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Page last updated at 11:06 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010
Sir Stanley Matthews


Doubts have been raised over Sir Stan's FA Cup Final boots up for auction

On 24 February 2010, a pair of football boots worn by Sir Stanley Matthews in the 1953 FA Cup final were sold at auction for £38,400.

The boots went under the hammer at auctioneers Bonhams, in Chester. They were expected to fetch about £8,000.

But this fact has raised eyebrows at the National Football Museum which claims that it has the actual boots.

In the so-called Matthews Final, Sir Stan won the only major honour of his career.

The Matthews Final

Stanley Matthews was born in Stoke-on-Trent and played some of his best football for Stoke City until 1947, when he transferred to Blackpool - where he helped his new team to a dramatic 4-3 victory over Bolton Wanderers in the 1953 Cup Final.

The final is one of the most talked-about in football history.

Bonham's describe the still-muddied boots they auctioned as having been handed by Sir Stan at the end of the match to an ardent Blackpool fan, Wilf Coomer. His family passed it on for sale.

Stanley Matthews in the 1953 FA Cup Final
Stanley Matthews dribbles past Bolton's defence in the 1953 FA Cup Final

Included in the same Bonham's lot was a pass to the Blackpool team's dressing room, which Wilf also owned.

When the BBC approached the National Football Museum, which also claims to have the Matthews boots, they too were able to show provenance.

The Museum, which is based in Preston, said that the boots they hold were given by Sir Stan himself to a Staffordshire Moorlands cricket club, which then auctioned them in the early 1960s. The person who made the winning bid for them has now loaned them to the NFM.

Withdrawn from sale

Bonham's have thrown doubt on the authenticity of the NFM boots. A representative said that they had looked at a film of the 1953 Cup Final, and commented: "…the National Football Museum boots don't add up".

Sources have also revealed to the BBC that the NFM boots were to be auctioned at the Christie's Auction House in 2000.

When Christie's were approached and asked what had then transpired, a spokesman for Christie's said they had considered auctioning the boots, but had decided to withdraw them from sale.

However, a Blackpool club historian, Gerry Wolstenholme, is doubtful of the Coomer family's claims for the Bonham's boots.

Mr Wolstenholme said that Wilf's claim that he was allowed to travel with the team and be present in the dressing room is unlikely; manager Joe Smith was known to be strict on the question of outsiders being with the team.

Is one pair the spare pair?

Stanley Matthews receives his medal from the Queen
Stanley Matthews receives his FA Cup winner's medal from the Queen

Could both pairs be genuine? Could Sir Stan have changed boots at half-time?

The only man who can say for sure what happened is Sir Stan himself. Sir Stan died in 2000. The only surviving member of the team is Cyril Robinson.

There is film of the final, which is likely to be examined for evidence of a change of boots.

Pioneer in boot technology

Sir Stan was well-known for his attention to his boots, and was a pioneer in boot technology. He generally carried spares.

However, it is doubtful if either party would be entirely happy with knowing it has the spare pair.

The boots which successfully set up Stan Mortensen's hat-trick and are muddied by the Wembley turf will be the ones that collectors will value.

Cheadle Cricket Club, which is the Staffordshire Moorlands, auctioned a pair of "Sir Stan's 1953 Final boots" in the early 60s.

A plaque at the ground attests to the auction. The winning bid was £11.

Stanley Matthews' boots for sale
04 Feb 10 |  Staffordshire
Sir Stanley museum call renewed
16 Sep 04 |  Staffordshire
Plaque honours Sir Stanley Matthews
01 Sep 03 |  Staffordshire
The Matthews Final
25 Oct 00 |  FA Cup
Final farewell to Sir Stan
03 Mar 00 |  UK
VIDEO : Sir Stan's '53 boots
11 Feb 10 |  History


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