05/04/2012 09:57 BST | Updated 05/04/2012 10:03 BST

Sir Tom Finney, Preston North End And England Legend, Turns 90 (GALLERY)

Sir Tom Finney, one of the finest footballers England has produced, celebrates his 90th birthday today.

The Preston North End legend won 76 caps and scored 30 goals for the Three Lions during a 14-year, one club career in the game.

Born on a street next to Preston's Deepdale stadium, his frail figure saw him ascend to only 4ft 9ins in at the age of 14.

Another England legend has tweeted his best wishes:

At 17, when World War II started Finney was called up to the Royal Armoured Corps in 1942, and fought in Montgomery's Eighth Army in Egypt as well as in Italy during the final offensive to capture Argenta in April 1945.

When offered the opportunity to sign for PNE, his father insisted he complete his apprenticeship in the family's plumbing business before he signed as a professional. The alliteration-friendly nickname "Preston Plumber" stuck throughout his career.

Finney flummoxes Ireland:

Post-war demand for plumbers ensured he had a second source of income to supplement the £14 he received as a footballer, as his football career flourished. Finney and fellow knight Sir Stanley Matthews pioneered the English wing-game.

A loser in the 1954 FA Cup final as PNE were defeated 3-2 by West Bromwich Albion, he later confessed in his autobiography he wasn't fit for the final. Surreally he never won a winners' medal in his career. He featured at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, but his legacy is enduring because of his total mastery of technique, which compensated for the lack of trophies.

A world-class player supporters could empathise with due to his labouring exploits, he is a throwback to an era of genuine immortals. Whereas the Messis, Ronaldos, Rooneys and Silvas are exposed worldwide, to appreciate Finney you had to be on the Deepdale or Wembley terraces.

So paying tribute to one of football's genuine greats, here's a gallery of Sir Tom's time in football.