OTD 1961 | Stanley Matthews Swells Gate

stanley-matthews

It was on this day 55 years ago that Stanley Matthews kicked a ball for Stoke again.

His return to Stoke had got the town buzzing, with Tony Waddington doubling his £25-a-week wages at Blackpool.

The Potters were in the Second Division at the time and had made a poor start to the season- just three wins from 14 matches.

But the return of Stan changed everything. The previous home match against Preston was watched by just 8,409.

Matthews’ first match back against Huddersfield attracted a remarkable 35,974 at the Victoria Ground.

Despite being 46-years-old, Matthews had still got it. He gave future England World Cup winner Ray Wilson a torrid time, setting up a goal in a comfortable 3-0 win.

The ‘Matthews Factor’ saw Stoke win seven out of ten matches, but were to ultimately finish eighth in the table.

However, the feel-good factor remained and Stoke won the title in 1962-63, with Matthews going on to become the first- and to date, only- footballer to be knighted whilst still playing and also appear in the top-flight at 50 years of age.

A remarkable career for a remarkable man.

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