A football which may have been used in the 1946 FA Cup final – won by Derby County - is set for auction after languishing in a wardrobe for more than 70 years.
The circa 1940s Webber, London, Premier football, was won in a raffle after the 1946 FA Cup final, which saw the Rams lift the winners’ trophy for the first time ever.
Originally signed by the Derby County team, the signatures have worn off as the ball has been played with. However, one autograph just visible near the lace of the ball has been identified as ‘L Leuty’. Leon Leuty played in central defence for the Rams in the 1946 FA Cup final.
The ball, which is due to be sold by Hansons Auctioneers on December 7 with a guide price of £500-£800, belongs to Dave and Noreen Tristram, from Littleover, Derby.
Noreen, 54, who is semi-retired after 40 years in the pub trade, said: “The ball belonged to my father-in-law Brian Tristram whose family ran a coal merchants in Corporation Street, Derby. It was inherited by my husband, Dave. It’s been in our wardrobe for donkey’s years and was in Brian’s wardrobe until he passed away.
“Brian always said the ball was used in Derby County’s 1946 FA Cup final win. Apparently, the first ball burst 10 minutes into the match and we were told this was the replacement.
“The story goes that Brian played truant to get tickets for the FA Cup final match – and got into trouble at school. A photographer, I guess from the Derby Telegraph, took a picture of the queue and Brian was on it. When it went into the paper his headmaster at Dale School in Normanton saw it and he got caned.
“One of the cup final tickets was for his brother, Arthur, who went on to win the football in a raffle after Derby won the trophy in 1946. He gave the ball to Brian to soothe the pain of being caned, and for getting the tickets.
“The ball was kept safe but, one day, a young relative found it, took it out and played with it in the streets. That’s why some of the signatures have rubbed off.
“Perhaps Derby County will be interested in buying it for their display cabinet because they haven’t got too many trophies to put in it. And I’m saying that as a big Rams fan!”
Charles Hanson, owner of Hanson Auctioneers and a huge Derby County fan, said: “Could this be the missing 1946 FA Cup final ball? As a Rams romantic, I’d love to think so, especially as Derby are in the doldrums just now. Their 1946 FA Cup win was one of the club’s proudest moments. It would be wonderful to think we’d uncovered a very special piece of history from that game.”
The 1946 FA Cup final was the 65th in the competition’s history and the first after the Second World War. It took place on April 27, 1946, at Wembley where a crowd of 98,000 watched Derby County beat Charlton Athletic 4-1 after extra time.
Charlton's Bert Turner scored an own goal and then scored for his own team, thereby becoming the first player to score for both sides in an FA Cup final. Goals from Peter Doherty and two from Jackie Stamps in extra-time gave Derby their first and, so far, only FA Cup triumph.