Bickley author recounts playing football with 'charming, modest' Tom Finney

News Shopper: Rob McGibbon with the medal he received after playing for a World XI alongside Tom Finney Rob McGibbon with the medal he received after playing for a World XI alongside Tom Finney

A BICKLEY author has recounted the time he played football alongside football legend Tom Finney, who passed away this month.

In 1973, Robin McGibbon got talking to legendary Charlton Athletic player Eddie Firmani at a lunch.

Mr Firmani told him he was taking a group of veteran soccer internationals, including Finney and Jackie Milburn, to Italy as part of a World X1, to play a charity match against an Italian X1.

Much to his surprise, Mr McGibbon, who had played for Charlton's A team, was invited to join them.

The 68-year-old, of Burford Road, said: "Eddie had cleared it with Finney, Milburn and co that I could join in the pre-match kick-in and sit on the subs' bench.

"Then, at half-time, Jackie Milburn plonked himself next to me in the dressing room and said: 'On you go, son - I'm knackered'.

"Playing alongside Finney was an experience I've never forgotten, and we stayed in touch for years afterwards.

"He was the most charming, understated, modest man I've ever met."

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