Harry Johnston (footballer, born 1919)

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Harry Johnston
Harry Johnston.jpg
Personal information
Full name Henry Johnston
Date of birth (1919-09-26)26 September 1919
Place of birth Manchester, England
Date of death 12 October 1973(1973-10-12) (aged 54)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
193?–1934 Droylsden
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1934–1955 Blackpool 386 (11)
National team
1946–1953 England 10 (0)
Teams managed
1955–1962 Reading
1969 Blackpool (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Henry "Harry" Johnston (26 September 1919 – 12 October 1973) was an English footballer. He was the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year in 1951. He spent his entire professional playing career with Blackpool, with whom he appeared in three FA Cup Finals. During his career, he appeared in all three half-back positions, and even moved up to centre forward when needed.[1]

Club career[edit]

Blackpool signed Manchester-born Johnston as a 15-year-old apprentice. Three years later, on 20 November 1937, he made his debut in a 2–0 defeat to arch-rivals Preston North End at Deepdale. Despite the result, Johnston was named Man of the Match.[2] For the final game of the season, at home to West Bromwich Albion, he was moved to the forward line. He responded by scoring Blackpool's third goal in their 3–1 victory. By the following season, he was a regular in the Seasiders' team.

After the war, during which he served in the Middle East, Johnston became the foundation on which the Blackpool team was built.[1] As captain, he led them to FA Cup Final appearances in 1948, 1951, and the most famous final of all in 1953, when he became the first and, thus far, only Blackpool skipper to lift the trophy. He made 40 appearances and scored three goals in the competition in his career.

In 1951, Johnston was voted FWA Footballer of the Year. He was the subject of bids from other big clubs, but he always remained a one-club player.[citation needed]

He played his last game on 25 April 1955, at Newcastle United. At that point he had made more appearances for Blackpool than any other player; a record later broken by Jimmy Armfield.[citation needed]

Blackpool F.C. Hall of Fame[edit]

Johnston was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Bloomfield Road, when it was officially opened by former Blackpool player Jimmy Armfield in April 2006.[3] Organised by the Blackpool Supporters Association, Blackpool fans around the world voted on their all-time heroes. Five players from each decade are inducted; Johnston is in the 1950s.[4]

International career[edit]

For a man of his stature, his international career was very short, with only ten appearances for England in a seven-year span. His appearances were limited due to the consistent performances of Billy Wright.

Johnston made his England debut on 27 November 1946, in an 8–2 friendly victory over the Netherlands at Leeds Road. His tenth and final international appearance occurred on 25 November 1953, in the 6–3 defeat by Hungary at Wembley.


In late 1955 Johnston became manager of Reading, with whom he spent seven seasons. He returned to Bloomfield Road in 1967 as assistant manager to Stan Mortensen, and when Morty was sacked late in the 1968–69 campaign, he took over as caretaker manager. In February 1970, he became assistant secretary, a role that meant he was in charge of the ticket office and editing the club's programme.[2]

When he died in his hometown of Manchester in 1973 at age 54, "the whole town of Blackpool mourned, for Harry Johnston was one of the greatest players ever to wear the tangerine shirt."[1]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Calley, R: Blackpool: A Complete Record: 1877–1992, Breedon Books Sport, 1992
  2. ^ a b Gillatt, Peter (30 November 2009). Blackpool FC On This Day: History, Facts and Figures from Every Day of the Year. Pitch Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-905411-50-2.
  3. ^ Singleton, Steve, ed. (2007). Legends: The great players of Blackpool FC (1 ed.). Blackpool: Blackpool Gazette. pp. 16–19. ISBN 978-1-84547-182-8.
  4. ^ "The Hall of Fame – 1950's". Blackpool Supporters Association. Archived from the original on 19 June 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2009.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]