They think it’s all over? It's not even started yet.
An unmissable exhibition of some of football’s finest ‘hours’ goes into extra time at Blackpool Carers Centre on Sunday February 4.
Fifteen dealers will join resort host Rob Frowen at a football programme and memorabilia fair at the charity’s Beaverbrooks House, Newton Drive, from 10.30am to 2pm. They include local dealers and others from as far afield as Dumfries, Plymouth, Leeds, Stoke and the Midlands.
It's going to an event of two halves, the fair and allied exhibition of 1953 FA Cup final memorabilia - and a short auction starting at 1pm of some of the goodies on display.
Rob, who’s won awards as an unpaid carer, is a fundraiser, has a regular slot on BBC Lancashire's John Gillmore show, and is a peer support session volunteer at the charity.
For 25 years his greatest passion has been sports memorabilia – trading under the name Fylde Coast Programmes.
His first sports auction for the charity’s annual cash quest for carers raised £1100 to help provide respite and a champion for young carers in 2016. Some astonishing finds were up for grabs - and vintage table top football classic collections attracted a lot of interest too.
Now Rob has set his sights on an even bigger goal. With that allied exhibition of rarely seen memorabilia from the 1953 FA Cup - when Blackpool’s two Stans (Matthews and Mortensen) toppled the mighty Bolton Wanderers – Rob hopes for a good gate for all his 'matches of the day' at the charity’s fair.
“It’s free admission but we’re looking for donations,” he explains.
“The 1953 FA Cup memorabilia is a must-see. We’ll be talking through the history of these gems. It’s unlikely you’ll see many of these Blackpool-Bolton Wanderers items again so make the most of it.”
Known as the Matthews Final, after the man who made so much of the magic happen, it was Morty who notched up a hat trick and Bill Perry who sealed the deal and the 4-3 triumph.
Rob has a West Lancashire Evening Gazette marking the team’s return in triumph - complete with congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and Field Marshal Lord Montgomery.
He’s also exhibiting a replica 1953 FA Cup Final Blackpool shirt - signed by the last surviving player of the Blackpool FC winning side Cyril Robinson - and auctioning a 1953 FA Cup Final programme.
There’s also an original newspaper from Saturday April 22, 1899 - The Blackpool Times and Fylde Observer – which contains a report of the English Cup Final, the world’s oldest association football competition.
The report is inside as the front page was devoted to lucrative advertising back then. There are adverts for Bairds Bilious and Liver Pills on sale at Boots, stalls for let in the floral hall of the Winter Gardens, and ‘artificial teeth’ complete with inlaid gold selling for 40s and fitted in one visit to Clifton Street.
For the record, Sheffield United trounced Derby County 4-1 at Crystal Palace, London, in a match watched by almost 74k people.
"This is the sort of event Blackpool has been crying out for. I hope it's the first of many. "
Going under the hammer – in a small auction of football related items starting at 1pm - will be top quality big match programmes, tickets, badges, photographs, shirts, replica merchandise, enamel badges, vintage table top football sets, trade cards, books and much more.
One ‘lot’ likely to command lots of interest is a mint condition 12s 6d ticket for the west standing enclosure at the 1966 World Championship Jules Rimet Cup Eighth Final at Wembley’s Empire Stadium - as pictured above.
“It’s an A1 condition,” adds Rob.
It is dated July 11 when the FIFA World Cup began with what many reported was a fairly dreary goalless draw as England played Uruguay in front of 75k spectators – considered a sparse attendance compared with numbers for the FA Cup months earlier.
It would end days later with 4-2 glory for the host nation and another hat trick wonder – this time from Geoff Hurst up against Germany.
It also led to the phrase “They think it’s all over… it is now” passing into football history.
More than 32m people watched that match - the last in black and white – at home on TV.
The cup itself had been stolen months ahead of the tourney, while on public display at Westminster’s Central Hall. It was found wrapped in newspaper under a hedge sniffed out by a dog called Pickles – who became a national hero. It was returned by police in April.
A few years later it would pass ‘in perpetuity’ to the care of Brazil – who lost it in the 80s while it was again on public display. While many suspect it was melted down for bullion (although believed to have been made of gold plated sterling silver) it remains the holy grail of collectors.
The original cup, named in honour of the former FIFA president, was a 30cm gilded statuette of the Greek goddess of victory Nike. It was made by Parisian sculptor Abel Lafleur in 1929 and served as the World Cup from 1930 to 1970.
The World Cup as we know it today was designed by an Italian artist, is made of 18 carat gold on a base of semi-precious stone malachite, and depicts two athletes holding up the earth. Experts argue the cup must be hollow as it would be too heavy to lift a solid gold trophy of that size above the head in the time honoured - if not by England (alas) – fashion.
As Rob concludes: “There will be no shortage of great talking points for football fans! This is the sort of event Blackpool has been crying out for. I hope it’s the first of many. I’m delighted with the support from other dealers.”
All proceeds will go to Blackpool Carers Centre.
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