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Chris Allen’s Photo Chosen As The Best From Sir Tom Tribute

2 April 2015


Chris Allen’s Photo Chosen As The Best From Sir Tom Tribute

2 April 2015

Back in December, Preston North End teamed up with the BBC and asked fans to send in their unseen photos of North End legend Sir Tom Finney, to commemorate the one year anniversary of his passing.

The best photos were put together in a tribute, featured in the matchday programme, ‘The One and Only’ for the FA Cup tie with Manchester United at Deepdale.

Each photograph came with a story and we went about looking for the best photo with the best story, with the winner being awarded with one of the matchworn shirts from the Leyton Orient home game at Deepdale on 15th February 2014.

For that game, all of the players in the squad wore shirts with their squad numbers and ‘Finney’ on the back as a tribute to the great man who had sadly passed away the previous day.

Chris Allen sent in a photo of his father with Sir Tom on the English FA’s tour of the Far East and New Zealand back in 1961.

Sir Tom came out of retirement to lead an 18-man squad on the tour, as well as playing a fixture in San Francisco on the way home.

Chris’ father was the bandmaster of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers stationed in Hong Kong and they performed at both matches that were played there.

Speaking of his father’s meeting with Sir Tom, Chris said: “He was a proud Prestonian and he met Sir Tom a couple of times on this tour.

“Of course it upset me greatly as I was in boarding school in Liverpool at the time of the tour and I had, in my formative years, idolised Sir Tom and gone to Deepdale at every opportunity and I had watched Sir Tom play from 1954 to his retirement.”

“Apart from meeting Sir Tom a couple of times, and also touching his shorts when he backed into the crowd to take a corner in his final game, I was never in his company on my own and was truly envious of the time my dad spent with him.

“He would tell anyone who wanted to listen what a thrill and experience it was to meet a true legend, but in his words, one of the nicest men he had ever met.

“I treasure this photo of my dad talking to Sir Tom outside the stadium in Hong Kong.”

Last week, Chris, along with his wife and two grandsons, visited Deepdale to collect the shirt and had a wander around the stadium.

The Lilywhites supporter was both thrilled and surprised with his reward and spoke of his delight upon hearing the news.

“I was absolutely delighted, what a thrill to get such news. I hadn’t realised there was a prize when I sent the photo and the story of dad in. I just had to photo and I was extremely proud of it and had held it for years.

"When I got the news from North End that they were doing the tribute for Sir Tom I sent it off and I didn’t really expect anything other than an acknowledgment, which I of course got.

"But then to find out that it was printed in the matchday programme for the Manchester United cup game was a double whammy and then to see it in such a prime position was even better.

“Then to get the email from the Club to say that we had won the shirt was just an absolute thrill. We don’t get back up to Preston as much as we would like, we live in the south, but we were up over the Easter holidays to pick the grandchildren up.

“So to come to Deepdale and have a look round at what has always been God’s little acre in my mind was an added bonus and it’s just been an absolute delight and I’m really grateful to Preston North End for all they have done for that. “

Thank you to everyone who sent in their pictures and stories to help create what was a lovely tribute to Preston's greatest son.

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