The story behind the picture – Stanley Matthews skippers Blackpool at Borough Park

Floodlight football came to Borough Park in November 1957 when a series of matches were arranged to test out the new installation ahead of the first league game to be played under lights.

A friendly against Hamilton Academical was the first game to be played under lights at the ground with Reds overcoming the Scottish side 6-1 in front of a near 6,000 attendance.

But the official opening was on the 25 November, 1957 when First Division Blackpool accepted the invitation to travel up the coast for the memorable occasion.  They would finish 7th in the top flight at the end of that season but they couldn’t handle rampant Reds on the night going down to a somewhat unexpected 4-1 defeat.

The attendance of 16,181, by far the biggest crowd for a non-competitive game at Borough Park, was treated to a fine exhibition of football by the Third Division North outfit with local lad, Billy Robson, emerging as man-of-the-match.  He scored two of Reds goals with Ken Chisholm and Ted Purdon also on target.

The majority of the crowd had turned out to see Stanley Matthews and this wonderful, rather grained photograph shows the great man (number 7) meeting the referee and Workington captain, George Aitken, prior to kick-off.

Reds played four friendlies under the lights but lost our first League game in artificial conditions against Tranmere Rovers (1-2) on 30 November.

Matthews would return to Borough Park a decade later – as manager of Port Vale!

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