• Football

Sir Tom Finney dies aged 91

ESPN staff
February 14, 2014
Tom Finney is an instrumental figure in Preston North End's history © PA Photos

Former Preston and England forward Sir Tom Finney has died at the age of 91.

Preston confirmed the news in a statement on Friday night which paid tribute to the club's most famous son, who emerged as one of this country's greatest talents in the post-war era.

"Preston North End have been informed of the extremely sad news of the passing of Sir Tom Finney,'' the statement read. "Sir Tom was the greatest player to ever play for Preston North End and one of the all-time greats for England.

"The thoughts of everyone at the club, and those connected with it, are with his family at this time. The club will be making an official statement on Saturday 15th February 2014, but have no other comment at this time.''

Finney made his debut for North End in 1946 and remained with the club until his retirement in 1960. He scored 210 goals in 473 appearances for the Lillywhites, while his record for England was equally eye-catching, netting 30 times in 76 appearances.

Finney was renowned as one of the game's great wingers and was famed for his double act in England colours with Sir Stanley Matthews.

He also proved a highly effective centre forward during his career which, after being delayed by the Second World War, spanned from 1946-60. He played in three World Cups and was the first player to win two Footballer of the Year Awards.

Bill Shankly, the great Liverpool manager and a former Preston team-mate, once said: "Tom Finney would have been great in any team, in any match and in any age ... even if he had been wearing an overcoat.''

Finney spent his whole career with hometown Preston, where he lived his entire life.

Finney was nicknamed the 'Preston Plumber' during his career after his first trade, to which he returned and ran a successful business in after retiring from the game.

Additionally he worked in the media, was chairman of the Preston Health Authority and in 1998 was awarded a knighthood.

Aside from a Second Division championship title, Finney never won any of the game's major honours.

In 1954 the FA Cup final was billed to be his day - a year after his friend and rival Matthews inspired a famous Blackpool win - but Preston were beaten by West Brom. Preston also finished First Division runners-up twice during his career.

Despite the lack of medals, Finney's reputation was immense, both on and off the field. He never lost sight of his humble roots and was regarded as a gentleman.

Preston were relegated from the top flight a year after Finney's retirement and have not returned since.


Preston (1946-1960):
League appearances: 433
League goals: 187
FA Cup appearances: 40
FA Cup goals: 23

England (1946-1958)
Caps: 76
Goals: 30

Domestic honours (all with Preston):
First Division: Runners-up 1952-53, 1957-58
Second Division: Champions 1950-51
FA Cup: Runners-up 1954
Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year: 1954, 1957

The statue of Sir Tom Finney making a splash outside Deepdale © PA Photos
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