The news was confirmed late last night by Preston North End, the only club Finney ever played for. Nicknamed the ‘Preston Plumber’ because of the trade he held before the outbreak of World War II, he made 473 appearances for Preston from 1946 to 1960 and won 76 caps – and scored 30 goals – for England.
Finney was the oldest-surviving England international and an immensely popular figure throughout the game, as evidenced by the thousands of affectionate tributes that appeared online as last night’s news spread.
Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter: “Sir Tom Finney has left us. One of the greatest players this country has ever seen, and a true gentleman. #RIP”
Sir Bobby Charlton told BBC Sport: “I have so many happy memories of watching him play. His contribution to football is immeasurable.”