22 February 1947 Manchester United 3 Blackpool 0


Blackpool had not enough “bite”


Manchester United 3, Blackpool 0

By “Spectator”

THE loudspeakers at Maine-road this afternoon should have been playing, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.”

Half an hour before the kick-off snow was falling in such a thick curtain on to a field already under a couple of inches of it that the terraces opposite the main stand were almost invisible.

Drifts were piling up against the terrace walls, and a few hundred people huddled on the bare slopes. 

The snow was even driving into the stands.

The referee passed a pitch which was a sheet of rutted ice beneath a crust of snow increasing in depth every minute.

"We’ll get back to our igloo,” said a Blackpool player after one glance at this scene of desolation. He led a retreat back to the dressing-room.

In spite of the day, there were between 20,000 and 25,000 people on the ground when the teams appeared and the snowfall began to cease.


MANCHESTER UNITED: Fielding, Aston, Walton, Warner, Chilton, Carey, Delaney, Morris, Hanlon, Pearson, and Rowley.

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

Referee: Mr. J. N. Brown (Ormskirk).


Blackpool opened with a right wing raid from Hayward’s pass, which was not ended until Munro, brushing off the ball a full-back standing inches taller, raked the Manchester goal with two centres.

The United defence was not so united in this raid, nor in another which followed it.

The second raid nearly produced a goal as Munro took Dick’s pass in a wide open space, cut in and shot a ball which Fielding punched out near the post for a corner.

Johnston halted Pearson in a scoring position the first time the Manchester forwards went into action in one of those wing to wing spurts which was the only game to play on a pitch offering a firmer foothold than had been expected.

Blair was soon wandering again. I saw him in one attack at outside-right and out there eluding two men before losing the ball to a third.


Shimwell stops a goal thrust

The ball was skidding away from men off the snow crust. It skidded away from Shimwell in a United breakaway and was escaping him as he shot out a leg to stab it away from Rowley, who was racing in to walk it over the line.

Munro and Dick were tireless, foraging forwards for Blackpool. No snow was falling and the sun was shining with 10 minutes gone.

Blackpool’s game had greater order and composure. The forwards were good to watch, fast on the ball and never holding it.

For a time United were outplayed.

A third corner was won by Blackpool in the 16th minute as Mortensen escaped into another open space from Nelson’s pass and was halted close to a post by a full-back’s despairing tackle.

The United could produce no comparable plan, and yet were often in the same as the half advanced. Wallace fielded one long pass after another punted too far in front of the United forwards.

After Sibley had been in the wars and limped for a couple of minutes at outside-left, the Blackpool forwards raced down the centre again, tearing at another gap in front of Manchester’s defence.

Mortensen darted to a bouncing ball. Walton crossed him and hooked the ball away anywhere for a corner - Blackpool's fourth in 26 minutes.

Another followed it a minute later as the ball, hitting a United full-back, skidded away from Dick in the jaws of a gaping goal.

Thirty-five minutes had gone before there was a test for Wallace. Then the Blackpool goalkeeper fell on both knees to hold a ball shot fast and low at him by Rowley.

All the football that mattered was still being played by a Blackpool forward line which was making its chances but finding no men in position to convert them into goals.


The score in corners was 6-0 for Blackpool in 39 minutes. The sixth corner, too, nearly brought a goal.

Chilton, with Mortensen pursuing him, passed back the ball so fast that the advancing Fielding could not reach it and stood watching it bounce out by the post.

Another minute, in spite of all this pressure, the United were in front.

Rowley raced into an open space on the left, shot fast and low. Wallace fell to the ball, beat it out, fell again, and beat it out again as the outside-left hammered another shot at him.

That second rebound was one too many. HANLON was waiting for it almost under the bar, and hooked it high into the roof of the net.

Another two minutes and it was nearly 2-0. Rowley racing away from Shimwell again before shooting a ball which Wallace punched over the bar in a great leap.


Manchester United 1, Blackpool 0.


It should have been 1-1 in the first minute of the second half.

