Artwork honouring the legacy of Sir Stanley Matthews has been unveiled at St. George’s Park.
Staffordshire artist Muriel Valentine Hall created a series of paintings illustrating the legendary England international across three periods of his life as a professional footballer.
From wearing the fourth of his 54 England caps in 1937, playing for Blackpool in the top flight in 1949, to taking to the field for hometown club Stoke City at the age of 47 in 1962, the paintings bring to life one of the greats of English football.
Roger Horwood, an ambassador for the Sir Stanley Matthews Coaching Foundation, first met Muriel as a fellow member of the health club at Hilton at St. George’s Park. From there, Roger, a lifelong Stoke City supporter, commissioned the paintings which were completed by Muriel, of Yoxall, in 2016 at the age of 85.
The pictures will now take pride of place within the England senior teams’ lounge area at St. George’s Park, with friends and representatives of both of his clubs joining Sir Stanley’s daughter, Jean Matthews Gough MBE, for the unveiling.
Muriel said: "It was a great challenge to do these paintings and I almost felt as though I got to know Stanley throughout that process.
"It was an honour to create this tribute to such a legendary figure and I'm now really pleased they have found such a wonderful home in St. George's Park."
Matthews, who passed away in 2000 at the age of 85, amassed almost 800 appearances across a career spanning 1932 to 1965. He was the inaugural winner of both the FWA Player of the Year (1947) and Ballon d’Or (1956) either side of lifting the FA Cup with Blackpool in 1953. As the first footballer to receive a CBE and be knighted, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Set up in 2000, the Sir Stanley Matthews Coaching Foundation is a charity which aims to give young people access to sports and has supported projects in the UK and Africa.