29 March 1947 Blackpool 3 Leeds United 0


Leeds had courage, no punch


Blackpool 3, Leeds United 0

By “Spectator”

THE only queues at Blackpool this afternoon were at the kiosks outside the ground, where tickets were on sale for the Everton and Stoke City matches during the Easter holiday week.

The Grand National and the Cup semi-final at Blackburn played havoc with the match.

Half an hour before the kickoff there was a Central League attendance, with a thin scattering of people on Spion Kop and rows of empty seats in the stand.

For Blackpool it was just another fixture. For Leeds United who have been in special training for three weeks at Cleveleys, it was a match which might decide the future of the Yorkshire club for years.

The United reached the ground with a report that Ken Willingham. the new half-back from Sunderland and an England player in his time, had broken a bone in his right hand.

Henry was transferred from the forward line to deputise for him, and Hindle introduced at inside-left.


It was the first mild day for First Division football there has been at Blackpool for months.

The ground had been rolled, but had been made almost as soft as a sponge by the rains.

I hear that manager Joe Smith is out of town again today. This time his destination was reported to be Yorkshire. It is, I suppose, a wing-forward he is after.


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

LEEDS UNITED; Hodgson, Milburn, Bannister, Henry, Holley, Martin, Cochrane, Ainsley, Clarke, Hindle, and Grainger.

Referee: Mr. D. Schofield (Oldham) 


Harry Johnston won the toss. Blackpool defended the south goal.

It was a goal on which the Leeds forwards raced non-stop for a couple of minutes without reaching scoring distance until Johnston crossed Hindle’s path and dispossessed him, with the inside-left tearing in fast to shoot. These forwards were neat and crisp to watch in those early minutes.

Yet the first time the Blackpool front line went into action Dick shot low into Hodgson’s arms from McKnight’s pass.

There were ominous gaps in the Leeds defence early in the game. Twice within a couple of minutes the alert Mortensen raced into them to win a comer each time.

A third time the big Tom Holley hooked the ball desperately away from the Blackpool leader.


Blackpool s pressure continued. Dick headed into Hodgson’s arms direct from one of Farrow’s long lobbed passes.

All the time, after an opening full of promise, the Yorkshire team were in retreat.

‘‘Have a go George!” the Spion Kop shouted when Holley, a centre-half who stands on no ceremony, was penalised for his treatment of Mortensen as the centre-forward went after a long forward pass.

George Farrow, the shooting half-back, had a go, but shot yards wide from a couple of yards outside the penalty area.

George Ainsley can still release a studied pass. Time after time he put a man in possession to open attacks which ended almost before they had begun.

One corner this outplayed United won in the first 18 minutes. It, too, led nowhere.

Two minutes later Blackpool took the lead. It was a model goal created by two crisp passes.

McKnight opened the raid with the sort of pass inside the fullback which wing forwards dream about.

Munro took it at full gallop, reached the line with it, crossed the ball fast and low for MORTENSEN to sweep it past Hodgson, with Holley, for once, a second too late in the tackle.

Another minute, and Johnston shooting through a pack of men, nearly hit the net for the first time this season, the unsighted Hodgson falling on both knees to hold a ball whose pace nearly rocked him back over the line.

For minutes afterwards the Leeds forwards raided. Yet five minutes pressure produced merely a shot by Clark which Wallace held like a man taking a catch in the slips, and another worthless corner.


Ten minutes after the first goal came No. 2. This was a goal as good as the first, and again McKnight made it.

This time the Irishman reached the line on his own, waited until MORTENSEN was in position, and, with complete composure, squared a pass which the centre-forward shot brilliantly low and wide of the diving Hodgson to complete his quarter century of goals this season.

Within a couple of minutes it was nearly 3-0.

Dick, calling for a pass and being given one at last in a shooting position, thundered in a shot which Hodgson reached in a great leap to his left for the greatest clearance of the afternoon.

Later, Shimwell nearly put himself among the day’s marksmen with a shot from 40 yards which went past a post as fast as a bullet.

The United were in the game a lot before the interval but, their forwards’ football was completely inconclusive.

Half-time: Blackpool 2 Leeds 0.


Rain was falling fast when the second half opened.

This Leeds team has plenty of courage, whatever its other limitations. It raided persistently early in the half, but again all the forwards’ raids had a premature end.

All down the centre the turf was churning into thick mud. Into this mud Wallace dived once to beat out a fast low shot by Cochrane, the best shot a Leeds forward had made all the afternoon.

Blackpool’s retaliation was immediate - a corner on the right and another on the left.

Yet the United still refused to surrender. McKnight had to race back to the aid of his defence to concede a corner, with 10 minutes of an uneventful half gone.


In the 12th minute it might have been 3-0 as Buchan sliced a shot wide from a scoring position which Munro had created for him.

There was every sign of the match petering out at this time in spite of the desperate football the United were producing.

