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Saturday, 26 February, 2000, 15:28 GMT
Fans pay tribute to Sir Stanley

England team
The England team pay their respects to Sir Stanley Matthews

Football fans the length and breadth of Britain stood for a minute's silence before matches on Saturday to mark the death of soccer legend Sir Stanley Matthews.

Sir Stanley died on Wednesday, aged 85, after a short illness at North Staffordshire Nuffield hospital.

Sir Stanley Matthews Wing wizard Sir Stanley Matthews
Tributes poured in from fellow professionals, politicians and football fans the world over following his death.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "Sir Stanley was, and will always, remain one of the all time sporting greats.

"He was not only one of the finest players this country has ever seen he was also a model sportsman who played the game as it should be played, never booked or sent off once.

"Football fans the world over have lost one of their heroes."

Black armbands

Football supporters at Wembley watching England's friendly with Argentina on Wednesday observed a minute's silence before the game.

The England team wore black armbands in his memory.

That tribute was repeated on Saturday at 1500GMT at games around the country.

Nowhere were emotions stronger than at Bournemouth and Wigan where Sir Stanley's former clubs Blackpool and Stoke City were playing.

Sir Stanley, the first professional footballer to be knighted, had a career which spanned an incredible 36 years.

He was still playing in the old First Division as a 50-year-old.

Stanley Matthews career
54 England caps
710 Football League appearances
Twice European Footballer of the Year
Played top-flight football aged 50 years and five days
The former Blackpool and Stoke City winger dazzled the footballing world with his close control and speed.

His finest hour came in the 1953 FA Cup Final when his brilliance helped secure an unlikely victory for Blackpool who were trailng 3-1 to Bolton Wanderers.

It has come to be known as the Matthews Final.

Sir Stanley played for England from the age of 19 to 42, winning 54 England caps and was the first Englishman to be named European Footballer of the Year, a feat he achieved twice.

His funeral, which is being arranged by Stoke City Football Club and his family, is expected to take place next week.

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See also:
23 Feb 00 |  Football
Football legend Matthews dies
23 Feb 00 |  Football
The first gentleman of soccer
24 Feb 00 |  Football
Football world mourns Matthews
24 Feb 00 |  Football
The Matthews Final
24 Feb 00 |  Football
Motson's boyhood memories of Matthews
23 Feb 00 |  Football
Sir Stanley in pictures

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