A football shirt worn by a Derby County legend in the season when the Rams won their first ever Football League Championship has been unearthed.
A number 11 shirt worn by Alan Hinton in the 1971-72 season had been tucked away in a drawer for nearly 50 years.
But the owner, who lives near Derby and wishes to remain anonymous, dug it out after reading a story in the Derby Telegraph about a shirt up for auction which was worn by fellow Rams legend Kevin Hector in his last game for the club in 1982.
Both shirts will be sold by Hansons Auctioneers in their Football in Focus Auction on February 21 and each has an estimate of £800-£1,200.
Alistair Lofley, sports valuer at Hansons in Heage Lane, Etwall, said: “The Alan Hinton shirt is a real treasure, so much so I wouldn’t be surprised if it sold for more than £2,000.
“It’s very rare because it wasn’t used for many games. It’s grey with blue trim round the cuffs and collar but the club reverted back to a white shirt fairly quickly. I’ve heard they preferred white as they liked it to look like the England kit.
“At the time, the Rams were the best team in the land. They won the Football League Championship in 1972 and Alan Hinton was a star player during that golden period.
“The gentleman selling the shirt was only five or six years old when Alan gave it to him personally. His dad’s friend sponsored the match and Alan handed it to him in the players’ lounge after the game.We’re not sure which match he wore it in. Who knows, it could have been against Leeds.
“There are a couple of small holes in either sleeve and it’s thought they’re stud marks gained in tough tackles. In those days, players wore the same shirt week-in, week-out.
“The owner tucked it away for decades but when he saw a story about the Kevin Hector shirt up for auction, he decided to dig it out. Due to its rarity, I am expecting it to be extremely sought after by collectors.
“If anyone else has any Rams match-worn shirts from the club’s golden 1970s era I’d love to see them – or what about an original shirt from Derby County’s 1946 FA Cup final win? Now that would be something special.”
Alan Hinton, 76, is a huge favourite with Rams fans. He keeps in touch with supporters and the club through his Twitter account and, though he lives in America, occasionally returns to Derby.He was signed by Brian Clough for £30,000 in 1967 and stayed with the Rams until 1975. He made 253 appearances and scored 63 goals. He also played for England during an impressive career.
His nickname at Derby was Gladys, which stemmed from his preference for white football boots and curly blond perm, along with his elegant, non-aggressive style of play.
After a brief stint as player-manager of non-league Borrowash Victoria, he relocated to North America in 1976 after his son, Matthew, died from a rare form of cancer. Hinton first played for the Dallas Tornado for a season, before moving to the Vancouver Whitecaps to end his playing career.
The Alan Hinton shirt will be sold on February 21 at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall. Sporting memorabilia is invited for that auction until February 1. To arrange a free valuation, email [email protected] or call 07863 203377.