Where are they now?: Tommy Lawton

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The Independent Online
Even though his best years were consumed by wartime, Tommy Lawton, who will be 75 on Thursday, became one of English football's all-time greats. A month short of his 20th birthday when League games ceased in 1939, he had already been the First Division's top scorer for two seasons, having succeeded Dixie Dean in Everton's front line.

Regarded as the complete centre-forward, with skill on the ground and power in the air, Bolton-born Lawton scored 22 goals in 23 England appearances. Including unofficial wartime internationals, his record was 47 in 46 games.

At his peak, Lawton regularly attracted capacity crowds; his shock transfer from Chelsea to Notts County in 1947, for a British record fee of pounds 20,000, saw the Third Division club's home gates soar to 30,000. Later, he played for Brentford and Arsenal, where his League playing career finished in 1955.

In the modern game, Lawton would probably retire a millionaire but in his era players had to survive on their wits. Sacked as Notts County manager in 1958, he ran a village pub for the next four years but subsequently discovered that fame did not guarantee financial security.

'I've had some ups and downs,' he said. 'But all my clubs have been very good to me. I've no complaints.' He still lives in Nottingham and for 10 years has been the local Evening Post's resident football commentator. 'It has kept me young, kept me in touch. To be honest, without the Post I'm not sure I'd still be here.'

His popular column is not necessarily coloured by nostalgia. 'In my time, players were allowed to think more for themselves and the football was more spontaneous, but today's game is very exciting and managers such as Terry Venables and Kevin Keegan are doing the game a great service.'

(Photograph omitted)

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