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Sunday, 27 February, 2000, 12:43 GMT
Your memories of Sir Stanley
Sir Stanley Matthews: Your memories
England footballing legend Sir Stanley Matthews has died at the age of 85.
The dazzling winger was capped 54 times for England and made 710 Football League appearances for Stoke and Blackpool.
Undoubtedly his most talked about performance came in the 1953 FA Cup final between Blackpool and Bolton - which will forever be known as the Matthews final.
How will you remember Sir Stanley Matthews? Do you believe he was one of England's greatest ever players and what are your memories of "the first gentleman of soccer"?
I have a copy of a cartoon by C.L.Davidson, clipped from a Glasgow newspaper before the England game at Hampden on 22 April 1944. It shows the Scottish team being led out by Matt Busby, followed by a soldier in full kit, carrying a Lewis gun. He is saying to a remonstrating policeman "If the worst comes tae the worst Ah'm the wee boy tae stop Matthews." That typifies the awe in which Stan was held at his peak. Unique.
John Marshall, Wales
I can't remember exactly whether it was 1965 or 1966 that Sir Stanley visited Cairo (where we were then living) but I do remember how much our cook, Ahmed, wanted to see the great man play and his almost tearful joy when "Master" was able to get him tickets. A couple of days later, we had people in for dinner and as Ahmed appeared with the serving tray of his excellent roast and veg., I happened to mention, almost in passing, that he had seen the demonstration game,whereupon we were immediately treated to a display of Ahmed's version of Sir Stanley's skill up, down and around the dining-table, with the tray and its contents still miraculously remaining in place. It was hilarious and some of our guests were to recall the evening for many years afterwards. For my part, I regret now that I didn't write to tell Sir Stanley about it; I think it might have appealed to his sense of humour.
Sir Stanley Matthews was indeed a great sportsman, who was loved as well as admired all over the world. The UK has lost a legend and a great ambassador. Let us always remember him.
Ritchie Pannetti, Switzerland
I was at school with Stanley Matthews junior and I can remember him bringing his father's cup final medal for us to see. Stanley senior also arranged and came to see football matches at the school. I will always remember him asking me if I was fit. Another memory is of Stanley picking up his son from our house after a party and my brother not wanting to clean the space that he had stood.
Mike Forrest, UK
He was an inspiration to all football players and indeed fans, I was sorry to hear of his passing.
M Pinniger, Australia
He was an inspiration and roll model and I have managed to play past my 60th but with nowhere near level of skill. I also admired his focus on sportsmanship. Following this philosophy has enabled my to ride out my soccer career without a card. He was great to watch when as 11-14 year olds we got the run-about tickets on the railways and always planned the purchase to make sure Blackpool had a Monday night game.
It was an honour to meet him four or five years ago here in Dallas on one of the soccer tours. I will always remember Walter Winterbottom lecturing us in 1959 about the use of the wall pass and not being too friendly to Stanley's individual style. I was horrified. It was the occasion of the London University - Cambridge game at Motspur Park and Walter was an honoured guest speaker.
If I was back in Barrow I would look fondly southward across the bay to the great Blackpool Tower and wish him all the best. May you rest in peace Sir Stanley
Steve Pick, USA ex Barrow-in-Furness
We were back street kids in Leeds who believed that Sir Stanley was Mr football. I saw him play many times and remember the famous M combination when he played for Blackpool.
Peter Conway, Canada
I remember queuing on a Saturday morning in Birmingham as a young lad to see Stanley Matthews signing autographs at the Coop store, and then seeing the magician play in the afternoon at St Andrews. The man was a genius and a true gentleman.
Eric Crouch, USA
Sir Stan was the greatest nutmegger of them all. From the old terraces of Highbury it was a joy to watch him and if the Reds lost to Blackpool so be it, it was worth the money just to see his feet bedazzle Scott or Barnes the old Arsenal rearguard. Vale Sir Stan - one of the World's Soccer Aristocracy.
John Irwin, USA
I will always remember his brilliant play in the 1953 Cup Final - I was the only Blackpool supporter in front of a roomful of Bolton supporters. He was always a gentleman on and off the field - you can have the Beckhams - I will take Matthews any time!!
Chris Harvey, Canada
As a Manchester lad growing up in the fifties it says a lot about the man when you consider that when playing soccer in the street, the one player many of us wanted to be was Stan Matthews.
