22 March 1947 Grimsby Town 2 Blackpool 3


Grimsby go down fighting

- but well beaten

Grimsby Town 2, Blackpool 3 

By “Spectator”

AFTER the snow and the frost and the thaw came the rain.

There were a few hours of sunshine on the East coast early today, but before noon 'the sky began to thicken with clouds, and for a couple of hours before the kick-off thin ram was falling on the Blundell Park ground - the smallest in the First Division.

They were counting up the years in Blackpool’s hotel today, and came to the conclusion that the Town these days are fielding the oldest team in first-class football. 

What difference that would make nobody was prepared to say.

The Town announced a team which included Joe Johnson, the outside-right who was one of Blackpool’s wartime guests while stationed at Squires Gate as a P.T. sergeant.

Blackpool had an all-Scottish left wing and two Irishmen in partnership on the right - the first Irish wing fielded by the club for years - with an English man in the centre.


GRIMSBY  TOWN: Tweedy, Fisher, Hodgson, Hall, Betmead, Blenkinsop, Johnson, Clifton, Cairns, McGowan, and Wardle.

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

Referee: Mr. A. E. Ellis (Halifax).


The weather was beginning to clear when the teams appeared. The attendance was fewer than 10,000.

The turf was unexpectedly firm, even if it threatened soon to cut up.

During the first two minutes the play was moving towards the Blackpool goal. Fisher shot inches over the bar from his own half of the field to end the first of these flat-out Town attacks - McGowan, a Grimsby recruit from Dumbarton, forced Wallace to hold a swift, low shot at the end of the second.

As soon as Blackpool lifted this siege a chance of sorts offered itself, Nelson crossing a low centre which skidded away from Mortensen as the centre-forward darted in to meet it.


The Town's football had no signs of age about it in these opening minutes. Everywhere it was fast, shorn of all pretensions and yet direct and aggressive.

Shimwell made two confident clearances to repel a forward line advancing on an open front before Hayward halted another full-line, attack, with Cairns chasing a long forward pass.

Yet when the Blackpool front line approached within measurable distance of the Town’s goal there were often signs of panic.

Betmead once passed back so fast and high to Tweedy that the 6ft 2in giant in the Town’s goal had to leap high to reach a rising ball and punch it out anywhere for the first corner of the match in the ninth minute of the half. 

All the time afterwords Blackpool were scattering the Town’s defence - and took the lead in another two minutes. A grand goal it was too by the Irishman, George McKnight - his first in the - First Division.


McKnight quick to take his chance

Farrow made the chance with a long-distance throw-in for which the Grimsby defence never positioned itself. There was an open space behind the left back.

McKnight was waiting, took the ball as it fell at his feet, swerved fast to the left, and shot so fast and low into the far corner of the net that Tweedy never moved an inch to the ball.

The Town were reduced to breakaways afterwards. In one of them Clifton shot high over the bar when he might have scored. In another, Cairns headed even higher over from Johnson’s lofted centre.

Blenkinsop conceded the game's second comer in another panic in front of Grimsby’s goal in the 17th minute.

From the flag, too, Dick crossed such a perfect centre that McKnight was near to a second goal in a flying leap at a ball which nearly grazed the bar as Tweedy unsighted by the packed defence in front of him, hurled himself late at it.


Another minute, and Mortensen went after a pass and shot the ball not only over the bar but over the low stand and into the street outside the ground.

Afterwards, the Town forwards raided repeatedly.

A goal came - a deserved goal, too - in the 24th minute of the half to make it 1-1.

The left flank of Blackpool’s defence was passed by the raiding Clifton. The inside-right raced on, cut inside, and put square to CAIRNS a pass which the centre-forward shot low past Wallace into the far wall of the net.

Blackpool were completely outplayed afterwards. Hayward surrendered his team’s first corner in the 26th minute.


Yet in the 28th minute Blackpool nearly went in front again. A long pass reached Mortensen between two full-backs still playing too far apart.

