One of the pleasures of collecting is being able to diversify from the norm, swerving away on a completely different tangent from the programmes and ticket stubs or even autographs. This might take the form of items relating to an individual player, rather than the club in general and it is in that direction that this latest article takes.
The name of Manchester United will be seen etched in the record books well into the distant future, but it is the players who make it all possible, no matter how large or small a contribution to the cause might be. One such player, who played a major part in the re-building of the team in the immediate post-war era and bringing the FA Cup to the club in 1948 along with the First Division title in 1952, was Stan Pearson.
Born in Salford, he was certainly ‘the local boy made good’, joining United from Adelphi Lads Club as a sixteen year old amateur in December 1935, turning professional in May 1937 and making his first team debut in November of that year at Chesterfield. Although failing to score on his debut, he did manage to find the net twice in his eleven outings during that season.
Like many, he found his career interrupted by the Second World War, but quickly regained his stride when normal football resumed, missing only a handful of First Division games, thirteen to be exact, over the course of the next seven seasons, scoring 101 goals over that same period of time. It is worth noting that some of those ‘missing’ games were due to international selection, as the games were played on the same day as domestic league fixtures.
On the FA Cup front, it could be argued that it was Stan Pearson who guided United to Wembley in 1948, scoring two in the 6-4 defeat of Aston Villa in round three, a couple against Preston in round six, with his hat-trick against Derby County at Hillsborough taking United to Wembley. Obviously, he also found the net in the 4-2 Final success against Blackpool.
As the younger players began to drift into Matt Busby’s team selections, Stan was one of the last of the ‘old guard’ to leave, joining Bury in February 1954 for a fee of £4,500. After three years at Gigg Lane, he left to join Chester, eventually retiring from playing at the age of 40 and taking up the role of manager.
But what of Stan Pearson from a memorabilia aspect I hear you ask?
Firstly is a cigarette card issued by ‘Turf’. These particular cards are unlike many, as they were not given away as an insert to the packet, but actually formed the back of the packet, with anyone wishing to collect them having to cut them out.
The next items, unlike the ‘Turf’ card, are unique, one off items that were once the personal property of the man himself. They are telegrams sent to him on two different occasions, with the first couple coming from 1948 sent to him at Wembley, prior to the Cup Final.
One comes from Prestwich Cricket club, where he enjoyed the summer game, one is from someone called Marjorie, which was strangely wrongly addressed to Blackpool’s Stan Mortensen, the third is addressed to not just Stan, but also to team mate Johnny Anderson, a fellow Salford born member of the United side.
The other telegrams, also from 1948, are related to his first England call up and his appearance against Scotland at Hampden Park. Two come from his former club Adelphi Lads, the other from Prestwich Cricket Club.
The photograph of Stan in action against Scotland at Wembley is signed by him.
Bringing up the rear is a letter from Matt Busby, although his pencil signature at the foot is rather faded through time, but relates to his appointment as manager of Chester in 1959 with his former manager offering any help if required.
So there we have it, a nice little selection of items relating to Stan Pearson, a true United legend.