19 April 1947 Middlesbrough 1 Blackpool 2


Middlesbrough lead disappears


Middlesbrough 1, Blackpool 2 

By “Spectator”

Harry Johnston, who I learned today, played in last week's match at Wembley with a boil on his leg - “that’s no excuse either,” he said had to call off the match at Middlesbrough this afternoon.

‘‘The leg is still very tender,” reported the trainer, Johnny Lynas.

Bill Lewis, who played as fullback in last season’s marathon Middlesbrough Cup-ties, had another game at left-half.

The sands of this first postwar season are running out - this was Blackpool’s last away game - but in Middlesbrough they would watch football from January to December, and still ask for more.

There was nearly 30,000 people in the sunshine on a day nearly as warm as midsummer when the teams appeared.

Middlesbrough had George Hardwick and Wilf Mannion, the England players, back, and were glad of them, too, I think, after the 4-0 defeat at Highbury last week.


MIDDLESBROUGH: Cumming, Stuart, Hardwick, Bell, McCabe, Gordon, Spuhler, Dews, Fenton, Mannion and Walker

BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Shimwell, Suart, Farrow, Hayward, Lewis, Munro, Dick, Mortensen, Eastham, and McIntosh

Referee: Mr. H. Berry (Huddersfield).


A colour clash compelled Blackpool to play in white.

Hayward captained Blackpool, won the toss, and set the Middlesbrough defence to face the sun. It was a defence which nearly lost a goal in the first half minute.

Hardwick conceded a free-kick. Farrow lobbed the ball into the Middlesbrough goal area. Dick leaped at it, and missed it by half an inch.

Cumming missed it as it fell, and then clutched it away the last split second as it was bouncing on the line of an open goal.

Middlesbrough, for a time, were at sixes and sevens. Every pass found a man in white instead of red.

Cumming lost the ball again as Blackpool’s pressure continued. Munro raced in to a left wing centre, but Bell lifted the ball despairingly up the field.


Spuhler's dash to meet centre

A comer followed, with Middlesbrough scarcely in the game.

Suart made a fine clearance as Spuhler tore in to meet a crossfield centre as the Middlesbrough forwards, for the first time in the first five minutes, crossed the halfway line.

Afterwards, the Middlesbrough front line was often in the game. Shimwell held out on the left.

Except for Dick, who was trapped by the offside whistle after Mortensen’s astute pass, the Blackpool forwards were subdued.

In one raid, however, McIntosh. Farrow, Munro and Dick produced an attack straight out of the text books, the ball never an inch off the turf.

There was not a lot of excitement in the football, but its quality was high.

Spuhler made one raid on his own over 50 yards before stabbing his shot wide.


A minute later, Walker, on the other wing, missed the far post by inches after darting in to Fenton’s headed pass in an unmarked position.

In the 16th minute came Blackpool’s first big escape. Dews created a raid on the right, raked Blackpool’s goal with a centre which Walker lobbed back again.

Fenton was waiting for it, and shot a ball which was crossing the line outside Wallace’s reach as Suart hurled himself at it and hooked it out anywhere, with Middlesbrough protesting that the ball had crossed the line before he reached it.

There was little in it afterwards. Lewis won a corner for Blackpool with a centre which grazed off Hardwick’s head over the line.

That corner, too, nearly produced a goal, Farrow heading barely over the bar as he leaped to Munro’s centre from the flag.


There were few shots in this game. Both defences were standing so firm that neither line of forwards could make a shooting position before a fullback or half-back halted the man in possession.

It wras not often that either goalkeeper was in action, but when Wallace at last came into the game he made a grand clearance, bolding high over his head a ball which fell into a swarm of m^n surging almost on his goal line.

A minute later Suart saved Blackpool again as Walker, racing away from Shimwell for the first time, crossed a centre which the left back headed away from almost under the bar with Spuhler and Fenton leaping at it.


A minute before half-time, with 30,000 people preparing for a goalless half, Middlesbrough took the lead.

A raid was built up on the left. In the end, after a fast interchange of passes, Fenton crossed a high ball.

Wallace seemed a fraction late in his leap to it, and into the centre raced SPUHLER. who headed into the net a ball which from the Press box appeared to pass almost between Wallace’s hands.