Barrie Bradbury, New Zealand
If we all think carefully, can any one of us come up with a day that he played poorly? Probably not. For each game he played he provided something for the fans. About whom else could we say that?
Michael Shocket, USA
Sir Stanley Matthews was a giant and a gentleman of the game. Compare with the petulant "prima donnas" of modern football.
A.J. Sutton, England
As a boy I watched Sir Stan at the Victoria Ground, he was my HERO then and still today. I shall miss him God Bless Sir Stan - The Greatest of them all.
Mick Gater, England
I am just 35 and of course I have never seen the Great Man play but on old black and white television highlights, but I know everything about him and I have always put Sir Stanley Matthews in my Football All-Time starting line-up.
The Wizard Of Dribble was definitely THE BEST EVER player in British football history and the greatest wing the game has ever seen. Plus he was the heart and soul of England's greatest ever teams of the 30's and 40's, the Matthews-Finney-Mortensen squad (10 times better than the 1966 World Champions), when they really were The Masters Of Football NOBODY could beat (and I mean nobody!
May you rest in peace Sir Stan. You are gone but will never be forgotten.
Roberto Cannavo, Italy
In the early 60s I had the great privilege to see the amazing Sir Stanley at Chelsea when the then Docherty "babes" were playing Stoke City in a First (now Premier) Division) promotional battle. Although coming to the end of his illustrious and lengthy playing career, the grand old man's dribbling skills were still incredible. He could easily still have given the then Manchester United superstar, George Best, a good run for his money - when certainly nobody else could have come close.
Peter Tooth, USA
My boyhood idol. An artist with a football, remember one of those hard leather ones. You'll never find better ever.
Condolences to his family - the man was a joy to watch. Thanks
Derek Summers, England
It is my great pleasure to remember Sir Stanley as the greatest footballer ever to come out of England in my opinion. It was 1953 and I along with many others were having a try out at Griffin Park the home of Brentford F.C. the great man was playing that afternoon in London and happened to be at the ground and not only watched some of us play, but also spoke to a lucky few of us. What a thrill for a fifteen year old as he was like God to us young guys then and always will be. May you rest in peace Sir Stan.
Michael J Wareham, Canada
It is only when I look back now that I realise how fortunate I was to grow up in Blackpool in the '50's and to visit the KOP at Bloomfield Road week after week. I didn't know it at the time, but I learned a great deal about how to behave in life from the tremendous example displayed by Sir Stanley Matthews, the greatest player and gentleman that any sport has ever seen. There will never be another like him. May he rest in peace.
Robert Lancaster, Canada
When I was first being introduced to the "beautiful game" by my grandfather, Stanley Matthews was the name that was most revered. He is, and always will be a legend and an example to all.
Paul Hoffman, UK
In 1954 my dad took me to see Villa v Blackpool. He sent me to the front of the terrace for safety. Mr Matthews was so near to me during the game. I unable to believe I was standing so close to the great man. I have never forgotten that time and never will.
Norman Langford, England
I saw Stanley Matthews at the end of his career as a boy on the terraces at Tottenham and a Chelsea. The move I remember best was at WHL when he went round Cliff Jones, left Dave Mackay on the floor and only a desperate tackle from Ron Henry stopped him. The crowd applauded not Ron Henry but Stanley he was after all 20 years older than the Spurs players.
John Murray, Canada
As a boy growing up in Blackpool, I was always being told of Matthews playing exploits, most notably his performance in the 1953 Cup Final. His dribbling skills will never be forgotten. I ask myself, "Was it a dream?" His modest approach, his friendly manner touched millions. Blackpool for sure will not see his likes again. He'll go down in history, as THE footballer that never complained, never gave up, just kept on playing.
Mason McDonald, France
I never thought that Stan Matthews would ever die. He was so fit, even after his retirement from playing. I am a life long Blackpool supporter and was at the 1953-Cup final, although only 3 years old. Most of my memories of him are during his time with the club in the late 50s and just before he left to go back to Stoke. His skill even then was immense and, no matter how long you watched him, you still couldn't work out how he beat opponents. Another part of my childhood has gone forever and, like me, all those who had the pleasure and the privilege of seeing him play will miss his brilliance, sportsmanship, skill and calmness.