The referee halted the game, called Bannister 20 yards to him and had a little talk with the Leeds full-back after one incident. 

Five minutes pressure by Leeds produced only two shots from long range which Wallace held on his knees.

It was all over, except for a miracle, with 15 minutes to go.

All there was to report was another little episode in which Bannister was featured, the referee - and his own captain - addressing another lecture to him after he had kicked the ball at Munro instead of to his goalkeeper for a goal kick.

The Blackpool defence, which was now and again in a bit of chaos, surrendered three corners, with Leeds still battering away on a 100-1 chance.


With five minutes left Mortensen was near to a First Division hat trick as he has ever been, shooting against a post from McKnight’s pass, with Hodgson too late in his leap at the ball. Five minutes earlier, too, Dick had hit the bar with an amazing shot which ran across its face and went out by the far corner flag.

That was the big difference between the two teams. One forward line could shoot, the other could not.

With three minutes left Munro crossed a low centre into a pack of men.

Out of this swarm McKNIGHT forced a path to shoot his second goal in First Division football and settle everything, including, I fear, Leeds’ fate.


BLACKPOOL 3 (Mortensen 20, 30 min, McKnight 87 min)



Leeds United will go nowhere except into the Second Division playing this sort of football.

The defence was often in panic in the first half. After the interval, when Blackpool appeared content to hold a winning half-time lead, the forwards had no punch in front of goal. There can only be one end to that.

The Blackpool forwards until they entered on an exhibition of the short-passing game, played ducks and drakes with full-backs and half-backs who were constantly losing each other and leaving big gaps in front of a gallant goalkeeper.

The McKnight-Munro wing had another minor triumph, making both goals for a centre-forward, Mortensen, who twice showed the Leeds front line how chances should be taken.

For the defence, until the last half-hour, it was no great test, but in it Shimwell played again with all the confidence which had entered his football in recent weeks.

Blackpool, without setting the Ribble on fire, seemed all the time to be winning just as they wanted to.

Leeds had a lot of courage, but little else.

The official attendance was 14,491.



By “Spectator”


Letters which have poured into the office this week following the article on the subject in this column a week ago establishes the fact beyond dispute.

For every correspondent who writes, “What’s wrong with football from August to June every year?” there are a dozen prepared to tell him that everything is wrong with it.

Take a plebiscite on it in this area to-day and there would be a majority of 10-1 against it.

I select an extract from one letter at random. It is not written by one of the old diehards, either. You can scarcely be called that when you have not yet celebrated your 17th birthday.

Sixteen-years-old J. A. Uttley, of St. Andrew’s-road South, St. Annes, writes: “It would be a disgrace to sport if summer football came to stay. . . . Non-stop football must never come.”

And so say nearly all the others.

The midweek ban

QPINIONS are as uncompromising about the midweek ban.

I was talking the other day to Col. W. Parkinson, J.P., the Blackpool chairman, about it.

The Blackpool club are not seeking a special concession, but already I am told that representations will be made to the Football Association if the ban is still operating when next season opens.

Midweek fixtures in both the First Division and the Central League in the first month of a season are among the best box-office games for Blackpool. At one of them this year - the Brentford match - the gates were closed.

Case strengthened

THAT was an evening game, too, as all these matches have been for years. If it lured a dozen people from their workbenches I should be surprised to hear it.

Blackpool will not be inclined to lose those games without a protest.

The case has been strengthened, too, by the permission given this week for greyhound racing meetings in midweek at such towns as Blackpool, and by the sanction granted to midweek speedway racing, with certain limitations on the attendances at the big stadiums.

In the meantime, while this has been happening, the prohibition has continued on the medal competitions at Fleetwood and Lytham during a week when the Lincolnshire has been permitted and when the M.C.C. has been informed that its county programme and the visit of the South African tourists will be outside the ban.

Not even Tomptopia!

TWO or three hundred people watching an evening football match at Ballam-road or Fleetwood’s Highbury apparently constitute a menace to the stability of industry in the North-West.

The presence of thousands of people swarming on the Carholme course to watch the Lincoln - and in the afternoon, too - was presumably calculated to send the export figures soaring.

Not even in Tomtopia could this happen.

It makes no sort of sense.

The truth is that the midweek ban should never have been applied this season to evening games. If it had not been, it might still have been possible to complete the League programme without invading even the latter half of May.

Somebody went into a panic and this is the chaotic result.

ottings fro
m all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 29 March 1947

Leeds were winners

GEORGE EASTHAM played his first game as a Blackpool forward in front of the Blackpool public when last a Leeds United team came to the town for a First Division match on November 19, 1938.

The United won 2-1 after being a Bob Finan goal down at halftime.

The Blackpool team which lost the points:

Wallace; Blair (D.), Sibley, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, Eastham, Finan, Blair (J.) and Mauchline.