It had been about fifty-fifty in this half.

Half-time: Middlesbrough 1, Blackpool 0.


The opening of the second half was tame, with scarcely an incident in it for the first five minutes worth writing about.

Then at last Eastham found an opening passage, raced into it. and crossed a centre which Stuart cleared from McIntosh as the outside-left darted a second late to a shooting position.

Three times in rapid succession afterwards Shimwell repulsed the Middlesbrough forwards almost on his own.

The first time he halted Spuhler and Fenton unaided, the second time he cleared anywhere after he ball had been half-hit out by Wallace and was bouncing in the shooting zone, and the third time, as he dispossessed Mannion, there was a hullabaloo for a penalty which the referee ignored.

There was one raid on the Blackpool left which had the Middlesbrough defence in confusion, but afterwards the game was nearly all on the Blackpool goal.

Eastham forced Cumming to his knees with one of the few shots which the Blackpool forward line had made this afternoon.

A minute later, Fenton hooked the ball over the bar from a position where he should have scored.

A minute later, in the 13th minute of the half, there was a touch of drama.

Farrow took one of his long distance throws. Over McCabe’s head the ball flew. Mortensen was in position for it, and shot it fast into the net.

Mr. Berry gave a goal. Half of Midlesbrough’s team surrounded him. demanding a consultation with a linesman, whose flag was waving.

Out to the linesman the referee walked, disallowed the goal, and gave instead a throw-in for Middlesbrough from where Farrow had been standing when he hurled the ball in.

That released a series of storming Blackpool raids and awakened a match which had been threatening to go into a stalemate.


With 23 minutes of the half gone, Blackpool made it 1-1 in dramatic circumstances.

A loose ball flew across the face of Middlesbrough’s goal. Cumming leaped at it, appeared to half clutch it, lose it, and fall to his knees

Out to EASTHAM the ball rolled, with the goalkeeper still sprawling 19 yards in front of his own goal. The inside-left shot coolly into the gaping goal.

Immediately, as Blackpool raced to the half-way line jubilating, silence fell.

Ambulance men were summoned on the field as Cumming still lay semi-conscious. After treatment on the field he was taken to the dressing room on a stretcher, escorted by the ambulance squad.

After a lot of debating Dews, Middlesbrough’s young inside-right, took the green jersey and went into Middlesbrough's goal.

With 15 minutes left the understudy was beaten. MORTENSEN put a long pass down the unguarded centre, raced 50 yards on his own, waited for the deputy goalkeeper to advance to meet him, and calmly steered the ball away from him into the back of the net.

This was the second time in successive seasons that Dave Cumming Scottish international goalkeeper, had been disabled in a Blackpool match. He was put out of action and taken to Victoria Hospital in last season's match at Bloomfield-road.

Middlesbrough’s ten men raided desperately in the closing minutes, and won two corners in a minute.

Five minutes from time Stuart cleared off the line from Eastham with Dews yards out of position


MIDDLESBROUGH 1 (Spuhler 44min)

BLACKPOOL 2 (Eastham 68min, Mortensen 75min)


It was the Blackpool defence which snatched the points today against 10 men.

Before the accident to Dave Cumming, which, I hear, is a serious knee injury, there was little punch in the Blackpool front line. Not until the second half was the left wing of Eastham and McIntosh operating.

Then it was direct and progressive as it had never been earlier.

Middlesbrough’s forward line packed the greater punch without ever being anything resembling a shadow of the line which ran riot at Blackpool in December.

Yet it gave the Blackpool defence a great test, and this defence passed it, holding the line to one goal when a few Blackpool defences I have seen this season would have been stampeded out of the match.

Starring was one of the best full-back partnerships Blackpool has fielded this season. Shimwell and Suart had a great day.

So, too, had Hayward, and Lewis, revealing a new coolness was no failure as a wing half.


They’ve surprised the Dismal Jimmies

By “Spectator”

FEW of Blackpool's 39 professionals will have had sleepless nights this week speculating about their future in the game.

Nearly all of them have been offered terms for next season.

The decision not to make a big shuffle in the staff was expected. It is a deserved reward for men whose football in the last eight months has lifted Blackpool to an unfamiliar peak in the game.

