Remembering Sir Tom Finney, seven years on from the passing of the Preston North End and England legend

Today is the seventh anniversary of the passing of Preston North End and England legend Sir Tom Finney.

By Dave Seddon
Sunday, 14th February 2021, 7:00 am
Sir Tom Finney in training at Deepdale in 1948
Sir Tom Finney in training at Deepdale in 1948

Sir Tom died on February 14, 2014, aged 91.

Tributes poured in after his death as football mourned the loss of one of the sport's greats.

He was a one-man club, joining North End as a schoolboy although his first-team debut had to wait until after the end of the Second World War - he served his country in the army.

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Tom Finney scores for Preston North End at Deepdale

Sir Tom played 433 times for PNE in the league, scoring 187 goals. A further 40 appearances came in the FA Cup, with him finding the net 23 times.

He was in the North End team which reached the 1954 FA Cup final, a game they lost 3-2 against West Bromwich Albion.

On the international stage the winger was capped 76 times by England. In an England shirt, Sir Tom scored 30 goals.

During his time with PNE, he played across the front line in five different positions.

Sir Tom Finney sits next to his statue outside Preston North End's Deepdale

It was on the wing where he really made his name though, turning defenders inside out and thrilling the fans.

In 1954 and 1957, Sir Tom was voted Footballer of the Year - the first player to win that accolade twice.

He retired from playing in April 1960, his final game in a Preston shirt coming against Luton Town at Deepdale.

The following year he was awarded the OBE, then in 1998 he was knighted at Buckingham Palace.

Sir Tom's association with North End continued through his life.

After his retirement as a player he became the club's president, playing an active role in the running of the club for many years.

He ran a successful plumbing business in the town, having learned his trade as an apprentice at the same time he served on PNE's groundstaff.

North End honoured Sir Tom during his lifetime, naming a stand after him as the redevelopment of Deepdale began in 1996.

In 2004, the 'Splash' water feature statue was unveiled outside the ground, based on the famous photo of him sliding through a flooded pitch at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground in 1956.

The day after Sir Tom's passing, North End played Leyton Orient at Deepdale and the PNE players wore shirts with 'Finney' across the back - the Football League granting permission for that to happen.

He had a civic funeral at Preston Minster on February 27, 2014, thousands lining the route of the funeral cortege.

Sir Tom will never be forgotten in Preston or in football circles, as we pause for thought on the anniversary of his passing.