71 Facts About Stanley Matthews


Sir Stanley Matthews was an English footballer who played as an outside right.


Stanley Matthews's nicknames included "The Wizard of the Dribble" and "The Magician".


Stanley Matthews was the oldest player ever to play in England's top football division and the oldest player ever to represent the country.


Stanley Matthews was an inaugural inductee to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 to honour his contribution to the English game.


Stanley Matthews spent 19 years with Stoke City, playing for the Potters from 1932 to 1947, and again from 1961 to 1965.


Stanley Matthews was born on 1 February 1915 in a terraced house in Seymour Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.


Stanley Matthews was the third of four sons born to Jack Matthews, a local boxer known as the "Fighting Barber of Hanley".


Stanley Matthews's father placed a bet on his son winning, and he did.


Stanley Matthews attended Hanley's Wellington Road School, and later described himself as "in many respects a model pupil".


Stanley Matthews said the kickabout games the children played helped to improve his dribbling, and prepared the children for future life by giving them "a focus, a purpose, discipline, and in many respects an escape".


Stanley Matthews's father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become a boxer, but Stanley decided at the age of 13 that he wanted to be a footballer.


Stanley Matthews's father conceded that should he be picked for England Schoolboys then he could continue his footballing career; around this time his school football master picked Matthews as an outside-right, rather than as his then-preferred position of centre-half.


Stanley Matthews played for England Schoolboys against Wales in 1929, in front of around 20,000 spectators at Dean Court, Bournemouth.


Stanley Matthews added a Staffordshire Senior Cup winners' medal in 1934.


Stanley Matthews's request became public knowledge, and, disturbed by the attention and harassment he was receiving from Stoke supporters urging him to stay, Matthews decided to take a few days off from the club to relax in Blackpool.


Stanley Matthews instead joined the Royal Air Force, and was based just outside Blackpool, with Ivor Powell his NCO.


Stanley Matthews rose to the rank of corporal, though he admitted to being one of the most lenient and easy-going NCOs in the forces.


Stanley Matthews played 69 Wartime League and Cup games for Stoke, and made 87 guest appearances for Blackpool.


Stanley Matthews played 29 times for England, though no caps were awarded as these were unofficial games.


Stanley Matthews put in a second transfer request, which the Stoke board eventually accepted.


Stanley Matthews selected Blackpool as his next club as he still lived in the area following his service in the RAF; the Stoke board sanctioned the move on the condition that the deal was to remain a secret until the end of the season, so as to not disrupt the club's title bid.


On 23 April 1948, the eve of the final, Stanley Matthews won the inaugural Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award.


Stanley Matthews spent the summer touring theatres in a variety act with his brother Ronnie, though he was troubled by an ankle injury he picked up in a charity game.


Stanley Matthews always credited the team and especially Mortensen for the victory, and never accepted the nickname of the "Matthews Final".


In 1957, at the age of 42, Stanley Matthews travelled to Ghana to play a number of exhibition games for Ghanaian club Hearts of Oak.


On 26 May 1957, Stanley Matthews made his 'debut' for Hearts of Oak at Accra Sports Stadium against Asante Kotoko in front of 20,000 spectators.


Stanley Matthews' visit to Ghana convinced Ghana's first prime minister Kwame Nkrumah that sport could help the development of Ghanaian football, as well as push the ideals of Pan-Africanism.


Back in England, Smith's replacement was Ron Suart, who wanted Stanley Matthews to stay out wide, and did not value his contribution in the way that Smith had done.


Stanley Matthews returned for the 1965 season, playing in another five matches for Toronto City.


At Stoke, Stanley Matthews found himself playing Second Division football for the first time in 28 years.


The game was played at the Victoria Ground on 28 April 1965, by which time Stanley Matthews had decided to retire as a player, and the pre-match entertainment consisted of another match of two veteran teams featuring many legends of the game.


Stanley Matthews was jeered by England supporters and condemned by the press.


Stanley Matthews would have to wait until 17 April 1937 for another chance in an England shirt, when he was selected to play in front of 149,000 spectators against the auld enemy at Scotland's Hampden Park.


Stanley Matthews was physically sick before the match, as he would be before any big game.


Stanley Matthews then travelled to Berlin for another encounter with Munzenberg, where pre-match he witnessed first hand the foreboding devotion the people showed the Fuhrer when his motorcade drove past a cafe the England team were dining in.


