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Sir Thomas Finney, OBE (born 5 April 1922, Prestonmarker, Lancashiremarker) is a former English football, famous for his loyalty to his league club, Preston North End, and for his performances in the English national side.

Early life

Finney was born at home in Prestonmarker on a street next to the Deepdalemarker stadium. He was frail and somewhat sickly in his youth and stood only 4 ft 9 in (1.45 m) at the age of fourteen. When he was offered the opportunity to sign for Preston North End (PNE), his father insisted that he complete his apprenticeship in the family's plumbing business before signing as a professional. This led to one of his nicknames, the 'Preston Plumber'.

Finney's mother Margaret died while he was still a child.

Second World War

Soon after he signed, however, World War II began and normal football was suspended, though Finney started to achieve some recognition during war-time tournaments. In December 1942, he made a guest appearance for Southampton in a 3–1 defeat by Arsenal at The Dellmarker.

Called up to the Royal Armoured Corps in 1942, he fought in Montgomery's Eighth Army in Egyptmarker. Local leave in North Africa allowed him to play in army teams against local opposition and on one occasion he played against the future actor Omar Sharif.

Post-war career and England debut

Once normal competition was restored, he made his debut for the club in August 1946 and soon established himself as an agile forward. Post-war demand for plumbers ensured that he had a second income to supplement the £14 he received as a footballer and he became famous as the "Preston Plumber". Twenty eight days after his first league appearance for Preston, Finney made his England debut, going on to win 76 cap and score 30 goals.

He played against Italy in 1948,he is the only player for either side that played that game who is still alive.

In a game of eight goals in Budapestmarker on 23 May 1954 Ivor Broadis was the only England player to score. In reply the speed, skill and movement of the Hungary `Golden Team´ featuring Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, Zoltán Czibor, Nándor Hidegkuti and József Bozsik rattled in 7. After the game bewildered England centre half Syd Owen said, “It was like playing people from outer space”. Finney commented of Ivor Broadis, "I remember when he had taken his boots off after the Budapest match, he warned everyone, "Don't touch them unless you're wearing gloves, they're red hot". Broadis added, "It's the first time I've ever come off the pitch with a sunburned tongue!"" This is still England's record defeat.

Tom Finney was Footballer of the Year in 1953-54, the year of his only appearance in the FA Cup Final (losing 2-3 to West Bromwich Albion), and again in 1956-57, becoming the first player to win this award more than once.


He retired from Preston North End in 1960, only when forced out with a persistent groin injury. He had played his entire career for his local club, appearing 433 times and scoring 187 goals. The balance of Preston's team hardly matched Finney's brilliance, the young Bill Shankly notwithstanding, and he never won the championship (in 1953 and 1958 Preston North End came close to completing the feat, but each time they had to settle for runners-up) or any other trophy. His loyalty is remarkable, be even he considered a 1952 offer from Italian club Palermo that included a £10,000 personal signing-on fee and high pay and perquisite, but Preston asked for the then record fee of £50,000. He did, however, come out of retirement in 1963 to play for Northern Irishmarker outfit Distillery against Benfica in the European Cup.

The Splash

On 31 July 2004, Sir Tom unveiled the water feature sculpture "The Splash" which stands outside The National Football Museummarker. The sculpture was inspired by the 1956 Sports Photograph of the Year which features Tom Finney beating two defenders at a waterlogged Stamford Bridgemarker.

Continuing links with Preston North End

As of 2007, Sir Tom maintains his links with Preston North End as the club's president. 2006 marked 60 years since his first league debut for PNE. To mark this occasion the National Football Museum, an organisation which he has championed and has close links with, invited football fans to sign a specially commissioned flag which was presented to Sir Tom at the beginning of the 2006-07 season to mark his 60 years with PNE.

He also writes a regular PNE column for the University of Central Lancashiremarker's students' union newspaper, Pluto.


His total mastery of all the techniques triumphed over the lack of medals. He was versatile, playing in all the orthodox five forward positions of the day for Preston and appearing for England at right-wing, left-wing and centre-forward. He was a genuine two-footed player, packing an explosive shot in either his right or his left. He had speed, balance, was a pin-point passer and, for a man of no great height, could head with awesome power. Whilst Finney's ability was great many will remember him for his gentlemanly conduct on the game which ensured he never received a booking throughout his entire career.

Finney also scored two penalties in one match for England. One in open play which he scored with his favored right foot. In the penalty shoot out he took his penalty with his left foot, again scoring. A truly two-footed footballer.

Quotes about Finney

  • "Tom Finney would have been great in any team, in any match and in any age ... even if he had been wearing an overcoat." (Bill Shankly)
  • Shankly was also once asked about how a top star of the day compared to Finney: "Aye, he's as good as Tommy – but then Tommy's nearly 60 now."
  • "Tom Finney should claim income tax relief ... for his 10 dependants." (Satirical observation on the weakness of the Preston team in his absence)
  • "If all the brains in the game sat in committee to design the perfect player, they would come up with a reincarnation of Tom Finney." (Anonymous newspaper feature)

Career statistics


  • Finney, T. (2004) Tom Finney My Autobiography ISBN 0-7553-1106-X
  • Finney, T. (1982) Tom Finney's Preston North End Scrapbook ISBN 0-285-62554-3
  • Finney, T. (1958) Finney on Football ISBN B0000CK63X
  • Finney, T. (1955) Instructions to Young Footballers ISBN B0000CJABP
  • Finney, T. (1953) Football Round the world ISBN B0000CIMPY
  • Agnew, P. (2002) Tom Finney: A Football Legend ISBN 0-9530847-9-5
  • Booth, J. (ed.) (1998) Tom Finney: A Pictorial Tribute ISBN 1-901966-00-3

External links


  1. Preston Today
  2. Report of Hungary v England in profile of Ivor Broadis
  3. Preston Today

1946-47 Preston North End First Division 32 7 3 2 35 9
1947-48 33 13 4 1 37 14
1948-49 24 7 2 2 26 9
1949-50 Second Division 37 10 1 1 38 11
1950-51 34 13 2 0 36 13
1951-52 First Division 33 13 0 0 33 13
1952-53 34 17 3 2 37 19
1953-54 23 11 8 3 31 14
1954-55 30 7 3 2 33 9
1955-56 32 17 1 1 33 18
1956-57 34 23 6 5 40 28
1957-58 34 26 1 0 35 26
1958-59 16 6 0 0 16 6
1959-60 37 17 6 4 43 21

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