Stanley Matthews biography

Tue 20 April 2021 | 10:30

Regarded as one of the greatest players of British football, Stanley Matthews was an English footballer and manager. In this article of Sportmob, we take a look at this footballer biography.

Sir Stanley Matthews who is very popular in the world of football was born on 1 February 1915. Although he passed away many years ago, he still is considered by many to be one of the greatest dribblers in the history of football.Stanley Matthews started his youth career when he was just 15 and it might be interesting for you to know that he kept fit enough to play at the top level until he was 50 years old. In fact, Matthews was the oldest player ever to play in England's top football division (50 years and 5 days) and the oldest player ever to represent the country (42 years and 104 days).

Stanley Matthews started his professional debut in 1932 and joined the England national team in 1934. He was the first winner of both the European Footballer of the Year and the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year awards.Stanley Matthews retired from professional play at 50. He was also noted for his sportsmanship, which earned him the nickname “First Gentleman of Soccer.”

Now let's move forward to have an in-depth look at Stanley Matthews's life. In the following article, you are going to read more detailed information about Stanley Matthews bio including

Stanley Matthews life story


Stanley Matthews childhood

as well as his personal and professional life.

All You Need to Know About Stanley Matthews

Stanley Matthews was born on 1 February 1915. His father was a professional boxer and he began playing football from a very young age. Before starting his senior career, Stanley Matthews had played with Stoke City as his youth career for 2 years. Stanley Matthews played in different leagues and clubs. He also worked as the manager of Port Vale for 2 years.

Stanley Matthews died on 23 February 2000, aged 85. He will be remembered as one of the greatest football players in the world.Stay tuned to know more about

Stanley Matthews biography


Stanley Matthews information

In the following part of Stanley Matthews biography, you can find some general information about him listed down here.

Stanley Matthews Bio

  • Full Name

    : Stanley Matthews

  • Nickname

    : "The Wizard of the Dribble" and "The Magician"

  • Profession

    : professional football player and manager

Stanley Matthews Physical Stats

  • Weight

    : 70 Kilograms

  • Height

    : 1.75 m

  • Eye Color

    : light brown

  • Hair Color: 

    light brown

Stanley Matthews Football Information

  • Position

    : Outside right

  • Professional Debut

    : 1932

Stanley Matthews Date of Birth, Death, and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth:

     1 February 1915

  • Place of Birth

    : Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England

  • Date of Death

    : 23 February 2000

  • Place of Death

    : Stoke-on-Trent, England

  • Zodiac Sign:


  • Stanley Matthews Nationality

    : British

  • Stanley Matthews Religion:

     not specified

Stanley Matthews Early Life

In this section of Stanley Matthews biography, we will have a glance at his early life.

Stanley Matthews was born on 1 February 1915 in Seymour Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire to Jack Matthews, his father, and Elizabeth, his mother. The couple had four sons, Stanley was the third of them. His father was a local boxer known as the "Fighting Barber of Hanley". His father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become a boxer, but when Stanley became 13, he decided that he wanted to be a footballer.

Stanley Matthews started his youth career in 1930 when he was 15, then he began his professional career in 1932 which lasted for more than 30 years.

Stanley Matthews Profile

In this division of Stanley Matthews biography, we will review his professional career from his early days. Stanley Matthews started his youth career in 1930 by joining

Stoke City

and he continued playing for the same club in 1932 as his senior career where he stayed for the next 15 years. He had 250 appearances on the team and scored 51 goals. Stanley Matthewspassed the next 2 decades playing in various teams such as


, Toronto City, and again Stoke City with a total of 717 appearances and 71 goals.

Stanley Matthews played at the international level for almost 3 decades. Stanley Matthews received the title of the oldest player ever to represent England and till now nobody would ever enjoy a long career with the England team.

Style of Play

Stanley Matthews who played as an outside right was a clever, creative player. He was an effective team player and a great threat to the opposition.He was a master of assist as well as an ultimate provider. He used to retain his possession until choosing his moment to deliver the ball to a well-placed teammate, then teasingly invite a tackle, drop his shoulder and, with a deft sleight of foot, lash the ball away and be off down the right-wing. Defenders knew the trick was coming but were seemingly powerless to counter it.

An interesting fact about Stanley Matthews is that he was never booked or sent off throughout his entire career. He was a moderate, calm person who never lost his temper or allowed his emotions to affect his game.Matthews had a healthy lifestyle. He was very conscious of everything he ate and drank, and he kept a rigid daily training regime from childhood up until his old age.

He never smoked and he was very careful about his drinking. It might be interesting for you to know that the only time he knowingly consumed alcohol was when he drank champagne out of the FA Cup in 1953. Due to his rigid regime and attention to detail in diet and fitness, he had a level of fitness to which few other players would reach.


Sir Stanley Matthews is a legend in England football history. In 1956 he was the subject of This Is Your Life when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre.Matthews was a fast, skillful payer. According to Franz Beckenbauer, "The speed and skill Matthews possessed meant that almost no one in the game could stop him". Johnny Giles, the Irish former association football player, and the manager said about Stanley Matthews, "he had everything – good close control, great dribbling ability and he was lightning quick. He was also an intelligent player, who knew how to pass the ball".