A few of the Mona Lotts, who are ever with us. may have been bewailing the recent loss of points in the First Division, but, taking the long-range view, the club’s record on the field in the first post-war season must silence nearly all criticism.

The first Division team has already won seven more points than any Blackpool team has ever before won in the Division.

This team, which, according to all the Dismal Jimmies, was doomed to be numbered among the relegation squad, should finish among the first half-dozen in the table.

17 without defeat

THE second team, which recently played 17 games without a defeat, may end the season as one of the first three in the Central League.

The “A” team, which won the Richardson Cup at Easter - the first Blackpool team ever to win it - can vet win the West Lancashire League championship.

Men who have achieved these triumphs, major and minor, are entitled to the considerate treatment which the board, apparently, is prepared to offer them.

Every one of the first team has a new contract to sign, if he is prepared to accept its terms. One or two only of the reserves among the present staff of three goalkeepers, eight full-backs, 11 halfbacks and 17 forwards will be released.

Clubs interested

IN one of them - a forward - Fleetwood and Rochdale are, 1 hear, already interested. Another - full back who has given grand service to Blackpool - may be signed by Stockport County.

The rest will be wearing the tangerine again next season.

“Why not retain them?” asks Manager Joe Smith. “It’s a good staff. If we can find a couple of class wing forwards during the summer, we should have no serious problems when the new season opens.”

Few people would dispute that statement.

Charlton midweek ?

'THERE is a prospect, I hear, that Blackpool’s First Division season may end earlier than May 17, the postponed date of the visit to town of Cup Finalists, Charlton Athletic.

An approach has been made to the League this week for permission to play this match in the evening on either Wednesday, April 30, which is four days after the London team will have played at Wembley, or a week later, on May 7.

The League may, I am told, sanction the lifting of the midweek ban in such a town as Blackpool, where an evening match could not affect industrial output. The ultimate decision, however, will rest with the Athletic, who, according to the latest information, may be reluctant to come to town in midweek because of the probable loss of revenue.

Ravaged ground

BLACKPOOL would be prepared to compensate the London club if there should be a loss, and it is possible, therefore, that the last match on the ravaged Blackpool turf may be played inside the next fortnight or three weeks.

It is precisely because this turf has taken such punishment that the Blackpool directorate are seeking this earlier end of the season.

The entire playing area requires treatment. The work cannot begin too soon. Hence, this proposal to the League and to Charlton this week.

The Central League team will be playing postponed games until June 7 - two during the Whitsuntide weekend - but every fixture after today will be away.

ottings fro
m all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 19 April 1947

They crashed in 1938

AYRESOME PARK, where Blackpool played today, was less a park than a graveyard when Blackpool last visited it for a First Division match in December, 1938.

Middlesbrough won 9-2, the biggest defeat of a Blackpool team in the First Division except for the 10-1 rout at Huddersfield in 1930.

The men who lost the goals were:

Wallace, Blair (D.), Sibley, Farrow, Hayward, Jones (S.), Munro, Buchan, Finan, Eastham and Blair (J.),

The men who scored them were: Wilf Mannion (4), Mick Fenton (3) and Clifton Chadwick, the ex-Fleetwood forward, who had a couple of goals.

Alec Munro and George Eastham shot Blackpool’s two after it had been 5-0 at half-time.


I MAY be wrong - and I assure you I am not influenced either by the result or by the omission from England’s team of Harry Johnston - but was it wise for the F.A. to exile the England men for five days in Brighton before the Scotland match?

Seven of the 11 came from Northern clubs. The air of Brighton was, I should think, relaxing for them.
Why, in any case, send the team into special quarters at all?

Half of them would have preferred to remain at home, and would have been happier there.

They talk football, think football, sleep football night and day in these training camps and end up stale.

Except for this week’s little holiday at Morecambe, Burnley have managed to reach the Cup Final on the ordinary week-by-week routine.


THEY have faith in their goal keepers at Blackpool, Jock Wallace is the only man who has not missed a game for Blackpool in the First Division this season.

Joe Robinson, the ex-Hartlepools United player, has been absent only; three times from! the second team’s goal - a record which no other reserve at Blackpool has approached.


FOR the first time for years Blackpool fielded against Stoke City a forward-line which had not an Englishman in it.

