Video of the Week... Classic moments from English football

It's incredible to think now, but it was today in England in 1888 that the first six Football League matches were played, comprising professional association football clubs from England and Wales.

Today, the Football League remains the oldest such competition in world football while the Premier League, which the top 22 split away to form in 1992, is followed keenly by fans around the globe.

Indeed, football is more popular than ever in 2010 - and there is no stopping its continuing rise and growth.

While this year's 2010 FIFA World Cup offered English football fans the usual disappointment and heartache, American supporters purchased more tickets for the finals in South Africa than ever before.

Football fever is also spreading across Asia, with Japan and South Korea's teams both qualifying for the knock-out stages of the 2010 World Cup, and Western Europe's leagues also proving popular via satellite broadcasts.

Obviously, football's come a long way this those early days in 1888. So, to mark the anniversary of the English Football League, we look at some of our favourite moments from English football, and English players - and how they have been immortalised through collectibles.

"They think it's all over... It is now!" cried commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme on July 30, 1966 as, in the very final moments of that year's World Cup final (score England 3, West Germany 2), Geoff Hurst spotted his moment.

Outrunning Germany's defence, Hurst - later admitting that he'd only wanted to shoot the ball as far into Wembley's stands as possible to buy England extra time - blasted the ball into Germany's net, making the Germany's net for an historic 4-2 score.

Years later, in June 2010, one of Hurst's shirts taken to the Final in which he scored his three goals (regarded by many as the most 'technically perfect' hat trick ever scored in English football) went to auction in the UK. The shirt scored a final price of £8,800.

To this day, Stanley Matthew's achievements in football have yet to be matched, and probably never will.

The Stoke and Blackpool legend, played at the top level until he was 50 years old, was the oldest player ever to play in England's top football division and the oldest to ever represent England.

The boots, worn during Blackpool's one and only FA Cup winning final, were put up for sale with a price estimate of £6,000-8,000 attached.

The game represented one of the pinnacles of Matthew's dazzling career, which helped them to reach a jaw dropping £38,000 on the auction block - over four times the estimated price. Today, not surprisingly, Stanley Matthews memorabilia remains greatly sought after.

To date, Bobby Moore stands as the only world cup winning England captain and remains one of the defining icons of the English games. The above video shows his legendary tackle on Jairzinho from Brazil vs England at the 1970 World Cup.

Having led England to victory, he retired from the game in 1978, before enjoying brief stints as a manager and then media pundit, before tragically succumbing to stomach cancer in 1993.

It was his beloved West Ham Football club that purchased the FIFA World cup winning shirt and medal from the Moore estate for £150,000 ($225,000) following his death. It currently resides in their club museum.

David Beckham match-worn Real Madrid shirt is for sale on the market


Finally, if any one English player personifies football's growing status on the global stage, then it's David Beckham - easily the sport's most popular representative in the United States thanks to multi-million dollar advertising and marketing, and friendships with the likes of Tom Cruise.

Meanwhile, with players like Messi, Kaka and Christiano Ronaldo set to join him - the latter even appearing with The Simpsons in a Nike advert - it looks like the possibilities of global football, and its memorabilia, will continue to expand.


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