a plate to make it 3-0.

Two men. Beattie (A.) and Williams moved to the ball, lost it as it came to a standstill in the snow, and left the alert MORTENSEN, all on his own.

The centre-forward advanced a dozen yards, with no man within yards of him, and almost walked the ball past the deserted Fairbrother for his 18th goal of the season.

Even after this, North End’s forwards were constantly in the game, Finney putting pass after pass into a goal area where his inside forwards as repeatedly missed them.

North End seemed fated not to score today.

In the tenth minute of the half, Blackpool had a big escape as Shankly punted into a packed goal area a free-kick from which McLaren hit a post.

In a nearly impossible position, North End continued to attack.

In spite of all this pressure, which continued for minutes, it was nearly 4-0 the next time the Blackpool forward line entered the game.

The North End defence left another of those wide open spaces. Into it, from Nelson’s pass, Mortensen raced, and shot from 30 yards out a ball which was rising so fast that Fairbrother had to make the save of the match to punch it over the bar.

Twenty minutes of the half had gone when North End had a goal refused. This time the referee said. “No” as McIntosh shot past Wallace from close range.

There was a bit of a scene, the Preston centre-forward protesting against the decision so excitedly that Mr. Briggs threatened to produce his notebook.

Still Preston attacked, Wallace dived at McLaren’s feet to snatch away a ball which was bouncing in front of his goal in a raid which ended in McIntosh catapulting full tilt over the wall of the Kop terrace and requiring attention before he came limping back.

You had to admire Preston’s refusal to admit defeat even when three goals in arrears.

Hayward was magnificent in a Blackpool defence under a hammering pressure.

Yet, as often happens, a fast Blackpool breakaway scored the next goal. A grand goal it was - the best of the match.

Nelson made it. He found an open space in the Preston defence, saw MORTENSEN all on his own, and gave the centre-forward a pass which the latter took as it reached him.

Fairbrother was left on his own, galloped out a dozen yards, reached with his finger tips a ball sailing high over his head, and fell backwards as it spun out of his reach into the back of the net.


BLACKPOOL 4, (Dick 12, 14 min,  Mortensen 50, 73 min)


‘No-nonsense’ football beat North End
Evening Gazette 17 February 1947 

“I’ll tell you what it was,” said the man on the 5-55 back to Preston on Saturday evening. "Our chaps fiddled about. Blackpool got on wi’ t’job.”

THE rest of the packed compartment murmured a melancholy assent. It was the story of this match in the fewest possible words, writes “ Spectator.” in the Monday edition of the Evening Gazette.

This time it was Blackpool who played the open, direct game. Preston were left to weave all those little bits of embroidery which give a teams football a bit of tone, but do not produce goals.

These North End men, admittedly, had no luck whatever. They missed a penalty - I count this, nevertheless, not as bad luck but bad management - hit a post, shot two goals, which were disallowed, and for half an hour of raiding in the second half had nothing except a big “O” in the score sheet to show for it. 

Yet Blackpool were entitled to this verdict, won it in the first half by football which had not a superfluous pass in it and after the interval by fast swoops by three grand inside forwards aided and abetted by the the unassuming Sammy Nelson, who, less in the game than the others, yet made two of the four goals.

There were times when the fullback division seemed to wilt, but all the afternoon the half-backs were the masters of the game.


Eric Hayward must have begun to appear as big and dominating as Blackpool Tower to Preston s inside men before the end of the match. On the wings, too, Farrow and Johnston could seldom be persuaded to release a pass which had not a studied intention in it.

This is the sort of football Blackpool were playing in the season’s first month.


With a penalty missed and two goals disallowed, Preston North End ended this match convinced that the gods had been against them. 

Probably they had. Yet it is goals that count, and Blackpool shot them and for that reason deserved the verdict.

Preston lost this match for two reasons:

(1) The defence was out witted and outpaced by Blackpool’s forwards before the interval.

(2) In the second half this defence was so intent on reinforcing an all-out attack that it left great gaps everywhere.

