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742


742 Stanley Matthews’s 1953 F.A. Cup Final winner’s medal, in 9ct. gold, the reverse inscribed THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION, CHALLENGE CUP, WINNERS, in original case; sold with a Sotheby’s Olympia auction catalogue 21st September 2001, with the medal featuring on the front cover (2)


In Coronation Year of 1953 and after 21 years as a professional footballer, Stanley Matthews finally won the F.A. Cup medal that had eluded him for so long. After a dramatic match in which Blackpool defeated Bolton Wanderers 4-3, Stanley Matthews was presented with this, the most fabled medal in the long and romantic history of the Football Association Challenge Cup by Her Majesty The Queen.


Twice in three years (1948 and 1951) Matthews was on the losing side in classic final encounters, and with 55 minutes of the 1953 final elapsed, when Bolton were 3-1 ahead, there could have been few in the country who believed his quest for a winner’s medal would be resolved on that afternoon. Then the 100,000 crowd packed into Wembley, with countless more at home watching the first televised broadcast of the Cup final by the B.B.C., witnessed the ‘Wizard of Dribble’ turn the game around with a vintage right- wing display. First, an outswinging centre to the far post deceived the Bolton keeper, Hanson, whose fumbled catch dropped in the path of Stan Mortensen to score. With a minute of the game left, yet another Matthews’ centre found Mudie, who was fouled close to the penalty box. From a rehearsed free kick routine, Mortensen rescued the game for Blackpool crashing home the equaliser. In injury time Matthews embarked on yet another run, and with a trademark jink to the outside and a cut to the inside he fooled Banks, rolled the ball past Barrass, and crossed for Perry to score a last- gasp winner. The world’s most famous footballer playing on the game’s most famous stage had his medal.


Almost lost in the excitement of the occasion was Stan Mortensen’s achievement of becoming the first player to score a hat-trick in a Cup final, although not to Matthews. With the endearing modesty that characterised the great man, he always asserted that the game should be known as the ‘Mortensen Final’. This unforgettable match, however, will always be remembered as the Stanley Matthews Cup Final.


Provenance:


Consigned by Stanley Matthews junior to Sotheby’s Olympia football memorabilia auction, 21st September 2001. Purchased by the present vendor. £50,000 - 60,000


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