8 February 1947 Arsenal 1 Blackpool 1


Fighting recovery in second half


Arsenal 1, Blackpool 1

By “Spectator”

HIGHBURY this afternoon resembled a Christmas card which had been delayed a month and a half in the post.

Snow was thick everywhere. There was an inch and a half of it on a playing area which had not been cleared for the second successive week but had merely had a heavy roller on it.

There was, I hear, no question about the match being cancelled. As soon as the referee saw the white pitch and its yellow lines he said, “The game is on.” Blackpool decided yesterday that Stanley Mortensen, who often wore an Arsenal jersey in wartime football, should lead the forwards.

That let out George Dick, whose wife and baby daughter had to be content to watch a match in which he was not playing.

Arsenal fielded the men who hit Manchester United for six a week ago except that at. the last minute Bryn Jones was omitted and Curtis introduced as his understudy.


ARSENAL: Swindin, Male, Barnes, Sloan, Compton, Mercer, McPherson, Logie, Hooke, Curtis and Rudkin.

BLACKPOOL; Wallace, Shimwell, Sibley, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Nelson, Munro, Mortensen, Eastham and Blair.

Referee: Mr. S. E Law (West Bromwich).

I had a walk on the field before the match. The snow on top was crisp and firm. Beneath it the grass had the surface of concrete. There was only one game - the open game - to be played today.

The attendance approached 35,000 at the kick-off.


A broadcast asked the spectators to call a truce on snowball games. For a few minutes there was a “cease fire.’’ Then they began all over again.

Arsenal took the field a few minutes early for ball practice in continental training suits. Blackpool played in white, and seemed to blend into the strange winter landscape.

In the first minute it was as near 1-0 as it could be without a goal actually being scored.

Blackpool advanced from the kick-off. Munro released a short pass, and the ball came to a standstill in the snow.

Mortensen swooped on it, lost it. retrieved it, and shot it so fast at Swindin that the goalkeeper lost it on the line, and clutched it back as it was passing him.

Afterwards, Blackpool’s football was all style and polish, Johnston opening one raid with a picture pass out to Nelson.


Then Rooke lashed madly at a ball which had come unexpectedly to rest, and slid half a dozen yards to the frozen earth as the shot slid by a post, with Wallace skidding on his chest as he dived to it.

It was a crazy sort of football. It could not be anything else.

Arsenal had a lot of it for a minute or two. Twice the Blackpool defence had to resort to back passes to their goalkeeper, which was a hazardous sort of  policy.

In another raid the offside whistle halted McPherson as he stood alone in front of the unprotected Wallace.

The ball was moving so slowly on the thick carpet of snow that six minutes actually passed before there was a throw-in. Each goal was under pressure. 

In an Arsenal raid Hayward conceded the first corner of the day without any sort of apology after McPherson had crossed a high centre from Sloan’s perfect long pass.

In the next minute, in a great leap, Leslie Compton beaded away from Mortensen a centre crossed by Nelson from a pass by the wandering Blair, who gave the pass from the inside-right’s position.

Immediately the Blackpool goal was twice near downfall.


Then Johnston clears a Rooke shot

The first time there was a hullabaloo for a penalty as Shimwell cleared the ball on the edge of the area.

That raid had not been repulsed before Johnston hurled himself into the path of one of Ronnie Rooke’s thunderbolts, clearing it anywhere as the ball seemed to be rising away from Wallace.

Blackpool were completely outplayed with 15 minutes gone. Logie shot one ball which passed inches wide of a post as Wallace galloped across too late to intercept it.

All the time Arsenal had the ball crossing from wing to wing. It was the only game to play. It was constantly opening Blackpool’s defence.

Yet in a Blackpool breakaway Swindin had to make an acrobatic leap to reach the second of two high centres lobbed into the goal area by Eastham.

Away raced Arsenal, McPherson shooting at a great pace across the face of Blackpool’s goal before, in the next minute, Blair retreated nearly to the corner flag to the aid of Blackpool’s left flank of defence and repelled a raid all on his own.


Another fine interception by Johnston halted another tearaway attack by this progressive Arsenal right wing, and then Sibley gave a corner in the face of another.

After an opening of great promise the Blackpool forward line was scarcely in the game.

After 20 minutes, Swindin had not taken one goal kick.

Blackpool’s game was too close and complex.

Every minute the ball was coming back on an oppressed defence, with the Blackpool forwards unable to make a yard of progress.

