16th March 2023
We love discovering sports memorabilia with great stories. Recently we acquired one of Just Fontaine’s commemorative watches, which fills exactly that brief. The wristwatch is inscribed to dial “Just Fontaine. World Record 13 goals 1958-1998”. Fontaine, French football legend, presented one of these watches to each of the twenty two members of the French 1958 […]
19th January 2023
When we sent out our first New Stock Catalogue of the year, we realised it had been a while – too long! – since our last one in September. We reflected on the sporting legends we had lost just since September – way too many. We thought we’d like to make at least brief mention […]
22nd December 2022
Footballers are on the move again in this month’s football transfer window. Remember the first £1 million transfer deal, done in 1979? Legendary Nottingham Forest manager, Brian Clough bought Trevor Francis from Birmingham City for £1,180,000 including VAT and fees. Francis’ deal was double the amount received by Liverpool when Kevin Keegan was sold to Hamburg only two years earlier.
It’s hard to understand how football transfer fees have increased so extraordinarily over the last 40 years. Manchester United’s reputed, present £25 million bid for Arsenal’s Sanchez seems almost modest next to Coutinho’s recent £142 million and Neymar’s £222 million transfer fees.
It’s worth remembering too that Trevor Francis arguably sang for his £1 million ‘supper’ by subsequently helping
Nottingham Forest to win the European Cup in 1979 and 1980. How easy is it to prove you’re worth £222 million…or are we just suffering from a self-effacing, lack of self-confidence?!
The 5th Ashes game in 1938 took place at the Oval from 20-24 August. England needed to win the test match to draw the series – one match had already been abandoned. Len Hutton opened…and continued batting for 13 hours 20 minutes during 8 batting sessions. His score of 364 broke test match cricket records. In particular he surpassed the batting record of Australia’s then captain and cricketing legend, Don Bradman. Bradman had scored 334 at Leeds in the 1930 Ashes.
Hutton’s record-breaking score took England to an unassailable win of 903-7. He mused on the experience in later years. He remembered how he had started to relax on the Monday afternoon, having batted for 8 hours or more. He lifted a ball over mid-on’s head. England’s captain, Wally Hammond immediately popped up on the pavilion balcony. He made it very clear that Hutton was to keep his head and his shots down. Hutton dutifully pressed on. By Monday evening Hutton had become understandably tired from his long stint at the crease. Leyland advised him to have a port and a pint of guinness to help him sleep. The teetotaller Hutton did as suggested. He later reckoned he would have needed 5 or 6 pints to knock him out that night. He was haunted by the face of fiercesome, Australian bowler, Bill O’ Reilly, who he knew he’d have to face the next day. O’Reilly was an aggressive bowler, who ran in as if he’d like to eat batsmen for breakfast.
O’Reilly did indeed bowl Hutton on the Tuesday…but not before Hutton had destroyed all previous cricket records by scoring 364. In the meantime no.s 5 & 6, Eddie Paynter and Denis Compton had spent nearly two days padded up in the pavilion, waiting to go on. Eddie Paynter bet Compton £1.00 that they wouldn’t score more than 10 between them. Paynter was out for a duck. Compton was bowled for 1. The fall of that wicket was particularly galling to Compton. He was bowled by Australia’s Mervyn Waite…and that was Waite’s only wicket in his whole Test career!