AN ENGLAND international footballer, who played in an FA Cup Final with Sir Stanley Matthews, has died at his Hartford home. John Crosland was also a war hero. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross as a fighter pilot in the Second World War and saw service in the Pacific flying from HMS Formidable. After the war, he became a professional footballer, playing left-back for Blackpool and featuring in the 1948 FA Cup Final against Manchester United. Although Blackpool was beaten 4-2, John's headed goal-line clearance kept the score down. At the end of the 1950s, when John and his wife Peggy opened a pub in Wisbech, it was Sir Stanley, a close friend, who provided a reference for them to the licensing authorities. Blackpool, with a squad of international players, played in three Cup Finals between 1948 and 1953. John, who died on Saturday aged 83, also played for the England B team on the summer tour of 1953-54. After playing for Blackpool, he was at Bournemouth for three years and from 1957 until 1960 he played for Wisbech Town. John and Peggy took over a pub, The Old George, in the town's Market Square, running it until 1961. Later, they ran a hotel and a taxi business.