Away from his watchdog, Betmead, the centre-forward raced, cut in from the inside-left position, and shot a rising ball which the deserted Tweedy punched over the bar for a corner kick.

Too few passes were reaching Dick, who had not been given one in an open space during these first 30 minutes.

For minutes afterwards the Grimsby forwards battered away. During this pressure few passes reached a Blackpool forward line whose attacks were again being limited to one-man raids by Mortensen.

In the last minute of the half it required a desperate, sliding tackle by Shimwell to halt Johnson as the outside-right raced in to a headed pass and was preparing to make it 2-1.

Half-time: Grimsby Town 1, Blackpool 1.


The sun was shining when the second half began.

In less than a minute there was a goal. It was a goal which the Grimsby full-backs had been in inviting all the afternoon by playing too far apart.

After the Town's first raid had been repulsed Wallace took a goal-kick.

Direct from the kick the ball was lofted 30 yards into a gaping space between the full backs.

MORTENSEN was waiting for it, reached it, beat Tweedy in a race for it by half a yard, shot low into the net past the deserted goalkeeper, skidded to earth, and finished standing on his head.

That was a great opportunist goal - the centre-forward’s 22nd of the season.

Grimsby were not out of the game yet. Twice in rapid succession men in Blackpool’s defence had to pass back to their goalkeeper.

Yet the composed, ordered football was being played by Blackpool with 10 minutes of the half gone. Farrow being magnificent in his services of passes to the forwards.


When Sibley cleared a long ball Dick took it, his fullback far away.

The wing man raced inside, shot so fast that Tweedy, in midair, could only beat the ball on to the top of the bar and watch it roll into the roof of the net for a corner.

And from the comer Dick was near a goal again when he stabbed a shot which missed a post by a couple of inches, with Tweedy nowhere near it.

It was 15 minutes after the interval before Wallace had a test. Then as he punched a flying centre by Wardle the heavyweight Cairns leaped at it as the offside whistle went.


Eighteen minutes of the half had gone and it was 3-1 for Blackpool. This goal was a gift. Direct from a Town raid there was a Blackpool advance on the right. A loose ball bounced near Hodgson. The full-back left it to Tweedy. The goalkeeper left it to the full-back.

In the end, as the bail rolled slowly between two of them, Tweedy at last came out crouching, and permitted the ball to elude him. Into the gap raced always-on-the spot MORTENSEN who walked the hall into an empty goal.

Another minute, and it was 2-2.

From the kick-off the Town raided pell-mell.

Farrow leaped to a ball, lurched forward over Cairns as the centre-forward bent low in front of him.

Mr. Ellis gave a penalty WARDLE converted it amid a tornado of cheers.

For minutes tearaway pressure battered the Blackpool goal.

Blackpool were content to play out time in the last 10 minutes after this Grimsby whirlwind had spent itself. 

In the last minute Nelson raced half the length of the field and forced Tweedy to a great clearance.


GRIMSBY TOWN 2 (Cairns 24min, Wardle 64min)

BLACKPOOL 3 (McKnight 11min, Mortensen 46min and 63min )


It was a topsy-turvy game. Neither team was in complete possession of it for long.

Both defences were inclined to lose position under pressure. Yet Shimwell had another resolute game, and Hayward also starred.

Farrow and Johnston were always plying passes to forward line which was not always the force it has been in recent games.

McKnight again justified his inclusion, but Dick was given too few passes, and Munro was missed.

Blackpool deserved to win because their football was of higher quality.


By “Spectator”


There’s nothing new in it. Its advocates - the fanatics who think there is only one game in the sports calendar - are out in the open today.

The addition of six weeks to the present season has given them the precedent they have been seeking for years and which they are already beginning to exploit.

A season beginning at the end of August and ending at the beginning of May is too short for these Oliver Twists.

They have been presented with a 10-month season this year. With no less will they ever again be content.

Already you can hear the whispers: “Ban midweek football again next season. Then there will have to be games until mid-June to complete the fixture lists.”

What will be the end of it?

Cricket revolt?

