8 March 1947 Chelsea 1 Blackpool 4


Grand football on mud patch


Chelsea 1, Blackpool 4 

By “Spectator”

ONE of these days I shall see a blade of grass on a football field. I have not seen one for a couple of months. There was not one visible at Stamford Bridge this afternoon, when the elusive thaw came at last to London.

Nearly three inches of melting snow hid the frozen turf. Only on the lines and in the goal areas had the snow been cleared.

Within a couple of minutes of the kick-off it threatened to become another of those gluepots which present-day Blackpool teams seem to hate.

When the team left the North West coast yesterday morning they were told: “You should make it in 24 hours!”

They made it in a lot less, reached Euston over clear lines only 40 minutes late Blackpool’s reconstructed forward line included only one man, Stan Mortensen, in the position where he played last week.


George Dick played for the first time at outside-left on the ground where he might have made his name. It will be remembered that after being offered a trial by the Chelsea management he decided to enlist with Blackpool when he came home from the B.A.O.R.

Tommy Lawton, the England centre-forward, was again unable to appear. The Swiss amateur. W. Steffen, was in the Chelsea defence


CHELSEA: Medhurst, Winter, W Steffen, Machin, Harris, Macauley, Spence, Walker, Williams, Goulden and Paton.

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

Referee: Mr. A. C. Hall (Chester).


There were not 30,000 people on the ground when the teams appeared immediately after massed snowball battles had been raging between packs of boys on the greyhound track which encircles the field.

Newsreel cameras were posted on the line.

Chelsea won the toss. If it made any particular difference I could not detect it. 'The big Swiss, Steffen, headed out Sibley’s free kick in the first half-minute.

This Blackpool raid continued, was repelled on the right, but was built again by a fast and aggressive Munro.

The winger cut into the inside position and released a forward pass which Mortensen half lost in the slime, retrieved, and shot wide.

It was an opening of, great promise by Blackpool. A long pass was in every raid for a time, and in the first five minutes one raid followed another.


In the fifth minute Blackpool took the lead with a fast, crisp advance in three moves.

Buchan accepted a forward pass as it reached him, and put another forward pass into a wide open space.

Into this space DICK raced, and shot into the far corner of the net as Medhurst dived at his feet.

It was a goal made to look as simple as A.B.C., and it was deserved.

In the first seven minutes the Chelsea forwards had crossed the half-way line only once, and then had not reached the penalty area.

Nobody expected this. Blackpool were faster everywhere - direct with their passes, which were made without hesitation.

So precise and ordered was this football that it might have been played on firm Wembley turf instead of on a couple of inches of snow which were churning into slime.

A second Blackpool goal came five minutes after the first - a goal as simple in construction as the first.

This time Munro made it. He took another of those long passes swerved past Steffen as if the Swiss were not there, and crossed a high centre.

Winter lost the ball in the sun’s glare. Down it fell beyond him, and left DICK again to race a couple of yards unchallenged before hitting the far wall of the net.

Chelsea made an attack of sorts afterwards on the right wing, and another on the left.

Then back stormed the fast Blackpool forwards in a raid which ended with the damaging Dick raking another wide-open Chelsea defence with a centre which Medhurst punched almost off the face of the bar

Half a minute later Dick again forced the goalkeeper to a mid-air clearance at the cost of the game’s first corner in the 14th minute.


And Williams reduces the lead

Afterwards, the Chelsea front line no longer held merely a watching brief.

In 20 minutes it reduced the lead after half a dozen patch-work attacks had been repulsed. Machin called for a back pass from Spence, was given it, and lobbed a high ball into Blackpool’s goal area.

Goulden leaped at the flying ball, arid headed it against the bar.

Down the ball cannoned and came to rest in the mud at Wallace’s feet. It seemed to be trapped there. It was forced over the line by WILLIAMS, with the goalkeeper in the quagmire near the post.

That goal awakened the Chelsea forwards at last.

Yet when the Blackpool front line raced into the match again Steffen had to hurl himself into the path of a thunderbolt shot by the nonstop Munro.


