Footballer Stanley Matthews became the first footballer to be knighted when he was awarded the honor on January 1, 1965. He was 49 at the time but was still plying his trade on the pitch playing with Stoke City.
The not so well known player today was one of the top players of his era ad the only player to be awarded a knighthood while still playing. He was well known in his day having won the Ballon d’Or, the first player to win the award, in 1956 as well as two Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award.
In his time he was known as The Wizard of the Dribble and The Magician because he was one of the top dribblers of the era. Matthews played for 2 clubs, Stoke City and Blackpool, during his career. He earned 54 caps with the England national team.
Soccer Birthdays for January 1
1946 – Rivelino, Brazilian football player
1968 – Davor Šuker, Croatian footballer
1968 – John de Visser, soccer player (SC Heerenveen)
1972 – Lilian Thuram, French footballer
1975 – Joe Cannon, American soccer player
1977 – Hasan Salihamidžić, Bosnian footballer