Photo: as centre forward for club and country, Tommy Lawton was one of the most famous players of his era, as this souvenir jigsaw shows. © National Football Museum.
The ashes of legendary England centre forward, Tommy Lawton (1919-1996) are to be handed over to The National Football Museum in Preston.
As a centre forward for Burnley, Everton, Chelsea, Notts County, Arsenal and England, Lawton was one of the most revered footballers of his generation.
His son, Tommy Jr decided that his father’s ashes should be held at the museum on hearing of his induction into the institution’s Hall of Fame.
"I realise that this is somewhat unusual but I do genuinely feel that this is the right place for my father," he said.
Photo: housing an unparalleled collection of football memorabilia, the NFM was opened in 2001 with a Lottery grant of £9.5m.
"The museum have shown a great deal of sensitivity and compassion in dealing with my request and I fully understand and agree with them as to the reasons why they have allowed me to place my father’s ashes within the museum."
Mark Bushell, a spokesperson for the museum, explained how the decision to accept the ashes had been carefully considered in consultation with the museum’s governing body.
"It would appear that he had originally wanted them to be scattered at Goodison Park, home of Everton," said Mark. "But he was aware that there is some uncertainty about Goodison’s future."
Although the decision was made to accept the ashes, Mark Bushell explained this does not mean that future requests would also be accepted.
"I fully understand that many people now see The National Football Museum as the spiritual home of the game and as such may make similar requests," added Mark.
Photo: a thrusting centre forward, Lawton (centre) scored an incredible 231 goals in 390 league appearances. Courtesy of supernotts.com.
"Obviously Tommy Lawton was not only a football legend but is also an Inductee into the Hall of Fame and it is on this basis only that we can comply with the family’s wishes."
Born in 1919, Tommy Lawton signed for second division Burnley at the age of 16. His prodigious talent for goal scoring led Everton to snap him up a year later for £6,500, a sensational fee at the time for any player let alone a 17-year-old.
His England debut came just two years later and saw the 19-year-old score from the penalty spot in a 4-2 defeat away to Wales.
Like many players, Lawton’s career was disrupted by the outbreak of war in 1939, but at the end of hostilities he signed for Chelsea, before a move to Notts County where he was an instant favourite.
After ending his career with Arsenal in 1956, Lawton had sealed a reputation as one of the most prolific natural goal scorers the game had ever seen. In 390 league appearances he scored an incredible 231 goals.