THE M.C.C. may forsake its present passive acceptance in this invasion of its territory. Other summer sports will be up in arms, too. But in the end, I think, it will be left to football to work out its own salvation from the selfish minority who will sabotage the game if they are not restrained.

For if League football wants to commit suicide a few 10-months-in-the-year seasons will achieve this end faster than any other means known to man.

During the present postwar boom the public cannot be given sufficient football, would watch it from January to December.

But this craze won’t last long. It will last even less time if the public is glutted on football off the-ration from August to June every season.

Would decline

THE football itself, too, would decline - and it has scarcely reached Olympian heights yet since the war. One match a week, even for 10 months of the year, may not be a layman’s conception of hard labour, and yet, put to the test, it would leave in football in a year or two a jaded and stale race of professionals.

No, there’s nothing whatever to be said for this latest proposal. Yet its advocates will not capitulate without a deal of commotion. One or two people are still asking if this midweek ban should ever have been introduced.

What compelled it?

The answer is: The wholesale desertion of factory benches whenever a midweek game was played - a desertion, too, by the people who have been able all season to watch football every Saturday afternoon.

Innocent suffer

IF this is the Second Battle of Britain in which we are today engaged, and if the factory bench is the new front-line, desertion from it should not be condoned.

It is because, with few exceptions, midweek absenteeism has not been punished that it became necessary for all midweek games to be called off, and the legitimate midweek public, which can never see Saturday games, are now no longer permitted to see one at all.

It is a case of visiting the sins of the guilty upon the innocent. That, as I see it, is neither good sense nor good democracy.

ottings fro
m all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 22 March 1947

GRIMSBY - 1939

BLACKPOOL fielded a team containing four Englishmen, three Scots, three Irishmen and a Welshman when last the club had an engagement at Grimsby on January 28, 1939.

This advance edition of U.N.O. still could not win. Blackpool lost by two second-half goals - one of them shot by Pat Glover - to a team which included the forward, T. W. Jones, who only a few months earlier had left Blackpool.

This was the team of all the nations:

Wallace; Blair (D.), Butler, Hall, Hayward, Jones (S.), Munro,  Astley,  Ashworth, Eastham, and Lewis.


WHAT a Superb footballer Jimmy Hagan is. He played in the slime and mud and ice at Blackpool a week ago a game of such studied nonchalance that he might have been giving an exhibition on Wembley turf.

The correspondent who complains that I have never given sufficient praise to this England and Sheffield forward can now cut out this paragraph and frame it.

Every word of this tribute is sincere, too.


STANLEY MORTENSEN has eight games left in which to score the 11 goals he requires to create a new First Division scoring record for Blackpool. Can he do it?

The odds are against it - but he might. Holder of the present record?

Who else but Jimmy Hampson, who in Blackpool’s first season ever in the First Division 1930-31 scored 31 times.


WHO said that interest in football was waning?

There were 17,000 people at Blackpool last weekend on a day of snow, sleet, rain, hail - and every other abomination a March day could produce.

Seventeen thousand at a Blackpool match at this time of the year is above the average for any sort of day.


GORDON KENNEDY, the young Blackpool full-back, is still working on the open-cast mining site at Wentworth, but is back in training again, went to Birmingham last weekend as 12th man for the Reserve.

I told him when I met him the other day, “Forget all about that little incident at Stoke,” assured him that Stanley whom the full-back tackled before being sent off and later suspended for a fortnight, bore no ill-will and had, in fact, interceded in vain on his behalf with the F.A.

“Now you can begin all over again,” I said.


WHEN Blackpool Reserve took to the field this afternoon against Newcastle United they entered on their third month without a defeat.

The last time this team lost a game was as long ago as December 14 last year. Since then 12 games have been played, 10 won, and 36 goals scored against seven. 

They think Bill Lewis is the team’s mascot. Nearly all this has happened since he became captain - and he’s as pleased as Punch about it.


BLACKPOOL directors, in their recent statement to the Corporation on the stadium scheme, wrote that there was only one other ground in the First Division with smaller accommodation than Bloomfield- road offers

The Blackpool team were playing there today. Yet there’s not a lot in it - only 136, to be precise.

