Pool striker Gerry’s a real Humber-dinger

Gerry Ingram with some of his colleagues from the 1971 Third Division Championship team. From left, Gerry Ingram, Frank Clark, George Lyall, Bobby Ham
Gerry Ingram with some of his colleagues from the 1971 Third Division Championship team. From left, Gerry Ingram, Frank Clark, George Lyall, Bobby Ham
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Blackpool 3, Hull City 1 – January 6, 1968.

Seasiders’ heroes of the past are regular, welcome visitors to Bloomfield Road on match-days, and there will be a particularly appropriate VIP visitor tomorrow week for the home match between Blackpool and Bradford City.

Gerry Ingram, in his Bradford City days

Gerry Ingram, in his Bradford City days

It’s Gerry Ingram, who could be excused for having a split allegiance as he played with distinction for both clubs.

He made 174 appearances for Bradford City, but it was Blackpool who gave him his start in league football, having been plucked out of junior soccer on Humberside.

It must therefore have been a special moment this day, in the New Year of 1968 that he netted two goals against Hull City.

Blackpool won 3-1 in a season when they had an agonising near-miss, missing out on promotion to the top flight on a goal average of 0.21.

Ingram made something of a habit of scoring against his home-city club.

He scored his first goal for Preston North End against Hull, after his £27,500 move from Blackpool.

Prior to his arrival on the Fylde Coat, Ingram had been well-schooled in a tough, no-nonsense environment before his arrival at Bloomfield Road – who at the time were managed by Stan Mortensen.

There was no quarter given in those Yorkshire League matches, and it certainly helped Ingram by way of a toughening-up process.

Ingram played for Hull Rangers and Hull Brunswick junior teams when he was scouted by Blackpool.

Speaking of his time in that soccer school of hard knocks: “The old Yorkshire League was a tough one – the colliery teams from the Barnsley area didn’t mess around, and you had to have your wits about you.

“Playing in that league helped toughen me up, and after starting as a winger, I moved to centre-forward when I got a bit bigger.

“Blackpool signed me when I was 19.

“Stan Mortensen was the manager then and he must have had our league scouted.

“I went there on a trial for a couple of weeks towards the end of the season and I did well enough to get a contract.”

Ingram had a hard act to follow at Blackpool, filling the boots of Ray Charnley, who had been a fixture in the Blackpool front-line with distinction for so long.

“Hull were my home-town team, but they never signed me.”

So Ingram must have derived plenty of satisfaction for netting twice against Hull in our featured memory match.

He was the hero of the hour as he scored a brace – Tony Green got the other goal for Blackpool, with Chris Chilton replying for the visitors.

But according to Phil McEntee’s match report in The Gazette, it took time for Ingram to win over the hard-to-please Blackpool crowd.

McEntee wrote: “Gerry got the bird from the crowd for a laboured first half performance, but his strength and eye for the main chance helped to destroy his home-town club in the second half.

“Looking back on the game, I don’t remember Ingram doing anything of note, apart from scoring two goals.

“But that is what he is there for, after all, and I doubt if he will often score any better goals than the one he headed home in the 52nd minute to put Blackpool in front.”

Hull equalised Ingram’s goal through Chilton, but it was not long before Blackpool nudged ahead once more.

A fine run and cross by Alan Suddick gave Green the chance for a well-taken goal, which he duly finished.

Blackpool led 2-1 by now, but the lead was far from safe, and Hull posed the home side plenty of problems of their own.

Blackpool had upped their game after a somewhat lack-lustre first half, and it was that man Ingram who settled all arguments with a goal eight minutes from time, after which there was no coming back for Hull, who had contributed to a highly entertaining second half.

It was a campaign that was to end in bitter disappointment for the Seasiders.

They made a fantastic finish to the end of the season, rattling off seven straight wins, but they were pipped for promotion on the final day by Queens Park Rangers when goal average rather than goal difference counted when assessing league placings.

It came as something of a surprise when Preston came in to sign Ingram from their fierce local rivals.

He enjoyed a successful stint there and was top-scorer for North End when they won the old Division Three title in the 1970-1 season.

When his Preston days came to a close, Ingram moved across the Pennines to Bradford City where he netted 60 times for the Bantams between 1971 and 1977.

It was after this spell at Bradford that Ingram embarked on his American adventure.

He had spells with Washington Diplomats, Los Angeles Quicksilvers, San Diego Sockers, Chicago Sting and California Surf.

He mixed in good company in the United States, playing against Pele and on one occasion lining up in the same representative side as Johan Cruyff.

After his stint in America came to a close, Ingram moved back to Britain, returning to his roots on Humberside, his varied life going full circle.

BLACKPOOL: Taylor, Armfield, Thompson, Milne, Rowe, McPhee, Skirton, Green, Ingram, Oates, Suddick

Attendance: 13,227