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Is Stanley Matthews One Of Top 20 Greatest Ever

Discussion in 'Players & Legends' started by Dearman, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. Dearman

    Dearman Member

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    Sir Stanley Matthews' greatness in football history was basically set up for his personality and a very long period attribution to the game. His ability can be mentioned as one of the best dribblers and crossers ever but fail in scoring ability in standard of winger. Matthews' achievement is very low profile as you can imagine for legendary footballer of the World. It is arguable that his highest level of peroformance was done is the first half 1950s as he was between 35 - 40 years old of age. Can you beleive this period of age can be created so high level of performance especially for attacker who have to use speed to take advantage ?

    Notwithstanding, he has long been considered as one of the most prestigous legend and being named in 11th best ever of IFFHs and 17th World Soccer player of the Century.
     


  2. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member

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    Stanley Matthews: Hardest players to rate for me and probably for most others who weren't around.
     
  3. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    For me it is Puskas but Matthews is very hard too indeed. Although in general I've felt that British players are a bit overrated.
     
  4. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    As others have said it's difficult to judge, but I'm honestly doubtful his highest level of performance came at this time.

    No doubt he achieved recognition and fame for still being a great player at a late age though, and he is most often recognised for his performance in the 1953 FA Cup Final. He was a star in both the 30's (including a noted performance away in Germany) and the 40's during possibly England's most successful period albeit in 'friendly' matches mainly (4-0 in Italy, 10-0 in Portugal etc).

    He sometimes switched to playing as inside-forward I believe during a game and he was an ok goalscorer (some footage on a video posted by Excape Goat on the All-Time Draft Selection thread shows a left footed finish after running through in the inside left channel and a free-kick goal IIRC). However, clearly his main asset was assisting goals - he was pretty much the opposite of Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of aims and playing style I think for example.

    Wingers were mainly providers for the inside and centre-forwards in the era he played in - his goalscoring record isn't as good as Tom Finney's but he played less as an inside forward (Finney even played for his club as a deep-lying centre-forward late in his career). Numorous people do rate Finney above Matthews within England I think including those around when they played but as many or more probably rate Matthews ahead and he's the more famous worldwide. I think Finney is seen as more complete, though as good as his dribbling and assisting was (and he was more two-footed, pretty much equally good with right and left) most people see Matthews as the best in terms of his wingplay - he's known as the Wizard of the Dribble.

    If there's a player who did peak at such a late age, I'd suggest perhaps Roger Milla rather than Stanley Matthews ;).

    Very hard to judge but I'd feel top 30 all-time might be more realistic than top 20. If longevity was given a big weighting then top 20 might become more realistic and ditto greatness in own era, fame etc.
     


  5. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    Here's a paragraph I found to illustrate the point I was making:

    "
    The pre-match line-up of the teams seemed to justify Hitler's assertions of German superiority, for the bronzed, smart and fit-looking German players contrasted favourably with the less impressive appearance of their English counterparts, who had just completed a long and arduous season. However, once the match commenced and the early German attacks had been foiled, the English team began to assume the upperhand, with Stanley Matthews prominent on the right wing. He sped past Muenzberg, and centred for his fellow winger, Cliff Bastin, to force the ball home after Len Goulden's initial shot had been parried. But a German equaliser scored by one of the Austrian players, Pesser, threatened to turn the game until two goals in five minutes, first by Jackie Robinson and then by Frank Broome, restored England's control of the match, a point confirmed by Matthew's dazzling run through the opposing defence for the fourth goal. Although the Germans pulled a goal back just before half-time, Robinson resumed the goal-scoring soon after the interval. Then Pesser capitalised upon an error by Vic Woodley in the England goal to bring the score back to 5-3, but before the end of the game Matthews, as if to cap a superlative performance, combined with Goulden, who scored perhaps the best goal of an exciting and skilful match."

    It was taken from this page which is otherwise focused on propaganda etc in football:
    http://www.historytoday.com/peter-beck/england-v-germany-1938-football-propaganda
     
    RoyOfTheRovers repped this.
  6. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Matthews is certainly more famous but I find it difficult to rate his performance. He played after all not in the most successful era of the NT.

    Telling for his fame is that a certain Fons Van Brandt marked him two times out of the game. Van Brandt was for a week a national hero. Also goalkeeper Pol Gernaey became famous for saving a shot of Matthews (Matthews congratulated him during and after the match). Matthews was also the idol of Sjaak Swart and an example for Coen Moulijn.

    Matthews was certainly a very sportsmanlike figure and a gentleman. Maybe he was also a bit patronising but I recently read the book that was published to commemorate the 50 years existence of the Dutch FA (with attention for the Belgians) and also they were in 1948 still very convinced of British superiority in football.

    If you contrast his gentleman-like behaviour with the attitude of Pelé then it becomes apparent what I mean. Pelé played in 1963 with Brazil a match against the Netherlands. Rinus Bennaars tracked him and marked him out of the game, with fair means. Pelé could not appreciate this though and stepped after 30 minutes out of the pitch, and did not came back.
     
  7. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    Interesting info from the Dutch perspective Puck.

    btw, just reading the latest comment on Dearman's 50 greatest Brazilian footballers thread reminds me that in my view of the famous/great legends in football perhaps Arthur Friedenreich could be the most difficult to judge in comparison to more recent players. Jose Leandro Andrade might be another candidate. But I agree that it's hard even for Matthews and Puskas and for example someone like Juan Schiaffino too.
     
  8. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    How do you look at the relative failures of 1950, 1954 and 1958 in the era of Mortenson, Finney and Matthews. Of course, football is a game with 11 players, not just those three but I'm curious about their role in those campaigns and/or the causes of disappointment during those tournaments. I've seen the famous game against Hungary in 1953 and it wasn't the fault of Matthews as far as I can judge his 'regular' level.
     
  9. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    That was partly the reason I felt it would be wrong to assume Matthews (plus probably Finney and Mortensen too; I dunno maybe not Mortensen) were at their very best in the 50's. Especially at International level Finney and Matthews would seem to have shone more in the 40's.
    However:
    1) The likes of Tommy Lawton, Wilf Mannion and Neil Franklin played for England in the 40's but weren't part of the team in the 50's.
    2) England's results in the 40's were, except for British Championships, officially in friendlies though maybe more like Test Matches in Cricket ie not just warm-up games for tournaments like nowadays so the best teams would be picked mainly. Some of the results in the 50's were also very good (wins over Germany, Brazil etc) in contrast to the World Cup results in the main. The Munich disaster and losing the likes of Duncan Edwards is a factor for the '58 World Cup though.
    3) The Hungarian 'Magic/Magnificent/Mighty Magyar' side was clearly very high quality and was getting generally great results so England were just not an exception. From the highlights I saw of the Wembley game, Matthews did seem to show his age a little in terms of his style of play possibly but as you said he wasn't the reason for the loss and it's true that the FA Cup Final months prior to that was a great game for him and he was still able to dribble very well and pick out passes/crosses very effectively at that time. Maybe the 40's England team with younger wingers Finney and Matthews plus Tommy Lawton up front etc would've seemed a closer match for Hungary but I'm sure Hungary would still have excelled in any match-up billed as the Game of the Century.
    4) The Uruguayan side which knocked England out in 1954 gave Hungary (without Puskas) a close game too.
     
  10. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Hmmm, in the 1940s the international scene was basically non-existent or very minimal. You had those war years and the first couple of years afterwards were also not very prosperous. Some Dutch and Belgian international games were cancelled because of a lack of interest of the public and a lack of funds/priority. I think the rest of war torn Europe had also their problems in sports. So I'm a bit curious about what Matthews and Finney did in that decade.

    If I took a look at the 1950s squads I see indeed no Mannion etcetera but I do see familiar names as Billy Wright, Nat Lofthouse, Jim Dickinson and Tommy Taylor (maybe I overlooked some). Dunno about the strength of the water carriers though.

    About the Hungary match: I read a piece of Glanville where he had the theory that the Swedish team were able to reach a draw because they essentially marked some key players of Hungary's system out of the game. England played a few weeks later against Hungary. I sensed that it was according to him more of a matter of tactics than quality although this can also be a bit too nostalgic from his side.

    Anyhow, in the 1940s and 1950s it seems there was not much opportunity to show themselves on the international stage. In the 1950s the age was maybe a factor, as you have said before.
    Of course, you cannot blame single individuals for playing with 'bad' team-mates and therefore a lack of success. On the other hand, there are zillion great footballers from smaller countries (Sweden, post 1940s Austria, Scotland for example) who do not get a great amount of recognition too, because they also had to play with less-gifted team-mates or a squad that lacked depth. Hence, sometimes I feel that English players are sometimes a bit overrated (or others underrated, depending on the perspective). Same with Italian defenders in general. It seems to be the case though that the failures of England cannot be blamed on Matthews, and that should be appreciated I think.
     
  11. Dearman

    Dearman Member

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    Honesty, If we consider his level of performance in each year for Consideration of Retrospective World Player of The Year, He is likely not to win anyone. This is my list of award http://www.xtratime.org/forum/showthread.php?t=262367

    Therefore, such a player never been best player of the world in any year, is seemingly overrated to name in top 20.
     
  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Maybe your rating is wrong. In the aforementioned book to commemorate the 50 years existence of the Dutch FA he (Matthews that is) is named as the best wing-player in Europe. A verdict made in 1948, thus before the famous Matthews final.
    And as said before, players marking him out of the game reached the frontpage.

    Maybe he was not by miles the best in a year, but he was I think certainly of a Figo like level, and that for a decade, if not more.
     
  13. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

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    When WWII started he was 24. He was 30 when it ended. It cost him the whole peak of his career.

    He was already 38 by the time of the '53 Matthews final, and 42 when he last played for England.

    While he played on, still playing for Stoke (in Div 2) until he was 48, albeit with one final game aged 50, it would be fair to say that he was past his best in the 1950s.


    It's likely he was one of the very best players in the game in the 1930s (with less competition) and would probably have been so in the 1940s if war hadn't got in the way, but would have inevitably declined as he got older.

    To be honest I think it's perhaps unlikely that he's in the 20 best players of all time, but he was good enough to be worthy of consideration when drawing up such a list.
     
  14. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

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    The question would be how such a list was compiled.

    Further down there are awards for the world's best players in each position. In 1917 it lists Italian defender Renzo di Vecchi as the world's best, and award he picks up in three further seasons.

    Italian football was crap in that era. Just four years earlier my team Reading - not even in the football league at the time - went to Italy and beat the full Italian team (including di Vecchi) 2-0. Milan were beaten 5-0, Genoa 4-2 and even Pro Vercelli were beaten 6-0.

    I would suspect more than a certain level of bias has gone into those awards, or Italian players of the era would get nowhere near, which makes them a rather poor reflection of talent.


    If it's just a list you've made up it hardly amounts to evidence of Matthews being restrospectively overrated, just your lower opinion of him.
     
  15. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Were the 1930s less competitive, in terms of domestic club football? Why?
     
  16. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

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    The game just wasn't as advanced. It was still developing around the world, even in Europe.

    It wasn't until 1929, after all, that a non-British side beat the English team - and contrary to popular belief England did play a lot of foreign teams in friendlies back then. I doubt that was because British players were immensely talented, just that they had a few decade's headstart in developing the club game and training/tactics etc.
     
  17. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    I disagree. They mostly played against 'weak' team. They did not play against top 10 ELO teams. In fact, the FA declined many requests for friendlies, including matches against Austria and Uruguay in the first half of the 1930s.
     
  18. lost

    lost Member

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    stanlyness is next to godlyness.

    we only ever played the same 5 or 6 countries over and over again till we played spain in 29 and lost. but we did play austria away in 30, (draw), we played italy before and after the 34 wc and after the 38 wc without defeat. i doubt the fa were ducking anyone in particular back then, i doubt any of them could even show you europe on a map, let alone unpronouncables like uruguay.
     
  19. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

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    England's friendlies up to the end of the mid 1930s.

    95 06.06.1908 Vienna Austria 6- 1
    96 08.06.1908 Vienna Austria 11- 1
    97 10.06.1908 Budapest Hungary 7- 0
    98 13.06.1908 Prague Bohemia 4- 0

    102 29.05.1909 Budapest Hungary 4- 2
    103 31.05.1909 Budapest Hungary 8- 2
    104 01.06.1909 Vienna Austria 8- 1

    126 21.05.1921 Brussels Belgium 2- 0

    132 19.03.1923 Highbury Belgium 6- 1

    134 10.05.1923 Paris France 4- 1
    135 21.05.1923 Stockholm Sweden 4- 2
    136 24.05.1923 Stockholm Sweden 3- 1

    138 01.11.1923 Antwerp Belgium 2- 2

    141 17.05.1924 Paris France 3- 1

    143 08.12.1924 West Bromwich Belgium 4- 0

    146 21.05.1925 Paris France 3- 2

    150 24.05.1926 Antwerp Belgium 5- 3

    154 11.05.1927 Brussels Belgium 9- 1
    155 21.05.1927 Luxembourg Luxembourg 5- 2
    156 26.05.1927 Paris France 6- 0

    160 17.05.1928 Paris France 5- 1
    161 19.05.1928 Antwerp Belgium 3- 1

    165 09.05.1929 Paris France 4- 1
    166 11.05.1929 Brussels Belgium 5- 1
    167 15.05.1929 Madrid Spain 3- 4