There were four Scots in this line, with an Irishman in the centre - until the Irishman was put out of action. Then, for nearly half an hour, the four Scots battered at Stoke’s all-English defence and could not score a goal.

There’s probably a moral in this somewhere, but after what happened at Wembley a week ago it is not as obvious as it might appear to be.

STOKE CITY team is a freak in present-day football. Ten of the 11 men who played at Blackpool last weekend were born in the Potteries, and were, for all practical purposes, Stoke men by birth and not merely by transfer.

The policy which has built such a team of home-made products makes the big-money barons look stupid.

If they can do it in Stoke they can do it in a dozen other cities and towns.


STOKE CITY were the second team to win a double against Blackpool this season.

The first were Sunderland. The third - it may be Middlesbrough by the time this paragraph appears in print.


I WAS no wiser about George A Mountford after the Stoke City game than I was before it. There was nothing in this match either to encourage Blackpool to continue bidding for him or to call it all off.

The understudy to Stanley Matthews had not half a dozen passes in the game. He shot a goal from the one chance he had. That is all - although in this game it was quite enough.


I AM glad that Louis Cardwell is back on the active service list again. Chief cause for surprise is that he was off it for so long, that no League clubs made a bid for him.

There were plenty interested when Manchester City gave him a free transfer, but the contract offered him by Ashton National, a club which can still afford to pay a living wage - and a considerable bit over - was such that he could scarcely refuse it.

This Blackpool centre-half, who between the wars ranked among the best half-dozen in the country, was one of those professionals who lost every source of revenue, except his soldier’s pay, between 1939 and 1945.

No £2-a-weekend for him in the wartime game. He deserves a break now.


TWO men will be at Wembley in the Cup Final who have played for Blackpool in recent times.

One is Strong, the Burnley goalkeeper and Blackpool wartime guest. The other is Bray, the Burnley wing-half, who was in Blackpool’s “ A ” team before the war.


IT was good while it lasted - that undefeated sequence in the Central League by Blackpool’s second team - a sequence without parallel, even during the championship year of 1919-20.

That it had to end some time was certain. That it should have ended on the leaders’ ground last weekend with a team reduced to half a skeleton by the first team was nearly inevitable.

This, for the purposes of the record books, was the team’s record from December 21:

P W D L  F  A Pts

17 12 5 0 46 9 29

Twenty-nine out of 34 points Good going.


RONNIE SUART could have stood as a model for a sculptor carving a work called “Resignation” or ’’Despair” when the referee gave a penalty against, him in the Stoke City match.

I should think he must often ask himself, “Why should it always happen to me?”

Suart is one of the unlucky men! of football. He was concerned in the surrender of a goal in each of the three Cup-ties last in every one of those games played grand, resolute football.

So the hoodoo has continued. Some men can make half a dozen mistakes a match - and get away with them. But never Ronnie Suart.


BLACKPOOL have not played a drawn game at home this season.

Now there is only one game left in which a draw can be played - the Charlton match on May 17 - when, if he is selected, as I think he will be, for the Continental tour by an England team, Stanley Mortensen, and probably Harry Johnston, will be absent again.

The first annual dinner and dance of the Supporters' Club was much enjoyed.

Our president (Col. W. Parkinson. J.P.) and chairman (Mr. H. Markland) spoke of the fine work the club has done. Many suggestions have been put forward and will be considered by the committee. 


COL. PARKINSON appealed for more members for the Supporters’ Club. The committee hope the membership will increase during the next few weeks.

Our membership is still very low for a town like Blackpool.


ON Monday, at the Albert Hall, the quarterly meeting will be held. It is taking the form of a “quiz” with Col. Parkinson, Stanley Matthews, Henry Rose and Archie Ledbrooke among those attending. Mr F. W. Coope is questionmaster.

Members who have questions for the brains trust should send them on a postcard to Mr. Coope. Clifton-street by Monday morning.

Cup tickets

THE directors of the club have passed on 20 of the small allocation up Cup Final tickets to the Supporters’ Club.

The committee has decided to hold a ballot for these tickets at Monday’s meeting. All members present will have the opportunity of having their names drawn.

Snooker match

THE snooker match between M. Showman. F. Edwards and W. L. Crompton will take place at the South Shore Hotel next Friday at 7-30 p.m. We hope many of our members will be there.