In the next minute only the deceptive skid of the ball beat Mortensen as he was chasing Buchan’s shrewd forward pass.

Yet with 25 minutes gone - 25 minutes of football faster and of higher quality than on such a day I had ever expected - Blackpool were no longer dictating the match, and were often in retreat.

In rapid succession Sibley put the brake on Williams with the centre-forward galloping full tilt after a long lobbed pass, and Hayward broke up a down-the-centre raid by Chelsea’s three inside men.

A couple of minutes later, too, Johnston headed out under pressure a ball which Goulden punted back into a goal area massed with men.

Repeatedly afterwards the left-wing defence of Sibley and Johnston halted tearaway Chelsea raids. Yet in an assault by a Blackpool forward line still often in the game, Mortensen shot a ball which Medhurst punched over the bar.

Before it was ended Dick nearly completed a “hat trick.” His shot hit a full-back almost on the line, and cannoned out off him.

Twice Wallace made daring dives at the feet of Williams before Mortensen - escaped direct from a clearance by Shimwell, outpaced both full-backs, and stabbed wide a ball which nearly went in off Harris.

In the last half minute Johnston missed a brilliant one-man goal by inches after outwitting the Chelsea defence all on his own.

Half-time: Chelsea 1, Blackpool 2.


By the time the second half opened, the centre line had become a shallow canal.

Elsewhere the mud was thickening every minute. The attendance had increased to 40,000. 

In the first minute Wallace fielded a skidding ball, the prelude to a series of raids which ended in Williams heading Spence’s centre wide.

It was all Chelsea in the first two minutes.

Then Blackpool attacked twice on the right and again on the left and came near to scoring in this third raid as Winter, in a panic, passed back to his goalkeeper a ball so fast that Medhurst had to fall all his 5ft. 11 inches to reach it.

Shimwell’s long clearances were repeatedly creating Blackpool raids.


One built an attack in the fifth minute of the half, and indirectly it produced a goal.

Winter halted Mortensen to repel the advance, but the ball was half hit out to the right.

On to it Munro, always waiting for these chances, darted and crossed the ball inside to his partner.

BUCHAN took it, swerved his fullback, ran half a dozen yards on his own, nearly reached the line, and shot from an incredibly narrow angle a ball which flew over Medhurst’s head into the far wall of the net.

Afterwards, in almost continuous Blackpool pressure, the only major incident was a swallow dive into one of the banks of snow behind the Chelsea goal line by the aggressive Munro.

I noticed that Mortensen’s right hand was encased in thick bandage.


Eastham shot wide when a loose ball had skidded away from Chelsea’s battered defence. It nearly was 4-1 in the next minute, too. as Mortensen headed backwards Munro’s centre. Medhurst clutched it to his chest as it hit him.

Winter’s desperate last-second tackle forced Mortensen to a standstill as the centre-forward waited in a perfect position from Munro’s pass almost beneath the bar.

With 20 minutes gone, Dick was obstructed deliberately in the penalty area as he cut inside after beating three men.

Blackpool demanded a penalty. Mr. Hall gave instead a free-kick a couple of yards outside, which Farrow shot in Medhurst’s arms.

Chelsea forwards were in game a lot in last 15 minutes, But Blackpool’s defence stood resolute.

MORTENSEN scored fourth goal for Blackpool in last minute after brilliant raid half length of field by Johnston.


CHELSEA 1 (Williams 20min)

BLACKPOOL 4 (Dick 5, 10min, Buchan 55min, Mortensen 89min)


This was Blackpool's best game for months.

Remodelled forward line seldom used short pass, and took fast, shortest route for goal. Munro star of line which had remarkable opportunist in Dick as wing forward.

Shimwell and Sibley were as resolute as I have ever seen them. In two games now the £8,000 Shimwell has been revealed. 

Again, too, half backs were compact, confident line.

It was bouquets for every man today in taking points deservedly in first match won away from home since December 21 at Charlton.

Official attendance, 32,196.


By “Spectator”

SOME folk say that the Blackpool forward line is not all it ought to be. Others tell you that the defence too often panics. The First Division table confirms these views.

