Tom Finney addressing the crowd at Deepdale after playing his last match for Preston – against Luton Town on 30th April 1960. Looks a bit precarious doesn’t it – I think that there would be a few health and safety issues if he gave a speech standing on that table today!
Finney was born in 1922 and left school at 14 to join the family plumbing business – his later nickname was the ‘Preston Plumber’. His footballing career was delayed by the Second World with his League debut coming on August 31st 1946 when it took him just 18 minutes to score for Preston in the 3-2 victory over Leeds at Deepdale. By the time he made his final League appearance in 1960 he had played in 473 league and cup matches, scoring 210 goals. Every one of those appearances was for Preston although he did come out of retirement at the age of 41 in 1963 to play for Distillery of Belfast against Eusebio’s Benfica in a European Cup tie. Just a month after making his League debut Tom Finney played his first match for England, scoring in England’s 7-2 victory away to Northern Ireland. He went on to play 76 times for England and his 30 England goals was a record at the time.
An unusual football partnership but an amazingly successful one.
Elton John took over the club he supported, Watford, in 1976 and the following year employed Graham Taylor as manager. Taylor had spent five years as Lincoln manager after a playing career with Grimsby and Lincoln and had turned down the managers'
job at First Division WBA to take over at Watford - then in the Fourth Division. But by
the 1982/83 they were in the top flight finishing second to Liverpool and a year later were beaten FA Cup finalists. Taylor left for Aston Villa in 1987 but although he had three years as boss of England and another spell at Vicarage Road it was probably that first spell at Watford that saw his best achievement in football.
Now what were those Port Vale fans thinking of the match being played
on that long gone day?
Evidence of a torture chamber at Highbury! No, this is not a picture of a bloke in a
bubble-bath but of Arsenal player Wilf Copping in an ice bath in 1934. It's painful just looking at it, and he doesn't look too chuffed about it either! Quite what his injury
was that needed that sort of treatment is unknown but under manager
Herbert Chapman the Gunners were the top club in the country at the time and were innovators of many things that are normal practice now. Thankfully not this one though.
Mascots aren't a new invention - Amos helped Second Division Barnsley get to their first FA Cup Final in 1910. It is believed that Amos was the jockey and not the donkey. But you can't imagine any modern groundsman letting a donkey anywhere near a pitch nowadays. And I wonder how many of the people in the picture would have anticipated being looked at over a century later on this inter-web thing!