Mortensen accepted a pass from Munro, ran all by himself, with the United standing on an appeal, reached shooting range, half fell on the frozen snow, and shot a ball which hit the deserted Fielding’s right leg and bounced out.

After Wallace had bravely snatched away a bouncing ball from the tearaway Hanlon the Blackpool forwards attacked non-stop for a couple of minutes.

The alert little Nelson retrieved a long pass from Mortensen on the line and crossed a centre which Munro shot into Fielding’s arms.

Blackpool raided a lot afterwards. Yet all the front line’s precise football created few scoring positions. That might have been because the close pass was beginning to creep in.


The United, by contrast, were introducing the long pass into every attack, and as a result for 10 minutes monopolised the game.

Yet when the Blackpool front line stormed into the game again Chilton, I think, was lucky to escape a penalty as he swept Mortensen to earth with a tackle from behind.

One Blackpool attack after another was going wrong with the final pass.

In the end - and almost in despair - Mortensen took a pass near the halfway line, refused to release it, ran 40 yards with it, and shot a ball which Fielding reached in a dive to the foot of the post.

Twice in the next two minutes Fielding made great clearances from Dick and Mortensen before, in another United spurt, Morris leaped to a centre from the left and forced Wallace to a dramatic clearance almost under the bar.

Then, with four minutes to go, Shimwell planted himself in the path of Delaney as the outside-right chased a back pass. Down into the snow the outside-right crumbled.

In spite of all Blackpool's protests Mr. Brown gave a penalty. ROWLEY took it, and scored with a fast, low shot.

A minute later it was 3-0 and all over as ROWLEY chased Pearson's forward pass into a wide-open space.

With Blackpool’s unprepared defence trailing after him, he selected the part of the net he wanted to hit - and hit it.


MANCHESTER UNITED 3 (Hanlon 40 min, Rowley 86 min pen, 87 min)



I wrote after the 4-0 defeat of Preston a week ago that it is goals that count. Preston learned that lesson. Blackpool learned it this afternoon in this match.

Blackpool were attacking for about 60 of the 90 minutes, winning seven corners to Manchester’s four-six to one in the first half - yet out of all that pressure could not shoot one goal.

Direct action - and nothing else - gave the United a 3-0 score after being outplayed almost completely before the interval.

The Blackpool forward line faded towards the end. when the two inside men, Dick and Munro who were tireless and aggressive in the first half, began to lose contact with the wings.

The right flank of defence was never too compact, but both Hayward and Johnston again left a big impression in a match which Blackpool should never have lost by three goals - a match which might not have been lost if all the forwards had shot as they did against Preston.



By “Spectator”

WHEN I telephoned Col. W. Parkinson, J.P., the Blackpool chairman, the other day. and asked his opinion of the new football pool designed to offer a happy-ever-after future for the professional footballer, I knew what his answer would be.

Gambling is anathema to Col. Parkinson. Nothing, in his view, can justify it. It is to him, paraphrasing the popular song, the root of a whole lot of evil.

"Money derived from it is cursed," he said.

Cursed or not, I know a few stars of other days who would be glad of a little of it today.

Yet I question whether the proposed pool is the ideal medium for ensuring a higher financial status for the footballer while he is playing and a more secure future when he retires.

I wrote months ago that football would have to write a new charter for the professional footballer. In the charter I outlined were all the benefits which the new pool offers.

I still think that football, without the aid of a source of revenue which would be offensive to thousands of the game’s public, make professional football a less speculative and hazardous occupation than it is today.

A bit of a jam

'THEY could put a bit of jam on the bread-and-butter, which is about all the game now gives to 80 per cent, of the men playing it - and not always butter on the bread, either - by the simple expedient of redrafting the entire transfer system.

A limitation on transfer fees from the beginning of next season would not only end the vulgar bidding matches which this season have degraded the game, but would stabilise all football finance, which today is heading fast for a crash.

If, with this reform achieved, football clubs were still unable out of revenue to build a better future of their own it would be time for them to go out of business.

I hear, nevertheless, that in spite of the extortionate prices still being asked in the transfer market, Blackpool's board are not yet ‘prepared to sit back and Say, “We'll wait until sanity returns."

