Stoke City 1946/47

Why would anyone sell arguably the best, and definitely the most famous, footballer in the country three games before the end of a season where they had every chance of winning the 1st Division for the first time?

Stans own explanation was he was lied to by a manager McGrory who didn’t play straight with him. He cited the Brentford team sheet as evidence. However another interpretation was that Mountford was preferred because Stoke were a stronger unit with him in it rather than relying on the individualistic approach of the great man. McGrory would have found support  from the Moscow Dynamo Russians and Stan`s international colleague Raich Carter. There are also suggestions that he went over the managers head in negotiating his exit direct with the club directors.

“He had become a blessed nuisance to the Board” Taw Footballs War & Peace p216

“[He was] so much of the star individualist that though he was one of the best players of all time, he was not really a good footballer. When Stan gets the ball you don’t know when its coming back. He`s an extraordinarily difficult winger to play alongside.”Raich Carter the biography Frank Garrick  p144

“his individual qualities are high but we put collective football first and individualism second so we do not favour his style as we think the team-work would suffer.” Mikhail Yukushkin Moscow Dynamos trainer 1945

07.12.1946 Blackpool – Stan Matthews had been the victim of rumours suggesting he preferred the seaside to the delights of Stoke, as he owned a Blackpool hotel, trained there and guested for them during the war. Hence he remembered this game as one of his favourites playing a major part in a solid win.

19.04.1947 – Brentford – The team sheet in the programme proved to Matthews that his manager had been lying to him when he said he was back in the team after England duties. Injuries meant he played anyway.

03.05.1947 – Leeds – Turned out to be Stan’s last in a Stoke shirt for 14 years.

14.06.1947 – Sheff Utd – Stoke having sold their star player 3 weeks previously, needed to win here to take the title. They lost 2-1.