Tim Leech, England
As a 29-something I have only seen the numerous television documentaries about Sir Stanley and the interviews. The example he taught me was the danger of excellence is becoming arrogant. Sir Stanley had such awesome football skills, yet he was so self-effacing and displayed such humility. A true gentleman. That to me made him such a very special person made of the right stuff.
Mike Thomas, UK
Great memories: Stan having his shorts ripped off by a fullback who could not stop him, I was 10 years old
Charles Graham Brown, Australia
I have heard the name of Stanley Matthews for over 25 years now. My husband is a Nigerian and in his day he could have been a professional footballer, but his head master and his family had other plans for him. Although he is not overly fond of the British, he has always spoken with great reverence and respect about Stanley Matthews. He will be missed by anyone who loved the sport, no matter what his or her nationality is.
Pamela Smith, USA
What a legend. I saw him play at the old Stoke ground. Even at 50 years old he was dazzling. He also did some commentaries here in Canada after he retired and was well received and respected.
Valerie Phillips, Canada
I'm way to young to remember Sir Stan, but I know from elders that Sir Stan was a great footballer, one that will perhaps never be seen again, but he will live in football memories, and I will always remember how he wore his shorts. To a true hero that will be sadly missed
Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Japan. As an English teacher here I was so surprised when my 12 to 15 year old students told me they had heard of Sir Stanley. He was not only a legend in England but the whole of the world.
Rachel Buttery, Japan
Sir Stanley - The name says it all. The hero of our National Game.
Pete Beglan, UK
My memory of the fantastic 'pull' than Stanley Matthews had on the gate at Arsenal was that as an Arsenal supporter I needed to be in the ground a full two hours before the game to get any chance to see the great man. The gate during the visit of someone like Stanley Matthews would have been approx. 65,000.
Ian Selwyn-Yates, England
A great loss to English and World football, a true gentlemen and he will be sadly missed be all true football fans. RIP.
Sir Stanley Matthews was the first 'Superstar' of English football. In the days when footballers were working class heroes earning £5 a week. He will be long remembered.
David Ryan, Germany
A sad day, the maestro has gone, but the great memories he made will be with us forever. Sir Stan was truly a class above the rest.
Eddie Saunders, USA (Brit living in)
I was 5 in 1953 and can still remember the final. Sir Stan made a great impression on me. RIP Sir Stan
Peter Wardle, Australia
Sir Stan Matthews was one of the greatest players that ever lived. If players today played and behaved like him on and off the field, what a difference there would be to the game of Football. Sir Stan will be selected for GODS team.
Ernie Barrow, USA
Stanley Matthew's was a reminder of a warmly remembered time sadly long since passed. A time when footballers played for their love of the game and not for the size of their pay check, When players did not take dives to earn false penalties, when players willingly stopped to sign autographs, when players saw themselves as simple footballers and not "show business personalities".
Tony Halfpenny, USA
As a schoolboy aged 9 years old I attended a Blackpool match with my father, Stanley scored with a header, my dad said I was a lucky omen he had never seen him score with his head before. A great player he was and a gentlemen. I collected his autograph that day and I a have it to this day as a treasured memory of a great player.
Martin Adshead, USA
Footballers today should try to emulate Stanley's conduct on and off the field. He was truly one of the greatest footballers and gentlemen the world had ever seen.
Sam Allanson, England
I was honoured to meet Sir Stanley many, many years ago at the Ilkley Lawn Tennis Tournament whilst he was quietly watching his tennis star son work his way to the finals of this tournament. Such a gentleman.
Bob Hay, Bermuda
I remember meeting up with a family who lived by the Stoke City ground, having a couple of beers before the game, then going to see the great man play and how all football fans loved him no matter what team you supported. It's a pity they broke the mould.
Charles Graham Brown, Australia
My greatest memory is see the great man play at Highbury in the mid fifties. In this particular match which Arsenal won 4-1, the great man received the ball on the half way line. As four Arsenal defenders surrounded him, he slowly WALKED his way down the right wing, enticing someone to tackle him. As he reached the edge of the penalty area, a defended dived in. In a flash, he was past him and the other three defenders, before planting the ball on a plate for the forward.
