Stanley Matthews’ first ever professional football contract which states he will earn £5 per week is to be auctioned off.
Brazilian megastar Neymar is the talk of world football as he looks set to sign a contract of more than £500,000 per week AFTER tax.
But back in 1932, English football icon Sir Stanley Matthews was signing his first professional contract with Stoke City.
The 17-year-old, who would go on to play until 1965, was earning a mere £5 per week with pay dropping to £3 during the summer months.
He was also paid a £10 signing-on fee ‘plus the usual bonus’, with his pay rising to £7 per week and £8 if he made the first team 1935.
The fascinating contracts of one of the game’s greats have emerged after the current owners entered them into Hansons Auctioneers’ Sporting Memorabilia Auction in Derbyshire.
Brothers David, 53, Andy, 56, and Graham Lockett, 61, who live in Stoke and support The Potters are parting with the contracts.
They found the contracts among some paperwork at their pottery factory in Stoke. The contracts were part of their late father's estate.
David said: "I think it’s important for people to know what top players earned back in the 1930s.
"Compared to what they earn today, it may seem ridiculous but at the time it would have been a lot of money.
"We’d love to see these contracts end up in the British Football Museum.
"They are a crucial part of the game’s history. Stanley Matthews’ contract could be displayed alongside a contract from a player like Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar.
"The contrast would be almost incomprehensible."
Andy added: "It’s important we honour Stanley Matthews’ memory because he is one of the greatest footballers Britain has ever known.
"They called him the magician and the wizard. It was if the ball was glued to his feet, and he was still playing in his fifties."
Stanley Matthews is a legend in the game. The winger played for England well into forties, was never booked or sent off and, in 1965, became the first footballer to be knighted.
He racked up almost 700 appearances for Stoke City and Blackpool. He passed away aged 85 in 2000 and his ashes are buried beneath the centre circle at Stoke’s Britannia ground.
His first contract says: "Stanley Matthews, of 89 Seymour Street, Hanley, will play in an
efficient manner and do the best of his ability for the club.
"In consideration of the observance by the said player, the club shall pay to the said player the sum of £5 per week from Feb 1932 to May 1932, going down to £3-a-week in the summer months."
The family selling the contracts say they want people across the world and in the football fraternity to see them and understand how money earned today bears no comparison to what players were given more than 80 years ago.
Hansons Auctioneers has given the 1932 contract a guide price of £1,000 to £2,000 while the 1935 contract has a guide price of £500 to £800. They will be sold on August 22.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, said: “As a football fan myself, I’m proud to be handling the sale of these important contracts.
“Despite his phenomenal career, Sir Stanley never earned more than £50 a week plus £25-a-game bonus.
“It would be nice for the multi-millionaires of today's game to see what one of the best players the world has ever seen took home in his pay packet.
“We expect Sir Stanley’s first football contract to be bought by a museum or collector. Maybe even a footballer may wish to acquire it to signify his impact on the nation’s passion for football.”