Re-Publishing historical football content digitally

Blackpool 1950s – The Golden Era

By on 31 August 2017

Most teams have their golden eras and for Blackpool it was undoubtedly the 1950s. They would then have been considered one of the top English sides having achieved four top-six finishes in the decade and made two FA Cup finals – one of them the famous “Matthews Final” where they came from 3-1 behind to beat Bolton Wanderers 4-3 in 1953 . This team pictured in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, April 1956, finished runners-up to Manchester Utd in Division One in 1956 – the club’s highest ever finish in the top flight.

It was jam packed with both English and Scottish internationals, Jimmy Armfield and Stanley Matthews perhaps being the two most notable. At SoccerAttic we have republished the picture here with more information on each of the players pictured. Hover or tap over the player’s head and more information will appear – some of it surprising but all of it interesting whether Blackpool is your team or, like us, you just love your football history.

Blackpool 1955-56

Blackpool 1955-56

Ernie Taylor Stanley Matthews Jackie Mudie Jimmy Armfield Ewan Fenton George Farm Roy Gratrix Jackie Wright Jimmy Kelly Allan Brown Bill Perry

Ernie Taylor

Ernie joined Blackpool from Newcastle in 1951 at the recommendation of Stanley Matthews. He was a member of the Blackpool FA Cup winning side of 1953 in the famous "Matthews" final against Bolton Wanderers. His one and only England cap was in the 6-3 thrashing against Hungary at Wembley in November 1953. He would make 217 league appearances for Blackpool before leaving for Manchester Utd in 1958 where he would go on to help the Munich-depleted side to the FA Cup final. He later emigrated to New Zealand where he passed away in 1985.

Stanley Matthews

Hardly needs any introduction as he's considered one of the greatest players ever to play football. The only player to be knighted while still playing the game, Stan joined Blackpool from Stoke City in 1947, aged 32, and stayed until 1961 making 379 league appearances but, surprisingly, only scoring 17 goals. He won 54 caps in total for England scoring 11 goals. He returned to Stoke in 1961 and played until he was 50 years old. He died in February 2000 aged 85 almost 20 years to the day after his last league game for Stoke.

Jackie Mudie

Scottish international Mudie began his career at Blackpool in 1947 where he stayed until 1961 making 324 league appearances scoring 144 goals. He was capped for Scotland 17 times. He retired in 1967 after a spell at Port Vale and would later become Stanley Matthews' assistant manager at the club. He died of cancer aged just 61 in 1992.

Jimmy Armfield

Played his whole football career at Blackpool between 1954 and 1971 - 627 games in all competitions, scoring six goals, and spent a decade as the club's captain. Represented England 43 times between 1959 and 1966, and captained them in 15 games. Member of England's 1966 World Cup winning squad. After retiring from playing, Armfield managed Bolton and Leeds, taking the latter to the 1975 European Cup Final. For many years he has been well known as a regular BBC Radio Five Live match summariser.

Ewan Fenton

Scottish defender who joined Blackpool aged 17. Played around 200 games from 1951 to 1959 for Blackpool winning an FA Cup medal in 1953. Joined Wrexham in 1959 before moving onto Linfield and Limerick. He settled in Limerick running a driving school before retirement. Died in 2006 aged 76.

George Farm

Scottish international goalkeeper who joined Blackpool from Hibernian after just seven first team appearances. Made over 500 appearances for Blackpool, winning and losing FA Cup Finals in 1953 and 1951 respectively. Joined Queen of the South as player-manager and went on to manage Raith Rovers, in two spells, and Dunfermline where he won the 1968 SFA Cup. Post football he did some media work and also had a spell as a lighthouse-keeper. He died in 2004 aged 80.

Roy Gratrix

Full back who made over 400 appearances for Blackpool between 1953 and 1964. Joined Man City in 1964 staying one season before trying his luck in Canada and finishing his career with Bangor City. Died in 2002 aged 70.

Jackie Wright

Defender/full back who was a bit part player in most of his 11 years at Blackpool from 1948 to 1959. However, he was a regular in Blackpool's best-ever season finish in 1956  - as shown in pic. Did some coaching and management for a few years at Tranmere. Died in 2005.

Jimmy Kelly

Defender who joined Blackpool from Watford for £15,000 in 1954. Went on to play over 240 games for the Seasiders over the next 7 years. Finished his playing career in Australia and entered management briefly, including a stint as Australian national manager. In the mid-60s set up an insurance broker which still bears his name. Died in 2003 aged 71.

Allan Brown

A Hall of Famer and Scottish international who joined Blackpool in 1950 from East Fife for £26,500, then the largest fee ever paid to a Scottish club. For a midfielder his goal return was impressive scoring 68 goals in 158 appearances. He sadly missed both the 1951 and '53 Fa Cup finals due to injury. He also had two spells as manager of the Seasiders from 1976-78 and 1981-82. He died aged 84 in 2011.

Bill Perry

Perry joined Blackpool from Johannesburg Rangers in 1949 and made 394 appearances scoring 119 goals. His claim to fame is scoring the winner in the 1953 FA Cup final after Mortensen's hat-trick. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. Although born in South Africa, he won three caps for England. He stayed in Blackpool post-retirement where he ran a couple of businesses. He died in 2007.


Blackpool FC Gifts From SoccerAttic

If Blackpool FC is a passion for you or a loved one this picture of the 1955-56 side from the original Charles Buchan magazine is available to buy online. We have also created mugs from the first ever Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly Magazine featuring Stanley Matthews in Blackpool colours. Click on the image to visit our shop and buy the mugs where you can also buy posters featuring the same images.