Time Tunnel - Arthur Finn
Arthur Finn was one of my favourite players in his playing days for Montrose FC and remains to this day as one of my all time favourites. Maybe he did not become a long term legend of the status of Bob Livingstone, Les Barr and several others and indeed in his early days he was in and out of the first eleven. However during the later years at the club he was very much a legend at the time with his fast no nonsense running and all out effort to the cause. I well remember him scoring a hat-trick against Brechin City which was followed by the headline in one of the national papers ‘ King Arthur of Montrose – glory hat trick for the new boy.’
He is a Dundonian and arrived at Links Park in December 1968 via three Junior Dundee sides Lochee United, Broughty Athletic and Lochee Harp but also had a brief trial with Raith Rovers. As a plumber he was able to continue that trade whilst being a part time professional footballer. His favourite other pastime/hobby was eating and some said he married Margaret for her culinary abilities but for those who actually met her they would certainly say she had other attractions as well! Anyway Arthur’s eating ability added to his fit but stocky 5ft 8 inch appearance allied to an ability to go straight through opponents if there was no way around them. Yes, he was a winger and these days wingers of his ability are few and far between in the more modern game.
There were lots of good times at Montrose and we will come to those in a minute but firstly I think we need to look at why maybe his career as a footballer did not hit greater heights. The reason I feel is because he twice had leg breaks and missed huge chunks of successive seasons and that also accounts for my earlier statement that he was in and out of the first eleven.
Now let’s have a look at some of the high points in his time at Links Park. Firstly there was that hat trick against Brechin in his Links Park debut game. His goals came in the 14th, 40th and 79th minutes. His first came after a Bob Livingstone shot cannoned back off Brechin ‘keeper Ritchie and Finn was on hand to blast the ball home at the beach end. Just before half time he got his second when side footing a Smith cross from the back edge of the six yard box. After Brechin had scored two early second half goals to equalise it was that man Arthur Finn who wrapped up the points in the 79th minute with a freak goal direct from a corner. His kick swirling in from the left and straight into the bottom right hand corner of the dynamo end net.
One of Arthur’s long remembered games was the cup game at home to Hearts on 24th January 1970. It ended 1-1 with defeat 0-1 in the replay at Tynecastle a few days later. In Arthur’s days with Montrose very few programmes were issued but for an away game at East Stirling in 1970 he was pen-picced as ‘a left winger, currently out of the first team (with a broken leg) was attracting the attention of the big money clubs last season but Montrose were not persuaded to sell. It’s a fair bet that the fast winger who has scored so many fine goals for the club will be back challenging for a place in the first team before long.’ In the Shire programme the following season they again had kind words to say about Arthur ‘ Left winger Arthur Finn has now fully recovered from a leg break and is challenging for a first team place. Not so long ago Arthur was the Second Division’s top scoring winger so he’s a handy player to have in reserve. Injury kept him out of the picture most of last season but in the four games he played he still managed two goals so that sums up how good a player he is.’
If I close my eyes for a moment my memories of Arthur Finn are not from goals he scored but from goals he nearly scored. He was a superb striker of the ball and I well recall a League Cup game away at Motherwell in 1969 when Arthur hit the ball so hard that the ‘keeper could not hold it and Welsh tapped in the rebound for the equaliser. Another similar hard hit effort almost snatched an equaliser at Tynecastle in the 0-1 cup replay mentioned above. The shot was so hard the ‘keeper didn’t so much save it but was just in the way as the ball hit him and rebounded to safety.
Arthur is still around of course and I hope I’ve now managed to trace him and get him to appear in his own words in this Time Tunnel column one day soon.
Steve Doyle (Sassmo)