Cost of Blackpool’s five ‘Lost weekends’

By “Spectator” 26 April 1947

WHENEVER reviews are written of Blackpool’s first postwar season somewhere or other in the script will appear those wistful words, “If only...”

If only between November 9 and December 14 five out of six matches had not been lost the team might have taken the championship, and would not have had to be content with a position among the first half-dozen in the table.

Those five lost weekends were expensive.

It began at Sheffield, where the team for the first time in the season had to play a match on a quagmire.

The defence, which in its previous 14 games had forfeited only 17 goals surrendered four in one afternoon.

Afterwards came a minor landslide, arrested only by the 3-2 defeat of Liverpool, and including the loss of three goals at home to Grimsby Town, five in another home game to Middlesbrough, and four each at Leeds and Stoke.

Twenty-two goals against in six games - 10 points lost out of 12.

Those were the five lost weekends - and they may have cost the championship.

Few complaints

YET few people, I think, will be A disposed to wail and lament about this Blackpool season.

Blackpool have been only once into the transfer market, even if the club’s scouts and its tireless, efficient manager, Mr. Joe Smith, have been skirmishing on its outskirts for months.

In December Eddie Shimwell was signed within 12 hours of Sheffield United notifying a few selected clubs that he was on offer. He cost £8,000. but as Blackpool a week or two earlier had been paid about this price for Jock Dodds by Everton there was no item to enter in the debit column.

Instead, the £3,250 which New castle United paid for Dick Burke, plus the Forster-Park deal with York City and Port Vale’s £1,000 for Jim Todd, has left Blackpool with a credit on the transfer account.

Wingers wanted

IT is a credit which may soon be A spent if two class wing forwards are signed during the summer - and the board and nearly everybody else think they will have to be - but that Blackpool should have achieved all that they have done this season without losing a penny in the transfer market deserves to be put on record.

All this, too, in spite of the fact that three quarters of the supporters appeared to be resigned to an anti-relegation season before ever the first match was played.

How has it been done?

Several factors have contributed to it. One, definitely, is that something-or-other. defying exact definition, which is called team spirit. It has taken Burnley to Wembley this afternoon. It has taken Blackpool nearer to the No. I position in the First Division table than anybody had ever expected.

AND cultivating it all the time, so that from the season’s first day the team were the happiest Blackpool team I have ever known during my years with the club, were Manager Joe Smith, Trainer Johnny Lynas, and the young half-back he chose as his team’s captain, Harry Johnston.

There are no medals this time. That’s a pity, for those three deserve one each.

“I’ll make ’em into a team,” I recall Manager Smith saying one day early last August at a time when the public were predicting a fiasco of a season.

“We’ll show them whether we can play,” I recall the new captain telling me half an hour later.

They certainly showed 'em. And if only there had not been those five lost weekends ....

ottings fro
m all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 26 April 1947

Settling the rubber

THEY are deciding the 1946-47 rubber at Deepdale next Saturday when Blackpool play Preston North End in a match on behalf of the Bolton Disaster Fund.

Preston won the First Division match at Deepdale 2-0. Blackpool won the return 4-0.

This third match will decide the issue_ and as a result should not be, and probably will not be, one of those end-of-the-season, go-as-you-please affairs.

THERE was a time when half the Blackpool team were men from the north-east. There were only two back on their native heath in the team that won at Middlesbrough - George Farrow and Stanley Mortensen. 

All their friends and relations were at the match. “Last time I played in a First Division match at Ayresome Park was in 1938,” recalled George Farrow. “They all came that day - and we lost 9-2. I’ve only just lived it down!”


WHY was a goal disallowed to Blackpool at Middlesbrough?

Even George Farrow cannot tell you.

Presumably he had a toe over the line or was guilty of some other infringement of the throw-in law when he hurled into the centre the ball which Stanley Mortensen shot into the net.

"But,” he admits, good sportsman that he is, “the linesman’s flag was definitely lifted before the ball was shot.”

I never saw it. The referee did not see it. either. It was only when the Middlesbrough men asked the referee to consult the linesman, whose flag by that time had been lowered, that he disallowed the goal.

 Not that it made any difference in the end.


