The 1953 FA Cup final between Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers had everything: a seven-goal thriller, a dramatic comeback and, in Stanley Matthews, a fairytale hero. No wonder that, 60 years later, the game continues to occupy a prominent place in English football legend. 


But it conjures up more than memories of one man and one match. It has come to represent a golden age; the year when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned and a British expedition conquered Everest.


The Great English Final was the fifth of author David Tossell’s books to be short-listed in the British Sports Book Awards. David’s latest two titles are Girls of Summer: An Ashes Year with the England Women's Cricket Team and Sex & Drugs & Rebel Tours: The England Cricket Team in the 1980s.


The Great English Final captures both football and society on the threshold of change. Five months later, the England team would be torn apart by Hungary and the national game would never be the same again. Yet the 1953 FA Cup final would live forever.

  • Uses comprehensive research and interviews with those involved to tell the full story of the 1953 FA Cup tournament
  • Examines the lifestyles of a professional footballer in the 1950s and the struggles to make ends meet away from the field
  • Studies the public's and media's relationship with football in the early 1950s and the role the 1953 FA Cup final played in further elevating the sport in the national consciousness
  • Explores the role the wider events of 1953, such as the Coronation, helped frame the Cup final and added to its place in the collective memory
  • Includes a forensic study of the Cup final itself and examines whether the role of Stanley Matthews in the narrative of the game has been over-emphasised


Click here for more information, or to read a sample from The Great English Final.