THE hunt for the greatest Blackpool FC players moves on to strikers.
They have been voted for by readers via email and Twitter, and to say this was the most fiercely fought category is putting it mildly.
Frontmen always stand out and the Seasiders have had some crackers.
We picked the five who received the most votes, and given a mention to all others who were popular with our readers.
Tomorrow is the final day of the Hall of Fame, when we will turn our attention to Pool managers.
We want the four greatest Blackpool bosses of all times. From legendary 1953 FA Cup winning gaffer Joe Smith to modern-day messiah Ian Holloway, Pool have had some top men in charge. Now is your chance to pick your favourites.
There are two ways to vote.
Or alternatively you can contact us via Twitter at @The_Gazette or @CanavanGazette
Meanwhile, here are the five strikers to make the cut.
For younger Blackpool fans who have never heard of Hampson, this is all you need to know – in 11 seasons at Bloomfield Road he scored an astonishing 252 goals in 373 games. He is the club’s all-time record goalscorer and stands alongside Mortensen as the best centre forward to have played for the club. Joined Pool from Nelson for £1,000 in 1927, and blasted 31 goals in 32 games in his first season. Arsenal, Derby and Millwall all tried to sign him, the Seasiders said no. Hampson helped Pool get promoted to the top division for the first time in 1930. The season that followed was a struggle. The team conceded 125 goals ... but Hampson still managed to score 31 goals in 41 games. Hampson won only three England caps, unfortunate to be around at the same time as the legendary Dixie Dean. Much more unfortunate was his premature death in January 1938, when, aged 31, and two days after playing in an FA Cup tie against Birmingham, Hampson went fishing with friends off the Fleetwood coast. Their 40-foot yacht collided with a trawler. Hampson was knocked overboard and drowned. His body was never recovered. The town mourned the death of a truly exceptional player.
Spent 10 years at Blackpool from 1957 and is the third highest scorer in the club’s history (behind Hampson and Morty) with 193 goals in 363 league games. In nine of his 10 seasons he was the team’s top scorer. In an 18-year playing career Charnley also played for Morecambe (where he began and ended his career), Preston, Wrexham and Bradford Park Avenue. Pool paid £750 to sign him from Morecambe, prompting Jimmy Armfield to remark: “That price means Ray must go down as the club’s best-ever signing – apart from Stanley Matthews, of course. Jack Charlton once told me that he hated playing against Ray.” Capped by England, Charnley set up a painting and decorating firm in Blackpool after hanging up his boots. Died aged 74 in November 2009, just months after the death of fellow Pool legend Alan Suddick.
Hugely popular with the fans and no wonder – started and ended his career at Blackpool and scored bags of goals. Made his debut in 1979 and during the next four years, in a struggling team, scored 36 goals in 100 games under four different managers. Spells at various clubs followed, most successfully at Swindon, before he returned to Bloomfield Road in 1990, aged 31. Anyone who thought he was past his best was badly mistaken. Bamber immediately set about displaying what a fine frontman he was, becoming the heart of Billy Ayre’s side over the next four years. He grabbed 17 goals in 23 games in his first season back, but it ended in misery when he missed the vital spot kick at Wembley as Pool lost a play-off final on penalties to Torquay. But Bamber scored an astonishing 37 goals the next term, the 37th of which was at Wembley as the Seasiders reached yet another play-off final. They drew 1-1 with Scunthorpe (Bamber playing and scoring despite needing a knee operation), but this time Pool won the penalty shoot out, earning promotion to Division Three. Bamber played another two seasons before retiring to form a successful building company.
The obvious choice, but how could he not be on the list? Not only scored more post-war Blackpool goals than anyone else, but fired a hat-trick in the 1953 FA Cup win and was the first player to score for England in a World Cup qualifier and in the finals. On top of that, a thoroughly decent, down-to-earth, likeable fella who lived in Blackpool until his death, four days before his 70th birthday, on May 22, 1991 ... the day the Seasiders reached Wembley for the first time since 1953. A minute’s silence was held before the play-off final with Torquay. To complete a miserable day, Pool lost on penalties and failed to win promotion. Morty was, put simply, a footballing genius, as good a striker as you will find. Between 1945 and ’50 for example, he scored in 12 consecutive rounds of the FA Cup, including the final in 1948. Had a spell as manager at Pool in the late ’60s and did well (signing Tony Green and Tommy Hutchison among others) before inexplicably getting the sack. Typical Blackpool. Not only a Seasiders legend, a footballing legend too.