David Smith, UK
I was one of the fortunate few who had the honour of playing both with and against Stan. He visited me in Canada and played with the local team that I was coaching at the time - all amateurs - just for the love of the game. A great man - a great friend - and a legend in our time....My condolence to his family.
Bert Mozley (former Derby County F.C. and England) Canada
A hero of my teenage years at Stoke City. A source of pride to us "exiles" and a name that was known in all languages.
David Dawson, Australia
Sir Stanley should have a memorial to keep him in our memories and to remind us that football is a sport played by anyone and not a means to earn pots of gold. The current game in this country has lost touch with the meaning of sport and has become a business. Sad for the youngsters of today. Who can they look to as a true sportsman? All they have are golddiggers flaunting their wealth and abusing the laws of the game. A fine example to set! It's time that the FA got the game back on track. Thank you Sir Stanley for all that you have given to so many people.
Terry Fletcher, UK
As a young boy in the fifties who supported Leicester City. A match you always looked forwards to was the game against Blackpool and to see the great Stanley Matthews playing on the right wing. He was a true sportsman and I still treasure my copy of the 1949 "Stanley Matthews Football Album". He will be sadly missed by all sports fans.
Steve Davis, England
My very close friend and landlady used to be his occasional chauffeur when he was in Stoke - and knowing him well, she remembers him as a very warm, friendly and pleasant man. His passing has indeed upset many residents from Stoke to the other side of the world, but his influence and his legend will continue for generations to come.
Michael Grey, United Kingdom
I never saw him play. I never knew how good he was except for received wisdom. But anybody who can continue in professional football until they're 50 years old has to be one of the greatest. I will really miss him
Oliver Brennan, OK
Being 27 years old I am too young to remember Sir Stanley playing but I will always remember meeting him and having dinner with him two years ago. One of the few true "greats" and a role model to all pro's today
Aaron Waddington, England
I remember meeting Stanley Matthews in the '60s. I was introduced to him in the bar of a restaurant called the Miller Arms in Singleton, near Blackpool. He asked me what I would like to drink. I was embarrassed, being only 9 or 10, and declined his offer. He told me that when you get offered a drink always accept the first one, as the offerer may think you are a teetotaller and not offer another! He did give me a football from the boot of his car though. May he RIP.
Damian Buckley, USA
As a schoolboy in Manchester I was proud to wear my "Stanley Matthews" football boots. The era of the gentleman soccer player will be remembered for many years to come.
Jonathan Margolis, Israel
As a young boy I grew up in the shadows of the Victoria ground, I would watch Stan train and always get a autograph, I also carried a sign around the pitch at Stoke home games, with the names of the footballing greats attending his testimonial match. There will never be another Stan.
Jeff Burton, Canada
As a schoolboy in the 50's I played for Stockport Boys. On the day we played, and beat, Manchester Boys we were given the privilege of, later, sitting on the benches on the touch line at Maine Road, when City played Blackpool. The great man was only feet away from us. We realised that we were in the presence of greatness. Sir Stanley gave a dazzling display. At one point the ball went into touch and I was able to kick it back to the great man. What a thrill for an adoring young fan. My condolences go out to his family - he will never be forgotten.
Colin Lowndes, Canada
I am not saddened at the death of Sir Stan, for I will always remember him as someone who inspired me and the world with his extraordinary skill as a footballer and his thought toward others.
Shaun Barry, UK
Thank you, thank you for your, commitment, dedication and skills, that have and still do, mean so much to so many. Our wholehearted support is with your family who will miss you terribly. I'm sure you will miss us, as you probably still wanted to play, we can only hope you got out of football, what you so admirably put in. Goodbye Sir Stanley, goodbye!
Mark Cummings, Canada
My father Jackie Mudie was a team mate and great friend of Sir Stanley, they played together at Blackpool, Stoke City and managed at Port Vale. He was a gentleman and we are deeply saddened at his passing today.
Graham Mudie, United States
I remember that it was just before my seventh birthday in 1953, when we had one of the first TV sets in the area. The living room was crowded and we saw what now goes down as the most exciting FA cup final in history, with that miraculous second half come-back by Blackpool, led by the dazzling boots of our hero, Stanley Matthews. The next night, the entire Blackpool team were the "mystery guest" on Eamon Andrew's "What's My LIne?" Stanley Matthews, the epitome of sportsmanship and clean play once said that if an opponent fouled him, then he knew that he had won, since he had broken the other fellow's concentration. What a man for us to look up to. Would that same sentiment pervade the game today! Rest in peace, Stan; your spirit lives on.
