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Biography of Stanley Matthews

Photo of Stanley Matthews

Stanley Matthews was a famous twentieth century footballer.

When and Where was he Born?

1st February 1915, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.

Family Background:

Stanley Matthews was one of four brothers. Son of Jack Matthews a barber and boxer known as “The Fighting Barber of Hanley”.


Wellington Road School, Hanley.

Timeline of Sir Stanley Matthews:

1931: Matthews begins playing for his local Club Stoke City as a winger aged 17. He had previously worked in the office, such was his enthusiasm for the club.

1934: He plays against Italy in the infamous “Battle of Highbury” and was written of as not having the “big match temperament”. He marries Betty Vallance.

1935: He is picked for England for the first time.

1937: He plays for England at Tottenham Hotspur’s ground against Czechoslovakia and scores a hat trick as England win 5-4 and are reduced to ten men.

1939: Stanley Matthews plays in the Berlin Olympic Stadium where England are forced to give the Nazi Salute at the beginning of the game. Matthews is outstanding and helps the team to win 6-3.

1940: He and his wife Betty open a small hotel in Blackpool and he plays as a guest for Blackpool many times during the Second World War.

1946: Matthews is dropped from the Stoke City team in favour of the young George Mountfords. He is also dropped from the England Team in favour of Tom Finney but later in the season is brought back to play Portugal in Lisbon where England win 10-0.

1947: He is transferred to Blackpool for the sum of £11,500.

1948: Matthews is voted Footballer of the Year. Blackpool lose 4-2 to Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.

1951: Two goals by “Whor” Jackie Milburn help Newcastle United lift the FA Cup from Blackpool 2-0.

1953: He wins an FA Cup winners medal at last, playing against Bolton Wanderers. This game has gone down in history as the Matthews final.

1954: Matthews is moved to the Inside Right position to play Switzerland and helps England achieve a 4-4 draw.

1956: He becomes the first ever European Footballer of the Year.

1961: He ends his career with Blackpool and returns to to play for Stoke City, aged 46.

1963: He is voted Footballer of the Year as he helps Stoke City get promoted to the First Division.

1965: Matthews is Knighted. He begins to manage Port Vale.

1968: Death of his first wife. He then marries Mila Winters, a cultural assistant in the U.S. Embassy in London.

1970: He moves to Malta where he plays for the Hibernians team aged 55. He takes up coaching appointments in South Africa and Canada.

1990: Matthews becomes President of Stoke City Football Club.

1999: Death of his second wife.

When and Where did he Die?

23rd February 2000, Hanley, Staffordshire, England after falling ill while on holiday in Tenerife.

Age at Death:



1. 1934 To Betty Vallance (died 1968).
2. 1968 to Mila Winters a cultural assistant in the U.S. Embassy, London. (died 1999)

Site of Grave:

Ashes interred under the pitch at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent.

Places of Interest:


National Football Museum, Deepdale Stadium, Preston.


Stoke City Football Club, Britannia Stadium.