Profile Known as “The Wizard of the Dribble”, right winger Stanley Matthews is widely regarded as the greatest footballer ever to be produced by England. He played his final match at the age of 50 and is the oldest player ever to play in England’s top division.
Stanley Matthews was born, the son of a barber, in Stoke-on-Trent in 1915 and made his debut for his local team, Stoke City, in 1932. He remained with his hometown club until 1947 when he signed for Blackpool, a team for which he made a remarkable 380 appearances despite already being 32-years-old when he joined. Six years later, his club played Bolton Wanderers in the 1953 FA Cup final, a match which has since been named the “Matthews Final”. With 30 minutes remaining, Blackpool trailed 3-1 but Matthews’ remarkable wing play and dribbling contributed to three Blackpool goals and Matthews won his first club honour after suffering defeat in the FA Cup finals of 1948 and 1951. At the age of 46, Matthews rejoined Stoke City, playing his final match for the club in 1965, a few days after his 50th birthday.
The oldest player ever to play for England, Stanley Matthews won the first of his 54 caps in 1934 and went on to have the longest England international career ever, winning his final cap at the age of 42 in 1957. He played at the 1950 and 1954 World Cups but England had little success, due in part to their outmoded tactics. In 1956, Matthews became the inaugural European Footballer of the Year and he was awarded a knighthood in 1965.