Blackpool Hall of Famer Tony Green recalls how his big move to Bloomfield Road almost never happened

Blackpool Hall of Famer Tony Green has revealed how Stan Mortensen brought him to the Fylde coast against the club’s wishes.

Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 8:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 9:20 am

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The midfielder joined the Seasiders in 1967, joining from Albion Rovers for a fee of £13,500.

He went on to make 123 appearances and helped the club lift the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1971, prior to joining Newcastle United.

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Blackpool Hall of Famer Tony Green

But Green’s move to Bloomfield Road almost never materialised, as the 73-year-old told the Daily Mail.

“I was told not to sign you,” Mortensen, who was manager at the time, told him.

Blackpool, who were playing in the old First Division at the time, didn’t think he was big enough or good enough.

But Mortensen, who had travelled north of the border on a scouting mission, was not to be deterred.

Green in action for the Seasiders in 1968

Green recalled: “He went back and said: 'I've signed Tony Green' and he said you'd have heard a pin drop. ‘And I'm putting him in the first team on Saturday'.

“Coming from Glasgow to Blackpool was a lovely move for me socially. I still love Blackpool, I still love going along the front.

“Jimmy Armfield lived in a semi-detached house and when I came he (had been) captain of England. You couldn't imagine Paul Pogba living in a semi-detached house, could you?”

He adds: “I remember the first time we were on Match Of The Day, we played Bristol… and Stan said: 'We'll stop the bus, have a meal and we can watch Match Of The Day'. All the other lads said: 'Bugger that, we want a night out!'

“I was gobsmacked. 'I thought: 'God, we're on telly!'”

The players got their way...

The Seasiders were already condemned to relegation to the old Second Division by the time Green joined the club, but they returned after winning promotion during the 1969/70 season.

Blackpool regularly competed among the best clubs the country had to offer at the time but, 2010/11 aside, the Seasiders have been left on the outside looking in.

“When we got promotion (to the Premier League) 10 years ago, I thought that was us for the next 20, 30 years,” Green said.

“(I'm) sad more than angry… we could have done exactly what Burnley have done and Bournemouth and Brighton.”

Green’s career was tragically cut short at the age of just 25, having suffered a knee cartilage injury during his spell on Tyneside.

The Scot sustained the injury following a heavy collision with Crystal Palace’s Mel Blyth, which left his right knee in tatters.

“I probably would have played in about six weeks if it happened now,” Green says.

Green, whose wife Chris works in HR at Bloomfield Road, admits he initially struggled to come to terms with his early retirement.

He later taught maths at Hodgson High School in Poulton and later at Millfield High School, in nearby Thornton.

He still works on the Football Pools panel, too, something he’s done since 1975 alongside the likes of Gordon Banks and Roger Hunt.

Running since 1923, the Pools have paid out more than £3.2bn and at one point, more than 14m took part each week.