Sir Stan's prized contract goes under the hammer

A buyer has forked out more than £4,000 at auction for Sir Stanley Matthews' first professional contract with Stoke City.

Wednesday, 23rd August 2017, 8:31 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:01 pm
David Lockett - with the contract

Hansons Auctioneers said a private buyer bought the 1932 document, which details a year-long deal worth £5 a week and a £10 signing-on fee for the then-17-year-old winger, who became a legendary football figure with Blackpool FC and England.

According to the Bank of England's inflation calculator, the weekly wage is equivalent to around £320.28 - a far cry from the £520,000-a-week Paris St Germain are reportedly paying Neymar.

A one-time boot boy, Sir Stanley would go on become one of England's greatest footballers, earning 54 caps for the national side as well as the nickname the "wizard of dribble".

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David Lockett with the contract

But the Stoke City management did not let on in 1932, dropping his wages to £3 a week over the summer until the football season started up again in August that year.

A second contract showed that by 1935, he had managed to put pen to paper on a deal worth £7 per week, rising to £8 if he played for the first team.

Both documents went under the hammer at the Hansons saleroom in Etwall, Derbyshire, on Tuesday, when the surpassed their maximum estimates of £1,500 and £800 respectively.

The anonymous private buyer paid £4,100 for the 1932 contract, while a lifelong Stoke City fan bought the later contract for £3,100.

David Lockett with the contract

The London-based Potters fan, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: "My father originated from Stoke and saw Stanley Matthews play. I have supported Stoke City all my life and it was just something I wanted to own."

David Lockett, one of three brothers selling the memorabilia after finding them in a drawer during a clear-out, said his father Les had taken them as repayment of a debt in the 1960s.

The 53-year-old said: "We never expected the contracts to sell for that much. It's far more than we anticipated. We're amazed and delighted."

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: "This auction was like an FA Cup final in terms of excitement - it had everyone on the edge of their seats as the bids kept flying in faster than a Stanley Matthews' shot on goal."

Sir Stanley made more than 700 league appearances for Stoke City and Blackpool before retiring in February 1965.

He was the first footballer to be honoured by a knighthood.