Forget Jamie Vardy’s record – South Shields legend Stan Mortensen is still the man

Stan's widow Jean Mortensen looks over the statue at Blackpool Football Club
Stan's widow Jean Mortensen looks over the statue at Blackpool Football Club

While Jamie Vardy broke the Premier League consecutive goalscoring record last Saturday at Manchester United, he still hasn’t surpassed the top-flight mark set by a South Shields legend.

Shields-born Stan Mortensen scored in 11 consecutive games for Blackpool in the First Division of the 1950-51 season – but it could be 15 games depending on how you record it.

Stan Mortensen, right, with Stanley Matthews

Stan Mortensen, right, with Stanley Matthews

If you were to discard his injuries during that season, Mortensen actuallymanaged to find the net 15 games in a row.

Separated by injury, he scored three in three, then missed a game, before scoring 11 in as many games, and then one more in the game after another spell on the sidelines.

His most famous performance for the Tangerines came in the FA Cup Final in 1953, when he scored a hat-trick to help Blackpool to a 4–3 win against Bolton Wanderers, the only player still to this day to achieve the feat.

A man who created history throughout his career, Mortensen fought in the war in 1939 as a wireless operator and was the only survivor when his RAF bomber crashed near to his base atLossiemouth, Scotland.

He overcame severe head and back injuries that put his footballing career in doubt to pull on a Tangerine shirt once again, scoring an incredible 197 times in 317 games for Blackpool over a 14-year period.

The striker even made history by switching teams to play for Wales when they needed a substitute against England in 1943.

Similar to his club form, he didn’t have any problems finding the net at international level either, scoring 23 goals for England in just 25 appearances.

He was the first player to score a World Cup goal for his country, and remains the only player to score four goals on his international debut, when he did so against Portugal in 1947.

And his goalscoring records were not finished there. The Shields legend scored in 12 consecutive rounds of the FA Cup between 1945 and 1950, including the Final in 1948 against Manchester United.

He went on to top the First Division goalscoring charts in 1951, with 30 goals to his name.

After leaving Blackpool in 1955, Mortensen went on to play for Hull, Southport, Bath City and Lancaster City before retiring at the age of 37 in 1958.

He is widely regarded as a legend at Bloomfield Road, and his statue outside the north stand of the ground is a permanent reminder of the man who gave them their only piece of FA Cup silverware in the club’s history.

When it came to putting the ball in the back of the net, Stan was most definitely the man.