Sunday, April 08, 2012

Sir Tom Finney at 90

Preston North End's most famous player ever is Sir Tom Finney - he turned 90 years of age on 5th April last. The was a big event in Preston as they celebrated one of the City's most well-known sons. A good on-line biography of him is available at

Image link to The Daily Mail.
I of course never saw him play - he retired in 1960 when I was one, and he played before the television-age days. He was regarded as one of England's greatest ever players and has a special place in PNE as he played his entire career there. One of his most famous moments was when he was captured in the 1956 Photograph of the Year - known as "The Splash", in a game against Chelsea (which PNE lost 1-0) at Stamford Bridge. Above is a photo of me taken on 10th February 2007 when I went to see PNE play Wolves (lost 1-0 again) at the Tom Finney statue outside of PNE's ground which (when they turn the water on) replicates the famous photo.

Any time that I mention to anyone that I am a PNE fan, they always bring up the name of Sir Tom and sometimes ask if he is still alive. A pity that in the 52 years since he retired that no one else has reached the same heights for PNE - indeed, they were relegated from the old Division 1 the year after he retired, never since to get back to the top tier of English football. Bill Shankly one famously said of Finney that “he would have been great in any team, in any match and in any age… even if he had been wearing an overcoat”.

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