A price had to be paid, and the price was a 4-0 defeat. This was no true reflection of the game’s course, but Preston could not reasonably complain.

Starring in the grim rear-guard action, which Blackpool had to play after the interval was Hayward.

All the time, too, Johnstone revealed himself as a star half-back with  a plan which subdued that great forward Finney, for minutes - but not for longer.

Dick, Mortensen and Munro were a direct inside forward partnership for Blackpool.

North End had no forwards to compare with them in the acceptance of chances. This was Blackpool’s biggest victory of the season.


By “Spectator”

ACROSS to Ireland went Manager Joe Smith last week-end. Nobody can have envied him the passage. He went on orders which during the last month have sent him to all points of the compass. 

In that time he has not seen his own team in action. And in that time, too, he has not spent a penny, although he has gone with the board’s authority to spend thousands - not pennies but pounds.

They can afford to wait

AGAIN he returned early this week with the familiar report, “ They’re asking the earth for men worth £3,000 or £4,000.” Prices are as inflated in Ireland as anywhere else.

I think it is about time that Blackpool retired from this madhouse called the transfer market until all the desperate clubs have ceased their panic bidding.

That date is March 16. Until then Blackpool would be wise to call the hunt off.

I have met one or two people who have been wondering in recent times exactly why it is on.

I have been wondering, too.

Blackpool require a class outside-left. That is admitted. A £10,000 fee would not be an excessive figure for him - if he was a class outside-left and not a selling-plater on sale at a classic price.

But, beyond that one position, there is no immediate or imperative reason to strengthen the club’s present resources.

Puzzles them

THAT a club with a first team high in the First Division and a second team fourth in the Central League should be out every weekend searching for new and expensive stars mystifies a few folk who have been writing to this department this week.

One has to admire the enterprise of a board which, presumably, will never be content until it has acquired for Blackpool football in the shortest possible time a team of all those matured talents which money alone can buy.

But why enter the market when prices are at their peak and are soaring higher every day?

Blackpool can afford to wait - and I think would be wise to wait - until the transfer ban begins to operate against all the clubs concerned in championship and relegation issues.

What’s wrong, as an alternative policy, with giving a few First Division games to one or two of the young men who have been winning their spurs - and a lot of notice from other clubs - in a second team which has won 19 out of the last 20 points?

Nothing is to be lost by such a policy.

Mad auction

AND, definitely, it would be preferable to engaging in the mad-hatter’s auction which will rage in the transfer market until the middle of next month.

Blackpool have been in too many transactions this season which have become mere vulgar bidding matches.

They went as high as £15,000, by implication, if not by a direct bid, for Gordon Smith. They might have gone as high, if Stoke City had been interested, for Stanley Matthews.

They have been two or three times in the region of £10,000 -  and walked out when they learned that their bids were being communicated to another club in the market with the object of sending the price up.

Blackpool should call a month’s truce to all this bargaining and bartering. They can afford to leave the ring for a few weeks.

ottings fro
m all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 15 February 1947

Remember this North End game?

BLACKPOOL won 2-1 when last a Preston team came to town for a First Division match. Yet the game was a tragedy for one of the Blackpool forwards, the man who shot the winning goal.

In this match Tom Lewis played himself to a standstill. Two days after the game, when he was taken ill, a serious heart affection was diagnosed. He never played in first-class football again.

Blackpool lost a goal in the first half-minute, but against torrential rain on a ground which soon became a marsh scored twice before the interval.

Dai Astley shot No. 1. It was his last game for Blackpool as a centre-forward. Twenty-four hours after the match Jock Dodds was signed.

The teams on March 8, 1939 were:

BLACKPOOL: Roxburgh, Sibley, Butler, Farrow, Hayward. Johnston, Munro, Buchan (W.), Astley, Eastham and Lewis.

PRESTON NORTH END: Holdcroft, Gallimore, Beattie (A.), Shankly, Smith, Milne, White, Mutch, Douglas, Beattie (R.), and McIntosh.


