The sad news is that Tom Finney has died, aged 91.
I know this isn’t Villa related, but as a kid this player was always mentioned to me in the same way Stanley Matthews was; a player of the very highest level when we’re talking about the English game.
The sort of player that as a kid, I wished I’d seen play.
His story is somewhat remarkable, because (I believe) he never played as a full time professional and his footballing career was broken by WWII, yet he still went on to score 31 goals for England.
Not to shabby in itself. But then we come to what sort of bloke he was.
His father insisted that he undergo a “proper” apprenticeship (because it was more important), which he did, as a plumber.
I suspect many of us knew he played for Preston. But I wonder how many of us knew that when he was earning £14 a week at the club, an offer came in from Italy that would majorly increase his wages to £100 a week, with a £10,000 signing on fee thrown in.
This was a massive amount of money at the time, when an average house would (at a guess) cost around £700 or probably less.
So it says a lot about the man when you see that he refused the offer and stayed with Preston (for the rest of his career), for an extra £6 a week on top of his £14.
So, £20 a week.
When you compare him to someone in an equivalent position now, say, Wayne Rooney (who hasn’t really achieved much for England yet is on well over £200,000 a week), it really does show how the game has changed.
You want the other bonus good points?
Not only was Finney a predominantly left footer who played mostly on the right, he apparently had the lot. Not only a pacey left winger, right winger and Centre Forward who scored goals, he was a decent defender too, when required.
And by all accounts, a very, very modest chap, who always underplayed his contribution.
And a nice bloke too, who went back to plumbing when he retired.