LEN FORSTER, the former Blackpool forward, who played for Gateshead during the war and was signed by York City early this season, must prefer his native north-east. Now he is back at Gateshead again and week after week is impressing the customers there. 

It was from his passes that both Gateshead’s goals were scored in a 2-2 draw at Bradford last weekend.

They are calling him “the best outside right in the Northern Section ” at Redheugh Park these days.


BLACKPOOL have been interested in a Southampton forward all the season, have watched him no fewer than half a dozen limes, and have been told repeatedly,

“He is not for sale.”

Whether the club at the Dell will accept offers when the season ends is open to question, but I understand that Blackpool will be given the first chance to bid for him.


MATCH of the day in boys’ football will be at Bloomfield- road on Monday evening, when Highfield “ A ” will meet Palatine A ” in the Hogan Junior Cup final. Kick-off is 7-15.

Blackpool, who have specialising this season in the training of the younger school and with the “ A ” team have achieved record successes for the club, will be represented at the match.


WHO beat Blackpool in the Cup last season? The records will always report that George Hardwick gave the k.o. when he converted the disputed penalty in the world-without-end replay at Leeds.

But I shall always think the man who wrought Blackpool’s dismissal was Dave Cumming, the Scottish international goalkeeper, whose serious accident in last week’s game at Ayresome Park is regretted wherever football is played.

His defiance of the rampant Blackpool forwards in the first of the three matches gave Middlesbrough the fighting chance which after another four and a half hours’ football was ultimately taken. It was the greatest display by a goalkeeper at Blackpool since the war.


WHEN Peter Kippax took the field for Burnley at Wembley today he was only the third amateur to play in a Cup Final since the Rev. Kenneth Hunt won a Cup medal 39 years ago.

Arthur Turner led Charlton’s forwards last year.

The other amateur was J. F. Mitchell, the bespectacled Blackpool schoolmaster, who was in Preston’s goal when W. H. Smith scored the famous - at Deepdale they call it “ infamous ’’ - penalty which won Huddersfield Town the Cup at Stamford Bridge in 1922.


I NOTICE that Alec Roxburgh, the former Blackpool goalkeeper - he still lives in the town and trains here - is one of the three full time professionals offered terms for next, season by Barrow. 

He is probably the only ex-England goalkeeper playing in Northern Section football; is still, too, a goalkeeper who in his day ranks among the best in the land.


THEY say there’s little sentiment in football. There’s not such a lot.

Yet after the match at Ayresome Park last weekend one Blackpool player after another called in the Middlesbrough dressing-room to offer his condolences to Dave Cumming. who by that time was on the table, his injured knee in splints.

“It took all the kick out of winning when you’d seen him,” one of the Blackpool men said.

THE quarterly meeting at the Albert Hall on Monday was fairly well attended and showed the interest of the members in the activities of the club.

The secretary stated that the broadcasting system was the first, aim of the committee, who now had the matter well in hand and that it was hoped to have this installed in time for the new season.

Ex-Service Shelter

In reply to a question from a member, the president, Col. W. Parkinson, J.P., said the covered shelter for the ex-Service men in chairs was necessary, a fact appreciated by both the directors and the Supporters’ Club - but with present building restrictions the matter would have to be left in abeyance for the time being.

It would receive favourable consideration as soon as conditions improved.

Members wanted

THE chairman, Mr. H. Markland, again stressed the need for new members who would take an active interest in the club.

The membership is now nearly 750, and the committee hope that this will be doubled in the next three months. The subscription for the 1947 season, which runs from January to December, is now due.

The Quiz

FOLLOWING the formal business a very interesting sports quiz” was held. Mr. P. W. Coope, J.P., was the questionmaster, and the brains trust consisted of Mr. Henry Rose, Mr. Archie Ledbrooke, Col. W. Parkinson and Mr. Arthur Ward, reinforced by Stanley Mortensen.

Thanks are due to all these people who made the evening so popular and enjoyable.

Final tickets

AT, the close of the meeting Mrs. Parkinson made the draw for the 20 Cup final tickets which had been allocated to the Supporters’ Club.

All members, whether present on Monday or not, had their names in the drum, and, thanks to the generosity of the president no charge was made for the tickets.

No one was more pleased to receive one than Mrs. Turner, of the ladies’ committee, who passed on her ticket to a disabled ex-Serviceman.

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