But nearly everybody is in agreement that the half-back line is among the best in the land.

This opinion is so nearly 100 per cent, that the time has come, I think, to salute the George Farrow-Eric Hayward-Harry Johnston partnership.

It played today at Chelsea, in its 120th game, its 12th this season since the centre-half came home from the war and the old firm put out the sign again.

As long ago as November 27, 1937, it had its first game as a line, a week after Harry Johnston, who has since become an England wing-half and Blackpool’s captain, had been given his League baptism at Preston, a young unknown from the Droylsden area.

Ever since except for the last three war years, the line has been nearly intact until in Blackpool football the three names in the team list have become as familiar as a jingle in a nursery rhyme.

THESE three were side by side at Sheffield when Blackpool won the War Cup in 1943, and a week later contributed to the defeat of Arsenal in the championship-of-England match at Stamford Bridge.

There is a season or two left in this trinity yet - and it’s been going nearly 10 years now. And it cost to mobilise between £3,000 and £4,000, which is the price being asked today for one immature recruit.

Farrow, Hayward, Johnston -  take a bow!

No, there s nothing wrong with this half-back line. Where Blackpool have had their big problem this season has been elsewhere, chiefly at wing forward.

Since the end of August men playing on the wings of Blackpool’s attack have scored only 12 goals.
 That is an utterly inadequate total in these days when as football is played goals must and should come from the wings.

The scorers - 

HERE, for the records, are the Blackpool marksmen:

First Division: S Mortensen 19 (1 p); W. Buchan (3 p) and G. Dick 7 each; J McIntosh and G. Eastham 5 each; J. Blair 4; A. Munro 2; G. Farrow and H. O’Donnell 1 each.

Central League: G McKnight 17: R. Finan and H. O’Donnell (1 p) 7 each; A Munro 5; G. Dick. C. Lawrence. G. Eastham 3 each; G. Farrow. S Nelson, D. Craig 2 each; A. Wolinin. A. Sfnith, E Hayward. F. Tapping. J. Crosland. H. Kelly. W. Buchan. J. McIntosh 1 each.

ottings fro
m all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 8 March 1947

It’s an old, old problem

THE first Jock Dodds goal ever to win a point for Blackpool was scored in the last Chelsea-Blackpool match played in London before this afternoon’s game.

Nine minutes only were left when the centre-forward headed past Victor Woodley to equalise a first- half goal shot by Joe (“10 Goal") Payne in a 1-1 draw in March, 1939.

Blackpool had wing-forward problems even then, fielded two second- team recruits, Len Forster and Malcolm McLaren, in this team:

Roxburgh, Blair (D.), Sibley, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Forster, Buchan (W.), Dodds, Astley and McLaren.

They still had a wing-forward problem when the game ended. It’s not been solved yet.


IT will have awakened a few memories for Blackpool’s half-backs when they took the field at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.

The last time a Blackpool team played on the Chelsea ground was in the famous Championship of England match with Arsenal in 1943. 

That game ranks as a classic.

This is the sort of team Blackpool could recruit in those days: Savage, Pope, Hubbick, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Matthews, Finan, Dodds, Dix, and Burbanks.

These men beat an Arsenal team of prewar strength 4-2 after losing two goals in the first 10 minutes.


HARRY JOHNSTON and Stanley Mortensen were presented with gold medals after the recent Football League-Irish League match at Liverpool. They were the sort of medals which are off the market these days solid gold and decorative.

Each was paid a £10 match fee, too, for which they will also qualify as reserves at Glasgow next week.

There will be another medal for each of them in addition, but not of the prewar brand again. The last of the League’s stock went at Liverpool.

IT is a remarkable record which Bolton Wanderers have built at Blackpool since World War I.

In that time the Wanderers have played six First Division and two Second Division games at Bloomfield-road - plus a Cup tie in 1927 - and never once been defeated. Four of the nine games have been won and the remaining five drawn.

In that time Blackpool have won twice and played a draw at Burnden Park.


