St Helens, Lancashire born left back Alex Finney played junior football with Sutton Juniors in 1918, playing for Peasley Cross Athletic in 1919 and South Liverpool in 1920. He joined New Brighton after their formation in 1921 before they joined The Football League two years later and then signed for First Division Bolton Wanderers in 1922, making his Football League debut at Birmingham that September.
While at Bolton he won the FA Cup in his first season with the club, playing in the legendary “White Horse” Final 2-0 defeat of West Ham United at Wembley in April 1923 in front of a massive crowd. While he didn’t play when Bolton won the Cup in 1926 due to injury, he won the Cup 6 years after his first triumph when Bolton beat Portsmouth 2-0 at Wembley to seal their 3rd Cup win in the decade. Indeed besides 1925-26 he rarely missed a match for Bolton playing at least 30 games per season over 14 seasons before losing his regular starting berth in 1936, already well into his mid thirties.
He also was part of Bolton’s team that finished as runners up in the League Championship in 1935 when they also got to another FA Cup semi final, Finney playing as they lost in a replay to West Bromwich Albion at The Victoria Ground, Stoke, and they also finished twice in 3rd place and twice 4th in the League Championship during his time at Burnden Park. His consistency was rewarded with recognition from the England selectors who picked him for the England squad in May 1924 but unluckily he had to withdraw through injury and never had the opportunity to play for England thereafter.
He remained with The Trotters for fifteen years, making 530 appearances, scoring just two goals, his first against Aston Villa in December 1927 and his second at Lincoln City in May 1934, before joining Darwen in 1937 before his eventual retirement. He is Bolton’s joint third highest appearance maker. and held the all time appearances record for over 30 years until he was surpassed by Eddie Hopkinson.
NB in the photograph Finney (left) shakes hands with Liverpool’s Tom “Tiny” Bradshaw.