Fans celebrate birth of football legend Sir Stanley Matthews 100 years on

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Fans of Sir Stanley Matthews attended a special film night to mark the birth 100 years ago of  the Potteries football legend.

More than 100 people attended the special event at Stoke-on-Trent’s Flaxman Film Theatre to watch a series of documentaries and interviews from fans, fellow players, friends to Sir Stanley himself and his daughter, Jean Gough, who attended the evening.

The film included tributes from iconic England goalkeeper Gordon Banks and soccer heroes such as Kevin Keegan, Sir Bobby Charlton, Nat Lofthouse, Jimmy Greaves, Sir Tom Finney and legendary manager Brian Clough.

The film also highlighted his entire career, showing that Sir Stanley Matthews one of the best football players of all time.

Not only is he the first professional player to ever be knighted by the Queen whilst still playing, he was also never booked or cautioned by a referee in any match.

Born in Hanley in 1915, football’s first knight was originally a Port Vale supporter because the players used to come into his father’s shop for a shave which was 10 minutes away from Vale Park.

Sir Stan was 17 when he first played for Stoke City and in total spent 19 years playing for the Potters from 1932 to 1947, and again from 1961 to 1965, playing top-level football until the age of 50.

He made more than 300 appearances for Stoke City, 54 for England and was the first ever European Footballer of the Year.

Sir Stanley died in 2000 at the age of 85.

In the film, two-time European Cup winning manager Brian Clough said: “Stan put a smile on everyone’s face.

“I knew I would have a good night’s sleeping if I was dreaming of him.”

After Sir Stanley’s resignation, many footballers from around the world took part in a testimonial match to celebrate his career.

Ex-England international, Jimmy Greaves paid tribute to the Wizard of the Dribble  in the film. He said: “Stan was a living legend. This is the man we all aspired to be.

“The best thing that ever happened to me was being asked to play in the testimonial match with Stan.”

Jean Gough, 75, Sir Stanley’s daughter,  told StaffsLive: “He used to wear lead in his shoes walking to the ground so when he put his football boots on they felt like ballerina shoes.

“People always ask could he have played in the modern game. I ask,  ‘Could players like Messi and Ronaldo have played on the muddy pitches with a soaked leather ball and heavy shoes like Stan?’

“I know people called him the Wizard of the Dribble and the Magician but I am just glad to have called him Pop.”

Organiser of the film event, which took place on February 4, Ray Johnson, said he was pleased so much of the film was in Sir Stanley’s own words.

He said: “It was just over an hour but two thirds of the film is archive film involving Stan and that was the point. I wanted Stan himself to give a lot of information.

“One bit was him driving to the match where he scored the goal that put Stoke in the First Division in 1963 and that’s magic.”

 

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