Sir Stan - The Wizard of the Dribble
Sir Stanley Matthews (1st February 1915 - 23rd February 2000) was an English footballer who was not only loved for his incredible skill at the game, but also for his gentlemanly attitude both on and off the pitch.
The majority of Sir Stan's career was spent as a player for Stoke City. He was with the club from 1932-1947 and later from 1961-1965. He also played for Blackpool from 1947-1961. The Foundation retains a strong relationship with both clubs to this day.
Throughout his life Sir Stan was passionate about coaching. One notable example of this was when he founded an all black team in South Africa, despite the strict apartheid rules at the time.
Sir Stan's fans had many fond nicknames for him including 'The Wizard of Dribble' and 'The Magician'. During his career and throughout his retirement, his incredible skill was acknowledged widely, with him picking up a large number of awards and titles. He was knighted in 1965 - the only player to have been knighted during his active career.
“Stanley Matthews taught us the way football should be played” - Pele
Matthews provided “moments of magic” – Sir Matt Busby CBE
“I couldn’t believe he was just a man. He was the best player in the world” – Sir Bobby Charlton CBE - Manchester United F.C. and England
“First gentleman of football” – Gordon Taylor OBE
“He told me that he used to play for just twenty pounds a week. Today he would be worth all the money in the Bank of England” – Gianfranco Zola - Chelsea F.C. and Italy
“Prince among wingers….no one can hold a ball like Stan. He has uncanny control,” – Tommy Lawton - Notts County F.C. and England
“Stanley Matthews remains the fastest of all wingers. Playing with him has given me memories I shall always cherish.” – Nat Lofthouse - Bolton Wanderers F.C. and England
The secrets of Stanley Matthews as I have seen him: Perfect fitness and faithful attention not only to fitness but to playing gear. Superb balance. Complete confidence in his own ability. Tremendous pace over a distance of up to twenty-five yards, but especially over twelve yards, the distance that really matters in football. A beautiful body swerve. Mastery of the ball. He can "kill" it stone dead from all angles and paces. Complete two-footedness. He doesn't mind which foot he has to centre with….in short, the ideal poker player – on the football field.” – Stan Mortensen - Blackpool F.C. and England