The following text is from an article in the Advertiser on 1st October 1970.
A LIVING LEGEND
“A living legend” is how supporters of Skelmersdale United refer to Mr Thomas (Tommy) Tindsley, of 30 Black Gate Lane, Tarleton.
For Tommy was the centre forward who, during
the four seasons he played for United just before and immediately after the second world war, netted no less than 214 goals for Skelmersdale.
A schoolmaster at Ormskirk C.of E. School, Greetby Hill, Tommy’s soccer career began as a boy when he was a pupil at Preston Grammar School. Later, he played for the Chester Training College eleven, and later still in 1937, he played for the Wellington Town F.C. as an inside forward.
It was in 1938 that he was appointed as a master at Aughton Street Boy’s School, Ormskirk, and in the summer of that year he was asked to sign for United as a centre forward.
He soon made his presence felt at the Top o’th’lane and he added great strength to the United’s forward line in those two seasons before league soccer was discontinued because of the war.
Tommy was called up and he served until 1945 in the Royal Corps of Signals as a wireless operator attached to a Guards Armoured Division.
He saw active service after D-Day and his tank squadron fought its way through France Belgium, Holland and into Germany. Demobilised in 1945, earlier than many because he was a teacher, he returned to Aughton Street School and again signed as a centre forward for United.
He ended his active soccer days in 1947-the year United won the Liverpool Challenge Cup for the fourth time in succession.
In that season he also played centre forward for Liverpool County F.A., which won the 1947 Counties Amateur Championship.
In the years which followed, although not actually playing football, Tommy strenuously applied himself to the task of teaching some of his soccer skill to the boys of Aughton Street School.
When he went into the army, the head at Aughton Street was the late Mr Owen Jones, but when he returned Mr Jones had retired and his successor was Mr George Harrison.
“In those days he used to play soccer on Coronation Park with jackets for goalposts, and Mr Harrison used to say to me as I left the school with a class of boys: “If you can keep them out of the park lake, you will be lucky.”
“That was how it was, for the boys’ enthusiasm was suck that when the ball was in play they would travel with it all over the park-even up to the very side of the lake,” Tommy recalls with a smile.
Although he was a teacher of general subjects, and not especially a games master, Tommy’s interest in sport was such that it was he who would always take the games lessons whenever possible.
He was secretary of the Primary Section of the Ormskirk Shools’ Sports Association for 20 years, retiring last year.
This association arranges all the inter-school sports and athletics fixtures within Education Division 11.
In 1952, Aughton Street Boys’ School closed down and was transferred to the new premises at Greetby Hill. Tommy was delighted with the modern appointments of the new school, particularly the spacious play areas and football pitches.
It was a great change from the old days of soccer games on the park with jackets for goalposts,” he recalles
But the new school brought changes in other ways, for at Aughton Street only boys were taught and now, for the first time. Tommy had to teach mixed classes.
“But we soon settled down to the modern methods and different teaching techniques,” said Tommy, who, 10 years ago started running the annual schools’ trip to the Schoolboy International match at Wembly. This trip has become the highlight of the year for most boys and is eagerly looked forward to.
Tommy leads a busy life outside school hours. He is married-he met his wife, Eve, in Golders Green, London, during his army days and the couple have one daughter, Marion, who is 22 and is employed by Barclays Bank at Preston. Marion next year marries Mr T. Ashcroft of Mere Brow.
A native of Tarleton, Tommy has been a member of the Tarleton Methodist Church all his life. He is a lay preacher in the Ormskirk Methodist Circuit and is president of the Tarleton Methodist Men’s Fellowship and a keen choir member.
Mrs Tindsley and daughter Marion are both Sunday School teachers.
In spite of the fact that he has always been a keen soccer player, Tommy also played cricket for Tarleton C.C. and was secretary of that club until he retired from the post about 5 years ago, after 21 years service.
Right from his boyhood days, however, he has been a keen fan of Preston North End and, as he say: “I’m still a season ticket holder in spite of North End’s declining fortunes.”
Speaking of modern teaching methods in todays schools, Tommy points out that while discipline is still maintained, “It has mellowed some what since the time when I started at Aughton Street.” He looks forward to the time when Greetby Hill has its own swimming pool and he speaks highly of the town’s efforts to provide one.
“This will be a tremendous amenity for many of the schools in the area and it will, of course, cut down a great deal of traveling time,” he says.
Tommy Tindsley is loved by his pupils and respected by all those who remember his skill on the soccer field.
A man of deep religious convictions, he is trusted by parents to teach the children to be studious and, above all, to play the game.