Tribute paid to Blackpool FC legend Morty on centenary of his birth
Fans gathered at Bloomfield Road ahead of Blackpool Tower being lit up tangerine in tribute to pay homage to Seasiders legend Stan Mortensen.
A special ceremony was held at the statue of the late Seasiders star behind the ground’s Mortensen North Stand to honour him on what would have been his 100th birthday.
The goal hero who died in 1991, aged 69, remains the leading goalscorer in the club’s history and his three goals in historic 4-3 victory over Bolton in 1953 remain the only hat-trick in a Wembley FA Cup final.
Around 150 supporters gathered in glorious evening sunshine and guests of honour were Stan’s great-niece Nicola Heaney and former Pool star Tony Green, who Mortensen signed for the club when he was manager, and who still lives locally.
Tony, who also sat on the Pools Panel with Stan for many years, said: “He was a real larger than life character and it’s great to pay tribute to him like this. Stan would have loved this.
“I’ll always be grateful to him for bringing me to Blackpool and I travelled with him on so many occasions to London for the Pools Panel sittings, every one of them memorable.
“It was like one big adventure being with him. You might have expected him to talk a lot about his outstanding football achievements, but he just loved telling jokes. A great character, so fondly remembered.”
Nicola said: “It’s wonderful to see so many people turn out to remember the man I knew as Uncle Stan.
“I recall him from family visits when I was a young girl but I had no idea initially he was such a big football star – he was just my great uncle, and we always had a great time in his company.
“It was only when I went to school and other pupils talked about the football stars of Blackpool and his name kept being mentioned that it clicked with me that they were one and the same.
“This tribute is wonderful and would have filled him with pride and joy. It shows that even 30 years after his passing, the town and its people still remember him. Not only as an amazing footballer, but as a great townsman. He loved this town.
“I try to keep his memory alive as much I can these days. Stan and his wife Jean didn’t have children themselves , and I lived overseas for 23 years, but since I have been back I do everything I can and it is wonderful to see the regard Blackpool has for him.”
Director Brett Gerrity represented Blackpool FC at the tribute ceremony and said: “Stan Mortensen is a true legend of this football club.
“As the years go by, the supporters have other heroes and will continue to do so, but there will only ever be one Stan Mortensen – his achievements were outstanding.”
Nine tangerine footballs were placed at the foot of the statue in memory of Jordan Banks, the nine-year-old killed by lightning in Blackpool earlier this month.
A minute’s applause also took place in tribute.
The tribute ceremony, at which Stan’s 1953 cup medal was available to view, was organised by lifelong Pool fan Chris Hull, who said: “Stan is for one of the greatest servants the town has ever known.
“As well as his unsurpassed football record he also served the council and helped saved the club by selling his memorabilia in the 1980s. The tribute is a message from the town that he will never be forgotten.”
Later, as darkness fell, Blackpool Tower was lit up tangerine in remembrance of the goal hero known as Morty.
A tangerine flag also flew from the top of the Tower in tribute and will continue to fly through the weekend as the Seasiders shape up for their play-off showdown with Lincoln City at Wembley.
It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription here and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.
Support us and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe