There can be few players more deserving of being labelled a legend than Stanley Matthews.
The prodigiously skilful outside-right made his international debut as a 19-year-old in 1934 and played his last game for his country almost 23 years later, aged 42.
He continued in club football until he was 50.
Known as the ‘Wizard of Dribble’, Matthews’ trademark style involved moving slowly towards the full-back with the ball seemingly glued to his feet. His opponent would be lured into a challenge, whereupon Matthews would throw in a body swerve, nick the ball away and be off down the wing thanks to a lightning change of pace.
As Tottenham Hotspur’s Danny Blanchflower said in 1970: ”You usually knew how he’d beat you, but you couldn’t do anything about it.”
Such skills ensured that Matthews became Britain’s first Footballer of the Year in 1948 and European Footballer of the Year in 1956.
It also made him the biggest crowd-puller and pleaser of the 1950s, summed up by the 1953 FA Cup Final between his team, Blackpool, and Bolton Wanderers.
Having played in and lost two previous Finals, it looked like third time unlucky for the 38-year-old, with the Seasiders 3-1 down with 20 minutes left.
But the winger turned on the style to secure a famous 4-3 victory in a match that became known as ‘The Matthews Final’.