George McKnight info

Aidy

Well-known member
Hi all, hopefully someone out there can help me. I am looking for some information on a player called George McKnight who was at Blackpool from 1946 - 1955. He was signed from Irish League club Linfield, but started his career at his hometown side Ards FC.

Someone told me years ago that he played up front for Blackpool in a particular game (in place of the injured Stanley Matthews) and scored 4 goals - does anyone have any info on this, if indeed, it was true?

I know he was also at Blackpool when they won the FA Cup in 1953, he did not play in the final, but I wonder did he play in any of the games up to the final.

Any help here would be greatly appreciated.
 

Wizaard

Well-known member
Hi all, hopefully someone out there can help me. I am looking for some information on a player called George McKnight who was at Blackpool from 1946 - 1955. He was signed from Irish League club Linfield, but started his career at his hometown side Ards FC.

Someone told me years ago that he played up front for Blackpool in a particular game (in place of the injured Stanley Matthews) and scored 4 goals - does anyone have any info on this, if indeed, it was true?

I know he was also at Blackpool when they won the FA Cup in 1953, he did not play in the final, but I wonder did he play in any of the games up to the final.

Any help here would be greatly appreciated.
Pretty sure he scored a few against Preston in the weeks before the final when we won 7 0, then was not selected for the Final itself.
 

20togo

Well-known member
John Cross would be your point of contact. I know it's going back over 40 years but he had a son Gaz, who lived round these parts so it may well be that the family is still around.
Good luck with it anyway.
 

Walthamstow_Seasider

Well-known member
Looking at Roy Calley's book he scored 3 in a 4-0 win at home to Fulham on Sept 4 1950. Jackie Mudie got the other, he was wearing the 9 shirt which looks like he was deputising for Mortensen as Matthews played in the match.
 

bfcpete

Well-known member
I have had at look at Roy Calley's book. G McKnight was at Blackpool from 1946 to 1954. He made 37 appearances in total (32 league and 5 FA cup) scoring 10 goals (9 league and 1 FA cup). The only time he scored more than a single goal in a match was when he scored a hatrick in a 4 nil home win against Fulham on the 4 September 1950.
He doesn't appear in any of the FA cup matches in the season we won the cup in 1953.
Hope that helps
 

Walthamstow_Seasider

Well-known member
I have had at look at Roy Calley's book. G McKnight was at Blackpool from 1946 to 1954. He made 37 appearances in total (32 league and 5 FA cup) scoring 10 goals (9 league and 1 FA cup). The only time he scored more than a single goal in a match was when he scored a hatrick in a 4 nil home win against Fulham on the 4 September 1950.
He doesn't appear in any of the FA cup matches in the season we won the cup in 1953.
Hope that helps
According to my version he did play against Sheff Weds in the 3rd round
 

1950`spoolfan

Well-known member
I have this very vague distant memory which has just been triggered by this thread that my father once told me that a Blackpool player in perhaps the late 40`s was sent off for throwing mud at the ref. I think It may have been McKnight or if not possibly Wardle.

Can anyone verify that?
 

Davepick

Well-known member
McKnight was generally a wing half, but could play up front. I saw him quite a few times. 1946/54, 37 appearances, scored 8 goals and 1 FA Cup goal.
Unfortunately for him we had some very good wing halves in those days, mainly Harry Johnston and Hugh Kelly, so it was hard for him to get into the 1st team.
He must have been reasonably happy to stay 8 years.
 

Aidy

Well-known member
Brilliant...I knew he had achieved something very noteworthy and a hat-trick in 4 mins while playing out of position, was certainly that. Thanks for the clipping Blackpool-rocks!
 

INOIT

Well-known member
Hopefully this additional information about McKnight will also be of help Aidy.

George McKnight was a Newtownards, Co Down‑centre forward who was signed by Blackpool from Coleraine as a front line leader on 1 June 1946. He had represented Junior Ireland against Scotland and had also played for Ards, as an amateur, Linfield and Belfast Celtic. His weekly wage at Blackpool was to be £6, summer and winter. In October 1946 he was said to be “playing the football which made his name in Ireland” when he was playing regularly for the Central League side.

McKnight made his League debut in a 5‑0 home defeat by Sunderland on 18 January 1947. It was said, “Young George McKnight, palpably unaccustomed to the 60 mph of present-day First Division football, was still entitled to a vote of confidence. No centre forward can make a name in such a hesitant line as this Blackpool forward division has become.” Tottenham Hotspur were interested in signing him in February 1947 but no deal took place. He was not a regular first team player and his appearances were mostly at inside forward but, selected at centre forward, on 4 September 1950 he scored three goals in less than four minutes against Fulham when Blackpool won 4‑0. Regular centre forward Stan Mortensen was fit for the following game but he retained the centre forward position with Mortensen moving to inside left.