Roger Miller, USA
I saw Sir Stanley Matthews a few times when I was a boy back in London but the game I remember most was when he was back playing with Stoke City towards the end of his career and played at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Typically, Ron Harris took to kicking him to try and stop him and even the Chelsea fans booed their left back for his pathetic efforts to stop the great man.
John Daly, USA
Saddened by the passing of one of my boyhood heroes. I shall never forget the Cup Final of 1953. Sir Stanley was a gentleman.
Trevor Elliot, USA
Sir Stanley was great friend of South African football and his loss will be keenly felt. He should be held up as an example of what true sportsmanship is all about, and many of the grossly overpaid prima donnas who "grace" the game today should take more than one leaf out of his book. His behaviour both on and off the field was a credit to the "beautiful game".
Ianthe Exall, South Africa
The arrogant players of today who are grossly over-paid should use Sir Stanley as a model on how to behave both on and off the field. People will always remember him as a true professional and as a gentleman, two concepts alien to most players these days. This is a sad day for football.
Heath Phipps, UK
I was raised in Lytham St Annes and never got the chance to see Sir Stanley play - I now live in the USA but I have 3 boys who are keen on soccer and who idolise Beckham, Shearer etc. No disrespect meant to those stars but my boys today got a history lesson in skill, dedication and class with the story of Sir Stan. Simply a class act that ranks with the all time greats of British football such as Finney, Charlton, Moore, Shankly, Busby etc
Chris Higham, USA
My dad used to rave about Sir Stan all the time and I still have video clips of the great man in action. Footballers of today, both amateur and professionals should take note of Sir Stan's life. He was brilliant on the pitch, but he lived a humble life. Stan always said that the 53 final shouldn't have been named the Matthews Final. That was how modest he was. I must admit I was shocked when I found out he had passed on, and I'll admit I shed a tear when I pulled out an old video tape dedicated to him. Even though I never got to see him in action live, I thank you Sir Stanley, for the memories, and may you rest in peace.
Cliff Babbs, Hong Kong (but English)
As a schoolboy growing up in India in the 1950s we knew Stanley Mathews as the Don Bradman of soccer. By the time I came to England in the mid sixties to join the University of Newcastle, he was already a legend. His death marks the end of an era. He was the best.
Sam N. Chakravorty, Canada
Let you rest in peace Sir Stan, a shining knight, a beacon of sublime skill and gentlemanly conduct. Farewell, you will be missed.
Fergus Buckley, Ireland
As a young Scot growing up in the fifties, one of the names synonymous with the "art of football" was Stanley Matthews. A true ambassador of the game, one whose life on and off the field showed his class of being a true gentleman. Would that young overpaid footballers of today take a leaf from the well written book, that we knew as Sir Stanley Matthew's life.
Neill Scott, Canada
I was an eight-year-old Northern Rhodesian boy when I first heard the name Stanley Matthews. I understood the name to mean excellence in football.
Chisanga Puta-Chekwe, Canada
Thanks Stan for some lovely boyhood memories.
George Packman, England
I was at Wembley for that memorable cup final in 1953. An avid Blackpool fan, on my last visit to the UK I searched for, and purchased, a videotape of that game, and I never tire of seeing Sir Stan do his thing. A true legend, I am saddened.
Michael Grint, Canada
I'm in a state of shock over Sir Stanley Matthews' death. As a boy I worshipped him from the stands at Molineux. His transfer back to Stoke was very similar to the story of The Card, I think by Arnold Bennett. One commentator called the £3,000 transfer a waste of money. Later on, in Burlington, Ontario, my wife and I were buying a condominium apartment and in walked Sir Stan and Mila.
We were next door neighbours for four years. I drove him to some games and, with my chest puffed with pride, he introduced me as his buddy, Jim. I went to his 70th birthday party in Toronto and it was an evening to remember. One time, though, as I was exiting the elevator on our apartment floor, I looked down the hallway, and there was our knight of the realm returning from the garbage chute wearing the brightest rainbow coloured shorts.
I had difficulty controlloing my laughter. Stan was a truly great player, a modest man, fun to be with, and always a perfect gentleman. There will never be another Matthews.
