Distillery launch search for illusive Tom Finney photo

On the turn...Tom Finney in action.
On the turn...Tom Finney in action.

Lisburn Distillery have launched a search for photos of legendary forward Sir Tom Finney in Distillery colours.

Sir Tom, who passed away last Friday, aged 91, is well known for wearing the white of his beloved Preston North End.

However, local football fans will be well aware that for one famous night in Belfast in 1963, Finney was lured out of retirement to pull on the white of Distillery against European giants Benfica in their historic European Cup tie at Windsor Park.

However, no photographs from that night can be found and the Lisburn club would dearly love to have something to remember that night by.

Over three years after hanging up his boots having played for Preston for his entire career, the forward came out of retirement, at the age of 41, to play for the Lisburn side.

Distillery manager, George Eastham Sr, having narrowly beaten Linfield to the league championship the year before, decided he needed a little extra fire power up front and called on the help of his friend, Finney, to help tackle Benfica and its stars including the likes of Eusebio, Jose Augusto and Antonio Simoes.

The Portugese side were the beaten finalists in the competition just four months before they took on the Lisburn part-timers.

In a thrilling encounter, the Lisburn side held the European giants to a 3-3 draw, with the home side never going behind.

Finney, however, decided not to play in the away leg, and when the Lisburn men headed off for the Lisbon return fixture they were soundly beaten 5-0.

Club Secretary Colin Hopkins said: “It would certainly mean a lot to the club to get something from that night.

“Regrettably I wasn’t able to obtain any pictures of the great man in Distillery colours, I know the club would love to have one of these for themselves but they are nigh on impossible to obtain.”

If you have any photos from that night, please get in touch with us at the Star. Call Stacey Heaney at the Star on 92679111 or email sport@ulsterstar.co.uk