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The BBC's Mike Ingham
"His name is symbolic of the beauty of the game"
 real 28k

The BBC's Jeremy Paxman
"Stanley Matthews struck fear into the hearts of defenders"
 real 28k

Emlyn Hughes, former England player
"For me, Sir Stanley was one of the best of all time"
 real 28k

Sir Tom Finney, Former England Player
"He was certainly the greatest player of my era"
 real 28k

Sir Walter Winterbottom, Former England Manager
"He had that unique gift"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 20:20 GMT
Football legend Matthews dies


Sir Stanley Matthews: England legend


Sir Stanley Matthews, the first knight of English football, has died aged 85.

The former Blackpool and Stoke winger died after a short illness at North Staffordshire Nuffield hospital.

A spokesman for the hospital said: "Sir Stanley Matthews died peacefully this evening after a short illness related to health problems that had first seriously affected him three years ago."


He was a model sportsman who played the game as it should be played, never booked or sent off once.
Tony Blair
During a remarkable 33-year career he won 54 England caps - and played in another 30 wartime internationals.

He remains the only man to have played in the old First Division as a 50-year-old.

Former England manager Bobby Robson paid tribute to his friend before England's match with Argentina.

"He was one of the greatest players the game has ever seen," Robson said. "He ranks alongside players like Pele, Maradona and Cruyff - and he was one of ours.

Long career

"He was a lovely fellow and a great friend of mine. It's a tremendous blow on a nostalgic evening."

"He had immense skill - great skill off the ball, a beautiful dribbler. I'm very sad at the news."

The crowd at the start of the England v Argentina friendly in Wembley observed a minute's silence in memory of Sir Stanley, whose death was announced before the match. England players paid tribute by wearing black arm bands.

Sir Stanley Matthews Sir Stanley dazzled in the 1953 FA Cup Final
Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "Sir Stanley was, and will always, remain one of the all time sporting greats. He was not only one of the finest players this country has ever seen he was also a model sportsman who played the game as it should be played, never booked or sent off once.

"Football fans the world over have this evening lost one of their heroes."

Matthews was the first Englishman to be named European Footballer of the Year, a feat he achieved twice.

He scored his only international hat-trick in England's 1937 5-4 win over Czechoslovakia but the highlight of his long career came in the 1953 FA Cup Final, which will always be remembered as "the Matthews Final".

'Devastated'

Sir Stanley's funeral will be arranged by Stoke City football club and his distraught family, the club said.


A glorious career
54 England caps
710 Football League appearances
Twice European Footballer of the Year
Played top-flight football aged 50 years and five days
A club spokesman said the former player had been devastated by the death of his wife last year but often visited the ground to sign autographs.

"He was a massive ambassador for Stoke City football club and he will be sadly missed by supporters, staff and our players and indeed footballers worldwide," he said.

"Everyone at the club is truly gobsmacked and devastated."

Labour peer Lord Ashley, who as Jack Ashley represented Stoke South in the Commons for 26 years, said he had met Sir Stanley several times.

"Two words sum up Stanley Matthews in the only way possible: brilliance and modesty. He really was a dazzling footballer, but his modesty was something that puts modern-day footballers to shame. It was genuine and very moving."

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See also:
24 Feb 00 |  Football
Boyhood memories of a true great
24 Feb 00 |  Football
The Matthews Final
23 Feb 00 |  Football
The first gentleman of soccer
23 Feb 00 |  Football
Sir Stanley in pictures
23 Feb 00 |  Football
Tributes for 'magical' Sir Stanley

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