The names of Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney were fast off his tongue.
Finney has died at the grand age of 91. A gentleman the likes of which football will never see again, he gave plenty back to football. Especially his beloved Preston North End.
You wouldn’t catch a player today becoming a plumber after his playing career ended. Tom Finney played football AND was a plumber at the same time. Incredible!
I was a tad late to the game to see him play although, thanks to Dad, I did see the likes of Johnny Haynes grace a football pitch.
Finney was never booked or sent off. Some achievement considering he played 433 games for Preston and won 76 caps for England.
I cannot pay a better tribute to the man than that scribed by my former Fleet Street and press box colleague, Jeff Powell http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2559875/Farewell-Sir-Tom-Finney-Preston-plumber-England-great.html
Jeff was lucky. He saw Finney play and he became a friend of the elder statesman of football.
I just want to say that, at a time when the lack of intelligence, manners and sportsmanship is on show daily via footballers who have accounts on Twitter; it’s worth taking time out to recall that football in England was once a great game played by gentlemen.
None more so than Tom Finney.