Sir Stanley Matthews CBE
1 February 1915 – 23 February 2000
Stoke City Appearances 318 between 1932 and 1965
Often regarded as one of the greatest players of the English game, he is the only player to have been knighted while still playing, as well as being the first winner of both the European Footballer of the Year and the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year awards. Matthews’ nicknames included “The Wizard of the Dribble” and “The Magician”.
A near-vegetarian teetotaller, he kept fit enough to play at the top level until he was 50 years old. He was also the oldest player ever to play in England’s top football division and the oldest player ever to represent the country. He played his final competitive game in 1985, at the age of 70. Matthews was also an inaugural inductee to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 to honour his contribution to the English game.
He spent nineteen years with Stoke City, playing for the “Potters” from 1932 to 1947, and again from 1961 to 1965. He helped Stoke to the Second Division title in 1932–33 and 1962–63. In between his two spells at Stoke he spent fourteen years with Blackpool; where he became an FA Cup winner in 1953 (known as the Matthews Final), after he was on the losing side in the 1948 and 1951 finals. Between 1937 and 1957 he won 54 caps for England, playing in the FIFA World Cup in 1950 and 1954, and winning nine British Home Championship titles.
Following an unsuccessful stint as Port Vale’s general manager between 1965 and 1968, he travelled around the world, coaching enthusiastic amateurs. Most notable of his coaching experiences came when he established an all-black team in Soweto known as “Stan’s Men” – this was despite South Africa’s harsh apartheid laws at the time.