Despite his high speed and great talents, Matthews rarely tackled opponents. He had a calm temper and good self-control and his teammate Jimmy Armfield noted that Matthews would never retaliate to the many extremely physical challenges opponents would often make to try and take him out of the game. The Welsh international footballer, John Charles also noted that "he was the best crosser I've ever seen – and he had to contend with the old heavy ball".

He is regarded as one of the most talented footballers of all time.

Goal celebration

The legendary English footballer didn't have any special goal celebration.

Stanley Matthews outside football

Regarded as one of the greatest football players of the world, Sir Stanley Matthews was football's first global superstar.He was successful in both his playing and coaching career.

He started playing football from a young age and in all his life was focused on football as his career, hobby, and love. The man who made his England debut in 1934 as a 19-year-old, and was still playing for his country 23 years later at the age of 42. He was also the first to appear in the First Division beyond his 50th birthday.In the last months of his life, Stanley Matthews started working on his autobiography in a book titled THE WAY IT WAS. This book is not just the fascinating memoir of a great footballer. Matthews finished the book just weeks before he died.

Stanley Matthews personal life

Stanley Matthews was born on 1 February 1915 in Seymour Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire to Jack Matthews, his father, and Elizabeth, his mother. He was the third of four sons. Although his father was a boxer who encouraged the son to follow in his footsteps, Stanley showed interest in football from a very young age, and at home, he spent "countless hours" practicing dribbling around kitchen chairs he placed in his backyard. Finally, the little Stanely decided he wanted to be a footballer at age of 13. In 1930 Stanley Matthews joined Stoke City as his youth career when he was 15. After two years he started his professional debut in 1932 again with Stoke City where he stayed for the next 13 years.

Family, children, and relationships

Matthews married Betty Vallance in the summer of 1934. She was Stoke City trainer's daughter. The couple first met in 1930 on Matthew's first day as an office boy at the Victoria Ground. They had two children. A daughter Jean (born 1 January 1939) and a son Stanley Jr. (born 20 November 1945). Jean married Robert Gough, whom she had met at their tennis club. The couple had three children, a son, Matthew, and two other daughters, Samantha and Amanda. Stanley's son was a tennis player who became Wimbledon Boys' Champion in 1962.

Stanley's marriage with Betty lasted for 33 years till the time Matthews met Milla, who was an interpreter on a tour of Czechoslovakia with Port Vale. He married Milla in 1967.He and Mila spent the ensuing years living at various times in Malta, South Africa, and Toronto. Mila died on 5 May 1999 and according to Les Scott (who helped Matthews write his autobiography), after her death, Matthews "was never the same person".


Stanley Matthews started coaching football in Africa in the 1950's.Archbishop Desmond TutuSuch who was Matthews reverence throughout Africa said, “He gave black people faith that there were some good white people".Stanley Matthews was a legend in football for many years and after going to South Africa during its darkest times and managing South African teams became a shining light of humanity too.

After his death, Some schools and academies were established with his name. In 2010, the boots worn by Matthews in the 1953 FA Cup Final were auctioned at Bonhams in Chester for £38,400, to an unknown buyer.The Stanley Matthews Collection is held by the National Football Museum. Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy is a secondary school in Blurton, Staffordshire named after him.In 2017, a documentary film was made about Matthews' life. It entitled Matthews and its Executive Producer was his son Stanley Jr.

Legal issue

Regarding Stanley Matthews legal issue, it should be mentioned that he never had a significant legal issue.Matthews was a modest person and he had a calm characteristic both as a player and a manager. It is interesting to mention that during his playing career which lasted for more than 40 years, he was never booked or sent off throughout.It might worth mentioning that once in 1937 when Matthews played for Stoke City, there were some rumors against him for his England success which annoyed Matthews and caused him to requested a transfer. Although his request was denied, it became public knowledge and caused him to receive many harassments from Stoke supporters urging him to stay.

Stanley Matthews career statistics


Stanley Matthews biography

, in this part, we would have a rundown of his career statistics.


After his successful appearance in England Schoolboys in 1929, many teams such as

Wolverhampton Wanderers


Birmingham City


Aston Villa

, and West Bromwich Albion, showed to be interested in Stanley Matthew's play. That time Matthews was just 15.Finally, the Stoke City manager could convince Matthews' father to allow Stanley to join his club's staff as an office boy. In the 1930–31 season, Matthews played for Stoke's reserve team and in the following season, he played 22 reserve games. It was the time when Matthews showed his great talents which caused all the national press to predict a bright future for him.On his 17th birthday, Stanley Matthews started his senior career by signing with Stoke City as a professional.

In 1932 Matthews made his first team debut against Bury. In the 1932–33 season, Matthews was selected in 15 games, and in 1933 his first senior goal in a match against

Port Vale

. Matthew's progress continued in the 1934–35 campaign and he was selected by The Football League for an Inter-League game with the Irish League at The Oval. The game finished 6–1 to the English.Matthew's successes continued to improve In 1935–36 and in 1936–37 he played 42 games.

