First Knight of Football
2015 is the centenary of the birth of Sir Stanley Matthews, the precursor to every great dribbling footballer from Best to Messi, and the only footballer to have been knighted while still playing, as well as being the first winner of both the Ballon d’Or and the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year award.
Matthews, amazingly, remained fit enough to play at the top level until he was 50 years old. When the average male life expectancy was 65, that’s the equivalent of Ryan Giggs playing into his 60’s! His strict diet in an era where beer and fish and chips were the norm, set him apart from many of his contemporaries.
Arguably the first superstar of the game, over 100,000 people lined the streets to pay homage at the great man’s funeral. In the modern era where the words celebrity and footballer go hand in hand, Matthews was forerunner to all that was to follow.
During an illustrious playing career spanning 39 years and nearly 700 league games, Matthews did not receive a single booking. While headlines about the excesses of multi-millionaire players have become as much part of the modern game as theatrical diving and cynical fouls, Matthews remained a committed “purist” and gentleman of the game.
The Sir Stanley Matthews Coaching Foundation is pledging to help more than 10,000 young people in Sir Stan’s Centenary Year 2015. We aim to achieve this by giving each of them access to high-class sporting experience in their local schools and sports clubs.
To reach our goal, we aim to raise more than £100,000 through a series of high-profile events throughout the year. The Foundation is run entirely by volunteers and a £20 per month donation will pay for ONE coach to be trained to help at least 50 more young people.
To celebrate the life of the great Sir Stanley Matthews a calendar of events to generate awareness for the work of the Foundation includes;
- 30th January 2015 - Legends Dinner at Stoke City, Britannia Stadium
- 31st January 2015 - Kick Off for the Centenary Year – marked with a minute’s applause at football grounds
- Date to be confirmed – Grass roots coaching clinics held at Stoke, Blackpool and Wembley
- 31st January 2016 - London Gala Dinner hosted by the Matthews family, Wembley
- An Exhibition at the National Football Museum
- A UK TV documentary & book
Note - the above events/activities will get updated each month.