The life and career of Sir Tom Finney, the late English international footballer

The life and career of Sir Tom Finney, the late English international footballer

Steve Njuguna
January 18, 2024 at 3:29 PM

Sir Tom Finney is a former English professional footballer, Journalist and Military officer. Playing predominantly in the post-2nd World War era, Finney was one of the most famous football players of his time, having spent the majority of his career at Preston North End. This article goes into his career and personal achievements.

A statue of Sir Tom Finney
A statue of Sir Tom Finney stands outside Preston North End's Deepdale stadium. Photo by Alex Livesey
Source: Getty Images

Alongside the great Stanley Matthews, Finney starred for the English national team in the 50s as a centre-forward. He featured for England at three World Cup tournaments (1950,1954 and 1958) and scored 30 goals in 76 appearances for the Three Lions.

Sir Tom Finney's profile summary


Thomas Finney

Date of birth

5 April 1922

Place of birth

Preston, Lancashire, England




Footballer, Military officer, Journalist

Military career

British Royal Army Corps (1942-1945)

Footballing career


Teams played for

Preston North End

Toronto FC

Lisburn Distillery

England national team

Playing position

Winger and Center forward

Marital status



Lady Elsie Finney



Club career appearances


Club career goals


National team caps


National team goals



  • Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
  • Honorary Freedom of Preston
  • FWA Footballer of the Year: 1954, 1957
  • Football League 100 Legends: 1998
  • English Football Hall of Fame: 2002
  • SPFA Special Merit Award: 2006
  • Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)
  • Honorary Fellowship of Myerscough College


Sir Tom Finney Preston Soccer Center

Place of death

Preston, Lancashire, England

Date of death

14 February 2014 (aged 91)

Sir Tom Finney's biography

Tom Finney was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, and grew up in the working-class district of Fishwick. He was the fifth of seven children. Finney developed a passion for football from a young age, playing on the streets and in local teams.

Tom Finney spent his entire professional club career at Preston North End. He joined the club in 1938 as an amateur and turned professional in 1940. He temporarily left the club in 1942 to do his World War Two military service, where he served as a tanker in North Africa and Italy. After the war, he went back to Preston and played until his retirement in 1960. He had a few appearances in the 60s for FC Toronto and Distillery FC, but none of them were professional.

Sir Tom Finney speaks to a journalist
Sir Tom Finney speaks to a journalist while working on top of a ladder in 1946. Photo by Charles Hewitt/Picture Post
Source: Getty Images

Sir Tom Finney's career stats

Tom was well respected for being a prolific forward for both Preston and the England national team. Here is a detailed table of information about Sir Tom Finney's statistics.




Preston North End



English national football team



Toronto FC



Distillery FC



Sir Tom Finney's family

Finney married his wife, Elsie Finney, on 1st November 1945, after finishing his military service. The couple had two children together: their son Brian, who was born in 1947 and their daughter Barbara, who was born in 1949. Lady Elsie passed away in 2007, seven years before her husband, Tom, passed away.

Frequently asked questions about Sir Tom Finney

Due to his outstanding career and emphatic personality, many football enthusiasts frequently seek more facts about Sir Tom Finney. Here are some of the frequently asked questions:

Why did they call Sir Tom Finney the Preston Plumber?

Tom was nicknamed the Preston Plumber as he and his brother Joseph had a thriving plumbing business in Lancashire, England. Their business continued to thrive, especially after Tom retired from football, employing over 100 staff.

Sir Tom Finney and David Moyes
Sir Tom Finney in the year 2000, celebrates with then Preston manager David Moyes after the club won the Nationwide League Division Two. Photo by Allsport UK
Source: Getty Images

What was Sir Tom Finney’s Jersey number?

Due to his playing position as a forward or a winger, Tom predominantly wore jersey numbers 9, 7 and 11. He was consistent with those numbers on both international and club games.

Does Sir Tom Finney have a stadium named after him?

Sir Tom has several sporting facilities named after him. The University of Lancashire has a modern sports complex known as the 'Sir Thomas Finney Sports Center'. Northern Premier League side Bamber Bridge also named their grounds' The Sir Tom Finney Stadium'

What is the Sir Tom Finney Award?

The Sir Tom Finney Award is an award given by the English Football League to a retired player who has had an outstanding career in the EFL. It was first awarded in 2006, and previous winners include Adebayo Akinfenwa and Jordi Mcanuff.

Final word

Sir Tom Finney is often remembered as one of the greatest players in English football history. His loyalty to Preston North End and his contributions to the sport have left an enduring legacy.

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Steve Njuguna photo
Steve Njuguna
Steve Njuguna is a media professional with close to a decade of experience in the sports media industry. He has previously worked as a sports journalist with Bamba Sports TV, Vybez Radio and The Nairobian newspaper.