Stanley Matthews blamed the FA and the selectors for the heavy loss, though he had great admiration for the Hungarians, particularly Ferenc Puskas.


Stanley Matthews then refused to take part in that summer's European tour, having already committed himself to his second summer of coaching in South Africa.


On 15 May 1957, Stanley Matthews became the oldest player ever to represent England, when at 42 years and 104 days old he turned out for the victory over the Danes in Copenhagen.


Stanley Matthews was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1956 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre.


Stanley Matthews was one of many signatories in a letter to The Times on 17 July 1958 opposing "the policy of apartheid" in international sport and defending "the principle of racial equality which is embodied in the Declaration of the Olympic Games".


Franz Beckenbauer said that the speed and skill Stanley Matthews possessed meant that "almost no one in the game could stop him".


Stanley Matthews never smoked; instead, he was very conscious of every item of food and drink he consumed, and he maintained a rigid daily training regime from childhood up until his old age.


Stanley Matthews would wear the customised boots until his retirement, though they were so delicate that he got through countless pairs every season.


Stanley Matthews was never booked or sent off throughout his entire career, and teammate Jimmy Armfield noted that Matthews would never retaliate to the many extremely physical challenges opponents would often make to try and take him out of the game.


Stanley Matthews was appointed general manager at Stoke's rivals Port Vale in July 1965, alongside good friend Jackie Mudie; Stanley Matthews was unpaid, though was given expenses.


Stanley Matthews concentrated his search in North East England and Central Scotland, where he discovered talented striker Mick Cullerton, though overlooked a teenage Ray Kennedy.


Stanley Matthews was forced to use his name to plead with the other Football League clubs to re-elect the Vale, which they duly did.


Stanley Matthews gave up his summers every year between 1953 and 1978 to coach poor children in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania.


The members of his team told him that it was their dream to play in Brazil, so Stanley Matthews organised a trip there; they were the first black team ever to tour outside of South Africa.


Stanley Matthews did not have the money to fund the trip himself, though used his connections to arrange sponsorship from Coca-Cola and the Johannesburg Sunday Times newspaper.


Stanley Matthews damaged his cartilage during the match: "a promising career cut tragically short", he wrote in his autobiography.


Stanley Matthews later served as president of Stoke City and honorary vice-president of Blackpool.


Stanley Matthews died on 23 February 2000, aged 85, after falling ill while on holiday in Tenerife.


Stanley Matthews's death was announced on the radio just before the start of an England v Argentina friendly match.


Stanley Matthews was cremated following a funeral service in Stoke on 3 March 2000.


Stanley Matthews's funeral was attended by many of his fellow footballers, such as Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton, Gordon Banks, Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney.


Stanley Matthews's ashes were buried beneath the centre circle of Stoke City's Britannia Stadium, which he had officially opened in August 1997.


Stanley Matthews was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.


Stanley Matthews was made an inaugural inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his talents.


Stanley Matthews was placed 17th in World Soccer magazine's "100 Greatest Players of the 20th Century" list, published in 1999.


Stanley Matthews was inducted into the Blackpool FC Hall of Fame at Bloomfield Road when it was officially opened by Jimmy Armfield in April 2006.


Five players from each decade are inducted; Stanley Matthews is in the 1950s.


Stanley Matthews was inducted into the Stoke-on-Trent Hall of Fame when it was opened in January 2011.


The Stanley Matthews Collection is held by the National Football Museum.


Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy is a secondary school in Blurton, Stoke-on-Trent, named after him.


On 19 August 1935 in Eaglesham, Scotland, Stanley Matthews married Betty Vallance, daughter of Stoke City trainer Jimmy Vallance, whom he first met on his 15th birthday in 1930 on his first day as office boy at the Victoria Ground.


Stanley Matthews became Wimbledon Boys' Champion in 1962, making him the last English player to do so.


Stanley Matthews never translated his success into the senior game, though, and instead moved to the United States to run the Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, Connecticut.


In 1965, Stanley Matthews became a grandfather after Jean gave birth to a son, Matthew Gough.


In 1967, while on a tour of Czechoslovakia with Port Vale, Stanley Matthews met 44-year-old Mila, who was the group's interpreter for the trip.


Stanley Matthews was still married to Betty, but as he was convinced he had found the true love of his life in Mila, he and Betty divorced.