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The Proud History of Sir Stanley Matthews' Medal

Cup Exploits Now Cherished At Football Museum

6 November 2019

With a whole nation of neutrals cheering him on, the ever popular Sir Stanley Matthews finally achieved FA Cup success with Blackpool in 1953.

A true man of the people, 'The Wizard of the Dribble' tormented opponents Bolton Wanderers and helped spark the greatest FA Cup final comeback of all time - to win a medal at the third time of asking. 

Having been part of Blackpool squads that suffered defeat in the showpieces of 1948 and 1951, Matthews helped to galvanise his team-mates and inspire a fight back from 3-1 down with 22 minutes of the match remaining against The Trotters. 

Though he didn't get on the score-sheet - Stan Mortensen (3) and Bill Perry did that - he created the platform for some of those efforts to find the net, while creating countless other opportunities. 

At 38, he finally became an FA Cup winner and his display had reporters queuing up to label the occasion as 'The Matthews Final', not that he necessarily agreed. 

“I don’t think I was the hero, I think Stan Mortensen was the hero because he scored three goals. The media made it my final,” he remarked.

While many would have expected Matthews' career to peak at this point, he would go on to be named the first ever European Football of the Year three years later and continued his playing days with former club Stoke City in 1961 until he reached the age of 50. 

The famous 1953 FA Cup winners' medal he received was later purchased by Stoke City fan and comedian Nick Hancock in 2001 and displayed at Stoke City's stadium. 

However, the opportunity to place a bid on the medal resurfaced in 2014 and saw a private collector, later revealed as now-Blackpool FC owner Simon Sadler, make it the most expensive British sports medal in history. 

In a statement at the time, Jean Gough, daughter of Sir Stanley Matthews, said: "It's wonderful news, and shows the passion and remembrance the public still have for Pop.

"It would have made Pop so happy; when you consider he thought the medal was originally lost, only to discover it had been found in the attic of a house he had lived in 40 years previously."

The medal can now be viewed at the National Football Museum in Manchester alongside Sir Stanley's shirts, shorts and socks from the same match.

"It is an iconic piece of sporting history and I am honoured to own it,” Simon Sadler said.

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