MANAGER Alec Massie of the Villa, who was greatly impressed by Blackpool when the first team played in Birmingham three weeks ago, was at the Blackpool Reserve v. Villa Reserve match last weekend.

Was there any particular significance in his visit?

There have been no developments yet - but there may be. He has a high opinion about one or two Blackpool players. But, then, so have Blackpool.


EVERY week I hear good reports of the football being played by the recruit from the “A” team, the
young fullback, Tom Garrett, now that he has been given his chance in the Central League.

He is only 20, came to Blackpool from North Shields, and works in the mine where Nat Lofthouse the Bolton Wanderers leader, is employed.

They say it will not be long before he is knocking on the first team’s door.


FROM one weekend to another the rest of the Blackpool team sometimes never see two of their team-mates.

Eddie Shimwell, who has a Derbyshire inn which was nearly marooned in the snows last week, trains every day at Chesterfield. Sammy Nelson is in a draughtsman’s office every day at Preston, and has to train in the evening.

Yet there’s always a big welcome waiting for them when they report on match-days. Harry Johnston has made a shrewd and considerate captain. There was never a happier Blackpool team.


BLACKPOOL prefer the road to the rail whenever they go on tour these days. But they had to admit that the L.M.S. did them proud last weekend.

They went by rail to London. In spite of the snow - and all sorts of alarmist rumours about drifts on the line - the train to town was only 15 minutes late.

And returning on Sunday in a blizzard, they were back again at Blackpool Central before 4-30 in the afternoon, which was an hour earlier than when the team came back from Charlton in December on a clear, snowless day.

Take a bow - L.M.S.!

WHEN Arsenal came to Blackpool in October the team had scored only 12 goals, and 10 of the 12 had been shot by Reg Lewis.

Today, only four months later, the centre-forward is out of the Highbury team, and offers for him would not be rejected.

That shows how fleeting is fame in present-day football.

Yes, Arsenal would transfer him today if a club would pay the price. What is the price? I was told in a conspiratorial whisper last weekend that it would be about £14,000.

That is fantastic even in these money-mad days. Yet Arsenal, I think, would not talk under £10,000.


EASTHAM junior

ALL these Easthams can play football. George Eastham, the Blackpool forward, has a son in the Revoe School team already.

The boy is only 10; but already he is showing great promise, not only according to his father, but according to qualified and impartial judges.

This family has always taken to football as a duck to the water.



BLACKPOOL are good box office these days. Thirty-six thousand spent £3,500 to watch the Highbury game last weekend.

At Charlton - and for a Cup-tie, too - there were 5,000 fewer people, and nearly £500 less was taken at the till.


FOOTBALL CURIO:- Both George Dick and Stanley Mortensen - two fine forwards in this match -  scored two goals in a game for the first time this season.

Not one Blackpool forward had scored more than once in a match since Willie Buchan’s three against Portsmouth on September 23.


THE Supporters Club committee hoped that it would be possible to arrange for the Blackpool Prize Band to play before the match this afternoon. and that this band would be in attendance at other home games. 

Military whist 

THE ladies’ committee have fixed A another event which they hope will be welt supported. At the Conservative Club, Victoria-street, on Monday, March 3, they will hold a military whist drive starting at 7-30 p.m. Tickets, at 1s. 6d., may be obtained from the committee.

Tower dance

A DANCE has been arranged for St. Patrick’s Night, March 17, at the Tower from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets will be on sale at 3s 6d. shortly so book the date, please.

It is hoped in the course of the next week or so to display at some central point in the town the prizes which have been given for these special events. The committee desire to express their thanks to the donors.

In connection with the Tower dance, lucky programmes will be oh sale shortly at a charge of 3d., each with the first prize of two Cup Final tickets. 

Information hut

THE old Supporters’ Club hut at the entrance to the ground between the south and wing stand is now open again. The committee will be in attendance there before matches, and any information relative to the club and its activities may be obtained.

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