Outside the Box: Sir Stan's boots up for sale – but are they the sole pair?

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The Independent Football

How many pairs of boots did Stanley Matthews wear while giving the most famous performance of his career, in Blackpool's 4-3 win over Bolton in the 1953 FA Cup final? The question arises now that Bonhams are preparing to auction what they believe to be the actual footwear, despite the National Football Museum in Preston having a pair for which they make the same claim. The NFM say they were donated by someone in the Stoke area 18 months ago. But a Bonhams football specialist told Outside The Box it was most unlikely that a player in those days would have changed boots and that they are convinced they have the authentic pair, obtained from Matthews' great friend Wilf Coomer, who was given them in the dressing-room after the game. Any doubts about the provenance would reduce the price from the current estimate of £6,000 to £8,000. Also in the auction, in Chester on 24 February, is the second medal presented to Jose Mourinho for winning the Premier League, in 2005-06. Like the first, which was sold to a Chelsea fan for £21,600, the flamboyant manager threw it into the crowd.

That's a load of Bull

Many happy returns to Bert Williams, the former Wolves goalkeeper who was once an England colleague of Matthews and who last week celebrated his 90th birthday. He still appears at matches, book launches and get-togethers of old players, and, at a birthday lunch, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin donated a guitar which raised £850 for the Alzheimer's Society. Another old Wolves hero, Steve Bull, said without apparent irony: "If I get to half that age I'll be happy." It will be a shock if he doesn't; Bully will be 45 next month.

Can't take that as Red

Funny the tricks that memory – and possibly shorthand – play. But how could the minutes released by Liverpool's managing director, Christian Purslow, and the 12 Spirit of Shankly representatives from their meeting last week differ so much? There was no mention, for instance, in the MD's version of having said: "Royal Bank of Scotland are annoyed and unhappy with Hicks and Gillett and they want a change of ownership." Nor: "The promises of Hicks and Gillett are unforgivable. Hicks and Gillett cannot hang on to the club." Meanwhile, as the protest movements against the owners at Liverpool and Manchester United gather momentum, there remains an odd contrast between the attitude taken to the two breakaway fans' clubs. At Anfield home games, there are regular mentions of AFC Liverpool's forthcoming matches, whereas their Manchester equivalent are ignored by United and have even been publicly criticised by Sir Alex Ferguson. Undeterred, FC United are going into Europe. They will visit Hamburg on 15 May to play a friendly against an All-Star XI from St Pauli, the Bundesliga second division club who are famous for their left-wing affiliations.

Gordon's just grand

The transfer deadline duly passed without impecunious Wealdstone of the Ryman League collecting upwards of £360,000 they had been hoping for as a sell-on fee for Jermaine Beckford, who has remained with Leeds. There was a celebration nevertheless yesterday at the newly named St George's Stadium, when Gordon Bartlett reached a remarkable 1,000 games as the club's manager. His tenure began in 1995, with the Stones in administration, having rolled down to the lowest division of the Isthmian League, and for the first 13 years they did not even have a permanent ground. He still achieved three promotions in his first four seasons. This season they are pushing for a promotion play-off place in the Ryman Premier and only narrowly lost to Rotherham in the FA Cup first round.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk

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