15 March 1947 Blackpool 4 Sheffield United 2


Action-packed game on quagmire


Blackpool 4, Sheffield United 2

By “Spectator”

FEW games at Bloomfield road have been played under worse conditions than the Blackpool  - Sheffield United match this afternoon.

It was only three hours before the kick-off that the referee gave his permission for the gates to be opened.

The track bordering the pitch was a narrow canal an inch or two deep in the flood water which had been swept off the playing area.

Pools were forming before the teams appeared, and the side of the field fronting the main stand and the south goal area, which before noon were nearly a sheet of ice, were scattered with standing water.

Mcknight plays

George McKnight had his second game in the First Division. Sheffield United were at full strength.

Among the 10,000 spectators were the Leeds United team, whose game at Everton was cancelled. Leeds are in this district for three weeks in special training quarters in a bid to escape relegation.


BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Shimwell, Sibley, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, McKnight, Mortensen, Eastham and Dick.

SHEFFIELD UNITED: Smith, Furniss, Cox, Jackson, Latham, Forbes, Rickett, Brook, Thompson, Hagan and Collindridge.

Referee: Mr. C. P. Womersley, of Davenport.


In the first half-minute there was a casualty.

McKnight went after a forward pass, raced half a dozen yards with it, and was halted by Latham, who fell and remained still, clutching a cut knee in the mud and ice until the trainer had been called to him.

Later without any sort of apology, Latham gave a corner as Mortensen pursued a down-the-centre pass - a pass perfectly released by McKnight, who was in the game a lot in these early minutes.

In the next minute, too, Dick was tumbled helter skelter into the shallow ditch flanking the line and came crawling helter skelter out of it covered in mud.

The referee gave a free-kick, and when a shot by Munro had cannoned out off a mass of Sheffield men refused a corner.


Blackpool’s pressure continued, McKnight heading into Smith’s waiting arms with the United defence under constant fire Dick also raked the Sheffield goal.

All the time Blackpool were raiding. Smith could only beat out anywhere one ball shot at him from a narrow angle by Mortensen. Nor had that raid ended before Eastham had forced Smith to concede a corner.

In the first 15 minutes the United surrendered four corners and crossed the half-way line in strength twice.

Yet this Sheffield front line nearly snatched a goal, Wallace falling full length to hold a ball shot wide of him by Thompson after the centre-forward had taken Brook’s pass in a gap left by an unprepared defence.


Easy for Brook after a breakaway

A minute later, in the 17th minute of the half. Sheffield took the lead in a breakaway.

The raid was built on the left, and ended in a fast low centre. 

Waiting for it was the unmarked BROOK who had merely to take the ball as it was passing him, halt it with one foot and shoot it past Wallace with the other.

Seven minutes after the United had taken the lead they lost it, and lost it because their defence was playing too far forward in aid of its front line,,

Shimwell made one of those long clearances in which he specialised at Bramall-lane.

MORTENSEN was waiting for it, swerved an unprepared centre-half, raced forward, and rocketed a shot into the roof of the net.

Immediately afterwards there was an incident. Johnston halted Brook with the inside-right racing after Hagan’s pass into a scoring position.


Sheffield demanded a penalty, and Hagan was so indignant when it was refused that Mr. Womersley halted play and gave the England forward a lecture. In the 34th minute Blackpool went in front with a perfect goal.

Farrow took a forward pass, beat his man to it by a split second, put the right wing in possession.

MUNRO took the pass at full gallop, cut fast inside, and shot a low ball which skidded across the face of Sheffield’s goal, missed half a dozen men, and had passed the unsighted Smith before Mortensen almost walked it into the net to make certain of it.

I was assured that the ball was over the line before the centre-forward reached it.

Two minutes later it was 2-2.


And this was the best goal of the four,

HAGAN called for a forward pass in the inside-right position, zigzagged 15 yards through the mud, reached scoring position, and scored with a shot which was almost studiously steered wide of Wallace’s right arm.

Sheffield raided frequently afterwards, but with a minute of the half left Smith punched over the bar a fine rising shot by Munro.

Half-time: Blackpool 2, Sheffield United 2.


Attack after attack by Blackpool battered on the Sheffield goal in the first five minutes of the second half.

Snow was beginning to fall again.

When at last the United raided, the lead was nearly snatched again as Collindridge cut in from the wing, shot a ball which Wallace half lost, and clutched again as he crouched near a Dost In counter-raids Blackpool were as near a goal before 10 minutes of the half had gone.

Dick and Smith both lost one centre from the right almost under the bar of Sheffield's goal before Mortensen and Munro in rapid succession, hit the side net.

From one of Hagan’s passes' Collindridge nearly made it 3-2 with a shot which passed out by the far post, with Wallace on his knees in a mud bath and the snow falling thicker than ever.

First one line of forwards and then the other took command of this fluctuating game.


Wallace made one astonishing clearance, falling backwards to beat out Rickett’s centre after the little winger had escaped almost for the first time in the match from the alert Sibley.

Another minute, and Wallace was twice in brilliant action, parrying Collindridge’s scoring shot before holding another from Thompson and while still on his knees snatching a bouncing ball away from Brook.

