Stanley Matthews’ boots found at Hitchin museum

The boots, along with the documents which show they belonged to Sir Stanley Matthews

The boots, along with the documents which show they belonged to Sir Stanley Matthews - Credit: Archant

A PAIR of football boots lying in the depths of a Comet country museum belong to an England footballing legend, it has been discovered.

The silk cap, which is the oldest surviving

The silk cap, which is the oldest surviving - Credit: Archant

Stanley Matthews’ football boots have been at Hitchin Museum for years – but no one has known about it.

One of the photos found which led to the discovery

One of the photos found which led to the discovery - Credit: Archant

Although staff knew the boots were there, they never knew who they belonged to.

But paperwork and photographs found while clearing out for a move to the new North Herts Museum have confirmed the size seven leather boots are indeed Sir Stan’s.

Curator David Hodges also made calls and carried out painstaking research to confirm the owner.

He told the Comet: “Obviously I’m very happy, although there’s always the sceptic in me that needs to make absolutely sure.

“We always knew they were football boots from the 1950s, but we didn’t know whose they were.

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“We were going through the collections we had on display and having just about got through those, we started [on items not on display].”

Other treasures – which museum staff did know existed – were also uncovered for the first time in several years.

They included an 1889 Stoke City silk football cap, North Herts medals dating from the 1900s, and one of the first football annuals from 1897.

There is also a Crystal Palace tankard from the mid-19th century, a neckbrace worn by Man City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann – currently on loan to Manchester’s British Football Museum – and Hertfordshire’s Aubrey Cup.

The items – which make up the Football Collection – will be displayed at the new museum in Hitchin Town Hall, thanks to an £18,000 grant from SHARE Museums East.

Cllr Tricia Cowley, North Herts District Council’s portfolio holder for community engagement, said: “This is an extremely exciting rediscovery and is a measure of the quality of the Football Collection at Hitchin Museum.

“This will provide the perfect opportunity for visitors to appreciate the true extent of this unique collection.”

Started by Vic Wayling from Hitchin Town Football Club, the collection was originally housed in the Royal British Legion in Hitchin, but was then moved to Hitchin Town Football Club, and finally, as it grew in size and importance, to Hitchin Museum.

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