Repeatedly, too. the ball was being passed back to Wallace, which I still think was a suicidal move.

Yet in a brief reply Blackpool won their first corner in the 25th minute as Nelson crossed a square centre to Munro, whose pass to the waiting Mortensen was slashed anywhere over the line by the tall Leslie Compton.


Afterwards, there was a new purpose in Blackpool’s front line.

Immediately after Hayward had made a grand clearance, Nelson took the ball away from a hesitating full-back and opened a raid which ended in Mortensen forcing Compton to concede his team’s second corner.

With the interval approaching, raid followed raid, nearly all of them on the Arsenal’s hell-for-leather right wing.

Hayward and Shimwell in rapid succession repelled two of them before Munro was so un-ceremoniously swept to earth in a sudden Blackpool breakaway created by the elusive Eastham that Mr. Law gave a disputed free-kick a yard or two outside the Arsenal penalty area.

Farrow shot this free-kick wide. Mortensen made a gallant lone bid for a goal seconds before the whistle went. Unexpectedly, Blackpool finished the half attacking fiat out.

Half-time: Arsenal 0, Blackpool 0.


In the first minute of the half Arsenal went in front. It was a goal almost direct from the kickoff. It was the Arsenal right wing which built the scoring raid.

A long pass reached McPherson, who raced 20 yards unchallenged before crossing one of those centres which centre-forwards dream about.

ROOKE was waiting for it almost under the bar, and headed a goal which looked as simple as a goal could look.

In the next three minutes Blackpool’s goal was under constant fire. Wallace held one ball shot at him from 20 yards out by Rooke.

In the fourth minute a goal was even nearer, Rooke and Logie creating positions for the unmarked Rudkin, whose fast rising shot was headed away almost beneath the bar by Johnston.

Afterwards Blackpool built half a dozen raids before making it 1-1 in the 10th minute of the half.

Munro opened the move in the inside-left position, and released a short forward pass to Eastham across the Arsenal goal.

As the inside-left crossed a copybook centre, MORTENSEN leaped at it, and with three men almost on top of him headed the flying ball down out of Swindin’s reach into the back of the net.


Blackpool were all out for minutes afterwards in a peculiar formation which often had Eastham and Munro forming the left wing, with Blair acting as a sort of semi-half-back.

Eastham crossed centre after centre in front of an Arsenal defence which appeared to possess no answer to this unconventional attack.

Hayward cleared superbly when Rooke was making one of his one-man raids for the Arsenal who unexpectedly had been reduced to breakaways after that Blackpool goal.

Nelson shot high over the bar after Munro had given him a scoring position in the 17th minute of the half, with Blackpool still attacking.

Swindin made a flying dive at Eastham’s foot when it seemed to be certain to be 2-1 after a perfect interchange of passes between the inside-left and Mortensen.

In the next minute, under Mortensen’s challenge, Swindin lost a ball which in the end was clear anywhere with the Arsenal defence in confusion.

This was a grand fighting second half comeback by Blackpool, who continued to advance for minutes on end.

Arsenal conceded two corners in a minute, with 20 minutes remaining for play.

From the second of these corners, too, Swindin diving into a ruck of men battling for possession of a bouncing ball, was laid out, and there was an ugly scene before the referee arrived to restore peace.

Blackpool raided to the end. The official attendance was 36,000.


ARSENAL 1 (Rooke 46min)

BLACKPOOL 1 (Mortensen 55min)


A fighting, never-say-die defence in the first half and a nearly all-out attack in second entitled Blackpool to a point.

There was big gap at times in left flank of Blackpool’s defence in first 45 minutes.

Afterwards it was closed by halfbacks and full-backs Who played in nearly perfect order.

Highlight was new confidence of Shimwell, who played best game yet for Blackpool. Johnston and 
Hayward also outstanding. Centre-half had magnificent game.

Eastham was forward star in line which had two aggressive raiders in Mortensen and Munro.

After being almost played out of match, Blackpool nearly won it!


Rovers, in peril, went higher

By “Spectator”


This column reported weeks ago that Blackpool were interested in Jock Weir, the Hibernians centre-forward. The weeks passed - and he was signed by Blackburn Rovers.

I announced months ago that as soon as Jack Oakes, the Queen of the South wing forward, came into the market, Blackpool would have first option on his signature. The months passed this time - and he was signed three days ago by Blackburn Rovers.

