sport

Legend Sir Tom Finney dies

Former England forward Tom Finney has died at the age of 91, his former club Preston have announced.

Finney - known as 'the Preston Plumber' - is regarded as one of the greatest players to represent England, winning 76 caps and scoring 30 goals.

He made 473 appearances for Preston, scoring 210 goals playing on the wing or as a striker. He won the Second Division in 1950-1, League Championship runners-up medals in 1953 and 1958 and an FA Cup runners-up medal in 1954. He was the first man to be voted 'Footballer of the Year' twice.

After his playing career finished, he returned to his former trade as a plumber, before becoming a newspaper columnist.

He was awarded the OBE in 1961, and was knighted at Buckingham Palace in 1998.

Finney was born in Preston in 1922 - a street away from Deepdale - and his football career began late because of the Second World War, in which he served as a tank driver in the Royal Armoured Corps. His footballing skills did however become well known during his army service.

He made his North End debut at the age of 24 in 1946, and less than a month later he made his England debut - he scored in both games.

He played for England for 12 years, becoming the country's record goalscorer with his 30th and final international goal. Sir Bobby Charlton beat his record in 1963.

He maintained his long association with Preston, becoming the club's president, and his image is printed on seats in the Sir Tom Finney Stand at Deepdale.

Past tributes from other greats of the game are listed on Finney's website.

Liverpool legend Bill Shankley said: "Tom Finney would have been great in any team, in any match and in any age... even if he had been wearing an overcoat."

Sir Stanley Matthews said: "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 -Pele, Maradona, Best, Di Stefano, and Tom Finney."

And Sir Bobby Charlton said: "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."