Jim Waterworth., Canada
The greatest soccer player ever will be sadly missed.
Michael Broome, Australia
Sir Stanley was indeed an amazing player and a great ambassador for the country. As someone born 60 years after he played, I hope he will be remembered as such, 60 years after my generation has passed on.
Julian Pinhey, UK
My father always thought Sir Stanley was the greatest player of his day, and among the two best of all time, Pele being the other. Sir Stanley Matthews, rest in peace.
Kofi Ellison, USA via Asuonwun, Ghana
I grew up in the UK and three years ago I moved to the States. Of all the days to check back with the UK I chose today, The day the Stanley Matthews died. A legend in football. You will be missed Stan.
Michael Love, Michigan USA
My prayers go to the Matthews family. Such a gentleman have they lost. The football world is rather poorer today.
Jonathan Conley, USA
Matthews was indeed one of the best footballers England have ever had. He will be missed by everyone both young and old.
Dean Lambert, United Kingdom
His legacy will endure for generations. Thank you for being part my youth. I never met you but learnt so much from you. Rest in eternal peace.
Mike Mitchell, USA
A great loss - one of the few players who, in a playground, someone would say "Who do you think you are - Stanley Matthews?"
John Hastings, England
What a shame that David Beckham could not be more like Sir Stan. A soccer legend carries themselves with dignity on and off the field. Sir Stan was a far better ambassador for the game than David Beckham.
Simon M. Fox, USA
The sad news made headlines here in Sweden. The great man will be missed but not forgotten. If youngsters want a hero to look up to in the way to conduct yourself both on and off the pitch then he's the man.
Nick Pugh, Sweden
The first name that I learned as a football fan was Stanley Matthews. He is still the first and last name in football both as a player and a gentleman. God bless Sir Stanley, now and forever.
Mark Smith, Canada
Many would benefit by following his great example.
Reynir Neil, Iceland
I am a native of the Potteries and although a Port Vale supporter first and foremost, I also support Stoke City. I remember when Sir Stan returned to Stoke and at the age of 50 played in his first game on his return in the reserves against Everton. In the Everton reserve side at left-back returning from injury was the then England International full-back Ray Wilson. It was a wet and muddy pitch but Sir Stan floated over the surface and gave Ray Wilson a nightmare afternoon.
If Wilson marked Matthews closely Sir Stan flicked the ball by him, turned in the same movement and was gone. If Wilson stood off him Sir Stan produced some dazzling footwork followed by a turn of speed which left Wilson scrambling in his wake. It was a privilege to see Sir Stan play - I just wish I could have seen him in his younger days - he must have been awesome! The game will never see his like again.
Neil Ferneyhough, USA
Sport, and particularly British sport, has lost one of its greatest ambassadors, a man who will hopefully continue to serve as a role model to youngsters who aspire to be sports heroes of the future.
Mark Winstanley, Chile
As a young boy growing up in post-war Britain, I remember the remarkable achievement of Sir Stanley Matthews with great vividness, and, although those memories have been somewhat usurped by North American sports, Sir Stanley Mathews WAS soccer throughtout the world. A life well lived.
Stuart Graham, Canada
I was five sitting on my dad's shoulders when he played for Stoke at Maine Road. I saw him a number of times including the 8-0 game against Scotland during the war.
Gordon T. Adams, USA
I was lucky enough to meet Sir Stanley when he gave an after dinner speech at a tournament I was playing in five or six years ago. He was asked by many people for autographs and comments and gave each request his full attention without getting flustered. You felt he was generally interested in talking to YOU. I was very impressed with the man. His passing is a sad loss.
Gary Grant, England
Stanley Matthews was a truly great player and his behaviour both on and off the field should be something that today's players should aspire to.
Nic Harcourt, USA
Sir Stan was one of the last remaining icons of an era long gone in the game of football. He played at a time when the money was still secondary, when the game was still played for the sake of playing it. Matthews and his peers were paid sure enough, but it was little enough that he and his peers obviously played the game not for the money. His modesty does indeed put the modern players to shame.
Paul Toolan, Canada
24 Feb 00 | Football
Football world mourns Matthews
23 Feb 00 | Football
The first gentleman of soccer
23 Feb 00 | Football
Tributes for 'magical' Sir Stanley
Links to other Talking Point stories
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