“We're not content yet - we’re not asleep,” said Col. Parkinson this week.

Jottings from all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 22 February 1947

Old Trafford memory

TWENTY - TWO men played an hour and half without scoring a goal when last a Blackpool team went to Manchester to meet the United in a First Division game.

The one sensational incident in this 0-0 match on October 15, 1938, was that in one raid the ball hit the referee and put him out for the full count.

The Blackpool men to earn a point were:

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

IT is seldom that frost or other midwinter visitation causes the postponement of a match at Blackpool.

Even in wartime, when the cancellation of a fixture was of no particular consequence, only one game was postponed.

The last time a peacetime League match had to be abandoned at Blackpool was on December 21, 1935 - a Newcastle United game in the Second Division.

Fifty tons of sand were scattered on the frostbound pitch. Then a fog fell - and the match was off.


WHEN George Eastham reported sick before the Preston match, Manager Joe Smith faced a problem. “Who should he play?”

He called George Dick into the office, told him, “I’m giving you the chance. Shoot as you Shoot in practice matches - and you'll come off.”

That decision probably won Blackpool the Preston match 24 hours before it was played.


I HEAR that a London club are interested in three of Blackpool’s reserve forwards, and have asked the club to quote a price.

Now Blackpool can say, “ They’re not for sale.” It has so often been said to Blackpool this season.


I AM a bit tired of those folk who are always playing down Tom Finney.

There is only one Stanley Matthews - and said so. Yet the Preston outside-right remains a superb footballer. His game at Blackpool in spite of the penalty he seemed almost casually to miss - had class written all over it with a capital “C.” It required three men to put the leash on him last weekend.

It was nice, by the way, to see him offering a handshake to Eric Sibley as soon as the final whistle had gone.


STANLEY MORTENSEN'S goal against Preston was Blackpool’s 50th of the season.

This half-century has been a long time coming, but it has not been the centre-forward’s fault that it has not come earlier. He has scored 19 out of 51.


THAT was the second time this season that Jock Wallace had held a penalty in the north goal at Blackpool when he arrested Tom Finney slow-motion shot a week ago.

The first time he parried a thunderbolt shot at him by George Cummings, the Villa full-back.

Blackpool have lost penalty goals to Grimsby and Brentford this season, and scored them against
Portsmouth, Sheffield United, Charlton and Huddersfield.


COMPLIMENTS to Blackpool’s ground staff and to the volunteers mobilised by the Supporters’ Club on their efficient services before and during the Preston match.

There was even a steward posted at the foot of the staircase to the Press box.

Why anybody should ever want to come and squat in the Press box at Blackpool I can never understand, but apparently, only an angel with a flaming sword - or a steward asking, “ Have you a ticket?’’ - can keep them out.


THE cancellation of the Blackpool Football Supporters’ Club dinner and dance at the Casino on Monday was most disappointing for all concerned, but in view of the national emergency and restriction it was felt that this was the best course to take.

It is hoped that the event will be held as soon as conditions are easier.

Unfortunately, at the very last minute last week, it was found impossible for the band to be present at Bloomfield-road. but the committee are hoping that arrangements will be completed for the next home match.

Military whist

'T'HE ladies’, committee have organised another event, which will be held at the Conservative Club. Victoria- street. on Monday. March 3. starting at 7-30 p.m. Tickets 1s. 6d. each, from any member of the committee.

Tickets for the dance at the Tower on St Patrick’s night. Monday. March 17, are now on sale at 3s. 6d.

Don’t forget to purchase your lucky dance programme in connection with this event, and remember that the first prize is two Cup-final tickets.


IT is hoped that all members will support these social events, as funds are required by the club for the purchase of the broadcasting system, which will be a most decided advantage to the club and ground.
The rate of membership still leaves much to be desired.

For a First Division club the committee's aim of 1.000 members from the supporters is not very ambitious. Forms are available from any of the canteens on the ground, so please sign tin and forward with the 2s. 6d. membership fee to Mr. T. Newton at the ground as soon as possible.

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