NICE people with nice manners, even if they’ve scarcely any money at all. That’s the folk at Blundell Park, where the visitor is given a greeting which is always as kind as it is generous.

They have no uniformed commissionaires at Grimsby. They could not afford them, but they would not have them anyway, if they could. It’s home-from-home - and everybody in football likes going there.

What other club chairman would visit the opposing team’s hotel, as Mr. Fred Pearce visited Blackpool’s headquarters last weekend before the match, or make himself late for tea in waiting to say “Good-bye” before they left?

It all proves yet again, I suppose, that kind hearts are more than coronets and . . . But you know the rest.


NOW that Eric Sibley has a home of his own in the town he will probably be spending nearly all the summer in Blackpool instead of down in the South.

I shall not be surprised if several clubs invite him to play cricket for them. He had a few games with Hampshire between the wars.

If he has as good a season on the cricket field as he has had on the football field this time the club enlisting him will have no complaints.

Another of the game’s gentlemen is Eric Sibley.


WE shall miss David Ashworth at Bloomfield-road.

The glamour faded for him years ago when his days ended as a manager of teams which were among the Arsenals of their time. He was always one of those afterwards who served behind the scenes.

Between the wars he visited dozens of grounds which are outside football’s Mayfair. On his recommendation Blackpool signed a few recruits whose names later made news in the big leagues.

Names are soon forgotten in football. In Oldham, Liverpool and Manchester the present generation knew not David Ashworth. He will not be forgotten in Blackpool.


THE Sammy Nelson-George McKnight partnership was the first Irish wing fielded by Blackpool for years.

I can find no other all-Irish wing in Blackpool team records in the last 20 years. It is probably even longer since two Irishmen were in partnership for the club.

Not that these two young men are strangers to each other. They were often in Linfield’s team before they crossed the water - but seldom as partners.



EVERY weekend for the last month or two Jock Wallace has gone up to Scotland. Last weekend he was nearly six hours in a coach from Grimsby before joining the early-morning train from Preston and reaching home after being en route for about 16 hours.

His wife has been ill, is soon to have an operation. Few people have known that for such a long time he has been playing under this shadow.

Jock is not the sort to talk about it. He’s one of the gentlemen of the contemporary game. There are a lot of others too. There are more, I think, than there ever were. The old-time type is dying out, unlamented and forgotten.


Mortensen’s 23rd

STANLEY MORTENSEN’S second goal at Grimsby last week was his 23rd in the First Division this season.

Twenty-three goals in 32 games is an achievement equalled by few centre-forwards in first-class football postwar.

No forward in the First Division has scored in as many games.


They made good

FIRST TIME George Farrow played at Blundell Park, where he impressed all the customers a week ago, was when he was a boy f of 15. He went there in one of the famous Sunderland Boys’ teams.

In this team were several players who later made a name in the big Leagues, among them Horatio Carter, the England and Derby forward, and Sep Smith, the Leicester half-back.

Johnston’s football dream comes true

Every boy who plays football has a dream. It comes true for fewer than one in a million.

BUT it has come true for Harry Johnston, the Blackpool captain, whose selection to play for England against Scotland at Wembley a fortnight today fulfils the ambition which has possessed him ever since the day he came to Blackpool from Droylsden as a schoolboy of 15.

It will be Johnston’s third representative game since he came out of the R.A.F. a year ago. In the autumn he played for England against Holland. Later the Football League chose him for the Irish League match.


Johnston is the first Blackpool professional ever to play for England against Scotland. Jimmy Hampson was chosen against Wales and Ireland in 1931.

The Blackpool centre-forward, Stanley Mortensen, who, I hear, may go on the F.A. Continental tour in May with Johnston, is again one of the reserves.


THE trips to Everton on Good Friday and to Liverpool on the Saturday (return fare 5s. 6d.) are not being too well supported.

As transport will have to be arranged very early it is essential that tickets are purchased quickly.
The only seats reserved at Goodison Park on the Friday are held by the Blackpool Supporters Club, they will, for the time being, be sold with coach tickets.

Coach bookings for the game at Everton will close on Tuesday.

Easter Week games

TICKETS for the Easter Monday match with Everton and also for the Stoke City match will be on sale for members of the club at the Supporters’ Hut during the next few days, and, if supplies last, during the reserve matches on Good Friday and the Saturday before Easter Monday.


MANY stewards are required for the Everton match. Members of the Supporters’ Club willing to officiate are asked to hand their names at the ground to Mr. T. Newton or Mr. J. Cobb.

Dinner and dance

AFTER the very successful event at the Tower, the committee are hoping that the dinner and dance on Monday, April 14. at the Spanish and Baronial Halls will be equally well supported.

Tickets are on sale at 10s. 6d.; for dancing only, 3s. 6d.

Mr. David Ashworth

IT was with deep regret that the Supporters’ Club heard of the death of Mr. David Ashworth. He was well known to many of our members. We shall miss him very much.

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