Seasiders Hall of Fame: Goalkeepers

Goalkeeper John Burridge was known as much for his off-the-field antics as what he did on it. Below: Former Blackpool goalkeeper Steve Banks with his Gazette player of the year trophies.
Goalkeeper John Burridge was known as much for his off-the-field antics as what he did on it. Below: Former Blackpool goalkeeper Steve Banks with his Gazette player of the year trophies.

BLACKPOOL FC has been blessed with many great players over the years.

From the pre-war days of Jimmy Hampson, through Matthews and Morty, Tony Green, Wes Hoolahan and Charlie Adam, there have been some gems in Tangerine.

Former Blackpool goalkeeper Steve Banks with his Gazette player of the year trophies.

Former Blackpool goalkeeper Steve Banks with his Gazette player of the year trophies.

Today, The Gazette launches its own Hall of Fame, chosen by readers, and designed to recognise and honour some of the most memorable Seasiders of all-time.

We are starting with goalkeepers. We already have five, voted for by fans on Twitter earlier in the week.

Next up is full-backs. We want six in total, three right-backs and three left-backs. Vote for whoever you want, and it isn’t necessarily about the best. We also want players who might not have been world-beaters but, for one reason or another, became crowd favourites and cult heroes.

There are two different ways to vote.

You can email: russell.kingston@blackpoolgazette.co.uk.

Alternatively you can contact us via Twitter at @The_Gazette or @CanavanGazette.

After full-backs, we will be looking for five centre-backs, five central midfielders, six wingers and five strikers for our Hall of Fame. We will also include the three best Pool managers of all time.

So keep your eye on The Gazette each day for the latest Hall of Fame selections.

Meanwhile, here are the first five to make it on to the list and a few who didn’t quite make the cut.

JOHN BURRIDGE

You can’t mention Budgie’s name without someone chuckling, shaking their head and sighing ‘what a character’. The fella is known as much for his off-the-field antics as what he did on it. But there’s no doubt about his keeping talents – he was superb throughout a career that spanned almost three decades. It all began at Blackpool. At the start of 1971, Burridge was turning out for Workington reserves in the Northern Alliance. By April, he was making his Seasiders debut at Everton’s Goodison Park in the top flight. Hugely popular, he helped Pool win the Anglo-Italian Cup and made 131 appearance (it would have been more but for a titanic struggle for the number one jersey with goalie rival George Wood – how-lucky were the Seasiders to have two top class keepers?) Headed to Aston Villa in the top division for £75,000 in 1977, and went on to play for 29 different clubs before finally retiring in 1997, aged 46.

GORDON WEST

The story of how West ended up as a goalkeeper has gone down in folklore. A defender for amateur Barnsley club Don and Dearne Boys, he accompanied a friend to a trial with Blackpool in 1960, and decided to have a bash in goals. He did so well Pool signed him, and he made his debut at the age of 17. West played only 33 league games for the Tangerines but was so outstanding he was snapped up by Everton in March 1962 for £27,000 – a then British record for a goalkeeper. Went on to make more than 400 appearances for Everton over a decade-long stay. Passed away earlier this month, aged 69, after a battle with illness.

GEORGE FARM

A man who screams ‘include me’, Farm racked up more than 500 appearances for Blackpool between 1948 and 1960. A free transfer from Hibs, he is a contender for one of the best signings of all time. Played for the club during its most successful period, and helped the Tangerines to their sole FA Cup success in 1953. He also has to go in the Hall of Fame for what happened on October 19, 1955, when, in a 6-2 home defeat by Preston North End, Farm became one of the few goalkeepers to score. After injuring a shoulder and replacing Jackie Mudie at centre-forward, Farm planted a bullet header into the top corner. That season, Blackpool finished league runners-up to Manchester United, the highest finish in the club’s history. Farm, capped 10 times by Scotland, went on to have a successful spell as manager at Dunfermline before retiring in 1974. Lived the quiet life thereafter and even spent a short time as a lighthouse keeper. Died in 2004, five days after his 80th birthday.

STEVE BANKS

Banks looked destined for great things when he burst on to the scene at Bloomfield Road as a 23-year-old in the mid-90s. He made 153 appearances in four years, before being flogged to Bolton for £50,000 in March 1999 – a ludicrously low fee sanctioned only because Banks was out of contract at the end of the season and Pool were worried about losing him on a free. Always excelled at Blackpool but his subsequent career didn’t live up to its early promise. Now aged 40, he’s goalkeeping coach at Dundee United.

IAIN HESFORD

When he made his debut against Oldham in 1977, he became the youngest ever goalkeeper to play for Blackpool in a league game – just turned 17. Didn’t lack confidence, flashing a V sign at the Latics fans as he ran out for the second half. Hesford racked up more than 200 appearances in the next five years, won seven England Under-21 caps, and looked destined for big things. A big-money move to Sheffield Wednesday followed but then his career stalled somewhat and he never fulfilled his early promise. Ended his football career in China in the 90s.

AND A FEW WHO MISSED OUT...

GEORGE WOOD

117 appearances for Pool in the 70s. Would have been a lot more had he not been up against John Burridge for the number one spot. Sold to Everton in 1977 for £150,000 and was the Toffees first-choice keeper for the next three seasons. Three caps for Scotland. Belting fella, now back at Bloomfield Road as goalkeeping coach.

MATT GILKS

Played second fiddle to Paul Rachubka for the first 18 frustrating months of his Blackpool career but under Ian Holloway established himself as first-choice keeper. Terrific shot-stopper it is generally agreed that the Seasiders would have stayed in the Premier League had Gilks not broken his kneecap in the first half of the top-flight campaign.

BILLY O’ROURKE

More than 100 appearances for Blackpool in the mid-80s. Voted player of the season in his first full year with the club and a hugely popular figure within the dressing room. Tragically passed away aged 41 in 2002.

TONY WAITERS

Almost 300 appearances for Pool between 1959 and 1967, signed to replace the ageing George Farm. Won five England caps in 1964 as Sir Alf Ramsey sought a back-up for Gordon Banks. Waiters was selected in Ramsey’s initial squad of 40, but not chosen for the final 22 (Peter Bonetti and Ron Springett got the nod instead). Successful management career, including leading Canada to the 1986 World Cup.

BARRY SIDDALL

614 appearances in a 21-year career. Played for Pool in the late 80s under Sam Ellis, joining on a permanent basis after spending seven games on loan... of which the Seasiders won six.