Sir Tom Finney was an incredible footballer and a true gentleman. Here, PNE.Com takes a look back to what some other sporting greats have had to say about him.
In 472 games for Club, Sir Tom netted a staggering 210 goals, making him Preston’s all-time record goalscorer. His 76 caps and 30 goals for England at full international level are the most among any player in North End history.
Sir Tom’s exploits on the pitch, and his personality off it, made an impact on some of the biggest names in football. Below are just some of their remarks about Preston’s legendary No 7.
“Tom Finney would have been great in any team, in any match and in any age, even if he had been wearing an overcoat.”
Former PNE Player and Liverpool Manager
“To dictate the pace and course of a game, a player has to be blessed with awesome qualities.
“Those who have accomplished it on a regular basis can be counted on the fingers of one hand – Pelé, Maradona, Best, Di Stefano, and Tom Finney.”
Sir Stanley Matthews
England, Blackpool and Stoke City
“If you’re as good as Tom Finney was, you don’t have to tell anybody.”
England 1966 World Cup Winning captain
“Sir Tom Finney was one of the greatest footballers there has ever been; he was the type of player that people would travel a long way to see.
“He’s a great man and has contributed so much to football, especially in the Preston area. They love him there.
“I’m a good personal friend of Tom’s and he is very well liked in the game. He was a fantastic player – one of the world’s top players without question.”
Sir Bobby Charlton
Manchester United and England legend
“My first experience of Sir Tom Finney is not one of joy – as I stood on the terraces of Hampden Park and watched him giving one of my heroes in the Scotland team, Sammy Cox, a roasting.”
“Winding forward all these years and actually meeting the man restores any lost faith you might have in humanity as he is such a wonderful person and so humble.
“Why can’t we all be like that? A credit to the town of Preston, his football club and his family – well done, Sir Tom.”
Sir Alex Ferguson, CBE
Former Manager, Manchester United
“Sir Tom was a great help to me in the early stages of my management career."
“He has an incredible passion for the game and he is somebody I have got great admiration for. There is no doubt he was one of the greatest players, but to me he is also a great man.”
Manager, PNE 1998-2002
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to pay tribute to Sir Tom Finney. He is remembered around the world as one of the greatest players in England’s history.”
“I am told that at one time, after helping England to beat Italy 4-0 in Turin, Sir Tom was offered the chance to play club football in Italy with Palermo.
“He chose to stay with his hometown club in Preston and I am sure that was a loss to Italian football but a big gain for supporters in Preston and England.”
Manager, England, 2008-12
“I played football with Tom Finney for ten years in the Preston North End team and it was a pleasure to play football on the same pitch as the man. I was bad but he made me look good.”
“He made my bad passes look great. Because of Tom everybody thought I was a good player. He was a fantastic player – the greatest I’ve ever seen.
“It wasn’t very nice playing against him though, I’ll tell you. We played against each other in Scotland v England games of course, and I could never catch him. The only time I got near him was in the tunnel before the game, and even then he was too fast for me!
“If Tom was ever tackled unfairly you never heard him complain or retaliate. He was a gentleman on and off the field and an inspirational captain.
“I became a much better player watching and listening to him. His enthusiasm for the game never wavered. He had a genuine love for football.”
PNE team mate, former Manchester United and PNE manager
“Finney’s name is revered today because of his loyalty to Preston North End and his 30 goals in 76 England internationals between 1946 and 1958. And for so much more.
“Finney will forever be associated with fair play, for showing respect to an opponent, for dignity. The true sporting greats are blessed with grace. Modesty should be Tom Finney’s middle name.
“Anyone talking to Sir Tom about his contribution to those halcyon post-war days will find him directing praise elsewhere, to those other characters who made the England dressing room such a special place.”
Football Correspondent, The Daily Telegraph