Sir Thomas Finney OBE was born on 5th April 1922 in Preston. He is a former English association footballer, famous for his loyalty to his league club, Preston North End F.C. and for his performances in the English national side.
Finney was born at home in Preston on a street next to Deepdale Stadium. When he was offered the opportunity to sign for his local club, at the age of 14, his father insisted that he complete his apprenticeship in the family's plumbing business before signing as a professional.
Soon after he signed, however, World War II began and normal football was suspended, though Finney started to achieve some recognition during war-time tournaments. Called up to the Royal Armoured Corps in 1942, he fought in Montgomery's Eighth Army in Egypt. Local leave in North Africa allowed him to play in army teams against local opposition and on one occasion he played against the future actor Omar Sharif.
Once normal competition was restored, he made his debut for the club in August 1946 and soon established himself as an agile forward, capable of playing on either wing or in the centre. Post-war demand for plumbers ensured that he had a second income to supplement the £14 he received under football's maximum wage regulations and he became famous as the "Preston Plumber". One month after his first appearance for Preston, Finney made his England debut, going on to win 76 caps and score 30 goals.
He retired from Preston North End in 1960, only when forced out with a persistent groin injury. He played his entire career for his local club, appearing 433 times and scorong 187 goals. The balance of Preston's team hardly matched Finney's brilliance, the young Bill Shankly notwithstanding, and he never won a major trophy. His loyalty is remarkable, even extending to rejecting a 1952 offer from an Italian club Palermo, which included a £10,000 personal signing-on fee and high pay and perquisite.
He still maintains his links with Preston North End as the club's president and 2006 marks 60 years since Sir Tom's forst league debut for the club. To mark this occasion The National Football Museum, an organisation which he has championed and has close links with, is inviting football fans to sign a specially commissioned flag which will be presented to Sir Tom at the beginning of the 2006/7 season to mark his 60 years with PNE.
He also writes a regular PNE column for the University of Central Lancashire Students' Union newspaper, Pluto.
Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year, 1954 and 1957 OBE 1961