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Chelsea F.C. player Alan Hudson to sell his 1970 F.A. cup final winners' medal at Noonans
The Cup Final replay, at Old Trafford on April 11 1970, is still considered “the most brutal game” in the history of English football.

LONDON.- The unique 1970 F.A. Cup Final Winners’ medal awarded to Alan Hudson, who made 145 first-team appearances for Chelsea F.C between 1969 and 1974, sang on the original ‘Blue is the colour’ Chelsea anthem and later broke the English football transfer record when he joined Stoke City, will be offered for sale by Mayfair auctioneers Noonans, specialist auctioneers of coins, medals, banknotes and jewellery, on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in a sale of Coins and Historic Medals. It is being sold by Mr Hudson and is estimated to fetch £20,000-30,000.

The Cup Final replay, at Old Trafford on April 11 1970, is still considered “the most brutal game” in the history of English football. To this day it remains second only to the 1966 World Cup Final for viewing figures for a sports broadcast at 28 million, and is ranked among the greatest F.A. Cup finals ever.

As Peter Preston-Morley, Head of Coin Department, Noonans explains: “Alan Hudson supported Fulham FC as a boy but was rejected by them before signing schoolboy terms with Chelsea. Injury denied him the chance of becoming Chelsea’s youngest ever first-team player at the age of 16, but he made his senior debut nine months later, on 1 February 1969, when Tommy Docherty’s Blues lost 5-0 to Southampton. His flamboyant team-mates, who included Peter Osgood, Charlie Cooke, John Hollins and the coin collector Ian Hutchinson, welcomed Hudson as the team’s creative playmaker in a midfield 4-2-4, helping Chelsea to finish third in the First Division in the 1969-70 season when, in 29 appearances, he scored three goals.”

Hudson’s 1970 F.A. Cup Winners’ medal was so important to his family that a loop was attached in order that his mother could wear it as part of a necklace. Mr Hudson said: “My father made me the player that I am, but I gave it to my mum because, as they say, behind every man there is a great woman. She always looked after me and cleaned my kit and boots. She wore it every day until her death. Then I passed it on to her brother and recently his wife died and he gave it back to me.”

He continues: “I don’t see medals as trophies, they are great reminders of great times. I am happy to share those now by letting it go at auction, especially as Noonans have promised to create a replica for me to keep.”

Hudson played in every match in Chelsea’s run to the F.A. Cup Final against Leeds United at Wembley in 1970, but missed the final itself due to a recurrence of an ankle injury; 2-2 at full time, it took a replay at Old Trafford to settle the score 2-1 in Chelsea’s favour. The 1970-1 season culminated with his playing a major role in the club defeating Real Madrid to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final in Athens. Hudson’s most prolific season with the Blues, 1971-2, saw him make 52 appearances for the club and score six goals, but Chelsea lost the 1972 League Cup Final 2-1 to Stoke City. Little more than 18 months later, with the fortunes of Chelsea at a low ebb because of the club’s debt burden and because of a falling-out with manager Dave Sexton, Hudson signed for Tony Waddington’s Stoke City for £240,000 and, in his debut for the Potters against Bill Shankly’s Liverpool in January 1974 put in a mesmerising performance, after which Shankly visited the home side’s dressing room, shook his hand and said “That’s one of the best performances I’ve seen. Fantastic...well done, son”. In the form of his career at Stoke, he missed only one game out of 162 in his first two seasons at the Victoria Ground, and the team finished second in the league in 1974-5.

Financial troubles at Stoke, exacerbated by extensive damage to the club’s Victoria Ground wreaked by a storm in January 1976, meant that the club had to sell players, and Arsenal swooped for Hudson, still then only 25 years old and with bounteous talent, by offering £200,000. Paired with Liam Brady in central midfield, the partnership looked destined for great things and he helped the team reach the final of the 1978 FA Cup, when they lost 1-0 to Ipswich Town, but fitness issues and personal differences with manager Terry Neill meant that over two seasons Hudson only made 36 appearances for the Gunners. Aged 27, he signed for Seattle Sounders in the North American Super League and, in 94 appearances for them between 1979 and 1983, scored 20 goals. Before the demise of the NASL in 1984, Hudson played briefly for Chelsea Reserves and was then re-signed by Stoke City, helping the latter survive a relegation battle in 1984, but the Potters went down to Division 2 the following year and a knee injury forced his retirement from the game in September 1985. Internationally, Hudson won nine caps for the under-23s, the first of which was against Scotland at Sunderland’s Roker Park in March 1970, a match abandoned two thirds the way through because of a blizzard. But refusing to tour with the U23s led to a ban from international football until his performances at Stoke earned him two call ups from England manager Don Revie in 1975, when his team beat West Germany 2-0 and then Cyprus 5-0.

Since retirement Hudson has overcome a series of personal setbacks, including multiple injuries caused by being run over by a car. But in overcoming these difficulties he took up writing, with The Working Man’s Ballet, a title taken from Tony Waddington’s description of Stoke City’s style of play in that 1974-5 season, receiving critical acclaim in 1998. Since then he has worked as a columnist on the Stoke Evening Sentinel and as a radio commentator on the 2006 FIFA World Cup. In retirement he continues to live in Chelsea.

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