• Tom Finney

    What can be said that has not already been said about our Tom, the ‘Preston Plumber’. The modest genius, who graced the football scene all around the world, was, and still is, a credit to his Club, his town and his country. Natural ability, determination, practise and even more practise, helped him rise to both national and international fame.

  • The Slide

    This infamous photograph shows Tom Finney beating two defenders in waterlogged conditions at Stamford Bridge in 1956.

    Tom Finney Splash
  • Working Class Hero

    Tom worked as a plumber in the family business, to supplement his income from football.

    Tom Finney Plumber
  • A True Icon

    A proud Tom sits for a photograph with his portrait painting at the Harris Gallery.

    Tom Finney Painting
  • One of the Greatest

    Wearing his England strip, this photograph was taken at Deepdale in 1953.

    Tom Finney England
  • Proud Moment

    Tom is greeted by the Queen Mother at Wembley, as the teams lined up for the 1954 FA Cup final.

    Tom Finney meets Queen Mother
  • The War Period

    During the month of May 1939 he was registered as an amateur with the Football League before signing as a full professional on the 25th January 1940. Having disposed of Bury (6-5), Bolton Wanderers (6-1), Tranmere Rovers (20-2), Manchester City (5-1) and Newcastle United (2-0) in two-legged games, Preston North End earned the right to play Arsenal in the 1940-41 War Cup Final, at Wembley.

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  • This was to be the first of many appearances at Wembley for Tom Finney. Going into the final on May 10th, Preston had been unbeaten since late December, scoring 60 goals and only conceding 15 along the way. Unfortunately due to the bombing etc fewer than 200 fans travelled by train to London. No special coaches were available either due to the petrol rationing. The game ended in a 1-1 draw so the replay, to be fair to the fans, had to be fairly local. Eventually Ewood Park, Blackburn was preferred to Liverpool’s Anfield ground. Preston North End only received 600 of the cheaper 5shilling and 6pence tickets but had 7,000 applications. In all the Club got less than 5,000 tickets.

  • On the day of the replay (31st May) the queues started forming around 10.00 am and a Military Band played to the happy crowd. On a sad note, the Mayor of Blackburn, Walter Tempest, who was also Blackburn Rovers’ chairman, had died during that week. It was estimated that 10,000 football fans from around the “banks of the Ribble” cheered the teams to the field. Finney made many dazzling runs but to no avail as the teams, once again cancelled each other out. Three minutes after half-time Finney collected a good ball from Andy Beattie and quickly squared it to Jimmy Dougal, who in turn slipped it onto Bobbie Beattie to score. Arsenal scored through an own goal but whilst still celebrating, Beattie, straight from the kick-off scored his and Preston’s second goal to win the cup. Preston North End were dubbed the “team of the season” in English football. Finney was one of six players pointed out for special praise by the press. Cultured football had won the day.

  • Tom Finney's League Debut

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    After serving his country in the Army his long awaited league debut was at Deepdale against Leeds United on 31st August 1946. It cost 1 shilling and three pence to stand on the Spion Kop in those days but an expensive 7 shillings and sixpence to sit in the Pavilion Stand. After just 4 minutes of the new season Tom Finney's enthusiastic run finished with his deadly accurate pass being turned past Hodgson's reach by debutant Willie McIntosh.

  • The games second goal on 18 minutes, had class written all over it, with Finney, the schemer and scorer, showing that he is going to be a tremendous force in North End football He had Milburn, the full-back, twisting and turning, baffled and leg-locked, as he unbalanced his opponent before making space and planting a beautiful shot just inside the post. Storming applause greeted this solo effort. His first of many goals for PNE.

  • Milburn incurred the referee's displeasure as he fouled Finney repeatedly but Tom was delighting the crowd. Few could wish to be in a full-backs boots facing Finney on this form. He provides fascinating entertainment. To find a talent like Finney is rare. He excelled in his first game since being ‘demobbed’, His composure, artistry and tantalising finesse made his match-winning performance the talk of the town.

  • An Illustrious Career

    Within a month Tom was chosen to represent England, winning the first of his 76 well-earned caps for his country. The local lad from Deepdale had quickly made his mark on the game. finney_caricature3 Scoring on his international debut in Belfast he went on to score 30 goals for England, including a four-goal haul against Portugal in 1950. Tom proved his versatility by playing on both wings and at centre-forward for his country.He also represented Preston North End in five different positions during his long, loyal illustrious career and was the Club captain for a number of seasons.

  • It is nigh on 50 years since Tom gracefully bowed out of the game but his goalscoring tally of 187 league goals is still a Club record. Strangely he was the leading goalscorer just once, and ironically that was during his last playing season of 1959/1960, when he was 38 years old! Of the 187 goals he scored, exactly 100 were scored at Deepdale, the last of which was against local rivals, Blackpool.

  • Tom retired from playing after a 2-0 win over Luton Town on 30th April 1960. Some say that his like will never be seen again - he had everything. He could weave, deceive, tantalise and torment. Tom, who was very strong for his size, could shoot with either foot and was a great header of the ball against much taller opposition. He was equally at ease as a goal taker or as a goal maker and was the first player to be awarded the prestigious ‘Footballer of the Year’ trophy twice (1954 and 1957). Both Bill Shankly and Tommy Docherty have stated that Tom Finney was the best footballer they have seen.

  • Respect is earned and Sir Tom is respected by one and all throughout the game, and always will be. Arise Sir Tom, a true legend.

  • Caricature by kind permission of Bob Bond. Words by Ian Rigby.