South Shields-born football legend Stan Mortensen to get Blackpool Tower tribute on what would have been his 100th birthday
A South Shields footballing legend who became a hero for a seaside town on the other side of the country is to be honoured with a special tribute to mark what would have been his 100th birthday.
Born on May 26, 1921, in South Shields, Stan Mortensen served as a wireless operator in the Second World War and was the only survivor of an RAF plane crash, and went on to become a Blackpool football legend.
He made 354 appearances for the Seasiders between 1941 and 1955, and his 226 goals make him the club’s all time greatest scorer.
He was the hat-trick hero in Pool’s 1953 FA Cup triumph against Bolton and, 68, year on, remains the only player to have scored three times in a Wembley FA Cup final.
He also scored 23 goals in 25 appearances for England, was the first England player to score in a World Cup final tournament and later managed Blackpool between 1967 and 1969, with his most notable signing the midfield star Tony Green.
Now Blackpool Tower will be lit up tangerine later this month to mark the centenary of the birth of a Seasiders football legend.
'Morty' is commemorated with a statue at the north end of Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road stadium and the tribute on the 100th anniversary of his birth is being organised by the lifelong fan who co-ordinated the statue, Chris Hull.
Chris plans a ceremony at which Blackpool Hall of Famer Tony Green will say a few words and fans are invited to show their colours.
Limited edition artworks depicting Stan, along with books on him, will also be available.
Chris is also hoping to have Mortensen’s 1953 FA Cup Final winners medal at the event for fans to have their picture taken with it.
Afterwards, as darkness falls, the Tower will light up, including a ‘Morty 100’ message with a heart shape.
Chris 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.”
As well as Morty's unique Wembley FA Cup hat-trick, his record of scoring in 12 consecutive FA Cup rounds (including the final of 1948) remains unmatched.
He died in May 1991, four days short of his 70th birthday.