    171 10.05.1930 Berlin Germany 3- 3
    172 14.05.1930 Vienna Austria 0- 0

    176 14.05.1931 Paris France 2- 5
    177 16.05.1931 Brussels Belgium 4- 1

    180 09.12.1931 Highbury Spain 7- 1

    184 07.12.1932 Chelsea Austria 4- 3

    186 13.05.1933 Rome Italy 1- 1
    187 20.05.1933 Berne Switzerland 4- 0

    190 06.12.1933 Tottenham France 4- 1

    192 10.05.1934 Budapest Hungary 1- 2
    193 16.05.1934 Prague Czechoslovakia 1- 2

    195 14.11.1934 Highbury Italy 3- 2

    198 18.05.1935 Amsterdam Netherlands 1- 0

    200 04.12.1935 Tottenham Germany 3- 0


    Also...
    20.04.1908 Germany, Berlin 5-1
    13.03.1909 Germany, Oxford 9-0
    14.04.1911 Germany, Berlin 2-2
    21.03.1913 Germany, Berlin 3-0


    So who are these 10 strong nations England avoided playing?

    Uruguay, yes, but Olympics & WC apart, Uruguay themselves didn't play a non-South American team until 1961.
     
  20. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Well, I said 'until the mid-30s', so the 1939 meeting against Italy is out of the equation (Italy missed some key-players in that match by the way).

    It is true that England played against Austria (two times), Italy and Hungary but the results were sometimes a bit flattered (especially against Austria).

    While it is true that England was in the 1930s still one of the strongest nations of earth, the sheer superiority was already cracking back then. Italy wasn't inferior to them.

    That said, it is logical that English 1930s superstars have the most credible claim for a spot in top 100 lists, together with Italian footballers (Monti, Meazza, Ferrari), Austrians, Argentinians, Brazilians and Uruguayans.

    That is anyhow more logical than French, German and Spanish footballers. Although one should not confuse the strength of a team with the strength of individual players, which often happens implicitly.

    It was not only a matter of ducking, it was also a matter of club politics and the idea that 'the strongest nation on earth does not have to prove themselves'

    If you want to read more:
    http://books.google.nl/books/about/Scoring_for_Britain.html?id=nmvjma629FYC&redir_esc=y
     
  21. msioux75

    msioux75 Member+

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    NT's ELO ratings by era

    Top-10 ELO ratings by era:

    1927-29:
    Uruguay - 2035
    Argentina - 1989
    Scotland - 1922
    Spain - 1922
    Italy - 1905
    Czechoslovakia - 1883
    Austria - 1881
    England - 1786
    Sweden - 1781
    Hungary - 1776
    (no top-5 material)

    1929-31:
    Argentina - 2034
    Uruguay - 1986
    Scotland - 1942
    Italy - 1920
    Austria - 1887
    England - 1876
    Czechoslovakia - 1862
    Spain - 1856
    Hungary - 1780
    Sweden - 1779
    (arguably top-3 material)

    1933-35:
    Italy - 2008
    Austria - 1998
    Argentina - 1994
    Uruguay - 1970
    England - 1922
    Spain - 1919
    Czechoslovakia - 1861
    Germany - 1845
    Hungary - 1821
    Scotland - 1809
    (top-5)

    1937-39:
    Italy - 2079
    Argentina - 2031
    Scotland - 1899
    Hungary - 1883
    England - 1876
    Brazil - 1868
    Czechoslovakia - 1845
    Austria - 1827
    Uruguay - 1825
    Germany - 1817
    (top-5)

    http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1381429

    PS: I agree that in most cases, the England's superiority on pitch in this period was mostly due their better tactics, training, etc., than better depth in talented players.
     
  22. Jaweirdo

    Jaweirdo Member+

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    Firstly:

    How do you rate him in terms of Pele, Maradona, or Cruijff?

    ================================================

    Pele played for the best part of his career with Santos in which he brought them their greatest ever trophies (granted he was helped by other greats such as Vava).

    ================================================

    We can measure this by two ways:

    1. Elasticos
    2. Performances against big teams
    3. Diving abilities

    ===============================================

    To determine this we can first look at the games in which Pele played in, Pele receiving a perfect 10/10 and Maradona a 9.5/10, which would leave Sir Stanley Matthews at a 8/10.
     
  23. Jaweirdo

    Jaweirdo Member+

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    I <3 you James lol
     
  24. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

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    Given the question is whether he's in the top 20 or not, why compare to those three?

    a) I've no idea what "elasticos" are
    b) you have three things there, not two.
    c) Unless you do it from 10m into a pool, not sportsman should ever be awarded credit for their ability to dive.


    Other than that, a fine post.
     
  25. Jaweirdo

    Jaweirdo Member+

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    That was a sarcastic poke i was poking fun at my buddy James. I agreee with most posters on here,I cant rate him especially since I know nothing about him other than he played for Stoke City and was pro until he turned 50
     

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