Following his speedy hat-trick Clifford Greenwood in the Green highlighted the player who had made the news:

George McKnight, “a centre forward who prefers to play as a wing half”

Of McKnight he wrote, “His achievement on Monday evening when he scored three goals at a faster rate than any Blackpool forward has ever scored them in First or Second Division football should not and must not be played down. It made a story, a good story – the fielding at short notice of a forward who had become a wing half, who has often said he wanted to remain a wing half, and who, before the beginning of this week, had not led a forward line in first-class football since Blackpool were at Wolverhampton on January 17, 1948, two and a half years ago. That such a player should score three goals in three and three-quarter minutes was an exploit which qualifies for all the record books and will probably be quoted when this Irishman has long since finished playing football. In less than four minutes he assured himself of whatever immortality there is in a game in which even the greatest triumphs are often only seven-day wonders. But three goals in less than four minutes, whoever scores them and however they are scored – and in this case they were an example of brilliant opportunism – must not be accepted as a guarantee that the Blackpool forward line will now at last score goals by the dozen. No the Blackpool-Fulham match will be viewed in its correct perspective if it is seen as a game which revealed that one marksman, one forward swift to take a chance, can cross the t’s and dot the i’s of all the admirable football which the front line and the wing half backs have been playing in approach since this season opened. Out beyond the penalty area Blackpool’s football was of no higher quality against Fulham than it had been in all the earlier matches I had watched this season. Some of it was not of as high quality. The inclusion of Bill Perry gave admittedly the line a decision which it had not possessed in those earlier games, and, while bouquets are being thrown about, one should assuredly be presented to the South African for his display in this match. But it was in front of goal that there was the big difference, the conversion of chances which before had been neglected. And because it took a wing half who was once a forward to convert them the name of George McKnight must go up in lights and remain there now for a long time. He showed that it could done and how it was done.”

McKnight was selected to play for Northern Ireland against Scotland on 1 November 1950 but he unfortunately was injured and had to cry off. His appearances were restricted due to having a cartilage removed on 1 October 1951 and he had another cartilage removed on 5 January 1953. When Harry Sharratt retired injured in the Central League game against Chesterfield reserves on 25 April 1953 he took over in goal and “In his first couple of minutes in this new position two clearances won him the biggest cheer of the afternoon.” Blackpool won the game 3-1.

The 1953/54 season saw him restricted to a solitary first team appearance and his appearance against Huddersfield Town on 16 January 1954 was his final first team game. McKnight was still on Blackpool’s open‑to‑transfer list at the start of 1954/55 season. “I cannot understand it,” said manager Joe Smith, “you would think a player of his experience and reputation would be in demand. But it’s the same everywhere. There’s never been a close season with so few transfers.” He could have moved to a variety of non‑league clubs but he preferred to remain in The Football League particularly because he felt that if he left League football he would forfeit his accrued share of benefit.

In September 1954 he was loaned to Northwich Victoria of the Cheshire League whilst still on Blackpool’s transfer list. He played the whole of the 1954/55 season with the club. He was transferred to Chesterfield in July 1955 for “a small fee”. Cartilage trouble limited his appearances at Chesterfield and he played just five games and scored one goal for the club in a two-season stay. He moved to Southport in September 1957 on a two-month trial. He played just one game at inside right against Workington Town.

Southport released him in early November 1957 and he was looking for a team outside the Football League.

He died in Devonshire Road Hospital, Blackpool on 28 September 1996.
 

Aidy

Well-known member
I have also been told that he displayed an act of heroism one time when out walking on Blackpool Beach...any info on that?
 

bfcpete

Well-known member
Aidy,
In the 'Old Pictures of BFC' thread, on page17, there is a team photo showing GM sat next to Stan Matthews
 

TSSeasider

Well-known member
Hopefully this additional information about McKnight will also be of help Aidy.

George McKnight was a Newtownards, Co Down‑centre forward who was signed by Blackpool from Coleraine as a front line leader on 1 June 1946. He had represented Junior Ireland against Scotland and had also played for Ards, as an amateur, Linfield and Belfast Celtic. His weekly wage at Blackpool was to be £6, summer and winter. In October 1946 he was said to be “playing the football which made his name in Ireland” when he was playing regularly for the Central League side.

