It was, for many fans, his finest hour in a Blackpool shirt – and now Sir Stanley Matthews’ FA Cup winners’ medal has finally gone on display.
Known as the ‘Matthews Final’, the 1953 FA Cup final saw a standout performance from the winger as he helped claw Blackpool back from 3-1 down to take a dramatic 4-3 victory against Bolton Wanderers.
Matthews’ kit from the final is already on display at the National Football Museum in Manchester, but his winning medal has now been added to the collection, following what would have been his 100th birthday on February 1.
Kevin Moore, director at the National Football Museum, said: “Following the recent drama in the FA Cup, this incredible medal is a timely reminder of the competition’s magic and unrivalled history.
“We’re delighted to add the medal to our collection, and give visitors the chance to discover the incredible story behind it. Sir Stanley Matthews is a true sporting hero and the 1953 FA Cup final was his finest hour.”
The nine carat gold medal, presented to him by the Queen in the year of her coronation, has been donated to the museum by a private collector, just months after it was bought for £220,000 at auction.
The final has gone down in history as one of the most memorable matches at Wembley Stadium, and as one of the greatest all-time individual performances from Matthews, who showcased his on-the-ball wizardry and trademark jinks to turn the game around.
The winger, who at the time had been a professional footballer for 21 years, provided the perfect foil for teammate Stan Mortensen who was the first and only player ever to score a hat-trick in a Wembley FA Cup final.
The victory put an end to the Matthews’ heartache in the competition, after being on the losing side at both the 1948 and 1951 finals.
Memories of the ‘Matthews Final’
The medal was awarded to Matthews following his eye-catching performance at Wembley.
Bolton were leading 3–1 with 35 minutes to go, but Matthews proved to be the inspiration.
His cross from the right wing, with 22 minutes remaining, was met by Mortensen who netted his and Blackpool’s second goal. Then, with less than two minutes remaining, Mortensen completed his hat-trick. With just seconds remaining, Matthews crossed again from the right wing. His cross, which passed just behind Mortensen, was met by Bill Perry, whose shot made the score 4–3.