Words: Julie Cheston, The Write Angle PR & Marketing
he ‘Preston Plumber’, as he is affectionately known, regularly features on England’s best ever 11 footballer lists and if you ask those who played with him, or watched him, they would always agree. Bill Shankly praised him as ‘the greatest player I ever saw in all my time'. Sir Tom Finney was the first ever player to win two Footballer of the Year awards – and the first sportsman to advertise Shredded Wheat in the early 1950s! It’s not just his skill on the pitch that makes Sir Tom Finney a true legend; it’s the measure of the man. A gentleman of the game, he has great humility and integrity. During his playing career he never had so much as a booking. He never saw a red or yellow card. Take note Wayne Rooney. Sir Tom Finney enjoyed a 12-year career with England, scoring 30 goals in 76 appearances. He appeared in three World Cup tournaments. That’s an impressive record considering he had a six-year gap during the Second World War where he saw close combat in Egypt. He made his England debut at the age of 24 years. David Beckham, a onetime PNE loanee, had earned 50 caps by then. Tom Finney has even scored a penalty for his country with both his left and right foot. Proud as he was to represent his country, he loved his club more. He played for Preston North End between 1946 and 1960 when the club was a force to be reckoned with in the First Division. His career spanned 14 years, including his break to fight in the war. In his 2003 autobiography, he says: “North End has been a love affair for me. I could never properly explain my level of affection for the place. All I ever wanted to do was play for Preston.” Despite lucrative offers from other clubs, North End refused to sell him, describing Finney as ‘irreplaceable’. In 1952, he was offered a record £10,000 signing-on fee from Prince Roberto Lanza di Trabia of Palermo in Sicily which would have taken him ten years to earn at Preston. 42 DQ
Picture courtesy of the Lancashire Evening Post
DQ Issue 3 Spring 2011 We Are Family- What Makes Manchester Tick?