“What’s happening?” I am asked. “Is it a lot of ballyhoo - all these stories that Blackpool are prepared to sign these stars - and yet never sign them?” 

Nor. there’s no ballyhoo about it.

What happened in the case of Jock Weir I do not know.

If Blackpool were not prepared to pay a fee reported to be £10,000 for a centre-forward who was not even in first-class football at the beginning of the season, I am not blaming the board.

Nor, I think will anybody else who can retain a sense of proportion in these money-mad days in football.

First need

IT is not, in any case, a centre-forward who is Blackpool’s Priority No. 1.

A wing forward is the major requirement today, preferably one who can pay either at outside-right or outside-left, which. I am told, is one of Jack Oakes’ chief qualifications.

Blackpool went to sign this wing forward as soon as Queen of the South broadcast the news that he was in the market.

Manager Joe Smith was up in Dumfries this week. So were the Rovers and Manchester City.

At once, from all I hear; it became a bidding match.

Higher and higher

ONE session lasted from seven ‘o’clock in the evening until one o’clock in the morning. Blackpool’s bid went higher and higher.

It would be betraying a confidence to disclose the last bid, but it was a price for a 27-year-old player which no club in Blackpool’s secure position in the First Division could reasonably be expected to exceed.

The Rovers were left to it - and Blackpool's manager came home.

If it were known a club in the Rovers’ present perilous position had entered the market it would probably have been wiser if he had never left home.

The stampede

IT’S not the spring sales which are on now. They may or may not come.

But until March 16, when the ban on transfers to championship and relegation clubs begins to operate, prices which have already reached the ceiling will continue to rocket up through the roof and hit the sky.

This is no market for a club such as Blackpool, who can afford to wait until the present sign ’em-at-any-price stampede ends, There should be a few stars left at the end of it all.

There may be earlier developments.

Watching again
BLACKPOOL’S manager was not again with his team in London today, was watching another player.

If the man passed the test. Mr. Smith, I know, is given the authority to bid for him. He has always had this authority this season - and as a manager should possess it.

But if a bidding battle begins Mr. Smith, I think, will come again without his man. And why not?

Blackpool can afford to wait so many of the others can’t. For them the sands will have run out by the middle of next month.

Then - pious hope as this may be - prices may bear less relation to a black market tariff.

ottings fro
m all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 8 February

Arsenal won in 1939

'THE last time Blackpool and Arsenal met in London, excluding the classic at Stamford Bridge in 1943, was on Easter Monday, 1939, at Highbury.

Arsenal won by a penalty goal in the first half and a nearly incredible goal in the second when Ted Drake was allowed to stroll half the length of the field before shooting into the net as the Blackpool defence waited for an offside whistle.

That little error cost a point, for before the end Willie Buchan made it 2-1 for this team:

Roxburgh, Sibley, Butler,  Hall, Hayward, Johnston, Finan, Astley, Dodds, Buchan and O’Donnell (H.)

It was not serious. Two days earlier at Leicester the two points required to avert relegation had been won.

BLACKPOOL’S training quarters are a home-from-home for players from half a dozen League clubs. The club has no objections.

Two of its own players - but only two - are guests in other League clubs’ camps on every day of the week except match days - Edmund Shimwell at Chesterfield and David Craig, the ex-Liverpool Marine, at Everton.

This tall outside-right, by the way, is at last attracting a lot of attention, and may soon be grading for a first-team trial.

Stanley Mortensen played in many R.A.F. games with him during the war, and assured Manager Joe Smith at the beginning of the season that he had signed a bargain.


BLACKPOOL have already - recorded three doubles this season - Portsmouth, Huddersfield Town and Derby County.

Only team yet to win four points from Blackpool this season are Sunderland.


ON the principle of “horses for courses,” Derby County had the odds against them before ever they took the field at Blackpool last weekend.

The County are one of the few teams who have never yet won a First Division game at Blackpool.

During those three years between 1930 and 1933, when Blackpool were always in the relegation doldrums, the County lost on every visit - 1-0, 2-1, 4-1.

And in the two seasons before the war Blackpool held their Derby visitors to 1-1 and 2-2 draws.


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 I 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.


"ONE of the best teams I have seen this season. Not a big name in it. But every man knows his job, and is all out to do it." 

Who said that? A Blackpool director. And what team was he talking about? Burnley.