In the 1937–38 season Stoke slipped down the league and due to some rumors about Matthews for his England success, he requested a transfer which was denied, and also supporters demanded that he stay. Finally, Matthews agreed to stay.in 1938–39, Matthews put in 38 games for Stoke and helping them to a seventh-place finish.

During the world war, Matthews joined the Royal Air Force and was based just outside Blackpool. In those years he in various leagues and matches such as 69 Wartime League and Cup games for Stoke, 87 guest appearances for Blackpool, many games for Scottish sides Airdrieonians, Morton and Rangers, for Arsenal against FC Dynamo Moscow as well as 29 times for England.

In 1945 Matthews' father died and from his deathbed he made his son promise him two things: to look after his mother and to win an FA Cup Final.In 1946–47 the regular Football League returned in time. During that season Matthews played 23 league games and was a major contributor to 30 of the club's 41 league goals but after an injury when he came back he found that he was not in the first XI for the game against Arsenal. Matthews put a transfer request, which was accepted by the Stoke board. Stanley Matthews selected Blackpool as his next club.

In 1948 they won the 1948 FA Cup Final and on the eve of the final, Matthews won the inaugural Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award.in the 1948–49 season, Matthews had just 28 appearances due to injuries.In the 1949–50 season, Blackpool finished seventh and at this time he received the maximum wage allowed for a professional player – £12 a week.In 1950–51 Matthews had 44 appearances in league and cup and Blackpool achieved the third-place finish.

In the 1952–53 season, the 38-year-old Matthews won an FA Cup winners medal. Blackpool posted a second-place finish in 1955–56 and the same year, Matthews was named the winner of the inaugural. In 1956–57 again due to injuries he had fewer appearances, however, Blackpool could receive the fourth-place.

In 1957, at the age of 42, Matthews traveled to Ghana where he played for several Ghanaian clubs.Matthews came back to England in 1958 and was then used just 15 times in 1959–60, as Suart signed Arthur Kaye to take his place, and local lad Steve Hill also vied for the outside-right position.In 1960–61, he had 27 league games.In October 1961 Matthews made his 440th and final appearance in a Blackpool shirt.

Returning to Stoke, Matthews found himself playing Second Division football for the first time in 28 years. In 1961–62 he scored four goals in 21 games. In the 1962–63 season, Stoke had the oldest team in the Football League including Stanley Matthews along with Jackie Mudie, Jimmy O'Neill, Eddie Stuart, Don Ratcliffe, Dennis Viollet, and Jimmy McIlroy. At that time Matthews was 48 and was voted FWA Footballer of the Year for the second time in his career.

In January 1965 Stanley Matthews became the only footballer to ever be knighted whilst still an active professional player.Finally in 1965, just after his 50th birthday, Matthews decided to retire as a player and he appeared in the last Football League game of his career.


Stanley Matthews started playing for the National team by joining England Schoolboys in 1929.In 1934 he joined The Football League XI and at the same time England National team where he had 54 appearances.In 1950, Matthews was added to the World Cup team for the trip to Brazil and played just one game at the World Cup in Brazil, a 1-0 defeat against Spain.

In 1955, when England beat Scotland 7-2, the 40-year-old Matthews created five of the goals.In 1956, Matthews won the first-ever European Footballer of the Year (Balon d'Or) award and in his game against Northern Ireland on 6 October 1956, aged 41 years and 248 days, he became the oldest England player ever to score an international goal.In 1957 at the age of 42 years and 104 days old, Matthews became the oldest player ever to represent England.

Coaching career

Stanley Matthews got retired from playing after 698 appearances in the English Football League in 1965 and he started his coaching career in the same year.Matthews coached at Port Vale for 3 years , during which time it was alleged that illegal payments were made to players. It's worth mentioning that Port Vale was his old team's rivals, Stroke city.

Matthews gave up his summers every year between 1953 and 1978 to coach poor children in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania, he coached a team called Hibernians in the town of Paola, also playing for them until he was 55. He played for numerous local sides in his 60s. He also coached "Stan's Men" in Soweto, South Africa, and coached in Canada as well.

Stanley Matthews honors

Regarded as one of the greatest players of the British game, Stanley Matthews played received many honors and trophies.

His professional debut started in 1932 and lasted for more than 3 decades. As the player of Blackpool, he won FA Cup in 1953 and FA Cup runner-up in 1948, 1951, and with Stoke City, he won Football League Second Division twice in 1932–33 and 1962–63.

At the international level, Stanley Matthews won British Home Championship 9 times in 1935, 1938, 1939, 1947, 1948, 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1957 with England national team.

Being one of the greatest players in the world, Stanley Matthews won so many individual trophies including FWA Footballer of the Year in 1948 and 1963, Ballon d'Or in 1956, PFA Merit Award in 1987, FWA Tribute Award in 1995, Football League 100 Legends in 1998, English Football Hall of Fame in 2002, PFA Team of the Century (1907–1976) in 2007 and IFFHS Legends. He also received CBE in 1957 and Knight Bachelor in 1965.

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source: SportMob