This was action-packed football.

Blackpool demanded a penalty in vain as Mortensen raced into a gap on his own, reached scoring position, and was preparing to shoot as two men closed on him and tumbled him into the slime.


With 10 minutes left, a big chance went astray as McKnight lost Munro’s centre in the jaws of a gaping goal, y Then, with only eight minutes to go, Blackpool were presented with one of those freak goals which on such a quagmire were almost inevitable.

A raid, which appeared to contain no particular menace, was built on the left.

DICK, far out on the wing, half stabbed a long low centre. Everybody waited for Smith to field it.

The goalkeeper fell forward into a sea of mud, lost the ball as he fell, and was still sprawling as it appeared to crawl under his body and over the line.

It was a gift goal - and it won the game.

This man DICK had seldom been in the game in the first half-hour for the reason that he had seldom been given a pass.

Yet when the passes came he shot a fourth goal to settle it with two minutes left - and made his name all over again.


BLACKPOOL 4 (Mortensen 24min, Munro 34min, Dick 82 and 88min.)

SHEFFIELD UNITED 2  (Brook 17min, Hagan 36min)


Twenty-two men earned their wages today and should have been paid double for producing such a match - a match of such action and drama - on a field on which football travesty would have been excusable.

Both teams played a game twice as fast and three times as ordered as might have been expected.

It is sufficient to record that if Blackpool had possessed on the left a wing to equal the aggressive Munro-McKnight partnership on the right the game would have been won earlier.

These two - the Irishman and the Scot - plus the always-at-it Mortensen. often rattled and in the first half-hour nearly shattered an uncompromising Sheffield defence.

Blackpool were superbly served by their two wing half-backs, and after the first quarter of an hour the defence was ordered on a firm front.

It required a game of daring and resource by Wallace, nevertheless, to hold at bay a Sheffield forward line which knew the shortest route to goal through all the mud and took it.

Two on-the-post goals by the amazing Dick settled it. There was nothing else between two grand teams.



- But Blackpool look ahead

By “Spectator”

WHATEVER the fate of this season of crises - major and minor - Blackpool will be able to take one of the ringside seats with complete detachment.

A strike may wreck the season. The new austerity may reduce it to a skeleton. There may be no promotion or relegation.

Outside it all this fortunate club, Blackpool, will be able to stand, neutral, unaffected by the turmoil and, I fear, inevitable disorder.

Yes, Blackpool are fortunate.

All the snows and frosts have failed to cause the cancellation of one fixture when the team’s 33rd game was completed in London last weekend. Not even a Cup-tie had interfered with the printed programme.

There are, as a result, no midweek fixtures imminent at Blackpool which will be under the new ban, and no prospect of a solitary postponement unless Charlton reach the Final and are unable to come to Blackpool on Final day.

Nothing at stake

SIMILARLY, no championship or relegation issues affect the club.

What compromise will the F.A. and the League offer to the harassed majority tomorrow?

If Sunday games are one of the proposals it is again fortunate that Blackpool have no arrears of fixtures. For I know that the chairman. Col. W. Parkinson, J.P., would never countenance a move which he would denounce as a desecration of the Sabbath.

That is one storm -and it would be no storm in a teacup, either - which at least will be averted in these parts.

Blackpool should count their blessings this time.

There is one solution of this problem of absenteeism at midweek matches. A Burnley firm provided it last week, when it dismissed 50 men who went without permission to the Turf Moor Cup-tie.

No crisis if - 

AN unfashionable procedure, it may be, in these enlightened days, and I shall probably be assailed for advocating its adoption.

But, at least, it would discourage the selfish majority who have now deprived the legitimate midweek public of the few League matches they could ever see.

And if it had been adopted earlier there would have been no crisis at all.



Blackpool’s match with Sheffield United at Bloomfield-road this afternoon might not have been played.

AT 11 o’clock today the referee, Mr W. P. Womersley, who reached the town from his home in Davenport, Cheshire, yesterday, walked on to a field which had ice patches scattered in front of the south goal and was firm as a pavement everywhere else.

“I’m afraid the match is off,” he said.

A mobilised ground staff at that time was scattering hundred weights of sand on the frozen, turf and treating the ice with a salt solution.

Half an hour later the referee went out again. Under the sun the ice was melting. He asked for a pair of wellingtons, began to assist in scattering sand on the crackling patches.


‘I’ll give a decision at noon,” he said and went on working.

Every few minutes Sheffield officials, including Manager Ted Davison, inspected the pitch, and said, “We want to play - we don’t want to come all this way for nothing.”

They had to be patient and await the referee’s verdict.

The cold east wind and the pale sun were in combat until zero hour.

Then at noon Mr. Womersley said, “The match is on.”

Not since prewar days has a League game at Blackpool been so near postponement.

ottings fro
m all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 15 March 1947

Finan’s goal decided

'TEN years have passed since a Sheffield United team last came to Blackpool for a League match.

Blackpool won that day by Bob Finan’s 23rd goal of the club’s second promotion season in a 1-0 match on February 13, 1937. 