A YOUNG PLAYER destined for the top-line in the near future: Johnny Crosland, the
Blackpool second team’s centre - half. I hear good reports of every Central League match he plays.

He would have to wait a long time to grade for the first team as Eric Hayward and Ronnie Suart are playing. He would, I know, be content to wait, for his home is in Ansdell, and he is on the staff of a Blackpool accountant.

But it’s my bet that he will qualify for First Division football in some other position.


THESE goals make news.

Alec Munro’s goal for Blackpool against Derby County was his first in the First Division since the opening match of the season at Huddersfield.

George Dick's goal was his first of 1947.

BLACKPOOL’S next three fixtures are all-Lancashire games.

Preston are in town next week.

The following week Blackpool go to Manchester. The week after Bolton Wanderers will be here.

And when the Wanderers come to a ground where a Bolton team has never yet lost a First Division match they will be watching Nat Lofthouse, the centre-forward who may still sign for Blackpool, if all I hear is correct.


WHEN Alec Munro (5ft. 5in.) and Sammy Nelson (5ft. 5in.) took the field for Blackpool last weekend they made the smallest right-wing partnership ever to play for Blackpool.

They are the two smallest men on the club’s professional staff.

This was one of those occasions when good little ’uns were better than good big ’uns.


JOCK DODDS is in the wars  again, and has had to miss Everton’s last two home games.

Not that Everton are regretting the £7,750 they paid Blackpool for him.

At Goodison Park they will still tell you that the big man is the best centre-forward in the game today.

I am waiting for Blackpool’s two Easter games with Everton.

If Jock plays in them they will be matches to watch.


MANAGER FRANK HILL, the former Arsenal and Blackpool forward, still selects himself every now and again for the Crewe Alexandra team.

There are rumours that he may soon be in the market for Louis Cardwell, the Manchester City centre-half, who is on Manchester City’s transfer list, and was one of Frank’s contemporaries in Blackpool’s last promotion team.

Louis has been out of the game too long, I hope that the City are not asking an exorbitant fee for him.


STRANGE, almost unprecedented experience for Frank Broome, of Derby County, to play against Blackpool without scoring a goal.

He never missed in his Aston Villa days before the war, and continued the sequence when Blackpool played at Derby last September.

Now he has played against a Blackpool defence - in last weekend’s match - and finished the 90 minutes without a goal to his name.

That’s one bogey man fewer for Blackpool.


SEVEN of the men who won the Cup for Derby County at Wembley last April were in the team defeated at Blackpool last weekend: Woodley, Howe, Leuty, Musson, Harrison, Stamps and Carter.

Strange to see Victor Woodley playing as a reserve goalkeeper. It was only in the last prewar season, 1938-39 that he was England’s first choice against Scotland, Ireland and Wales.


NOT since the club won the Central League championship in 1919-20 has a Blackpool second team had such a winning sequence as this remarkable 1946-47 team, which, after losing five of its first eight games, has now won 17 out of the last 18 points.

Writing of the 1919-20 team recalls the hullabaloo when Blackpool fielded the first-team forward line in the last match of the season against Nelson to ensure the title.

Remember it?

THE inclement weather affected A the public meeting of the Supporters’ Club last week, but over 200 members turned up and the permanent officials were elected.

Music relay

AS most members know it is the intention of the committee to raise funds for the installation of a broadcasting system at Bloomfield-road for the relay of music and announcements before matches and, if possible, to provide a cover for the cripples at the south end of the ground.

Summer plans

IT must, of course, be realised that these plans will take time but the committee intend to be active during the summer months and to start the new season next August with confidence.

Better programmes

THE club hope to produce a better programme for matches.

Last week we had a few' of the serviceable old cushions on sale for members. Stewards are required to sell cushions. Any members willing to help in this work and also to assist with the crowd next Saturday for the Preston match should give their names to Mr. T. Newton.

Our dance

ARRANGEMENTS for the dance at the Casino on February 17 are well in hand but tickets are not being disposed of as quickly the. committee hoped, please purchase them early.

Better spirit

CONSIDERABLE improvement noticed last Saturday at the first team match when there were far more cheers than usual, but there are still far too many noisy comments addressed to certain players which do far more harm than good.


THE membership still leaves much to' be desired. It is again requested that all outstanding forms be return as soon as possible to Mr. T. Newton at the ground with the 2s. 6d. fee.

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