The Ulster Star’s appeal for a much sought-after photograph of Sir Tom Finney in the white of Distillery has netted a result but there are still two Sir Tom treasures on the loose.
Two weeks ago, the Star launched a search for a picture of the greatest ever player to pull on a Whites’ jersey. A copy of this photo of Finney exchanging pennants with Benfica captain Mario Coluna in 1963, which originally appeared in Ireland’s Saturday Night, has been unearthed.
Now we want to step up the search to find an original copy of this photo and also a gift given to the club that night by Portuguese giants Benfica.
“It may well be that there is a original copy of the picture in the possession of the photographer Edwin Harvey’s family, but we have no idea who he was or is,” said Distillery secretary Colin Hopkins.
“We have tried on a few occasions to locate an original but we’ve never had any luck.”
Even more intriguing is the loss of the ‘Golden Galleon,’ a gift presented to the club by Benfica before the game.
Hopkins said: “This was on display at the club’s old ground in Grosvenor Park, Belfast but when we were forced to leave there due to the Troubles in 1970 it hasn’t been seen since. The question is, where did it go to? The club would certainly like to recover this artefact of our proud history.”
Football legend Sir Tom, who was laid to rest in his beloved Preston last Thursday, passed away on February 14 aged 91.
His death led to memories of the night he wore the white of Distillery as he came out of retirement to fulfil a dream of playing against Benfica.
Finney, who is regarded as one of the greatest ever footballers, lined up for the Whites at Windsor Park in September 1963.
Local minnows Distillery that night held Benfica to an unbelievable 3-3 draw in the preliminary round first-leg. The Whites, however, lost the away leg 5-0 in Estádio da Luz, Lisbon.
Just four months before, Benfica were the beaten finalists in the European Cup final, losing out to 2-1 to Milan. Their fantastic side boasted the likes of Eusebio in their ranks.
Finney’s death follows the passing of Eusebio in January. Mario Coluna (pictured), a double European Cup winner who captained Portugal at 1966 World Cup, himself passed away last week aged 78.
Interestingly, the pennant that Sir Tom is receiving in this photo is still on display in the club’s museum.
If you have any information regarding the elusive ‘Golden Galleon,’ the original copy of this image, or any other photographs of Finney in Distillery’s white shirt, ring 02892 679111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.