Had to be on the list. A man who will be forever associated with the club for successful spells at the start and end of his career. Signed from Accrington Stanley in 1997 (when he was working in a factory by day, and training in the evening) and became a regular the following year. A badly broken leg kept him out of the 1999-2000 campaign (Pool were relegated in his absence), but the frontman blasted 27 goals the following year to propel the club to promotion, scoring in the play-off final win over Orient. After a blistering start to the next season – hitting 20 goals by December – Southampton paid £1.75m to take him to the Premier League. Ormerod played in an FA Cup final for the Saints, recovered from another broken leg while at Preston, before eventually ending back up at Bloomfield in January 2009. When he came on as a sub at Crystal Palace in his first game back, he had tears in his eyes. Scored the winner at Wembley as Pool won promotion to the Premier League, then a historic goal in the top flight (left) saw him become the first player to score for Blackpool in all four divisions.
AND A FEW WHO MISSED OUT...
Dave Durie – A Methodist Sunday school teacher who refused to play on Christian holidays because of his religious beliefs. Didn’t pick up a single booking in more than 300 games. Fine striker, scoring 84 goals in the ’50s and ’60s.
Eamon O’Keefe – Famously carried two children to safety when a perimeter fence collapsed during an FA Cup game at Port Vale. Joined Sam Ellis’ Blackpool in 1985, and scored 22 goals before injury forced him to retire. First Division champions Everton, where O’Keefe had played earlier in his career, came to Bloomfield Road for his testimonial.
Craig Madden – Joined Blackpool in 1987 and scored 24 goals in 91 starts. Best spell of career was earlier on, at Bury, where he still holds the record for most goals in a season. Now assistant boss at Fleetwood.
John Craven – Played left-back and centre-half before Les Shannon put the St Annes lad up front in the 1969-70 season, and his partnership with Fred Pickering and Mickey Burns fired Pool to promotion. Craven captained the club to Anglo-Italian Cup success in 1971. Died of a heart attack in 1996, aged 49. A fine player.
Mickey Walsh – His stunning strike during a 3-2 win over Sunderland in 1975 won the BBC’s Match of the Day goal of the season. Scored 72 league goals in 180 games before ending a five-year spell at Pool to join Everton.
Bob Hatton A career record of one goal every three matches says it all. Much-loved striker, who played more than 600 matches in the Football League, Hatton was only at Bloomfield for two seasons in the late ’70s, but his partnership with Mickey Walsh will be remembered by all who witnessed it. Prolific.
Tony Ellis – Hugely popular with the Blackpool fans, quite a feat considering he joined from arch-rivals Preston. Scored 65 goals in 183 games in three-and-a-half years in the mid 90s.
Fred Pickering – Deepdale, 1970, hat-trick. We need say no more. The striker’s famous treble has gone down in folklore, sending Pool up to the top division and condemning PNE to relegation. Became a firm favourite in just two seasons with the club (1969-71).
John Murphy – Scored almost as often as he bust his nose. A brave frontman prepared to put his head in where it hurt. 83 goals in 229 starts, his best years were under Steve McMahon.
Paul Stewart – Terrific striker (pictured) who made his debut for Blackpool aged 18, in 1982. Bagged 21 goals in the 1985-86 campaign and was snapped up by Manchester City. Went on to play alongside Gary Lineker and Gazza at Spurs. Lives in Poulton.
Andy Garner – Remember the 5-2 win over Burnley in 1992? Then you’ll recall Garner twice running the full length of the pitch to create goals. Signed by Sam Ellis for £75,000 in 1988, scored 37 goals in 160 league games during a four-year stay, and part of 1992 promotion winning side.
DJ Campbell – After two successful loan spells (nine goals in 20 games in 2009, eight goals in 15 starts the season after to help Pool win promotion to the Premier League), Pool paid a club record £1.25m to sign the striker from Leicester. Campbell bagged 13 top flight goals, but the Seasiders went down and DJ went to QPR.
Keith Mercer – Typical, old-fashioned centre forward, great in the air. Bagged more than 100 career league and cup goals, and was leading scorer at Blackpool in 1984 when injury forced him to retire, aged just 28.
James Quinn – Scored 47 goals in 150 starts in a five-year spell in the ’90s. On August 12, 1995, scored 11 seconds into Pool’s away game with Bristol City, equalling the club’s fastest ever goal by Bill Slater at Stoke 46 years earlier.