Towards the end of 1953 I became close friends with a school mate and we would both visit each other’s houses several times a week after school. For Christmas he was given a football annual which highlighted in both words and pictures the 1953 F.A. Cup Final between Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers, known as the Stanley Matthews Cup Final.
This was the first time I had heard of or become aware of the F.A. Cup. We both learned a lot from reading about this match and looking at the many photographs. Bolton, including Nat Lofthouse, the England centre forward had led by three goals to one but Blackpool fought back to win 4-3 in arguably the best cup final ever seen, with Stanley Matthews running rings around and tormenting the Bolton defence.
The 1953/54 season ended with Wolves winning the First Division Championship for
the first time ever, making one little boy extremely happy.
By now I had a pair of football boots, the only problem was I didn’t know what to do
with them. They were plain leather with a toe cap and a strap going across the top of
the boot. They went right up over the ankle and had wooden studs. The laces were as
long as I was tall and went underneath the boot, then round the back of it, before
being tied at the front. No sooner had I mastered the art of tying them, than together
with my school mate we became the envy of all the boys. His granddad had a
cobbler’s or shoe mender’s shop in Knebworth High Street and he removed the
wooden studs from our boots and fitted rubber studs, almost unheard of at the time.
For the remainder of our time at Knebworth Primary School I was able to play
football in the organised matches and wearing a school football kit.