McKnight made his League debut in a 5‑0 home defeat by Sunderland on 18 January 1947. It was said, “Young George McKnight, palpably unaccustomed to the 60 mph of present-day First Division football, was still entitled to a vote of confidence. No centre forward can make a name in such a hesitant line as this Blackpool forward division has become.” Tottenham Hotspur were interested in signing him in February 1947 but no deal took place. He was not a regular first team player and his appearances were mostly at inside forward but, selected at centre forward, on 4 September 1950 he scored three goals in less than four minutes against Fulham when Blackpool won 4‑0. Regular centre forward Stan Mortensen was fit for the following game but he retained the centre forward position with Mortensen moving to inside left.

Following his speedy hat-trick Clifford Greenwood in the Green highlighted the player who had made the news:

George McKnight, “a centre forward who prefers to play as a wing half”

Of McKnight he wrote, “His achievement on Monday evening when he scored three goals at a faster rate than any Blackpool forward has ever scored them in First or Second Division football should not and must not be played down. It made a story, a good story – the fielding at short notice of a forward who had become a wing half, who has often said he wanted to remain a wing half, and who, before the beginning of this week, had not led a forward line in first-class football since Blackpool were at Wolverhampton on January 17, 1948, two and a half years ago. That such a player should score three goals in three and three-quarter minutes was an exploit which qualifies for all the record books and will probably be quoted when this Irishman has long since finished playing football. In less than four minutes he assured himself of whatever immortality there is in a game in which even the greatest triumphs are often only seven-day wonders. But three goals in less than four minutes, whoever scores them and however they are scored – and in this case they were an example of brilliant opportunism – must not be accepted as a guarantee that the Blackpool forward line will now at last score goals by the dozen. No the Blackpool-Fulham match will be viewed in its correct perspective if it is seen as a game which revealed that one marksman, one forward swift to take a chance, can cross the t’s and dot the i’s of all the admirable football which the front line and the wing half backs have been playing in approach since this season opened. Out beyond the penalty area Blackpool’s football was of no higher quality against Fulham than it had been in all the earlier matches I had watched this season. Some of it was not of as high quality. The inclusion of Bill Perry gave admittedly the line a decision which it had not possessed in those earlier games, and, while bouquets are being thrown about, one should assuredly be presented to the South African for his display in this match. But it was in front of goal that there was the big difference, the conversion of chances which before had been neglected. And because it took a wing half who was once a forward to convert them the name of George McKnight must go up in lights and remain there now for a long time. He showed that it could done and how it was done.”

McKnight was selected to play for Northern Ireland against Scotland on 1 November 1950 but he unfortunately was injured and had to cry off. His appearances were restricted due to having a cartilage removed on 1 October 1951 and he had another cartilage removed on 5 January 1953. When Harry Sharratt retired injured in the Central League game against Chesterfield reserves on 25 April 1953 he took over in goal and “In his first couple of minutes in this new position two clearances won him the biggest cheer of the afternoon.” Blackpool won the game 3-1.

The 1953/54 season saw him restricted to a solitary first team appearance and his appearance against Huddersfield Town on 16 January 1954 was his final first team game. McKnight was still on Blackpool’s open‑to‑transfer list at the start of 1954/55 season. “I cannot understand it,” said manager Joe Smith, “you would think a player of his experience and reputation would be in demand. But it’s the same everywhere. There’s never been a close season with so few transfers.” He could have moved to a variety of non‑league clubs but he preferred to remain in The Football League particularly because he felt that if he left League football he would forfeit his accrued share of benefit.

In September 1954 he was loaned to Northwich Victoria of the Cheshire League whilst still on Blackpool’s transfer list. He played the whole of the 1954/55 season with the club. He was transferred to Chesterfield in July 1955 for “a small fee”. Cartilage trouble limited his appearances at Chesterfield and he played just five games and scored one goal for the club in a two-season stay. He moved to Southport in September 1957 on a two-month trial. He played just one game at inside right against Workington Town.

Southport released him in early November 1957 and he was looking for a team outside the Football League.

He died in Devonshire Road Hospital, Blackpool on 28 September 1996.

The article is so well written; what a brilliant line and so prescient.

Here we are, 73 years later, talking and reading about his exploits; which is as close to immortality as you'll get for a league match v Fulham.

Wonderful stuff.
 

Blackpool-rocks

Well-known member
George McKight played for Blackpool in their friendly match at Dundee Utd on 5th October 1953. Here is a photo of the Blackpool squad with the FA Cup before the match. George is front row on the far right. Also, a programme from the match.IMG_1139.jpgBlackpool v Dundee Utd 1953.jpg
 
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