Playing for the United were Jock Dodds and the forward-from Blackpool Harold Barton, who has since left football and now has an hotel in Sheffield.
The Blackpool team in 1937 was:

Wallace; Blair (D.), Witham, Farrow, Cardwell, Jones (S.), Watmough, Hampson, Finan, Jones (T. W.), and Hill.

Two only of those men are still in Blackpool’s first team, four only on the staff. Time takes its toll.


STANLEY MORTENSEN finished last week’s match at Chelsea with his right hand in a bandage and plasters on both his knees and both his elbows.

Yet it was no rough house at Stamford Bridge.

This young man is always in the thick of it, takes a lot of punishment, and does not bear anybody any malice at the end of it.


LETTER to Eric Sibley, the Blackpool full-back, from Frank O’Donnell contains the news that the former Blackpool and Preston centre- forward, who these days is on Nottingham Forest’s books, has become the father of a daughter, his third child.

Frank may soon be leaving the Forest.


“GENTLEMAN” WALKER they  call Tommy Walker at Chelsea. He deserves the name, too. It was another immaculate game he played against Blackpool last weekend.

They say he’s never been guilty of a questionable tackle since the day he first put on football boots.

Why, one of the Blackpool players actually heard him apologise to his partner when he put a pass wrong to him in last week’s match.


THEY think in London that Blackpool are one of the teams of the year.

Blackpool have been to town four times this season, lost at Brentford with 10 men, played a draw at Highbury, and won at Charlton and Chelsea

A pity they can’t play all their games in the capital.


TWO goals this season which I shall not soon forget:

(1) The Stanley Matthews zigzag which produced his miracle goal against Blackpool at Stoke in December.

(2) The 60-yards raid by Harry Johnston which made Stanley Mortensen a present of his 20th goal of the season at Chelsea last weekend.

“I wish Harry’s centre had gone in - and it nearly did.” said Mortensen after the match. “What’s it matter?” asked Blackpool’s captain, “as long as it went in afterwards.”

In brief, it’s the goal, not the man who scores it, that matters


City impressed - BRISTOL CITY were at Blackpool’s hotel last weekend in London. When the Crystal Palace ground was declared unfit for play they went to watch Blackpool at Stamford Bridge.

Half the City men confessed that they had never seen a First Division match. I think they would be impressed - by Blackpool, if not by Chelsea, who had one of those days.



Not the kind of ‘training’ they like

Three tired footballers and a manager no less tired arrived back in Blackpool early today from a Wednesday football match in Scotland, writes “Spectator.”

PAGES from the diary of Manager Joe Smith, of Blackpool, two of his staff, Harry Johnston and Stanley Mortensen, an.1 the England outside-right, Stanley Matthews:

Wednesday: At Hampden Park, Glasgow, the first three watched the Scottish League - Football League match and the fourth, “Wizard” Matthews, played in it.

Thursday: Went to the station to take the morning train across the Border. “No trains south today,” they were told. Backwards and forwards between the hotel and the station asking for information about the following day’s timetable.

Yesterday: Back to the station for the 10-15 a.m. train. Transferred to the 10-30. Remained in it, the train at a standstill until 1-55. Then the guard blew his whistle.


Five hours to Carlisle on a single track between mountainous snowdrifts. A crawl from Carlisle to Preston. Midnight train to the coast.

1-30 a.m. today: Back in Blackpool, nearly five days after the two Blackpool players had gone to Glasgow to attend the game as the Football League’s reserves.

2-00 a.m.:  And so to bed.

Comment by Mr. Joe Smith:

“It might have been worse. We nearly took the Carlisle train on Thursday. It was buried in a snowdrift!”

THE weather has not affected attendances at Bloomfield- road during the last few weeks.

This proves how many keen supporters the team has. and the Supporters’ Club’s committee hope that more of these stalwarts will join the club.

A big drive for members is now on, and it is hoped the public will rally round the club by joining it and supporting its attractive forthcoming events.

Easter trip

THE committee have arranged two Easter trips, one to Everton on Good Friday. and the other to Liverpool on Easter Saturday. The return fare is 5s. 6d.

In view of the holiday period and the necessity of arranging transport, all who intend to join these excursions must book early. The Supporters’ Club hut at the south end of the ground will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the next few weeks for the sale of tickets.

Tower dance

DON’T forget the Tower dance on Monday - St. Patrick’s Night. It will go on from 8 p.m. -12 p.m.

Tickets are still op sale. A silver cup has been presented for the amateur waltz competition when professional judges will be in attendance. Entrance forms can be obtained from the hon. treasurer, Mr. T. Newton at the ground. Entries are limited to 60.

There will also be lucky dance programmes. The winner will receive two Cup Final tickets.

Late transport has been arranged for people living on the town’s outskirts.

Reserved seats

ARRANGEMENTS have been made for the club to take a block of reserved seats for members. These will be on sale at the club hut as soon as they are available.

Dinner and dance
Our dinner and dance will be held at the Spanish Hall. Winter Gardens, on Monday. April 14. Tickets are 10s. 6d: for dancing only. 3s 6d.

Sports annual

THE committee hope to produce a sports annual before the end of the season.

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