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Article 7 - 3 Football Legends

Keith Hackett’s Article (7)

Sir Tom Finney, Nat Lofthouse and Sir Stanley Mathews

 

Can you Hackett? Questions are at the bottom of this article

Keith Hackett Sketch.jpg
 

Sir Tom Finney, Nat Lofthouse and Sir Stanley Mathews

Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting some legendary sportspeople and in this article, I want to highlight three who graced the football fields in the same era.

I was heading out of the Hilton Hotel Wembley on my way to referee the Charity Shield game Liverpool v Everton in August 1984 when sat in the corner of the lounge dressed in a light blue suit was Sir Stanley Matthews.

Sir Stanley Matthews - visiting Port Vale

Sir Stanley Matthews - visiting Port Vale

The legendary number seven who was the first European Footballer of the year and the first Football Writers player of the year. My memory was sitting in front of a small screen television watching Mathews win the 1953 FA Cup Final. He kept fit and played at the highest level until he was 50!! I decided to approach him to request his autograph and was stopped in my tracks when he stood up and held out his hand and welcomed me by saying,

“Mr Hackett, good to meet you”.

I was shocked and eventually asked him to sign my red card. He did and this is something that I still treasure.

Some years ago, I was invited by the late Neil Midgley a fellow FIFA referee to have lunch with him at Burnden Park, Bolton. He informed me that he had invited a couple of his pals to join us for lunch and was amazed to sit at the same table as Sir Tom Finney and Nat Lofthouse.


Lofthouse known fondly has the LION OF VIENNA worked at Burnden Park and Neil would regularly compere Sportsman’s Dinners with the pair of these legendary players.

November 1951 Austria goalkeeper is challenged by Nat Lofthouse -

November 1951 Austria goalkeeper is challenged by Nat Lofthouse -

The memory from that lunch was the pair reminiscing about a Testimonial game they both played in at Grimsby Town with Sir Tom remembering his Morris Minor Estate Car he had purchased a few days earlier.

The Morris Minor Traveller - a hint of fish too?

The Morris Minor Traveller - a hint of fish too?

Sir Tom drove the pair to the game and were presented after the match with a bag of wet fish which they put in the back of this shiny new car. “Never got rid of that smell” in the car with a smile.

SIr Tom Finney - aqua planing down the right wing

SIr Tom Finney - aqua planing down the right wing

Nat said that when he was dropped off back at his house, he walked down the street knocking on doors waking up his neighbours and handing them some fresh fish.

He said it must have been close to midnight when a look through his bedroom curtains he could see many lights on and you could smell chip fat,

He looked at us and said,

“they didn’t have fridges then”.

Little did I think when I took up the whistle that I would meet so many famous people. However, that Red Card always reminds me of that meeting with Sir Stanley Matthews.

Keith Hackett


CAN YOU HACKETT?

QQUESTION 12

A player who has suffered minor whip lash injuries in a car crash has been wearing a surgical collar around his neck as prescribed by his doctor in training.  His condition improves, and he decides to resume playing and runs out wearing his surgical collar as a precaution.  The opposition immediately protest, claiming he cannot play, it is no different than a snood which are now outlawed.  How do you handle the situation? 

QUESTION 13

On an extremely wet pitch, the home defender slips and knocks the away forward off his feet. What should you do?

Check your answers here