Ground record at Blundell Park, Grimsby, is 31,651. At Blackpool it is 31,787.

One of the First Division’s poor relations are Grimsby Town, but they have nothing to learn from any club in courtesy and unassuming hospitality. 

Every club in the Division likes going to Blundell Park and meeting the gentlemen - 'gentlemen ” in the literal sense - who direct its destinies.


GEORGE TOOMEY, the Leeds goalkeeper, who was on the casualty list at Blackpool the other day, had decided to retire from the game when this season opened. Then the United lost two goalkeepers within a few weeks and persuaded him to remain at Elland-road.

He was in the Leeds goal for Blackpool’s First Division match in the Yorkshire city in November, played a great game, too, and held the position for weeks afterwards.


GEORGE DICK has shot four  goals in his last two games. All were scored from the outside-left position.

Four in two games - after outside lefts have been playing in the previous 15 games for Blackpool  - 22 and a half hours in the aggregate - and not shot one. That’s football all over.

The last time a left-wing forward had scored for Blackpool was when Jim McIntosh gave Blackpool the lead against Liverpool on November 30.


A STRANGE Easter approaches for Blackpool’s first team. They go to Liverpool twice in 24 hours - on Good Friday to Everton, the following day to Anfield.

I wonder if Jock Dodds will be back in the Everton team for these games?

Latest information is that he is almost fit again after pulling a muscle which required day-by-day treatment at Lytham Baths.


Johnston v Scotland?

STANLEY MATTHEWS thinks  Harry Johnston is a certainty for the England team in the match against Scotland at Wembley on April 12. He ought to be as he is playing these days.

One or two critics think he will be in the Britain team, too. Present prospects are that when Stoke City come to Blackpool on the day of this English-Scottish match two stars will be out of the cast - the Blackpool captain and the Stoke and England outside-right.

I don’t think the Blackpool public will see “Matthews the Magnificent ” this season. Still, they should complain! They saw plenty of him during the war.


Football mourns David Ashworth

ABSENT from his post this afternoon at the “Players and officials only” entrance to Blackpool F.C.’s headquarters at Bloomfield-road was a familiar figure.

He was Mr. David George Ashworth of Lune-grove, Blackpool, who died in the Victoria Hospital today after a short illness. He was 70.

Every Saturday during the past few years David had guarded the inner sanctum at Bloomfield-road from autograph hunters and other unwelcome visitors.

For ten years - up to the outbreak of war - he was one of the club's chief “scouts” and travelled thousands of miles up and down the country in search of players. 

Several men in Blackpool’s first team were “spotted ” by him as youngsters in junior football.


Born at Blackpool, he went to live in the Rossendale Valley as a boy and after working in the cotton industry for a spell, he became a football referee and eventually a club manager.

At different times David was “in charge of affairs” for Oldham Athletic, Liverpool, Manchester City and Stockport County.

As a mark of esteem the flag at Blackpool’s ground was flown at half-mast this afternoon.

The news of Mr. Ashworth’s death was telephoned to the Blackpool players at Grimsby.

“We have lost a good friend,” said Harry Johnston, the captain, on behalf of the team.

THE first big social event of the Supporters’ Club was a great success, over 2,000 attending our St. Patrick’s Night dance at the Tower.

The committee thank all who worked so hard to make the occasion such grand one.

It was nice to have our president (Col. W. Parkinson. J.P.) and his wife with us and also so many players and their friends. 

Our president, in an after-dinner speech to the committee, paid tribute to the enthusiasm and hard work of our chairman, Mr. H. Markland.

Easter trip

ALTHOUGH many inquiries are being received for the trips to Everton and Liverpool on Good Friday and Easter Saturday, not many bookings are taking place.

Members who intend to travel are reminded that in view of the holiday season it will be necessary to arrange transport early.

Get your tickets from the hut at the ground, which is open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Easter Monday game

A BLOCK of tickets for members for the home match with Everton on Easter Monday will be on sale at the hut next week.

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