THEY call W. H. E. (“Bill”) Evans, of Huyton, who was at Blackpool last weekend, the game’s Savile-row referee. He is always so immaculate.

He was at Blackpool a week ago  - when he left his dressing room, but not when he went back to it after 90 minutes in the mud.

He even fits new snow-white laces in his boots for every match. He happens to be one of the best referees in the game today.

Will he be chosen for Wembley this year? He may be. He will only have to wait a year or two in any case.


THERE are only two men who A have not yet missed a game for Blackpool’s first team this season; Jock Wallace and Eric Sibley.

Almost until the time of the kick-off it was uncertain last week-end whether the full-back would be able to play against Bolton Wanderers.

Bill Lewis was standing by as reserve.


"WHAT’LL you say,” I was asked the other day, “if Dick Burke plays for Newcastle at Wembley?”

I shall say, “Good luck” to him The former Blackpool fullback is out of Newcastle’s first team these days, was hurt a few weeks ago, and has not since been able to qualify for the Second Division defence.

He could still go to Wembley - or so could Harry Eastham, another former Blackpool player.


THE Blackpool players will  be meeting George Ainsley, of Leeds United, first of the club’s wartime captains, in this part of the world, again.

The United have booked at a Cleveleys hotel for three weeks, and will go into special training in a last bid to escape relegation.

One of their matches during this period is at Blackpool - on March 29.


BOLTON WANDERERS’ “Lol” Hamlett, one of the few centre half-backs who has prevented Stanley Mortensen from scoring this season, was once on Blackpool’s staff, played a number of games with the “A” team prewar before going to the Cheshire League.

He was a full-back in those days. It was as a full-back that the Wanderers signed him.


B.B.C. said...

Raymond Glendenning, broadcasting the second half of the Chelsea - Blackpool match, said during the course of a brilliant commentary:

"THESE Blackpool boys have, all the enthusiasm that’s needed . . ”

"If Blackpool had seized all their chances in the first half the score might have been much more."

“Mainly slush and very difficult . . . but Mortensen has been going like lightning all afternoon.”

“Old Munro chases it - he looks old because he has a bald head - and very acrobatic . ."

“Five forwards in front of the, Chelsea goal; oh, they’re messing it about . ."

“Beautiful slithery scrunchy sounds in the snow . . . tangerine shirts very prominent and leading deservedly with 15 minutes to go. . ”

“Blackpool defence a bit rattled now. . . absolutely scrambling the ball away. . . they must be thoroughly tired. . I don’t wonder...”

"Stan Mortensen is a live wire . eight minutes to go . .. Blackpool absolutely packed up and and formed a wall of tangerine before their goal . . . they have slackened off . . .”

“Roughly three minutes left.. crowd now going away.. .oh, it’s going across the goal straight to Mortensen’s foot - it’s a GOAL ... oh, great work by Johnston! Great work!”

“He dribbled the ball right down and passed straight to Mortensen’s foot.”

“ Blackpool did the right thing from the very start.”

THE Blackpool Supporters’ Club committee have organised two trips for Easter, when the Blackpool team travel to Everton on Good Friday and Liverpool on Easter Saturday.

Tickets for the buses are now on sale at the Supporters’ Club hut on the ground on weekdays between 11-0 and 1-0 and from 3-0 to 4-0. The return fare for each day is 5s. 9d.

Tower dance 

A SILVER CUP has been presented to the club, and will be given at the Tower dance on St. Patrick’s Night. March 17, to the winners of a waltz competition when, it is hoped, professional judges will be present.

Tickets are now on sale at 3s. each.

The military whist drive last Mondav was another success, and the committee thank all who helped and supported this event.

The dinner and dance has now arranged for April 14, and will be at the Spanish Hall. Tickets are 10s. 6d., and for dancing only 3s. 6d. 

Membership drive

A GREAT drive for members is now in progress, and it is hoped that all supporters will join the club and become active members by supporting all the events organised.

Any suggestions by members will be welcomed by the committee. The Supporters’ hut is now open on match days to deal with any inquiries.

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